Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hear No Truth...

The three wise monkeys over the Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan. (Source)
We've all heard the saying, "Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil."* It seems to me that as of late the "mainstream" media's motto seems to be "Hear no truth, speak no truth, see no truth." I have taken everything said, proclaimed, and/or written by the media since the Tet Offensive of 1968 with a grain of salt. It's hard to lend any credence to what they have to tell us when they increasingly slant the "news" to sell us on a certain agenda.

Now I'm not casting stones at one side or the other, I mean if we're truly honest with ourselves, all sides (wavelengths?) of the political spectrum do it. I mean in reality they're all in the business of selling something. And guess what? We, that is you and me, Joe or Jill Average American, are not the customers.

As I had it explained to me by a colleague who used to work for a sailing magazine (big business here in Little Rhody if you must know) the folks who bought the magazine and (presumably) read it were not the customers of the magazine. At least that's how the magazine folks viewed it. They were not making money by selling magazines for a few bucks a copy. Dear me no, they'd go out of business before the first issue hit the streets if their only source of revenue was the price of the magazine.

The customer (remember, from the magazine staff's point of view) were the advertisers. Those folks paid big bucks to have their glossy ads littered throughout the magazine, forcing us to go all the way back to page 87 to finish a story. Or wade through 50 pages of advertisements in a desperate attempt to find the table of contents, or a photo, or an article which wasn't actually an ad!

'Tis the same for the media these days, print, video, what-have-you. The customers are the advertisers, not thee and me. No Sir, No Ma'am. We don't have the kind of big money necessary to sustain these massive broadcast companies. Advertisers do.

Once upon a time the news departments of the networks were not considered to be part of the money making apparatus of the networks. Now they are, they need to bring in revenue just as much as prime time programming must make money.

We also live in the world of the 24-hour news cycle. So that 24 hours must be filled with stuff people want to watch. These days it isn't enough to be told that an airliner crashed in the ocean and all on board are feared lost. Nope.

Now we are treated to 'round the clock coverage of the event. The talking heads must discuss, dissect, and carefully reveal what little they know. If we sit there and watch it, they'll keep the story going regardless of the lack of new facts coming in.

Remember Malaysia Airlines flight MH370? That pretty much filled every moment of CNN's programming for days on end. Why? Well, people kept watching it. Do you think for a moment CNN would have kept at it if people stopped watching? Nope, they would have moved on to other stories and only updated the airline story as new facts came in. Like things used to be.

What sparked this rant? I'm detecting a concerted attempt on the part of the media to completely discredit the presumptive Republican candidate for President. I mean the Washington Post has over 20 reporters investigating the man. While ignoring his presumptive opponent in the November election. Polls are produced indicating that the man is falling behind the woman, with little of substance to indicate why.

Now I'm no Trump guy, not really. But this whole business smacks of fraud to me. Something is rotten and it ain't in Denmark, it's right here in these United States.

I've seen this before. If the media desires a certain outcome, then they will do everything in their power to make that happen. They aren't really accountable to anyone but their customer, who ain't us. As always, follow the money and ask cui bono, who benefits? It's not the American people.

In the days, weeks, and months ahead...

Don't believe everything you read or hear.

It's not lies, exactly.

But it's probably not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...





* A very interesting story behind the origin of the phrase "Hear no evil" etc., can be found here. Well, I thought it was interesting, as always YMMV.

30 comments:

  1. many trends conspire to undermine news coverage quality:
    -commercial race to the bottom offering more sensation and entertainment than news, and distorting the picture of reality
    example: 10.000 properly arrested criminals is no news, 1 accidentally killed innocent is BIG news
    sex scandal is even better news
    -politicization of the media: they find a political side and start supporting it, making politicians storyline their own, therefore becoming "electorate=auditory" complex. Few people bther to listen to both sides of the story, lately.
    -video feed can't replace sound written analysis that was mainstay of newspaper journalism, decline of newspapers pushed out by tv means infographics at best and images (the more shocking the better!) are what people get as info.

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    1. Pretty good summary, Paweł. Love your last bit about soundly written analysis. The "instant gratification" generation apparently can't sit still long enough to read I suppose.

      The politicization of the media is probably my biggest concern, but if we, the people, allow them to do that, then I guess we deserve it!

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  2. Agreed, with the sentiment on the "yellow press", that's why it must be classified as propaganda, vs reality. Propaganda is a well made story. Made from snippets of truth, woven to be a story just missing the facts of why this is important. Even then meter is pegged out nowadays.

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    1. You and I can tell what is important as opposed to what is simply meant to drive the ratings up. Not sure if the younger generation is paying attention to that.

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  3. "“Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” Ben Franklin

    I'd only add "and little of what you read"

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    1. Mr. Franklin was a very smart man.

      Another most valuable Juvat caveat!

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  4. And most of my friends and neighbors believe utterly what the teevee tells 'em. Is it just because people in Kimball, Nebraska are supremely stupid? Perhaps. Look around. What you see is a nation adrift, populated by 300+ folks whose foundational principle is, "i am, you're not, where's the ketchup?"

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    1. 300 million plus folks. Dern decimal points...

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    2. Can't disagree with that. OTOH, if people are fed a constant line of lies and "factoids" then after a while you get North Korea. Everyone there seems convinced that they live in the best country on Earth. Why? Well that's what the TV and the radio said.

      Introduce truth and many won't believe it, thinking that it's all propaganda.

      If people refuse to engage their brains, then perhaps they deserve what they get.

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    3. The 300+ might apply to the converse of your theorem.

      (I think back to the ancients, they would use the figure of 10,000 to indicate a crap ton, not necessarily 10,000 exactly, but a lot. That's how I interpreted your 300+. Either that or that's the population of Kimball.)

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  5. A fine observation, sir.
    I've long felt pretty much the same.
    Commenter Pawel hit it dead center.

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  6. Negative news sells, and what possible negative news could be found out about the Democrat candidate?

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    1. An interesting point Joe.

      "Move along folks, nothing to see here..."

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  7. For me it has come down to this: I read or hear that an event has occurred and immediately I begin to wonder "What am I not being told? In what manner am I being manipulated by the coverage? Where is the truth?" I've become very cynical about news coverage, I can't believe what is being put out to the public. I don't like being this way, but it seems if we wait a month or a year or ?? someone will report that what we wee told about a particular occurrence wasn't the whole story...and even then I ponder "Well is THIS the truth?"
    My grandmother used to say sometimes she felt like digging a hole, crawling into it and then pulling it in behind her.

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    1. I know exactly what your grandmother meant.

      Now I'd crawl into the hole, mine the approaches and then pull it in behind me!

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  8. The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
    ― Carl Sagan

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    1. Just look at the clown they put forward to "replace" Sagan.

      Sagan nailed it.

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  9. Just remember, Journalism is a LIBERAL Arts Degree.

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  10. There 'might' be a grain of truth in some of the articles... maybe...

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    1. Even a broken clock is right twice a day...

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  11. Sorry. I got involved in reading a book, being chewed out by the boss and other trivial pursuits yesterday and didn't get on the interweb at all.

    I have little to add to the cogent thoughts of your other commenters except, wasn't there a German fellow from the 1930's and 1940's who said that if you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, people will believe it?

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. That's right Paul, true then, true now.

      Of course, these days getting people to believe something seems easier than ever.

      Re: involved in reading a book, being chewed out by the boss and other trivial pursuits, sounds like the title of a Dave Barry book. Heh.

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  12. Something that alarms me is that Jon Stewart, and Steven Colbert are where a large percentage of people looked to for their news, and that has not changed since their leaving Comedy Central. I find Mr. Obama's appearances on shows like the Tonight Show to be appalling. That is such a lowering of the office, to appear on drivel shows.

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    1. They all feel as if they are "too cool for school." Hipster dipwads, the lot of them. A pox on their houses I say.

      Stewart and Colbert are both d-bags.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)