Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Feel Better and be less scared...

For those of you who follow me, you know that I haven't been blogging quite as often. This is by choice. One of the things I did on my recent hiatus from blogging during the holidays  is I quit watching anything from Fox, MSNBC or "morning news" programs.  I barely watch the evening news.  I haven't gone cold turkey.  I still watch the occasional program. I chose instead to read news.  In-depth, honest-to-gosh news reporting.

I feel better.

It's not that I don't have anything to say about the amount of misinformation out there, I do.  I will continue no doubt to do so.  It's just that media has a problem.  I am not talking about the fact that "news" programs must compact an often complex story into a two minute segment.  I am talking about "news" programs are now responsible for ratings and sensationalizing has become the norm.  Reports are often based on anecdotal stories of people who have an ax to grind, usually political in nature.  I would just once love to see some moderator in the mainstream news turn to the politician they are interviewing and say "you know that what you just said is misleading and untrue" or "we are not talking about that story; we are talking about this story," or "comparing that to slavery is utterly inaccurate." They don't.

And sadly, the misinformation is not just from politicians.  It's also coming from "journalists." One of the few programs I will still watch is Meet the Press.  Don't get me wrong, this program is far from asking hard hitting questions.  Take, for example, a recent example from that show.  They were discussing "Bridgegate." You know, the closing of traffic lanes to create havoc by senior staff of Chris Cristie's administration.  On the panel was "editorial journalist" for the Wall Street Journal Kim Strassel. Not once but twice she attempted to not discuss the issue in New Jersey but to blame Obama for the IRS targeting scandal which has been pretty much discredited by every investigative organization that's looked into the matter.  Was she challenged? No. Basically, the rest of the panelist ignored the comments.

I will still comment about the fear mongering I see on my timeline whether it is the mythical professor who failed an entire class, soldiers going hungry while congress raises its salary, or the extreme contamination of fish by the Fukushima disaster.  You see spreading fear by misleading is easy and social media makes it that much easier.

Here's my suggestion for all of you.  Quit cruising sites and stations like Fox, MSNBC, Breitbart, BeforeIt'sNews, Real Clear Politics, The Daily Kos, Move On,  or listening to pundits like Alax Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck or Bill O'Reilly, Daniel Lawrence, Ezra Klein, Andrew Sullivan, Bill Moyers, Chris Matthews, or Rachel Maddow. There are dozens if not hundreds of  right and left wing pundits and organizations all with one common goal: get you to believe their agenda .  Or if you do decide to watch, listen or read from these people and places, just make sure that you know they are agenda driven.

A steady diet of your favorite food will make you sick.  A steady diet of political drivel will make you scared. If this is where you go for your news, you might as well use The Onion or Cartoon Network for your information.  It will be about as accurate.

Check everything with Snopes and Hoax Slayer and Fact Check.  The pundits specialize in turning the topic and fear-mongering. If you want to be scared, watch Supernatural or go to a good horror movie.

You'll feel better.  I promise.