CHEAP JOURNALISM AND FAUX-NEWS
October 11, 2009
In recent years, “truth, justice, and the American way” have suffered deadly blows, as has the mainstream media. Today, nearly three-quarters of Pew survey respondents perceive news organizations to be unacceptably biased and overly influenced by the powerful.
Speaking of whom, Michael Moore has done it again. Time magazine celebrates his new movie (Capitalism: A Love Story) as Moore’s "magnum opus." Throngs of movie-viewers concur.
In a recent interview aired on CNN, Larry King characterized Moore as a propagandist, yes, but in the good sense of that term. Through good propaganda, Moore promises to anger some and (in his own words) to offer hope to others that, yes, we can turn around “the sick and twisted mess made by the last president.” BTW, a wag of the finger for former President Clinton presumes to render Moore’s purportedly nonpartisan political assessment as, uh, “fair and balanced”?
Still, I give it to him. When Moore defined market capitalism at its best, I agreed wholeheartedly. Then, Moore detailed how greed and self-interest have so skewed the ideal that it’s hardly recognizable anymore. Again, I was with him. But he lost me when, instead of righting a good system, he jumped the popular band wagon to denigrate what arguably represents the triumph of America’s historically unique, whole scale economic prosperity. Based on respect for rule of law, individual effort, and fair dealing, the free market allows ordinary people (like Moore, for example) to profit from their own talents and abilities.
Let’s see if I have it right. The system Moore trashes is the very one that initiated Moore (and King, I might add) into the ranks of America’s unconscionably wealthy minority; moreover, it’s a system America falls far short of modeling in its finest sense. Even so, rather than set a good system back on track, Moore would summarily throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water in exchange for what? An egalitarian super-status for the mass proletariat reflected in the State. Last I looked, this is naked Marxism.
It’s no wonder Republicans have been highly critical of the media’s performance—case in point, Moore on CNN. But since 2007, Democrats now show double-digit growth in their criticism of it. While just one-third of Democrats complain that the media is too down on America, this reflects a sizeable ten-point increase over just two short years.
News Magazines and “Crockumentaries”
At its core, propaganda provides information to influence others into a specific mindset and/or attitude. Self-serving selectivity of supporting data resonates nicely with any political agenda of choice. For this reason, propaganda is the darling of partisan politicking regardless of its leaning. Rather than inspire rational assessment, it tends rather to elicit emotional responses to targeted information, conveniently skewed to suit the desired outcome. What King calls “good propaganda” is success at raising important issues, and doing it well.
That said student texts for my college course on Propaganda Analysis did not include the Communist Manifesto, as one might expect. Instead, for their liberal usage of propaganda devises, Newsweek and Time magazines were selected. As students, our task was to discriminate between solid news (“just the facts, ma’am”) and sloppy, one-sided bias (“sick and twisted mess made by the last president”).
In the realm of propaganda, opportunistic use of revisionism seals the deal, so that history unnecessarily repeats itself. “Never again” or “we won’t forget” rhetoric is swallowed up in mantras of change, hope, and “yes-we-can” speak on one side of the aisle—“mission accomplished,” “read my lips,” and “I’m no crook” on the other.
How quickly I learned that independent and/or God-centric mindedness relegates one to the ranks of a vast right-wing conspiracy, a sort of “mob” or ranting fringe group that warrants little or no credence. Apparently, this brand of propaganda isn’t the “good” type.
Riding the Air Waves of Radio
While not every voice (conservative, moderate, or liberal) is to my liking, freedom of speech remains the American way. Known for his scathing, right-wing analyses, Michael Savage stands out among the most controversial of radio talk-show hosts. In fact, Britain numbers him with twenty-two fellows deemed so extreme and intolerant that all are banned from even entering Britain.
This is the same Britain that welcomes Muslims who are among the most embittered in the western world—this, according to the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project. Only 32% of British Muslims tolerate Jews, and a 2009 Gallup poll reveals that these have zero tolerance toward homosexual acts.
“Selective tolerance” characterizes our side of the pond as well. Speaker Nancy Pelosi reports that House leaders will aggressively pursue legislation to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine,” which in the name of “fairness” stifles controversial commentary and thereby tramples First-Amendment, free-speech principles. Threat of random warnings and investigations threaten to discourage broadcasters from airing anything that FCC bureaucrats might deem "unbalanced" (like “America, love it or leave it”?).
In light of long-term disparagement of the press’ performance at multiple levels, the Internet is fast becoming a primary source for news-junkies in their twenties, thirties, and forties. Clearly, the Internet stands alone as a veritable treasure trove of information for just about every subject imaginable, and the burgeoning "blogosphere" is the up-and-coming primary source of instant news available worldwide to all who access it.
Non-discriminate Internet surfing promises to arm the gullible with a laughable arsenal of so-called knowledge, to be sure; however, on the upside, the Internet has given voice to unprecedented stockpiles of data and commentary well structured by the Wonder Wheel and colorfully enhanced by Sky Map (both compliments of Google).
Cyberspace offers provocative alternatives and nuances to views upheld by the Michael Moores and Michael Savages of this world. Through the blogosphere, the otherwise “silenced voice” of well-reasoned, oftentimes politically-incorrect ideology is heard; and pundits hold public servants to higher levels of authenticity and accountability because of it.
Collectivist Thought Control or Free-thinking Individualism?
According to Pew survey results, Americans have upended concern over moral values for economic issues that draw increasingly higher ratings in modern media. This, of course, provides all the more reason for conservative, faith-based publications, blogs, and talk-radio programs to recover and then run with our nation’s biblically-based moral compass.
What author-attorney James Hirsen refers to as op-ed “crockumentaries” function as dandy rein aids to advance and guide competing causes of liberalism, secularism, and partisanship. Fact is, reporters, writers, and others in the media vote overwhelmingly for liberal Democrats; and a substantial majority are “pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-separation of church and state, pro-feminism, pro-affirmative action, and supportive of gay rights” (Eric Alterman, What Liberal Media: The Truth about Bias and the News, 21).
This is well and good. It’s still America after all, but ponder this: Politician-industrialist Cecil John Rhodes reasoned that “the press owns the minds of the people.” Similarly, journalist, playwright, and essayist Arthur S. Miller referenced “a pervasive system of thought control” in the United States—this, by “employment of the mass media” coupled with “the system of public education.” Both, he added, tell people “what to think about.” Miller understood how the mainstream media—inclusive of publishing, entertainment, reporting—own people’s minds and direct their thinking.
I agree that the voice of honest conviction must not be silenced—and that it should be countered. The Bible likens this process to iron sharpening iron. When the politically-correct, collectivist mindset encounters what Scripture calls “the mind of Christ,” sparks fly; and the latter garners stones (of contention) or converts, as the case may be. Either way, the public is well served.
Let the Sparks Fly!
Until and unless the mainstream media cleans up its act and rethinks the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” public opinion will continue to plummet even beyond its current lowest level in more than twenty years of Pew Research surveys. Moreover, perception of media bias and independence will not only match, but surpass previous lows.
When articulating unwavering devotion to the ultimate plumb line of truth expounded line upon line, precept upon precept in the Holy Bible, I willingly duck flying rotten tomatoes. Agree with me or not, I invite you to hold back the tomatoes and imagine with me a super structure constructed without use of any benchmark level. What results is a cartoonish blob of ill-chosen, misfit building materials—not the integrated, skillfully rendered master design intended.
Let’s take this analogy a step further: Lack of any proven standard for truth reasonably results in folks pursuing what’s right in their own eyes. Given ever-evolving, self-centric values—propelled in part by the mainstream media—populist trends, complacency, apathy, mediocrity, dependency, anarchy, and control-by-force are inevitable. All belie the master design forged by godly forefathers.
My personal mandate is to “buy the truth and sell it not.” Accordingly, my job is not to insist that others think as I do. (Who was it that said “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”?) Rather I purpose to challenge the liberal, secular status quo with biblical perspective that, when rightly applied, has proved itself incontrovertibly worthy throughout the millennia.
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Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by God’s Word. A person of faith, I base opinions expressed in my books and articles on that very Word. This I do as authentically, honorably, and objectively as my human limitations and bias allow.
A radio co-host, I speak my mind as freely, honestly, and honorably as I know how. For me, to dismiss Truth for expediency, or ratings, is beyond mere sell out. It’s a travesty.
So then, let the sparks fly! For part one click below.
Click here for part -----> 1.