American Elephants


Can We Have A Do-Over With The Mainstream Media? by The Elephant's Child

Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific
Comments on even the most staid websites are angry, commenters are ready to fight. I have never seen an election season with so much anger, and it’s not very focused. People are beginning to notice that the media is not addressing the real world, but their own political leanings, and truth and clarity and honesty are not to be found. Everybody’s got an agenda, and truth just isn’t in it. And perhaps you have noticed — they blame it all on us. Voters are just too darn ignorant. Really? Or is it just the rapid, frantic changes in technology that are leaving people searching desperately for some kind of reality.

And it is quite true. As technology has changed, just in our lifetimes, we have adapted to the changes which seem to come faster and faster. Newspapers are slowly dying, and people get more of their news from the internet. I don’t know how the typical American gets his news. Once it was the morning paper at breakfast, then Morning news on TV. But the major channels no longer dominate the news as they once did. Teens seem permanently attached to their cell phones and social media.

Tumblr blogs now total over 291.7 million estimated by April 2016. Nielson reported 173,000,000 blogs by October 2012.  WordPress reported 76.5 million blogs out of 26% of websites that use WordPress. In other words it’s a lot — and with some blogs posting only very occasionally, others unchanging and there only as a conduit to a business. I’m not sure that numbers are at all meaningful anyway.

The anger of the public, not just ours, but across the world has been notable, yet at the same time much is written about the ignorance of potential voters. Is this just the sour grapes of those who disagree? Or are we talking about real ignorance?

June 14, Washington Post, Ilya Somin writing for the Volokh Conspiracy (a lawyer’s blog) writes about the British polling firm Ipsos MORI which found that most of the British public is ignorant or misinformed about basic facts relevant to the Brexit decision. They massively overestimate the numbers of EU citizens now live in the UK. They believe on average that EU citizens make up about 15% of the British population—while in reality it’s 5%.

At American Thinker today, Thomas Lifson writes about the hysteria of the mainstream media this week “in response the Donald Trump’s revocation  of the Washington Post’s campaign press credential in response to coverage so unfair that the paper went back and changed them.” In 2008, the Obama campaign threw the Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times reporters off the campaign plane. (Glamour, Ebony, and Jet) got to stay. Media reaction, crickets.

Sharyl Attkisson, who has built up a reputation for media integrity, told Breitbart News that “media elites have become adept at controlling media narratives, going so far as to ostracize reporters who ‘veer’ from a particular narrative. She said “I think they’ve been pushing narrative a lot for the last couple of years in a way I haven’t seen five years ago…ten years for sure, It’s almost like someone ‘s given a license at the top. It used to be done kind of subtly, but now it’s sort of encouraged. ”

“I just got back from a conference in Russia, of all places, where global journalists gathered to talk about this as a trend globally, where government interests, corporate interests, special interests have learned how to use the news media,”Attkisson said, “how to use social media to control the narrative in ways, I think, more aggressively than has ever been done before.”

Historian and Classicist Victor Davis Hanson chimed in at NRO:

For a variety of historical and cultural reasons, most of those who work in the media are progressives. They believe that government must undertake to fix an array of social maladies, such as income inequality, perceived racial and gender disparities, and the general dangerous superstitions, bad habits, and cultural baggage of those of less education than reporters, investigative journalists, and Internet and television commentators.

Yet sometimes simply reporting on society’s perceived ills does not offer quite a rich enough landscape in which to save humanity. And sometimes reality offers examples that confound the progressive ideology.

Therefore, journalists often fabricate stories and justify their cons as necessary means to achieve their higher aims. The falsifications range from the absurd to the existential, as we’ve seen with the editing of 911 tapes and photoshopping of pictures of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case. The syndrome includes the organizing of a private and secretive liberal political guild like JournoList and the slaps on the wrist dealt to progressive mythographers and plagiarists such as Fareed Zakaria and Maureen Dowd.

This is at the same time that the ways media reaches us are fracturing and changing before our eyes. Do you read the same blogs or refer to the same sources as you did last year? And how much faith do you have that what you read is actually true?

Do you know how to surf through the media rejecting the false and saving the real, and is the real real? Certainly our schools are not teaching our young what information is and what it is not, and how to manage the information we receive. They are not taught how to distinguish propaganda from truth, nor falsehood from reality. And it shows in the chaos emerging from the campuses.

Our enemies have learned how to use the media to achieve their ends, and I fear we are unarmed against their assault.

The people, worldwide, have noticed that they are being lied to, and they are not happy about it at all.


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