Posts Tagged politics

Some observations about the news

I think it’s important to keep in mind that $$$-based journalism tends to have built-in mechanisms for all kinds of censorship. This is useful when considering not just what we are reading, but how and why it managed to get in front of our eyes. The following list, while not complete, serves to highlight some of the filtering going on:

  • The advertisers extend yea/nay force directly to the owner / publisher / board with $$$
  • The owner / publisher / board extends yea/nay force downwards to the editors and reporters
  • The editors extend yea/nay force downward to the reporters and the stories
  • The reporters extend yea/nay force to the choice of stories
  • The editors apply tone force to the stories
  • The reporters apply tone force to the stories
  • The reader’s reactions apply force upwards and this will slowly but strongly moderate the tone of the stories as the nature of the audience makes itself clear to the journalistic enterprise.
  • In some enterprises, the political correctness of a story will affect selection and tone
  • In other enterprises, backing agendas will affect selection and tone
  • The nature of the story – for example, “if it bleeds, it leads” can force other stories out, because drama=$$$ and there’s only X amount of time/energy to cover this or that, and advertisers primarily pay for eyes, and journalism, unfortunately, almost always devolves to a $$$-counting undertaking.

Long story short, the news that reaches us may not be the news that is most important to us, the coverage that highlights the details we should really know, or even remotely even-handed. All those pressures and factors are there almost all of the time, in almost all of the news.

On top of this, we may harbor various biases that are based on misinformation, social indoctrination (the long resistance to LGBT is one example of a source of this, as is the so-called “drug war”), and dogma from from various sources.

IMHO, much thinking is called for. My observation is that there isn’t nearly enough thinking being done by many. :/

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President Obama, you’ve put your foot in it.

Much as I like you, Mr. President – and I definitely do – you have really put yours foot in it this time. I’m not a sycophant. I don’t agree with all of your positions. For instance, I think your stance on gun control is outright unconstitutional, while at the same time, I understand why you’d prefer that it were otherwise, and, since the system itself is corrupt and largely unconstitutional these days, why you’d be willing to violate your oath in order to see things done the way you’d like them to be done.

This isn’t stupid; it’s calculating and it is very much political, “just the way things work today.” For instance, if you actually think the government presently is authorized to restrict citizens from owning arms, I’d love to sit down with you and show you why you’re 100% wrong. I think you’re far too smart to buy the standard arguments for your own position, though, and I suspect that in private, you’d simply admit that is the case. I understand political expediency. I also understand an urge to do good, and that the legalities of the system can frustrate that urge if not pushed to the side.

But this time… I’m disappointed in you.
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Finally.

Bush is finally gone.

It’s like having one of those embedded, infected splinters that was just too tiny to grab finally pulled out of your flesh.

I can’t really express how grateful I am not to have to wake up in the morning and face the Next Stupid Thing he had said or done.

Further, Obama has already pretty much put his foot down on the discrimination faced by the gay and transgender communities, including speaking directly against the absurd “don’t ask, don’t tell” military cowardice.

His inauguration speech contained solid declarations against much of what the Bush administration stood for; and he has put a halt to all pending regulations until they can be reviewed by his administration.

It’s as if we have an actual leader.

I still have little faith in congress or the courts, but Obama… as far as I’m concerned right now, he is “the man.”

Welcome, Mr. President. Welcome.

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If I were elected president, on my first day:

I would…

o Order the heads of the military to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all troops and equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan.

o Issue a formal, succinct apology to the people of Iraq for all acts of violence and coercion under the aegis of George Bush and his cronies, and formally disavow those acts.

o Order the heads of military to plan orderly and rapid closure of all military bases outside the borders of the United States and its possessions, including the return of all troops, the return of all equipment that is practical, and to execute the immediate sale or destruction of all weapons and defense systems that cannot be transported within a 90-day period.

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