Thursday, December 29, 2005

DO WE KNOW WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW?

WE LIVE LOCAL LIVES. EVEN WORLD TRAVELERS SEE VERY LITTLE. TWO WEEKS IN SPAIN CAN OFFER IMPRESSIONS, BUT NOT A MEANINGFUL UNDERSTANDING OF THE COUNTRY OR THE PEOPLE. THE BENEFIT OF TRAVEL IS THAT IT ENHANCES OUR UNDERSTANDING. THE DANGER IS THAT WE MIGHT START BELIEVING THAT WE REALLY UNDERSTAND.
SOME OF US HAVE LIVED IN AMERICA ALL OUR LIVES. DO WE TRULY UNDERSTAND AMERICA?
THE WORLD COMES TO US THROUGH THE MEDIA. IT'S A FLAWED AND LIMITED VIEW OF THE WORLD, BUT IT'S OUR MAJOR OPTION.
IF THE MEDIA IS DOING ITS JOB, IT GIVES US AS MUCH TRUTH AS IT CAN.
WHEN IT FAILS, OUR UNDERSTANDING FAILS.

THREE 'STORIES' WERE IN THE NEWS RECENTLY. ALL FAILURES.

WHEN THE M&M BALLOON CRASHED AT THE MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE, NBC DECIDED TO AIR OLD FOOTAGE OF IT, SO THAT THEY COULD STAY ON SCRIPT. AN INCONSEQUENTIAL LIE; BUT A LIE.

NEWS ARTICLES PLACED IN THE IRAQ MEDIA WERE ACTUALLY UNACKNOWLEDGED PAID ADVERTISEMENTS WRITTEN BY THE AMERICAN MILITARY POSING AS REAL NEWS. A LIE WHICH MIGHT MAKE ANY FUTURE POSITIVE ARTICLES SUSPECT.

AFTER YEARS OF LIVING WITH THE ICONIC PHOTOGRAPH OF ROSA PARKS ON THE BUS, WE 'DISCOVER' THAT IT WAS A STAGED EVENT. MRS. PARKS REFUSED TO GIVE UP HER SEAT ON DECEMBER 1,1955. THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS TAKEN ON
DECEMBER, 21, 1956. THE WHITE MAN SITTING BEHIND HER, NICHOLAS CHRISS, WAS A REPORTER FOR THE UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, WHO WAS COVERING THE STORY. A UPI PHOTOGRAPHER TOOK THE PICTURE. MRS. PARKS HAD LEFT HER HOME THAT MORNING SPECIFICALLY FOR THE BUS PHOTO. THE IDEA WAS FOR HER TO BE SEATED IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS WITH A WHITE MAN BEHIND HER. MR. CHRISS AGREED TO POSE FOR THE PICTURE. THIS WOULD SERVE AS THE IMAGE THAT THE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMUNITY WOULD USE TO DRAMATIZE WHAT HAD HAPPENED A YEAR EARLIER.
THE FAMOUS MUG SHOT OF HER WAS TAKEN ON FEBRUARY 22, 1955, AFTER ABOUT 100 BLACK MONTGOMERY RESIDENTS WERE INDICTED FOR VIOLATING A LOCAL ANTIBOYCOTT STATUTE.
MRS. PARKS WAS NOT THE FIRST BLACK RIDER TO REFUSE TO GIVE UP HER SEAT. TWO OTHER FORGOTTEN WOMEN WERE FIRST .THE CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES WERE REAL. THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS NOT.

IF WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND OUR WORLD, THE MEDIA MUST SHOW US THE REAL WORLD, AS BEST THEY CAN.

21 comments:

jdups14 said...

enter....the blog. the unadulterated mass of information and opinions offered by bloggers such as yourself serves as the only counter-balance of inforamtion to the media. the relationship between the media and the public is just like any other between priviledged and dependent classes. people depend on the information that the media possesses, just like the twu depends on the mta for their paychecks. the twu or any other labor union involved in a walkout uses their only piece of leverage by withholding the labor that the mta depends on. the public cannot afford to walkout on the media at the price of widespread ignorance. thankfully at a time where the news media seems to value posturing for whatever reason over the facts the internet has made information more free than ever. now the public can choose to seek out their own source of information in pursuit of a more universal truth (if there is such a thing). the only problem now would seem to be to get the masses to make that effort (you can lead a horse to water....) in this case it is far too easy for people to stay on their couch than even wander to the stream of information flowing through the net. so i thank the bloggers of the world for talking...about anything, despite how acenine it may be, for somewhere in the mess of information and ideas lies the greater knowledge of which you speak.

Anonymous said...

the media has been lying to us for years. The coverage of world war 2 was a complete lie. Viet Nam was a complete lie. The USA won EVERY BATTLE in Viet Nam but to this day you thing we were destroyed.Dan Rather lied to us, Peter Jennings lied to us,the New York Times lies to us all the time with their reporters printing phoney stories. The media in this country is a joke. You really can't believe what you read and what you see with your own eyes.
Al Scionti
The Apolitical Inquisitor

Anonymous said...

"SOME OF US HAVE LIVED IN AMERICA ALL OUR LIVES. DO WE TRULY UNDERSTAND AMERICA?"

As a 16 year old having lived in America for 15 years, I feel as if I truly understand what it's like to be an American. I attend the schools, live in a somewhat generic house, have American friends.... yet people's views have been so altered throughout the past years that even though I now am a true American citizen, I must carry my title as an imigrant with me throughout the rest of my life... even though I was only 1 when I actually was a true immigrant being carried in the arms of my mother.

The media gives you nothing. A few sad stories here and there about kidnappings and who Jennifer Aniston is dating after her recent heartbreak. This isn't news, just what makes money. If the media put out stories about real American families and "customs", no one would pay attention because they know that life all too well. When Wysteria Lane is mentioned, however, we tune in to those beautiful, yet somehow desperate, housewives who are entirely fictional.

Even Rosa Parks, as brave as she once was, was a victim of fame and the media's effect upon individuals, posing for a picture that glorified the movement she fought so hard for on that strange bus ride... even though it was that incident that placed her in jail.

hans blix said...

I don't see consumers of the media as a dependent class. The media is a business and gives the people what they want. Take Murdoch. In the eighties and nineties, it made sure Thatcher and her thugs were always seen in a spositive light. By the mid-1990s, when the tide had changed and popular opinion was ready for a change, it started to back Blair and Labour. If the punters weren't ready for it, the papers would not have changed.
The problems are much, much bigger than the media. There's plenty of choice out there. People choose Fox not PBS. They choose King Kong not the latest Lars Von Triers. We have created the perfect liberal. market economy where people make rational choices on what is in their best interest. We love all the creature comforts of warm houses, cellular phones, Ipods and all the toys. We are amusing ourselves to death. It's not the media's fault.

SHELTONSFAMILY said...

Well I once heard a quote saying
"trust but verify", I think with the media, wether print, TV, internet, or genuine Gossip, we need to make sure to look over the facts before we come to a conclusion. This is tough, see people are sort of skeptical. That is good, but after you have ssen the same lieing report on 12 stations for 2 or 3 weeks, even a lie becomes sudo-truth.

Anonymous said...

I was very surprised about the Rosa Parks information. Are you sure about your facts?

The rest I certainly agree with.

Sparky said...

Pray tell whom would you select to tell the truth? Which truth? And bless that 16 year old yout who is so wise about life. He or she needs to understand their genitals before they profess to understanding the world. Send me your worldly views and I will inform you of your personal truths. Our whole existence is based on icons and myths. How we establish them is of little importance. "The map is not the territory."
Sparky
circa 2005-6AD

quicksand said...

TO ANONYMOUS:
THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROSA PARKS PHOTO CAN BE FOUND IN THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Our Towns; The Man Behind Rosa Parks


By PETER APPLEBOME
Published: December 7, 2005

quicksand said...

WE WON THE VIETNAM WAR? PLEASE EXPLAIN.

quicksand said...

SIR BLIX,
I RESPECT YOUR INTELLIGENCE TO MUCH TO ARGUE. I THINK YOU ARE CORRECT, PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN AWARENESS. BUT THROW ME A FEMUR...MUCH OF THE MEDIA HAS GONE FISHIN'.
YES, PBS...BBC...THE NEWS HOUR... ARGUABLY THE BEST NEWS SHOWS IN AMERICA.
CAN WE AGREE THAT MANY [MOST] FOLKS HAVE GONE TRASHY, AND MOST OF THE MEDIA HAS GONE GREEN?

quicksand said...

SPARKS,
MY WORDLY VIEWS?
TAKE UP YOUR OWN CHALLENGE. WHAT ARE YOUR WORLDLY VIEWS?

MilesDavis said...

I'll be quite succinct.The Media..whether the print media or the broadcast media are "spineless toadies". All they're interested in is selling a story. "Embedding" so called "journalists" with individual platoons was an act of genius. Unfortunately, we have very little journalists nowadays with the "balls" to be independent of what is acceptable pablum to be dished out about any story.

quicksand said...

RECEIVED FROM A FRIEND:
You are correct about how we are fed reality through carefully crafted prisms or "spins." Although the Rosa photo was strictly a visual lie it was attempting to present a larger truth beyond the visual. How much more insidious is the potential for distortion with computer generated images. Let's not forget the right wing attempt to discredit (successfully) John Kerry by placing him prominently close to Jane Fonda at a peace rally. In reality that placement of people at that time and place never occurred. The desire for distortion has always been appealing to those who want to gain or maintain power, now it is disturbingly simple. A friend of mine who is a computer wiz sent me a doctored photo of the famous
Life magazine cover with Lee Harvey Oswald proudly displaying the scoped rifle that he was credited with killing JFK. My friend seamlessly added behind Lee a perfectly proportioned photo of me also holding a rifle. He even changed the cover headline to reflect the new photo, my name and Lee Harvey Oswald display the guns etc.... Funny business, but the implications for harmful manipulation is obvious.

MilesDavis said...

Precisely...Take a good look at the mail I sent you. A severely wounded KKK member being attended to by a host of Hospital personnel who...are all black. Looks real doesn't it!? Or is it???

Anonymous said...

Media responds Its not personal its business.

quicksand said...

IF IT'S A BUSINESS, IT HAS ONE FUNCTION; TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS IT CAN.
I BELIEVE REAL MEDIA MUST HAVE STANDARDS AND WORK FOR PUBLIC AWARENESS.
OTHERWISE WE JUST WATCH WRESTLING AND READ GOSSIP COLUMNISTS.

quicksand said...

IF IT'S A BUSINESS, IT HAS ONE FUNCTION; TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS IT CAN.
I BELIEVE REAL MEDIA MUST HAVE STANDARDS AND WORK FOR PUBLIC AWARENESS.
OTHERWISE WE JUST WATCH WRESTLING AND READ GOSSIP COLUMNISTS.

quicksand said...

THIS WAS SENT TO ME FROM A FRIEND:

Wiretapping, torture, is this America?

To my conservative friends who believe in a return to traditional values, let me remind you of what Ben Franklin believed. "They, that can give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The President placed his hand on the Bible, promising to defend and protect our Constitution, the supreme law of our land that has ensured our freedoms and truly kept us safe for over 200 years. With just cause and in the case of immediate danger, the President can authorize wiretapping Americans. Within 72 hours, however, he must obtain a warrant from a judge. Bush openly admits to wiretapping American citizens to maintain our safety from terrorist organizations, but has not gotten permission legally from the courts to do so, basically trashing the fourth amendment. He threatened to veto legislation prohibiting torture, violating the accords of the Geneva Convention. Who ever thought that in America we would have a President seeking to maintain the power to torture? If we demean our system by allowing torture, our troops will receive the same treatment, giving our enemies amunition in the all important propaganda war.

How can we win over the hearts and minds of others seeking democracy when we are such a poor model for the rest of the world to see? Our example is the greatest weapon to fight terrorism. In the name of safety, we are losing our soul. We must be united in our efforts to preserve traditional values. But in doing so, we must not disregard the distinct freedoms found in the Bill of Rights. Nor can we, in good conscience, continue to support an administration that disrespects these fundamental values.

Alex said...

Another intersting fact, my brother's army unit was patrolling a city in northern Iraq. Generally, every morning they went on patrol, my brother and his comrades would enter the city's market and order breakfast of some sort. Not even a week later, there was a Time report on that exact same city, branding it as a hell-hole that was out of control and overun with insurgets. Is that the same city that my brother ate a peaceful breakfast in every morning? Most certainly so. Why bother to report the truth when lies sell so much better...?

Anonymous said...

Another interesting fact: My brother's army unit was tasked with patrolling a city in northern Iraq. Every morning his unit went on patrol, he and his comrades would travel to the city's market and order breakfast. Not a week later there was a Time report claiming this very same city was a hell-hole overrun with insurgents. Apparently the city my brother lived in and patrolled for a month only turned into hell behind his back (sarcasm). I guess the truth just doesn't sell as well as lies...

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »