"Whoever controls the media, controls the mind." - Jim Morrison
Another midnight ramble...
Several years ago, I was working for a small newspaper in Arizona that employed roughly fifty people, counting all the carriers. When I say small, I mean it was a paper so tiny you'd need two of them to line the bottom of a birdcage. Since times were tough and more and more people began getting their news from the Net, I wasn't surprised when the day came when the owners of the paper laid off everyone except for the managing editor, the lead salesperson and me, the sole surviving page designer. I recall sitting at my desk and crying while my friends took their pink slips and left without a word to me.
Time went on and the three of us kept the little newspaper alive somehow, but it depressed me every time I walked into the office around dawn, passing the empty, darkened offices on my way to boot up the servers and start my day's work. The memories that assailed me were of the auditory variety; the clickety-clack of fingers on keyboards, phones ringing, people laughing and talking, or gasping in horror while we were all crowded around the T.V. in the break room on September 11th, 2001. One particular morning, as I uploaded my pages to the print facility some two-hundred miles away, the idea came to me that it wasn't just that newspapers were dying which saddened me and made me hate my job, it was that history itself was in danger of being erased altogether, either by the arbitrary nature of the Internet (sites are here today, gone tomorrow, with no trace of their passing) or by the skewing of stories to suit the needs of one special interest or another.
Back then, I still believed in print media. I also believed what I heard on television and the radio. However, I also realized that as the internet became more and more prevalent, people all over the world were counting on it for their daily news and dose of opinion politics. Back then, the media played somewhat fair, for the most part. They didn't go so far out of their way to slant stories to serve one party or another like they do today. So, as the editor and reporters wrote, taped or broadcast the news, they began to change history into something amorphous once it was placed on the Internet. Changing history is one thing, but publishing outright lies to mold and shape the minds of the public is quite another.
I eventually left the little newspaper and moved on to a much larger publication on the east coast. Even though my primary field is graphics design, I was soon involved with other projects that I've never been allowed the opportunity to do before. Maybe it was because whenever I moved to a new job at a different newspaper, I would always find myself gravitating toward the editors and reporters. This time around, I got in with them so well that I managed to get a rare invite to sit on the editorial board of this 50K circulation paper. That's when I got my first lesson in "spin."
I can't go into all the boring details of what goes on with a position on an editorial board, but the gist of it was that we had to hand-pick stories to debate from either a liberal or conservative perspective. Always being the one true conservative left standing in the room at 2:00p.m. on Thursdays, I faced a contentious batch of rather intimidating liberal-minded reporters and editors who would politely listen to my "proofs" on a given story and then they'd brainstorm right in front of me about how to counter my input in editorial form in the Sunday op-ed page. They used my arguments time and time again, shooting them down in the op-ed piece, but I never got the opportunity to write an opinion of my own. I can't even describe how this finally wore me down and disillusioned me. I ended up leaving the op-ed board after about a year and went on to other things. Those experiences - the arguments - still remain with me, though. What stood out the most to me was how they took everything I said and twisted it before they presented it to the public. I began to see this same sort of twisting effect in the television media, too.
I left the east coast and returned home to Arizona, where I promptly got a job at yet another newspaper. This one didn't last long. Almost immediately, I began to see the same kind of left-leaning spin coming out of a supposedly Libertarian-owned paper. It occurred to me then that the ideals of the liberal left are so ingrained in journalism that those who put out the stories lean left because they believe this is what the public wants. What I saw was that journalists have to lean to the left - or else. They're recording history that isn't correct.
Almost all hard news stories these days has some form of left-minded influence wedged into them. If journalists can't slant a story the way they want, they choose to ignore it. For today's mainstream media, the unspoken rule has now become that as long as you don't mention a given story, it didn't happen. This bothers me on some fundamental level that I can't quite process completely. In my view, the media's "job" is to keep an eye on the government to make sure it stays "honest." Everything we see in the media today is affecting how we think, act and treat other people. Knowing this, the Liberals have essentially spent the last thirty-plus years taking over all forms of media. Up until a couple of years ago, I had seen the Internet as somehow exempt from this. But now, with our search engines popping up results only the liberal media wants you to see, you have to get creative when you look to the web for the truth. If you came to this forum to escape the censorship and the relentless onslaught of liberal-minded trolls on Facebook, you know all about the changes in the fabric of the online world leaning heavily in favor of liberals. The question then becomes this: Just how much of the public is being influenced by the internet media?
If history, in whatever form it takes, is being recorded through only the Left's viewpoint, what of the voices on the Right? Sure they have Fox News, but they're heavily outnumbered. Even now, leftist trolls are online in every imaginable nook and cranny of Facebook and Youtube, exclaiming loudly and often how much Fox News lies. Even my own son, who is 21 now and studying broadcasting in college, think Fox lies - and he KNOWS better! Its influence ranges far and wide. It is affecting the minds of the Internet Natives like my son (who have known nothing else but the internet when it comes to searching for information). Not only that, the youth are being conditioned on a daily basis to refuse to hear any opinion coming from a conservative, even if the proof is shoved literally into their faces. They will defend their version of events so fiercely that I've been wondering if they're somehow brainwashed.
What ever happened to the Truth? What ever happened to real journalism - the Free Press? Even more important, when did people (youth in particular) stop questioning media sources? There are a few young people out there who are standing up and questioning what they see, but again, they're far outnumbered. What the youth in general aren't seeing is the media playing cover-up, willfully aiding and abetting the destruction of this country and its history, and only a small number of them seem to care. It's one thing to get on here and talk about America dying, but is the truth dying right along with it?
Think about this: Nearly everything we currently discuss, write about, take photos of and more is uploaded into a free-form cloud of data. This data is not stamped in black and white on recyclable paper, it just sits there, waiting for the next set of people controlling the internet to take over and scrub the stories and opinions they want buried forever. In other words, there will come a time (if it isn't already here) that if we don't hear about an event on the Net, it doesn't exist and never did, as far as the general public is concerned.
In an electronic medium like the Internet, our opinions can be copied and pasted, portions snipped and photos/video manipulated until there's nothing left that even resembles the truth. As for me, I like the feel of newsprint. It may just be me being sentimental, but print 'feels' truthful in a tactile kind of way. In print, your thoughts and opinions seem more permanent than simply typing them into a blog like I'm doing right now. Once everything is online, our current history becomes an arbitrary and changeable thing. With the habitual meddling of those on the Left who want to slant hsitory in their favor, maybe this uncertainty isn't such a bad thing. After all, why should we care to remember what we see, hear or read if there's a good chance that it isn't the whole truth? When print media began to die, it also began to take with it the accountability of the writers behind the words.
This isn't to say that newspapers in the days of yore stuck to ethical behavior, either. However, when a story or an op-ed appeared in cold, hard print, it seemed to me that the editors were held accountable, and had to print retractions or publish an apology if they got the facts wrong. Is it just me, or has the practice of offering a retraction being forgotten altogether? Stories and opinions are out there for the taking, and the viewing public doesn't seem to care if they're not fact-based.
This is why it's important to write your blogs and record history as you see it. Don't just post them online and forget about them. Copy and paste them and save them on your hard drive. Print them out and keep them somewhere safe. You never know, perhaps fifty or a hundred years from now, people may not be able to find your words anywhere on the internet. Web sites lose sponsors and they shut down all the time, taking your words with them into the abyss. If there are archivists saving today's stories and blogs in print form, maybe someone someday will search through an attic or a basement and find them and blow that person's mind with a vewpoint they'd never even imagined before. The more opinions and viewpoints out there, the better. For the historian of the future, multiple viewpoints can give them a more full understanding of what really happened during this turbulent time. Don't let the liberal Left write and archive our history for us. If we allow this to happen, we might as well never have existed at all.
Just my .02. Pardon any typos, it's around 1:15 A.M.