DIGESTING THE NEWS IN TODAY’S CLIMATE
During the initial lockdowns in 2020, people had more leisure time and use it to look for information. Some people started paying attention and became awake by connecting the dots.
Connecting the Dots is a series of opinion pieces on selected topics sharing the journey of waking up hoping to inspire others to wake up as well. “Digesting the News in Today’s Climate” will be the first one of the series.
How do people usually digest the news?
Most people are usually busy doing several activities during the day. They don’t have time for critical thinking when it comes to the information provided by the mainstream media. If the media says the sky is green, most people will believe it even though if they can look up, they can clearly see that it’s not green.
The media has skillfully managed to manufacture consent with the help of Big Tech by selectively showing one side of the issue or simply showcasing opinions as facts. People with a different point of view are de-platformed from social media and/or censored by having their websites taken down. A better approach would have been to factually debunk their statements and debate with them. Because by censoring them they become even more popular.
Overall, people slowly are becoming more critical of how the news is presented.
The Mentally Exhausting Process of Watching the News.
The whole information reporting process has become a joke. Investigative journalists have been replaced by commentators, who simply read what they got in front of them without questioning the content and the sources. It’s exhausting to watch the news these days.
Many American media conglomerates have established correspondence offices but the most influential have large studios where they are able to “report” local news. They have maintained their influence by partnering with wealthy partners that facilitate their reach in hotels, restaurants, financial institutions, and airports. Most places have a flat-screen in the waiting room with one of these channels on the whole day.
The Fake News Phenomenon
Local TV and radio stations in many countries report content from CNN, BBC, and other major networks without reviewing the sources. CNN in particular has many publications that they had to retract because they had incorrect information, unlike other outlets that never had to retract a single story. In some cases, they retract and published a correction but that doesn’t get the same traffic as the original incorrect publication meaning that more people read the incorrect or misleading information and may still believe it’s accurate.
You also have the issue of the media’s perspective being influenced by their sponsors, whether it is state-sponsored media or commercial media. In the past they were very different from each other and in many instances were critical of each other. Today since it is allowed (and even has become normal) for politicians to receive significant donations from the same companies that sponsor commercial media the presentation of their reporting is almost identical using the same keywords.
In most cases where they discuss a topic that was published on another media platform, the presentation lacks a strong critical analysis and is often an opinion-based narrative that adds no value for the viewer. It would have been more productive for the viewer to directly read the publication.
The Distraction: Engaging in Drama
Fortunately, more people have become more aware of the mediocrity in media but there are still many who still follows them like zombies. Fake news didn’t start with U.S. President Donald Trump. It was always there, we were just distracted and influenced by what we see on TV, and years later our heads are looking down at our phones ignoring our most closed relations and our environment.
Trump, being the way he was during his presidency, and in that particular position of power exposed the true face of his class, the wealthy 1%. In particular what they think about the working class and how they see them. Being in that position as president of the United States of America caused severe damage to the critical thinking capabilities of his opponents. It forced people to start thinking, many don’t like it but the majority has become more aware of it.
The principal issue is class disparity. No matter what color your skin is if you are from the lower class you will be regarded as different. Even when you are hardworking with 3 jobs that barely let you live the life you want to live. Despite that, you still follow entertainment and politics and idolize those celebrities when they in turn they don’t really care about you and just want your hard-working money.
In an ideal world, one job should be sufficient to live a decent life. In the real-world things are different and those that can make those changes happen simply don’t want to change the status quo of having a small wealthy high class and an increasing large poor class by destroying the middle class.
Instead of engaging in whatever drama of the day, there is with celebrities, wouldn’t it be better to use our time more productively? The sad thing is that they will continue to create “controversies” to keep us distracted.
Replacing Reporters with Commentators
When reporting the news, there is a problem when you cut off your team of investigative journalists and need a fact-checking team (CNN). What appears to have happened is that they replaced reporters with bloggers/content writers that can-do research up to a certain limit because they don’t have the connections or the skills an investigative journalist would have. Instead, what they do is quick research online, and write an opinion piece based on the information found. The chance of them reporting incorrect information is substantially high., especially for those that use Wikipedia as their main source.
Most people only use the sources of the first and second page when they google search online. What appears on the first page of Google is usually content from CNN and other corporate media. It may vary when you use a different browser, but I don’t personally think they would even make that effort. Now that they know people don’t care about their opinions and will question their information, they have started advocating for censoring other people’s opinions.
Fact or Opinion?
Documentaries have changed their format. I remember watching old documentaries when they clearly distinguish information found in literature and research vs information based on opinion, interpretation, speculation, or belief.
Today, most documentaries, including the academy winners, like 2016 “The White Helmets” are opinion pieces based on biased/one-sided information. The problem is that this information is presented as truthful.
Most people will believe what they see at first glance. In this particular case, there were many reports from independent journalists telling the opposite but nobody paid attention. Just take a quick look at the reviews from the general audience.
It is amazing to see how documentaries against the narrative are erased from the internet, and others based on false/incorrect information win Oscars. Why the discrepancy? It should be the same rule for everyone since documentaries have become opinion based just like reporting the news. Why are the opinions of some more important than others?
Digesting the news in today’s climate is not easy. Due to the lack of transparency in media because of the influence of sponsors and other related parties, it is very difficult for me to believe that the information presented is accurate. The lack of investigative journalistic skills also adds to the skepticism.
In conclusion, whether we like it or not the current state of news reporting requires you as a consumer to do your own research and exercise critical thinking. For many, these are new concepts that need to be learned. Researching a topic goes beyond just surfing on the internet sometimes and exercising critical thinking is not exactly something that is popular. You can use references and sources of others but don’t mainly rely on what they say. As tedious as it may seem, it is needed to find accurate information and based on that form your own conclusions. Are you awake yet?
Dore, J. The Jimmy Dore Show
McCain, R.S. 2020. CNN: The Worst TV Network Ever. The American Spectator
Milne News. 2021. 20 Times CNN Got It Wrong
Schwarts, J. 2017. CNN error extends run of journalistic mishaps. Politico
Smith, K. 2020. How CBS and CNN went from reporting the news to distorting it. New York Post
The GrayZone. The Grayzone reports on Syria
Together4earth.one. The truth about the war on Syria.
The above notes are my opinion based on life experiences and sources referenced in the text as links and the references list. I’m not sure if the links will be working in the future but just in case you can always check them if they are broken using tools such as the Wayback Machine on Internet Archive, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. The date of the article or a week before should be timewise a good place to start.
My notes are all set. Let me know what you think.
Next up, Connecting the Dots Volume 2. Check it out!