Tag Archives: Mainstream Media

An Effort of Mass Distraction

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Imagine for a moment what the 2012 Mock Presidential Election in your child’s elementary school will look like. What slogans will they create to campaign for (or against) Romney or Obama based on the messages they are hearing from the mainstream media? Will they talk about the dangers of socialism, theocracy? Probably not. Chances are most of them won’t even know who is running until they enter the pretend ballot box to cast their votes. Suddenly, the entire concept of a mock election doesn’t seem very educational at all.

If we want to truly empower our children, we are going to have to elevate the level of discourse beyond the sensationalized talking points of the nightly news. We’re going to have to educate them on the fundamental differences between the parties and candidates. We’re going to have to warn them against the ideologies that threaten prosperity in our great country. And we are going to have to teach them how to wield the power of the ballot box to protect the freedoms granted to them in the very Constitution they are learning about in school. Instead, we are talking about dogs, birthday parties and lawn boys.

And who is dictating the direction of the conversation? The mainstream media is, of course. Operating as an extension of the government-run educational system, the liberal media is but another pawn in the dumbing-down-of-our-nation’s-youth movement. Long have conservatives hammered the liberal media for dumbing down the masses, and most of us have taken to talk-radio to cure this ill. However, efforts of the media to dilute the real election messages are now obstructing the education of the very population that will be most impacted by the next President’s policies: our children.

It amounts to a well-orchestrated effort of mass distraction.

The problem is about more than just sensationalism or, as Ted Koppel said in an interview with Matt Lauer on Today recently, a result of the social media phenomenon. Koppel – a 30-year veteran of the media – didn’t want to shoulder any responsibility for the type of political conversations that are taking place today. Instead, he placed blame on Twitter, dismissing its value in the arena of public discourse by saying, “If it can be reduced to 140 characters, it has legs with the American people, and they run with it.” Even his tone toward the Twitterverse was one of repugnance, like it was only for the Simpletons of the world. Yet for those of us who predominantly follow news sources, pundits, political commentators who are considered leaders in their industry, this statement reeks of ignorance. Talk about out of touch.

Besides, can’t every issue, including the ones that really matter, be discussed in any social setting? If we teach our youth that the real issues like jobs, the economy, healthcare, and education cannot be discussed via social media with any real merit, then we are ultimately teaching them they can’t talk about things that matter in any social environment. As a result, they are reduced to talking about Lindsey Lohan’s latest public meltdown or Brangelina’s engagement. But our children have more valuable ideas and thoughts to contribute, and we must remember that they won’t always be children.

It would be great to live in a world where children could spend time in their own social environments – in the lunchroom, on the playground, on sleepovers, or maybe (GASP!) on a first date – talking about things that really matter. We want our young people to be able to carry on dignified conversations that reflect critical and independent thought, ideas that have been shaped by real education (that is, knowledge acquisition).

It’s true that media is headed in the wrong direction, but social media is far from the sole culprit. The problem we have is a government-induced, main-stream-media-supported effort to dumb down the population and to distract us, so we will lose focus on the fact that our country is falling apart under Obama’s reign. Union-loving teachers, left-wing reporters and liberal politicians (who, let’s face it, get more time on TV to push their agenda) manipulate messages in order to prey on the emotions of our children, rarely tempering these messages or images with logic or data that might provide balance.

As a result, children grow up unable to identify logical fallacies when they see them (trust me, I teach this concept in freshman composition classes), so they become adults who have been hard-wired as unable to think and reason for themselves. They can’t solve their own problems, so they become dependent on government to solve the problems for them. These moochers end up voting for Democrats exclusively, because that’s the party that will keep their entitlement checks coming. Do you see the payoff?

One can’t help but think of Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, which speaks of a future America where books are entirely forbidden and any worthwhile conversation or thought is replaced by talking “walls” in a person’s home. These walls are essentially movie theater-sized screens that surround a room, broadcasting nonstop coverage of a soap opera-esque reality TV show. The highest level of engagement one can hope for is being awarded a line of scripted dialogue in the show, which is spoken from the home, directly to the walls. There is no interaction or exchange of ideas.

If we don’t change the course of education, media, and communication in our homes, we are at risk of living out this Bradburian dystopic nightmare. As parents, we must fight vigilantly against the effort to dumb down our children, or we will fall victim to the VLWC that Mitt Romney recently spoke of. We must identify sources that don’t filter real issues or dilute them with Hollywood or sports gossip and make those informative sources daily reading for the whole family. Then, we should do what effective educators do, lead our children to reflect on the issues and discuss them – maybe over dinner or on a walk through the park (yes, a social environment). Through this exercise, we can teach them how to discuss their views freely while still being cognizant of the fact that others might disagree.

The civic education of our children isn’t the responsibility of the government – and they wouldn’t do the job correctly anyway – the duty lies with us, our children’s parents. As we head into election – and mock election season – we need to remember that even though the “votes” of our children don’t technically count yet, their informed opinions do, and that’s the first lesson we need to teach them.

Mike Wallace in the hot seat

Mike Wallace's star on the Walk of Fame

Mike Wallace's star on the Walk of Fame

The journalism establishment exemplified, by the MSM (mainstream media), does not believe in American exceptionalism. That’s reserved for the rubes in flyover country. Their admiration is reserved for themselves and the lofty position the “4th Estate” holds in contemporary society. What’s more, members do not respond positively when anyone questions this self–assessment.

An interesting tidbit buried deep in the Associated Press obituary for television journalist Mike Wallace proves this is not a recent phenomenon. Over 26 years ago Wallace and CBS were jointly sued for libel by retired Gen. William C. Westmorland after the broadcast of a documentary entitled “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception.”

The program alleged that Westmoreland deceived President Lyndon Johnson and the American public by orchestrating a conspiracy that fraudulently underestimated the size of the North Vietnamese Army.

According to Wallace and CBS, Westmoreland arbitrarily established a maximum estimate of 300,000 NVA troops and during the infiltration prior to the Tet Offensive; he discounted the number of soldiers (estimated as high as 20,000 per month) who were coming south in preparation for the attack.

The goal was to convince the public that progress toward victory was being made and shore up support for continuation of the war.

It was a devastating portrayal of command deception at the expense of the lives of American soldiers in the field. Westmoreland sued in an effort to restore his reputation.

But that’s not the interesting part.

During his career on 60 Minutes Wallace popularized the “ambush interview” where unsuspecting targets were surprised by Wallace and his video crew. The confrontation would occur without warning. Wallace would pepper the totally unprepared victim with questions while the crew taped the interviewee’s obvious discomfort and shock.

What’s interesting is that during the libel trial Wallace found himself the target of questions and accusations regarding his work. Instead of “Mike Wallace crusading investigative journalist,” he was characterized as a liar and unscrupulous propagandist.

For the first time in his life, Wallace was subject to the same kind of unrelenting pressure, accusation and vilification to which he routinely subjected his interview subjects.

And when the kitchen got hot, Wallace couldn’t take the heat.

At the conclusion of the trial he was hospitalized for over a week with “depression.” Or in his words, bringing irony to an entirely new level, “Imagine sitting day after day in the courtroom, hearing yourself called every vile name imaginable.”

Yes, do tell.

For Wallace and the MSM, Westmoreland should not have been surprised when he was targeted. And the same went for businessmen, bankers, conservatives, Republicans and all the rest of the usually suspect bad guys. Benefit of the doubt did not exist for those outside of the media’s list of approved occupations, causes and thought processes.

When the camera’s red light came on you were guilty. But a reporter being criticized in the same way he filleted his victims was simply unheard of in 1985.

So Wallace was completely unprepared when the situation was reversed. I suppose in different circumstances Wallace could have asked Westmoreland what he did to recover his equilibrium after being called a liar on nationwide TV.

Today the MSM still believes it is an exception to the rules governing the rest of us. Recurring controversies surrounding civilian police review boards prove my point. It’s a given that reporters and editorial page writers strongly favor these kangaroo courts where individuals with zero background in law enforcement — and who are often actively hostile to the police — sit in leisurely judgment of working cops who have to make life or death decisions in fractions of seconds.

Internal police investigations are not good enough. The MSM demands an independent body to oversee law enforcement. But on the other hand when there are calls for an outside organization to evaluate bias and unfair coverage on the part of monopoly newspapers or TV stations, outsiders suddenly become unqualified to evaluate the decisions of reporters made on deadline and in fast moving circumstances. Why, it would be like asking Gen. Westmoreland to approve the news!

Journalists assure us the public doesn’t have the background or experience to sit in judgment. Instead, the media offers the “Ombudsman” who just happens to be an employee. Somehow this internal investigation passes muster, while the police internal investigation is hopelessly tainted.

The MSM knows what’s good for the public and your job is to shut up and read it. Just ask George Zimmerman if you disagree.

Ann Curry, one of the Today Show’s set of shiny teeth, said after Wallace died, “Tough questions are being asked in heaven today.” Which is certainly true, but once again Wallace won’t be the one doing the asking.

BryTupper Calls Into The Mitchell And Ray Show (As Ai Hosts)

Thursday was a bit of a confusing day in Internet Radio Land, as both Mitchell AND Ray couldn’t make it to host their weekly show, but the always (semi) capable Ai Politics stepped in and took control.

As a bit of a thought experiment, Ai logged into the radio show first, and THEN sent out a tweet asking if anyone would like to host/cohost a show right there on the spot.  Several (two) people responded, and Twitter’s @BryTupper ended up with the spot.

Bryan and Ai talked about many topics, but the least train wreck(y) ones happened to involve: The Trayvon Martin case, Barack Obama’s flexibility with Vladimir Putin, and how the media abuses our trust in order to release “breaking news” “first”.

Please enjoy Bryan and Ai’s attempt to take over the Mitchell and Ray Show.

Click Here for the iPad or iPhone version

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