I don’t know about you, but I’m getting mighty tired of having to work so hard to find out what’s really going on in the world. The sources I used to rely on have been largely corrupted. I can no longer trust the Press and Media to tell me the truth. For the most part, they have become a ministry of propaganda for the Left. The so-called Fourth Estate is ethically bankrupt. It is a slave to the tyranny of political correctness. It can no longer discern the difference between good and evil. Instead of reporting accurately and objectively on what’s happening out there, it’s dishing up a steady diet of ideologically-driven propaganda.
The Lakoff View
George Lakoff, who seeks to frame the political discourse to the advantage of the Left, writes, “Framing is normal. Every sentence we say is framed in some way…Spin is the manipulative use of a frame…Propaganda is another manipulative use of framing. Propaganda is an attempt to get the public to adopt a frame that is not true and is known not to be true, for the purpose of gaining or maintaining political control,” Don’t Think of an Elephant, p. 100. This is what we get when we pick most newspapers or watch news on TV – spin and propaganda. To his credit, Lakoff then writes, “I strongly recommend against any deceptive framing,” (ibid. p. 101).
Instead, Lakoff recommends that progressives take advantage of “wedge issues” – like clean air and water, poison-free communities, etc. etc. He says, “Wedge issues are stand-ins for the whole of a moral system,” (ibid. p. 101). Today’s media are full of wedge issues: global warming (now called “climate change”), illegal aliens and racism, whether or not there should be a free market, the right to make a profit, right to life, feticide, gay marriage and ordination, gays in the military, terrorism and political correctness, the role of unions in society and government, low-cost loans for people who can’t afford them, etc. etc. Wedge issues are intended to divide conservatives against themselves. Lakoff uses the campaign for poison-free communities as an example, “The very issue could create a frame in which regulation favors health, and being against regulation endangers health,” (ibid. p. 101).
Government as God
For the Left, and its statist propagandists, the State is God. Its elite is omniscient. It knows what’s best for the rest of us ignoramuses. The Government is like the U.S. Cavalry in the old West, trumpet blaring, flags flying, rushing to rescue the cowering wagon train or fort from marauding Indians. “Never waste a crisis,” urges Rahm Immanuel, Chief of Staff for the President. Every crisis, real or government-created, gives rise to a new round of power grabs and follow up support messages from the lap dog media. Those who demur are demonized as nut cases, “violent,” racists or worse.
The Larger World
The other morning, while doing a desperate channel surf, I came across the BBC news from the UK. I was momentarily held by it because it reminded me that there’s a much larger world out there than is covered by ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and FOX News. There is, for example, a continent called Africa in which a myriad of important things are going on. Then there’s Asia. I just found out the other day that there’s a big EXPO going on in China. Who knew?
It didn’t take me long, however, to identify a similar left wing bias on BBC to that of our own media.
In our news world, every issue is polarized and politicized. Each is distorted when viewed through right or left wing political lenses. We’ve been conditioned to think Left/Right. We don’t see objectively the real world, the whole world, the world inhabited by vast seas of diverse people. We are, instead, corralled into to a massive, complex power struggle, an intensifying civil war of values and ideology. It contaminates the news and its commentary. It befouls every narrative, every account of what is actually happening in the real world.
Freedom Means Good Journalism
Good, objective journalism and freedom go hand-in-glove. When journalism is turned to spin and propaganda, freedom dies. “Journalism provides something unique to a culture: independent, reliable, accurate and comprehensive information that citizens require to be free. A journalism that is asked to provide something other than that subverts democratic culture. This is what happens when governments control the news, as in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union,” The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach & Tom Rosenstiel, p. 3.
A Bridge Burned
Personally, I no longer trust the Fourth Estate to tell me the unvarnished facts about anything. The corrupted Press/Media is for me a burned bridge. I have learned to seek out sources that will provide me with verifiable facts, not right or left wing propaganda and spin. I have revived my critical thinking skills. I take nothing I see or read at face value. I am learning to be less of a generalist and to focus more on issues for which I have a solid backlog of information and insight. Consequently, I’m finding it slightly easier to get to the nub of things.
In the glut of information overkill and ideological framing it’s ever harder to find nubs, but it can be done. It takes focus, persistence, critical thinking and a readiness to decide which hills you’re willing to die to take. Give me freedom of the press and good factual reporting or give me nothing.