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Media abandons America

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posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 09:51 PM
Part 1

I fear the morning is coming when we will wake up in America to thousands of dead and a public that has drifted into such a mind-numbing ignorant bliss to the degree that when it happens it will have devastating effects. However, even more than this, I fear how this misinformed and ignorant public will whip back in such an intense emotional state with politicians driving along that knee-jerk, sound bite solutions will destroy years of progress within the counterterrorism community and not only not help to make the country safer but simply create illusions of safety when there is in fact none.

There is much I don't know but there is one thing I do and that is terrorism. It has consumed the past 15 years or so of my professional life. I also know a little about journalism having spent a brief stint in the print world and having spent the last 12 years working with and providing materials to just about every wire service, newspaper, magazine and network around the world.

The average American has been abandoned. Journalism in this country has always held a privileged role and rightfully so. There was a reason why a newspaper had certain rights and privileges that do not exist for a comic book publisher or a Hollywood studio or the people that make soap. It was a sacred duty of the media to inform the public. Something now only conveniently bandied about when a catchy scandal is breaking and "news" organizations sue to get access to government documents or say Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson or the Runaway Bride have an upcoming court appearance and well, the ratings on streaming that live...

Here's the question though. Where is an average American able to learn about how much of a threat al-Qaeda or FARC or Ansar al-Islam or any other major terrorist organization poses to this country? Does not a news organization in the US have a duty to, under its privileged status, make sure the public is informed on issues of such consequence? Or is the sole measure of what gets air time and resources one of ratings and clicks.

Watch CNN, MSNBC and Fox for enough hours and priorities become clear. A horse or worker stuck in a trench, a high-speed chase or a Paris Hilton and her ilk rule the day, only to be superseded by that favorite national news past time of "gotcha sound bites". Funny though, these things never seem to drive coverage on France24 or al-Arabiyah. They seem to be hopelessly lost in covering such things as an attack on the US Consulate in Turkey, or developments in Afghanistan or even far flung places like Mauritania, which yes I understand poses a real challenge for Americans who don't even know which continent to look for it in.

I could recount endlessly major terrorist attacks the world over, many involving American targets, that got little or no coverage in the US but did get covered everywhere else. One of the deadliest bombings in the world against tourists in Egypt a number of years ago wasn't even cause for CNN to switch away from a Larry King interview of Tammy Faye Baker. It's no wonder American's are either completely ignorant or horrifically misinformed about world events and why self-promoting, book-selling talking heads who claim there is no more al-Qaeda are seen as credible.

The majority of Americans continue on in ignorant bliss of the shifts and changes in the world around them. They watch in glee as "reality tv" bleeds its way into the broadcast news networks with their "iReports" and celebrity gossip coverage. I can recall just a month or so ago when a headline on CNN's website proclaimed that iReporters were having trouble buying food, apparently they have not formed a union yet or realized they are just a cheap way to avoid sending crews out. Those Americans who know better are aware there is more going on in the world but if the news is not going to deliver it to them then where do they go? In the broadcast world, if they are lucky they can get France24, BBC News 24 or even CNN International. However, that is a roll of the cable/satellite programming dice. I can get one out of three where I live and I have both satellite and cable.

It brings me back to the remarks of CNN's Miles O'Brien a number of years ago when the news media in a summer slump decided to coin an average number of shark attacks into a media event dubbed the "summer of the shark". Miles ruminating on air about the disturbing turn the collective American conscience had taken since 9-11 commented how before 9-11 "news" coverage had drifted into a world of how to better seal your windows to save on air conditioning, get better gas mileage or pay down your credit cards. He carried the thought through to how when 9-11 happened Americans were blindsided because no one had been bothering to do the story and how between the sharks and a lost boy scout in the woods (the other big media event of the moment) we appear to have already drifted right back into the same place.

We love to use that phrase "Never Forget" in America and we speak it with deep impassioned sincerity but oh how quickly we do. It is both our strength and greatest curse. We move on like perhaps no other society, however, in doing so we fail miserably at retaining any of the lessons learned of the past. Immediately after 9-11 news organization after news organization held endless public hand-wringing sessions on how we need to do more, send more reporters around the world, more international coverage, etc. etc. and for a bit it happened. However, month by month, year by year, the public and media turned away. 9-11 was a historic event. Al-Qaeda was over in some place called Afghanistan and Iraq and well if they could attack us here they would have by now so therefore they obviously and quite logically cannot. So the sharks and the boy scouts and home improvement and Paris Hilton and workers stuck in trenches came back in droves and all those who trusted that if something important was going on in the world, it would of course be on CNN or MSNBC or Fox, went soundly back to sleep.

The problem, however, is that complicated, nuanced stories that leave people feeling uneasy and require thought will never, ever draw the ratings of the bear in Circuit City or the shark jumping behind the surf board. Spoon fed adjective laced fluff and gossip does. You can dress the terrorism issues up in a political fist fight with battling talking points or a sexy government investigation, then sure it will hold its own for a bit more but by that point you have gutted all the fact and context for a snappy headline designed to get more clicks than actually inform, and there is the rub.

[edit on 7/28/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 09:52 PM
Part 2

Are you a news channel or entertainment? It is a simple black and white question only made gray by those who want the ratings of the entertainment world while trying to play under the guise of credibility and status afforded to a news organization. For my two cents I don't understand why everyone does not just stop playing around and go straight to porn. You could lay off just about everyone, shoot it on the cheap and ratings would be through the roof. Heck you could even have iReporters shoot it and then you would not even need to have cameramen. I have little doubt there would not be droves of volunteers. If it is just about return on investment and clicks then instead of showing clips of the Victoria's Secret fashion show on endless loop for days as Fox News did a few years back while talking about how horrible it is that this was aired on one of the major networks when kids could watch (apparently kids don't watch Fox News), why not just leap ahead to the inevitable conclusion.

The 24-hour network news channels in America right now have more in common with TMZ, arguing radio talk show hosts, CourtTV, Jerry Springer and 5th grade level debate between political hacks spitting out talking points that are as predictable as the sun rising in the morning, then they do news organizations.

From my perspective this is not the fault of many of the top old-school correspondents, producers and anchors who work tirelessly with little resources and fight endless battles just to eke out a minute here or there to try and heroically explain something that can't humanly be done in less than 10 minutes. Many of you are on this list and I know the situation you face. The problem lies deeper within the evolving culture and revenue driven model of what's passing for a news organization today.

The painfully short major network news heavyweights at NBC, CBS and ABC still hold to a higher standard but in a changing media market and different lifestyle schedules many people simply do not happen to find themselves sitting in front of the TV and tuned to the same channel as they once did 15 or 20 years ago and even when they do, the extremely short time spans these shows have to inform their viewers of all the key events in the world makes it impossible to get all the high profile stories in, let alone do them justice in two minutes. However, I have watched in amazement as people like Lisa Myers and others do just that under what seem to me to be impossible constraints.

There are also other true hardcore journalists still out there who can get air time to share just a small fraction of what they know. Michael Ware at CNN is one of those people. It's balanced, well-researched, insightful and informative reporting. The catchy headline takes second seat to actually informing the viewer and helping them walk away smarter on an issue than they were 10 minutes before. It's reporting like that which we so desperately need more of in the States. Either that or France24 needs to increase its profile here.

Making all of this worse is that the problems are not limited to broadcast. Shrinking budgets, staff and resources at major newspapers, magazines and wire services are only further complicating things. As old business models are turned on their heads and the all-mighty click metric rules the day. Wire services like AP, AFP and Reuters are the staple of life when it comes to knowing what is going on in the world. Should a push to do more entertainment or resource cutbacks begin to impact coverage in certain areas, it would quite literally be as if those places ceased to exist in many ways for those who read the news but for now their reporters strewn around the world continue to fight the good fight and provide that one reliable outlet. AP reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan and elsewhere has been terrific and showed a depth of knowledge and source development that is what real journalism is about. The problem here though is not that the stories are not being done but rather how many people are seeing the stories if they do not get picked up.

On the newspaper side there still is no one that can hold a match to the in-depth reporting that is done by papers like the Washington Post when they really get behind a story. The Washington Post's two multimedia features in recent years on al-Qaeda and most recently the IED issue were a more solid and informative treatment then I have seen in any American media and not just on those issues but on almost any terrorist issue. They are an example of what can really be done when the appropriate time, resources and space are allocated to allow the journalists to do their job and the reader to be informed. All is not well in the newspaper world though and the changing landscape is bearing down heavily on the old models. Much of this was captured in the final season of David Simon's brilliant insight into urban life in America on HBO, "The Wire", when he focused the spotlight on The Baltimore Sun.

Despite these two last bastions, I'm deeply worried. It's simply not enough. As a print person it pains me to say it but in today's day and age, if it is not on TV, more often than not, it did not happen. Whether in the circles of government or in the mind of the public, the morning paper may still often set the news cycle but it is the 24-hour news networks that determine whether or not it grows legs. Even as an intelligence professional, myself and my colleagues often find ourselves running in circles because someone saw something utterly insignificant and unimportant on TV and well of course then it must be urgent and so emails get dispatched and everyone stops what they are doing to answer the questions of the customer who happened to flip on a TV. Give the same person a critical intelligence report on something they do not get and that is not on TV and you are lucky if they bother to read it in some cases.

This brings me back to one simple question. If all the news powerhouses in this country are not going to buckle down and decide that ratings or not, in the post 9-11 world it's important to educate and inform Americans on these issues, then who will? Also, informing does not mean taking one out of hundreds of FBI bulletins that leak removing all context and common sense and flashing them across the screen as breaking news. More of this tired practice is not needed. What is needed is knowledge and context and real reporting.

At our company, we just released a wall chart with the logos from 39 different active terrorist groups. How many Americans do you think could even think of the names of say five or more groups? Similarly there are more than 50 groups actively operating in Iraq right now. I'd put money down that if you were to walk the street and ask Americans to name just one group other than al-Qaeda they could not. Yet these groups are killing Americans on a regular basis. If we cannot name the groups who threaten us, how can we even begin to understand the nature of the threat and the challenges that face us.

[edit on 7/28/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 09:53 PM
Part 3

My small part in this battle is to give tens of thousands of dollars every year in free books, DVDs, intelligence reports and video licenses to every news organization and documentary crew doing real reporting on this stuff but beyond that informing the public is outside of our scope and responsibility. Our products are simply too expensive and technical to be able to fill that role. Schools cannot help because well most of us are long done with them. Think tanks and other questionable organizations often only serve to spin the data to serve their political objectives or agenda. They are not beholden to the ethics and professional practices of an intelligence analyst or a journalist. Academics are often too far removed from practical concerns to significantly contribute and they do not have the profile or exposure to reach people on a regular basis. As for the government, some more information coming out of DHS might help but that is trickier than it sounds for a whole host of reasons and the role of a quasi news agency is not one it should be serving.

So I ask, if the news organizations that serve the American people do not step up to the plate and say on this issue, ratings be damned, this is our responsibility and duty, well then... we're just screwed.

That morning will come and for weeks on weeks following, questions will be asked, "Did you see this coming? Were you surprised?"

And we will all say "Never Again" as we slap billion dollar overnight sound bite feel good fixes into place that will not be sustained.

Until of course we forget yet again...

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 11:01 PM
I think this is one of the most thought out and intelligent posts I have read on ATS. America is asleep. We have unfortunately become a "fat" nation. We have had too much of a good thing. We have lost sight of our past, we only see the present, and we are blind to our future. I have been fortunate to travel outside the US and seen the world through different eyes as a result. As I am informed as much as I should be? Not at all. I'm as guilty as anyone else for being asleep at wheel. I all too often accept what the media offers me as news and leave it at that. I believe whole heartedly another day will come like that one in September and I am fearful of it. May God help us.

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 11:05 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

I absolutely hate the media. It is perpetrating our stupidity. I blame them for the condition of this world. They spread the ideas that pervade the world.

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 11:31 PM

"The Fourth Estate has become the Fifth Column of Democracy" - Bill Moyers, 2008


An excellent post. For those who may read this and despair at the state of the public's appetite for news, rather than 'news-product', don't lose hope! This is actually mainstream opinion!

January 8, 2008

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—A Sacred Heart University Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll, just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting.

“The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical consumer of information in the U.S.” stated James Castonguay, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of SHU’s Department of Media Studies & Digital Culture. [1]

The public, while it does want to be entertained, is as sick of the inadequate and biased news media as we all are. The desire for more intelligent, yet accessible, news reporting is widespread. We don't like being dumbed down, or treated as if we desire complacency.

The mass-media likes to pretend they're "giving us what they want", but statistics like these tell another story.

We're on your side, OP. All of us.

posted on Jul, 28 2008 @ 11:44 PM
Heh, I normally never watch MSM, but the last few evenings my mom had Nancry Grace from CNN on, and I watched that a few times in the last few days. I can't even believe that's called news. I wanted to stand up and chant "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" like on the Springer talk show, because it was mostly just people arguing with each other and being generally belligerent. I knew those news channels were bad, but not having watched one in so long, I didn't realize just how low they have sunk these days. What a bunch of garbage. I'll definitely continue to get my news from the internet and newspaper. Fortunately, my local newspaper isn't too bad, yet.

[edit on 28-7-2008 by DragonsDemesne]

posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 12:16 AM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

You have penned a highly thought provoking thread. It seems to be that the last couple of generations have become accustomed to sound-bites in leiu of honest-to-goodness news. In fact, things started rolling down hill in the mid-80's with the advent of MTV. Kids that grew up in this time period are now in hitting 35-40 years of age.

Think about that for just a moment. We have adults approaching middle age who think nothing of a 30-second news segment. I don't even want to think about the current "me" generation whose very lives seem to center around IM, facebook and various ego-centric routines. It is a sad testament to the insulated world we have created.

To state that the average American is uninformed is an understatement. Few people go out of their way to seek the truth. They are more than willing to accept whatever spin is spoon-fed them to feel content.

You are correct in your assessment that mainstream media has dropped the ball. Ignorance is rampant in this country as a result.

posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 12:17 AM
When an authority says "War.", the citizen is supposed to ask "Why?"

This is where good news reporting comes from. The citizens without political agendas, wondering why they see others rushing to fight and kill and steal and hate because it just doesn't seem natural/normal.

Unfortunately, the major news organizations and all major media outlets have been bought out by the Big Corporations, and so has the government, and so has the world (almost). So... we see the problem. It is the wealth and greed of a flawed "free trade" economy, where Corporations have the same rights as people and about a billion more that people don't have, and EVERYTHING/EVERYONE can be bought or coerced into being used, with enough resources. The corporations own all the resources. Only a small handful of people own the Corporations. The stock market is a sham. The governments and the media are a sham.

The "evolving" culture is even controlled. We are given the illusion of choice, when really we're all doing the same thing. We're selling our souls for a brainwashed sterile happiness addicted version of bliss, and it's a serious addiction, like a drug. It's all temporary, so once the buzz of a perceived "new cultural rage" wears off, we beg our masters for another even better rage. We've lost all independence. There is no more independence or choice or freedom. There is only the illusion within the illusion within the illusion, and we're so damn hooked on what they're giving us, that we actually think we're in control. Typical addict behavior. "Oh we'll quit tomorrow". "Oh we'll solve the energy and economic and ecological crisis tomorrow." and when tomorrow comes, we're too busy getting our "fix" of what we believe is our own choices and independence and freedom and culture and satisfaction and lives, that we say "awww someone else will do it."

When someone else doesn't fix things, and the bliss of the euphoria of "modern society can do no wrong, and America the Greatest, and we're so informed and educated and successful and important" wear off, we get extremely aggitated and wonder "Who's fault is this for not fixing this mess? Who can we blame for our convenience addiction? Those damn teenagers who got no respect for education or authority? Those damn politicians who are only human and got bought out by the corporations just like the rest of us? The Muslims? The lazy blacks living off welfare? The horny white trash making too many babies for our taxes to feed? The hippies? The commies? The terrorists? The anarchists? Global warming? Christianity? Satanism? The lazy news reporters who are only human and got bought out just like the rest of us?"

Look inward, my fellowes! We can only blame ourselves... but what good does blaming really do? Let's just all admit that we made a mistake, and start over. Start all over. Abandon every rotted out hull of a way we've been sputtering and sinking with, and completely re-vamp our relationship with each other, the world, the universe, and creation.

The separation is killing us. This is the cause of all the conflict. Separation and forgetting that life is just a state of mind. Fear of death and the illusion of separation are ending. With that will come confusion naturally as the shift takes place. It's not as bad as it looks, even though if you looked too hard, it would seem much worse than it looks.

Don't be surprised. Be prepared. Be prepared for massive change. Change is the only sure thing... so be ready to adapt, and let the pain and discomfort guide you towards yourself and others, instead of becoming bitter and placing blame. We're all in this together.

As I say this, I feel your pain, as well. When I fail to hold certain truths in my mind, I become worried and confused and angry and fearful as well. It comes in waves, and none of us should be judged too harshly for being indecisive or seemingly irrational at this very unique moment in time. I sometimes can't believe it. I sometimes stand back astounded by it. I sometimes explode in a fury of rage because of it. Moments of clarity come like gusts of refreshing air. Moments of fear and anger come like speed bumps that seem to cripple my suspension for a bit. As an observer, I step away from myself every so often, and even with all of this greif, loneliness, spiritual and emotional and cultural confusion and chaos, I know I am experiencing something great... and I am thankful for it.

As much as we will seem to suffer, I think one can't help but be in complete awe of the uniqueness of the situation we've gotten ourselves in, and the absolutely unexpected solutions (antigens, you could call them) that will arise from the seeming chaos in order to restore what we seem to have lost.


[edit on 29-7-2008 by dunwichwitch]

[edit on 29-7-2008 by dunwichwitch]

posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 04:24 AM
reply to post by dunwichwitch

Spiritual non-dual self awareness is an effective way to disconnect from this enveloping dream state in which the media is but a small participant. Many would argue that the government, media, and indeed our acceptance of both is actually healthy in a macro-evolutionary scale. They both accelerate the demise of this illusionary life condition hastening the day of global awakening.
I have no idea if that is the case. I often find myself looking at the mirror searching for inner truths only to be stared back by my own mind made CNN or FOX News version of self awareness. Thus I get exactly the false self-awareness that I was probably seeking.
I guess we do the same in our daily lives. The fact is that deep down the news has been/is/will be always the same. Somebody's doing something to someone else. We all know what humans have been doing to each other since the first day of "scarcity". At some moment a few thousand years ago, four people came into a house for dinner but found that there were only three apples on the table.
Since that fateful day, the news has always been the same, just different names for the participants.
But that's a conversation for another day. This thread is more about the feebleness and inadequacy of the mainstream media's ability to inform the ordinary citizen.

[edit on 7/29/2008 by schrodingers dog]

[edit on 7/29/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 05:22 AM
I hear ya. I'm not saying there won't be struggle, or that I am holier than thou and therefore I am immune. I just experienced a day which turned into two months where even meaning itself was filleted out in front of me like a dead fish. Devoid of meaning, I was truly in the abyss. Being there in that state for two months was the most empty feeling I ever had. I thought about killing myself, but then I realized how meaningless and absolutely useless that would be, as well.

Finally, when I came out the other side (sometimes I still have portions of time where I'm back in that state of semi-lucidity), I understood exactly why people behave the way they do, believe the things they do, accept and/or facilitate the things they do... and it's not as complicated as psychology likes to pretend it is. It is only as complicated as the amount of layers of denial we willingly sheath ourselves in. We are the only ones who can truly ask ourselves the right questions.

The point I am struggling to remember that I was trying to make is umm this... the people have to be willing to accept the behaviors that govern our fears and limitations. Also, someone had to knowingly reject the balance of forces and the source from which those balances come from, and through repetition, force those around him/her to forget as well, out of fear of a projection of their own experience causing them harm or causing them lack of... and that takes a very very powerful and very interrelated and interdependent set of traumas. That takes into account every single incarnation living on this planet at this time. That takes into account the very moment a baby is born, and the doctor spanks it on the butt, to the very moment the incarnation dies and fears the mysterious beyond and fears losing all that he has accumulated (thus the perceived need for elderly people to be all worried about life insurance and wills and passing on their prized worldly possessions).

In the end, that rejection of the very nature of existence itself is pointless, and those who reject it will learn that there IS order, even in their clever schemes of chaos. Once their thinking becomes obsolete, it will die and something of a higher level of complex learning will develop to take its place.

I don't know if struggle in this level of existence will ever truly end on this planet, if indeed we stay in this level...

But sometimes you have to be thankful that struggle exists. Struggle and generally considered "bad" things teach us how to gain virtue, wisdom, patience, knowledge of self and experience, faith in our intuitions, all these positive things.... positive is only possible because of negative, and in order to be magnetically stable, one polarity always grows exponentially in order to balance out the other.

There's so much of the universe, though, that I wonder why we couldn't just be completely purified and blissful in our own little world while somewhere else in the universe, the opposite finds a way to form balance at the exact same time. Why here and now do we need "bad things"? Think fractally, and you'll understand that there is no "over there" or "right here" or "far away" or up high or down low that can escape the universal balance, because the here or the there is an exactly similar microcosm of the universe contained within itself... balance must exist everywhere.

We may not like fear and injustice and lies and propaganda being here, but the universal law of balance of all places big or small insists that we must be affected by "the bad" in order to evolve to a higher level.

Now is the age of revealing, I believe.

I want to continue this more, but I can't even pay attention to my typing I'm so tire.

posted on Jul, 29 2008 @ 03:47 PM
By the way, if you would like to get a brief overview of the present terrorist threats world wide please send me a u2u and I send you the link to our site. I do not want to publicly post the name of this website cause I don't want this thread to be misconstrued as a solicitation. The info on the site is mainly for the government and for news organizations.

[edit on 7/30/2008 by schrodingers dog]

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 02:25 AM
Please, if you ask me for the name of the site, don't contact the site owners about conspiracy theories or to chat about current events.
Now I would love to get some of your opinions on the topic of my original post. I know it's on the long side. Believe it or not, the above is the heavily edited version.

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 07:12 PM
There is a great article on the subject:

An early demonstration of how risky it could be to tangle with big business came from General Motors, which sued NBC News over a 1992 Dateline segment that infamously staged a truck explosion to dramatize the dangers of the company's fuel tanks.

At ABC News, another lawsuit all but did away with a pillar of investigative journalism: the use of hidden cameras to catch parties in unethical or illegal acts. The grocery chain Food Lion sued ABC News for $4.7 billion after two Primetime Live producers misrepresented themselves on applications and, wired with cameras in their hats, taped workers repackaging expired meat as fresh. Though a huge jury award was eventually reduced to a mere $2, the damage was done. After Food Lion, producers needed special permission to use hidden cameras.

While ABC and NBC were clearly in the wrong, these cases still had a ripple effect through the industry.

The watershed moment came with the infamous tobacco suits at ABC and CBS. In 1995, Bergman, then a producer at 60 Minutes, battled CBS brass to broadcast an interview with Brown & Williamson whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand of The Insider fame. The network was being sold to Westinghouse at the time and wary corporate counsel claimed the Wigand interview would constitute tortuous interference. And Philip Morris sued ABC News for $10 billion over a 1994 report on the now-defunct newsmagazine Day One that uncovered the then-shocking evidence that cigarette manufacturers manipulated nicotine levels to keep smokers hooked. The network, which was being acquired by Disney at the time, declined to fight Philip Morris in court and instead settled for a reported $17 million; it capitulated in a widely derided on-air apology that those involved still describe today as “disgusting” and “pathetic.”

You can find the full article here:

posted on Jul, 30 2008 @ 08:03 PM
Wow, S. Dog. It's a long read, and well worth it. You craft a phrase like a sculpture -- it has shifts in curve and structure, and is not symmetrical.

I'm going to date myself a bit and say that "news", real news for the sake of informing, died with Walter Cronkite. I know that sounds somewhat elderly and silly, but he and his compatriots had a dedication to integrity of reporting. Surely, there were stories that they were not privvy to that were perhaps HUGE and we never heard about them, but that was not the fault of the old-school reporters. Mr. Cronkite, in particular EXUDED compassion and credibility. He never stooped to spinning a story to fit a political slant (IMO) as seems so common today.

There have been times where I shuddered to think that perhaps my most credible TV news source was the lampooned jocularities of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. At least they TELL you they are twisting the truth, and invite you to laugh about it.

Being down here in the Caribbean, we don't have DISH or DIRECTV. No. We're not allowed to have it, as the repositioned satellites won't deliver consistent service here. So, we have to pay for overpriced rerouted C-Band satellite transmission, of only the most savory of homespun programming. The alternative is to pay for a subscription to DIRECTV through a proxy wherein the wayward cable box thinks it lives in Miami -- no victim there -- but....... of course, that would be illegal, and therefore NONE of us would EVER consider such a sneaky act. Horrors.

So, this time of year, I can pick up Glenn Beck. I missed ol' Glennie. He's been out of range for four months. I like his fluffy conservatisim, his quirky neo-whisleblowerism, and most of all, his irreverance to anyone who takes themselves too seriously.

You've woven a lengthy prose here -- at least within context of the short attention span of your average citizen.... I mean, you might've conjured a sensationalistic title to at least draw us gnats to the light; how are we to know there is real content and provocation of thought without that snappy attention-grabbing lure? Might I suggest: "THe End of America?" ......or, you could BAM! it up a knotch by spelling it "Amerika".

I really hope the majority of ATS wanders through this thread. It touches on so many of the conspiracies that we hold dear. Substitute some of your works for symbols, you might have the unifying constant between the speed of news and the gravitational effects of money.


posted on Jul, 31 2008 @ 03:48 PM
Nice posts, Schrodinger's Dog. Could be a good thread, if there's any takeup.

But will there be?

Once upon a time, you built a better mousetrap and people would beat a path to your door. You led, by proving your worth, and people would follow.

But this was hard. It took ingenuity, hard work, natural leadership ability and all that difficult stuff. Because you had to convince people that your way was right. You had to prove yourself by means of results.

Then two men named George Gallup and David Ogilivy (the curious may wish to google these names) found an easier way.

What they discovered was that you didn't have to prove yourself. You simply had to find out what people thought they wanted, and repackage yourself or your product in line with that. To hell with what they actually needed, to hell with your own beliefs and convictions (if any). No need, any more, for all that taxing stuff. No need, any more, to deliver results. All you had to do was pander to the people's needs, fantasies, prejudices...

Which you learnt about from media-usage statistics, polls and focus groups.

Everybody wound up happy.

The people were happy because they were getting what they wanted, even though it wasn't what they needed - indeed, it was often to their detriment.

The people who gave them what they wanted were happy, because despite the fact that they were leading the public blithely towards the abyss, they were still getting elected (if they were politicians) or getting rich (if they were marketers) because people were buying their useless but enticing confections in truckloads.

And the media, who forged the link between the two parties, were happy because more people were watching and listening, and their advertising revenues wre going through the roof.

And thus a feedback loop was created.

Example 1: advertiser does market research, finds out people like feature Y on product X, and delivers it. Public very happy, gobbles up product X even though it is a piece of crap in functional terms, because thanks to the inclusion of feature Y it panders to their vulgar taste. Real-life example (I'm going back a bit here): fins on American cars in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Or spoilers on family saloon cars today. What do they do? Raise fuel consumption. Aerodynamic or handling advantages? Zilch, indeed negative. But they look great, so...

Example 2: Flip, and also flop. Politicians who change their views and their platform on an issue simply because what they truly believe won't fly with the voters. George Bush's about-face immigration policy is a great example. But you're seeing it happen all over the place in America now, because it's an election year and the pollsters make the running. There are plenty of examples from every candidate, every party.

The feedback loop goes like this:

Public desire influences product/ service/ policy formulation. Product/ service/ policy formulation reinforces public desire. Public desire influences... and so it goes.

It's awfully like - in fact, is probably directly analagous to - runaway sexual selection. Except the loop isn't strung between males and females in a species but between leaders and followers in a status hierarchy.

How to fix it?

My own favourite solution is good old elitism. In a word, leadership. Leadership by conviction rather than poll-pandering. Because polls only follow trends, they never point out new ways forward. And ordinary people can't be trusted to make good decisions about important matters. Only a few people have the ability to do that. The rest have to be led to acquiesce, to accept and do things that are uncomfortable or even dangerous in the short term, in order to reap greater benefits in the long term. And if it takes a sacrifice, they should be aware of it, not gulled into some nonsenical state of false security, and be encouraged to put up or shut up. Remember Churchill telling the British he had nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears? Would anyone today get elected today on a platform like that? Today we have 'leaders' who simply follow the polls and offer people what they think they want. They aren't leaders at all, these clowns: they're followers. Followers of the great unwashed, unthinking masses. Where John Doe leads, they follow. Leaders ma cul.

I'm not arguing for a dictatorship, though. I'm arguing for a class system - with class mobility. Democracy is surely the best of all possible forms of government. But it only works as intended if the demos knows its place - understands its capabilities and limits and respects those who rise above it - and if the democracy itself contains a mechanism that will permit quality to rise to the top. America used to have it; it doesn't any more. In America, the fat tail of the peasantry is wagging the dog of policy, and media-friendly buffoons with five-second consciences get elected. The rest of the world, is, for the most part, no better and often worse.

Let's face it: the great unwashed isn't fit to decide what it wants. It needs to be told. The many good people who come to this site and fulminate about a massive elite conspiracy have got it all backwards. There is no elite conspiracy. There is mob rule. The elite have abnegated themselves, and allowed the demos to dictate terms to them. Rich-world politics these days is like Indonesian wayang kulit: a play of shadows.

It isn't less government or more government that is needed, but government by conviction. Democracies only need polls once every four or five years; they're called elections. For the rest: tar the pollsters and market researchers and feather them.

How's that for a revanchist approach from an ATS member?

Edit to add that this argument is at least as old as Alcibiades...

[edit on 31-7-2008 by Astyanax]

posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 05:35 AM
reply to post by Astyanax

You touch on some very important ideas here, in line with the OP's statements -- the notion of whether people really know what they want, or allow [possibly tweaked or misrepresented] reported statistics to help them decide. Sort of along the lines of: "if 82.5 % of the people think X is beneficial, then perhaps I'd rather be part of that majority, even if it doesn't really sound good to me." How would we find out if such a thing were true, without a @#$@# poll, though? Worse yet, is the inference that rings through sometimes that statistics are representative of fact and truth.

By the way, it's a statistical fact that 61.73 % of all statistics are made up on the spot.

posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 05:40 AM
Unfortunately, it is not just the US. The entire Western world is indoctrinated by the media....

posted on Aug, 4 2008 @ 12:23 PM
reply to post by OutoftheBoxthinker

Without wishing to make too much of the US vs World media, I have to point out the following:
Anyone who has travelled to Asia, Europe, and even to some moderate Middle Eastern countries, can testify that they immediately get shocked on arrival at when they watch the news and find out all the things going on in the world that they never heard about coming from the US. Even US news is sometimes better covered abroad than it is here.
Case in point, the recent BBC documentary about where billions of Iraq reconstruction dollars went, which did not air in the US.

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 12:06 PM
Come on come on come on now
touch me babe

cant you see
that I am not afraid

what was that promise that you made
why wont you tell me what she said ?

what was that promise that you made

Now I'm gonna love ya
till the heavens stop the rain

I'm gonna love you till the stars
fall from the sky

for you and I

come on come on come on now and touch me babe
cant you see that I am not afraid

What was that promise that you made ?

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