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Friday, December 09, 2016

About that "fake news" kerfluffle

If a person wants to experience fake news, watch and read the MSM.

  • "Hands Up - Don't Shoot," totally fake; 
  • "Border is secure," totally fake; 
  • "the economic recovery is strong," totally fake; 
  • "terrorists are on the run," totally fake; 
  • "the government is only keeping meta-data," totally fake; 
  • "crime is not increasing," totally fake; 
  • "Tea Party is racist," totally fake; 
  • "IRS is not discriminating against conservatives," totally fake. 
  •  "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor," totally fake; 
  • "Obamacare will make medical insurance affordable," totally fake. 
  • "Fast and Furious is a botched sting operation" totally fake. 
  • "It was a protest over a YouTube video," totally fake. 
  • "She had just one device for convenience," totally fake. 
  • "Iran nuke deal will keep us safe," totally fake. 
  • "We didn't pay ransom to get hostages released," totally fake.
  • "98% of climate scientists agree that global warming is man-made," totally fake.

As I get older I realize that there was never a time when journalists reported the facts and let readers form their own opinions. They always provided their view of "reality" and even in the "good old days" it was biased to the Left.

Walter Cronkite was labelled "the most trusted man in America" by the CBS advertising department. But that was when people had no real choices. Every night the news was delivered in the same way from NBC, CBS, and ABC, who all took their cues on what was news from the NY Times. Pravda did not have a greater hold of public opinion in the USSR than the Times did in the U.S. At least the Russian people had learned to be cynical about their press. We didn't; we believed and were fools for believing. Remind yourself that "Camelot" was a PR campaign used to describe the Kennedy presidency, when in reality Jack Kennedy may have been even more sexually promiscuous than Bill Clinton.

If you want to see what a straight fact-based article would look like, take any newspaper report from any time period and remove the adjectives and "color." You will be amazed at how bland, uninteresting and uninformative that would be.

The difference between then and now is that we now have an incredible spectrum of reporting. Technology has made every man a reporter.  Like Plato's allegory about prisoners in a cave, we have been freed to see the truth, or at least more of it what we were allowed to see before. Plato's prisoners didn't want to see reality and fought to return to the cave to view the shadows on the wall. There are millions of willing prisoners today and they turn to the NY Times to view their shadows and tell them that it's reality.

Let's face it, people want to have their prejudices reinforced. They want to be on the winning side. Many want to be told what to think about and how to think about it. And cultural pressure, fear of being called names and losing your job for saying the "wrong" thing is a real fear.

The smart people today have left the Plato's cave and see things in their true light, but they check back with the cave dwellers to see their shadows on the wall so that they know what to say and how to say it until the day when they can express themselves and profess the truth without fear.

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