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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Turn It Off: Getting rid of those who divide us.

 Stop please....just stop.  I have a challenge for you. I am begging you.  I bet you can't do it.  I DARE YOU.  In other words, whatever it takes to challenge you, your friends, your friends' friends to turn off the feed and daily procession to stupidity, I dare you to unlike, not visit, unsubscribe, mute, and in general get all your information from as reasonably unbiased news outlet as you can find.

I dare you if you're on the left to unlike and quit visiting or watching MSNBC, Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, Mother Jones, Egberto Willies, and a host of other sites.  Dislike leftwing personalities like Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Jessica Valenti, Paul Krugmann, Arrianna Huffington or the host of left wing radio and TV mouth pieces. I must admit that I do read articles on the Huffington Post, but its editorial and political reporting, I look at very carefully. If you are on the right then I dare you to unlike and quit visiting or watching FoxNews, Red State, Tea Party, World Net Daily, Tea Party Patriots, Breitbart, Drudge Report, and a host of other sights.  Dislike right wing personalities like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Neil Cavuto, Geroge Will, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and the host of right wing radio and tv mouth pieces. Long ago, I would watch Fox New when it really was, I thought, trying to be fair and balanced.  It has dropped all pretense of fair and balanced long ago.

If you cannot drop these folks then I have a different challenge: If you like one liberal then you must also like one conservative.  I am not including politicians whom you follow.  Politics is their job.  A pundit and a news station and a Facebook page, however, is not in existence but for his or her or its own selfish purpose and propaganda. We all know very well when it comes to Facebook or live news they have one thing they consider first: making money. To that end, far too many news organizations have committed themselves to entertainment. A part of that is keeping the conflict going because great controversy, real or imagined, puts up rating numbers, and rating numbers determine how much money these networks and pundits can charge.  Noble news reporters and honest political commentary are about ratings and not an informed public.  Meet the Press, which once actually had reporters asking leaders tough questions, has become let's have an interview with conflicting view points.  Facts are not relevant.  Rating points are. Just ask David Gregory.

I know what you're thinking about right now is "why should we do this?"

Did you know Politifact keeps track of the accuracy of not just pundits, but of entire networks?   Did you know that the network that receives the most  "mostly false, false and pants on fire" is Fox News? Number two is MSNBC. Fox News is at 58% while MSNBC is at 48% in the political arena of how often they are inaccurate.  Now it is true that this rating is based only on the items that Politifact checks. They don't fact check everything. News networks like CBS, who doesn't have a political network like NBC has MSNBC, does not get fact checked as often.  It is also true that if an MSNBC pundit goes on CNN and doles out misinformation, CNN takes the hit for the inaccuracy.  Politifact also includes NBC's rating with MSNBC's rating, which is I think a bit unfair.  CNN's rating is at only 22% inaccurate.

You can also fact check pundits like Glen Beck whose fact check card rate at "mostly false, false or pants on fire" is 61% of the time.  Rachel Maddow has a 51% inaccuracy rating.  Her equal in rating is Bill O'Reilly.  Good old Rush Limbaugh has an inaccuracy rating of 82% of the time and has never once received a true rating and only mostly true 7% of the time.  Did you know, for example, Fox News  edits public speeches by the President to change the speeches' meanings or they will cut away during a live speech for a pundit's remarks? Both MSNBC and Fox regularly use loaded language and hyperbole.

You may also notice that I did not include well-known liberals like Jon Stewart.  He is liberal yes, but pretty much anyone and everyone are his targets.  And believe it or not, political comedians like Stewart, Bill Maher and John Oliver are doing a different job by pointing at the foibles of politics.  I do admit though that Maher may be crossing the line on occasion, but then again even he says that is what he has always done.  I enjoy the stupidity these humorist points to.  It's kind of in their job description.  Political satirists from the likes of Johnathan Swift and Voltaire to Mark Twain and Will Rogers have been with us for a very long time. It's just that Stewart and the folks at Saturday Night Live have a more visible platform.

So let's get this strait once and for all: these pundits and political networks have a job and they are relying on you to never check their veracity.   In other words, if you don't check, you are the perfect, low information voter that you've heard about.  You are being led around by the nose and spreading all kinds of misleading information every time you post one of those Facebook memes or misleading stories you heard on Al Shapton or Sean Hannity. To follow these people makes about as much sense as failing to vote because you  think your vote won't count.  Now whom do you suppose would want you to think that?  An irate, ill informed voter is so much better for those who would divide us than voters who talk to each other and call out the lies and misinformation.  Quit saying you don't like congress and then sending your same, old, bought and paid for representative back to doing nothing.

Facebook pages of political persuasion are also there for the same reason.  Often created and ran by extreme groups, I suspect they are also even created and supported by the so called dark money. They have strong extremist agendas that don't really care about whether it is true or not.  Take for example one Tea Party page I was reading announced a few weeks back that Mike Ditka "annihilated" the left wing talking points about the name of the Washington football team, the Redskins. Ditka did not annihilate a talking point or group.  He simply stated his opinion in defending the use of the name.  A defense, I might add, that was also once used to defend almost every other ethnic slur ever used.  It's not a good defense.

Fox News Nation another site for the "Fox Community" announced that Attorney General Eric Holder's wife is part owner in an abortion clinic.  A "fact" that I saw reported on a friend's status.  The fact though is more complicated than that.  Eric Holder's wife, Sharon, and her sister own a building through a family trust that has, depending on what articles you read, an abortion clinic or a controversial abortion clinic, or a clinic that does abortions in the building. A doctor in that clinic was convicted of a scheme to defraud the government into paying for abortions.  A family trust to which Sharon Holder, who is a doctor and OB/GYN, is a member, has a women's clinic in it is what the news actually is.  She does not "own an abortion clinic." A family trust has purchased a building that rents to clinic.  For those of you counting propaganda techniques, by the way, this one is called "guilt by association."

Other political pundits were outraged a couple of weeks ago by Obama wearing a tan suit.  They were upset by a TAN SUIT.  I could not believe it.  A TAN SUIT was a part of the national dialog.  Meanwhile, a report that shows on the  jobs, growth and investing front Obama has been more successful than any president in recent history including Democrat hero Bill Clinton and Republican god, Ronald Reagan has gone unnoticed.  I wonder who else has worn this horrible blight of something other than a dark colored suit. A TAN SUIT...honestly...

It is time to turn it off. Join me as I go through my likes and bookmarks and unlike a few. Let's tell them that we won't be used anymore. Like your local newspaper. Follow Time and Forbes and The Washington Post. Follow CNN and NPR and Reuters and maybe even Wikinews.

Become informed.  Not just a good Republican or Democrat.  It is far too easy to become involved in the glut of misinformation.  SHUT IT DOWN.  TURN IT OFF.