News, Media and the Merry Go Round
Wasn't going to write an opinion piece today, but an odd thought came to me and like a dream, I better write it down before it slips away to be lost forever. I'm trying to make it all fit together as I sit here at my keyboard afraid of writing something that will just end up falling apart, but I have nothing to loose and got the itch. So here it goes.
What if the essence of news was like a merry go round, being passed from one source to another. Not like radio to T.V. to newspaper to internet etc., but passed between, civil establishments, social institutes, media sources, new technologies, political influences and your neighbor down the street.
The medium is the message is a phrase coined by Marshal McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. I am not a person who has studied news media and I am relatively new to it. So perhaps my idea is old but at this time, new to me, so I will continue at the risk of making a fool of myself.
Before recorded time our perceptions and beliefs were a product of environment, superstitions, needs and primal observations. They must have been successful because we are here today. Later on we followed the tribal culture or for those who were brave enough set up their own societies while infusing their messages onto those who would follow.
My earliest recollections of the world, as it affects us all today, is actually provided via time capsule, through the internet to a time before my birth. I reviewed old interviews with men like Winston Churchill, watched documentaries of past presidents and even enjoyed talk shows with the likes of Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.
One aspect that amazed me was how these guests of the news channels, documentaries or talk shows were in control, even outrageously rude, including politicians, and therefore the main influence that formed my perceptions and conclusions. Obviously, at that time the subject was in charge and the medium a servant.
Perhaps Richard Nixon was the catalyst that shifted the power from the subject to the medium. Through his paranoia of the bureaucracy and it's agents he left politicians vulnerable to media scrutiny and eventually, death by media. It was at this time perception of the world was controlled by media and not the leaders.
Ironically, it was the media that then went into a kind of power trip while looking to create sensational stories that uncovered corruption and wrong doing by the politicians and cultural personalities. News anchor people who we could trust with our lives were dressed upped, make upped, and offered upped. They were now totally in control and we were their surfs. Everything we heard on the news was perceived as God's holy words, if it was on the news it was the truth.
It wasn't long before politicians, authority figures and community leaders learned to tell the white lie, slowly transformed to the gray lie, no comment, and finally the outright lie. The outright lie was now possible due to some powerful forces within our society. First off, we developed spin doctors who through twisting of the facts, could turn a cloudy day to one of sunshine and rainbows. Then came special interest groups who would converge on any perceived human or worldly crisis like baboons on the female troop after the alpha male has been castrated. Politicians, entertainment personalities, talk show hosts, news media could now rally behind any given crisis to further their ideologies, profit margins and personal popularity. Some even used crisis to adorn their righteousness with the Nobel Peace Prize.
It wasn't long ago I saw former President Bill Clinton verbally pummel a Fox News reporter like Mylie Cyrus caught in a cage with Paris Hilton. It was surreal and at the time I didn't see it's significance. Now I understand, it was the politician taking back control of the public perception. Totally brilliant and successfully executed.
It was Yankijim's story of Hillary Clinton being applauded for objecting to slavery that made the mental neurons in my head connect. In a lame attempt to control the story line Hillary turned the clock back a hundred years and thereby shifted public attention from the real issues of the world to obviously accepted modern principles. I realized this is an extension of how special interest groups have controlled our perceptions and not only that but our daily lives and all our activities. From homes with the best R values, cars with the highest mileage, organic food, to reducing the the number of toilet paper sheets I flush per day.
I'm not totally in disagreement with these ideas, not because I completely agree with them, but mostly because if I don't go along with them, my financial situation is compromised. Under these circumstances not only are my perceptions of the world determined but my actions are controlled.
Here I am this night, reading stories from people I and most do not know. People who have no power over my life, who have no special interest or looking for my vote. People like I expressing honest lonely truths for no cause but expression and enlightenment.
The merry go round has stopped, narcissistic leaders, media pundits, spin doctors, news anchors, Federal, state and municipal institutions, special interest groups, crisis manipulators, money changers, investment dealers, war mongers, slogan makers, late night talk show people, morning news paper creators , afternoon T.V bullshit providers and anyone who isn't a person, I couldn't sit down and enjoy a beer with, get the hell off! It is time for me, the man down the street, the Muslim in the Punjab, the Jew in the market, the Palestinian in Gaza, the Ethiopian living in a grass hut, the Kurds in Iraq, and the good people of Iran and anyone else who's voice has not been heard to get on the merry go round.
The internet is now the highest form of communication ever developed, and connects our basic need for human contact to a possible five billion people. The truth maybe hidden but the veil now rots in the sunlight!