Media Credibility

Most people seem to need to have a global view of reality, outside of their immediate experience, of how things work. This can be simple or complicated, and check out to varying degrees against objectively verifiable facts. A false worldview may be much more complicated than a real one, just as Ptolemy’s astronomy was much more complicated than the real solar system, to account for the need to match the evidence of the senses to the faulty theory.

Gathering information about the world is a difficult and time consuming process. Almost everyone delegates this to others. Children get their initial orientation through education, religious and secular. Parents and relatives impart much. Those who want to work in science or engineering get detailed instruction in how to make things, so they don’t fall apart. Those who want to work in the socialist system get quite a bit of education also, for the increasingly difficult job of justifying it against reality.

On a day to day basis, people need updates. Let’s just look at straight news for now. Entertainment serves much the same function but that is another subject. Newspapers and radio and TV news inform the public what is happening and why. Armed with this knowledge people go about their business.

America functions under two greatly destructive myths; that the news media is neutral and is a public trust. These ideas are hardly universal. In Great Britain newspapers are partisan and reporters regard it as their job to sell newspapers, which makes British papers significantly less dreadful.

At any rate what is published or broadcast is believed by a large portion of the population to be a decent representation of the state of things. It should be understood that the typical reporter does not think of himself as liberal, but as a moderate, or in any case that a liberal is actually a moderate, representing the decent, rational, thoughtful and responsible point of view. To the left are communists and progressives, passionate idealists who hope and work for great things but are a bit impractical. We need dreamers though! To the right are moderates, not bad people but a little hard hearted, always saying to slow down, think of the practicalities. Farther to the right are conservatives, cruel, hateful people who actually oppose helping minorities, women and the poor, using specious arguments about individual rights, which just means protecting the powerful and privileged.

If someone is simply stating the facts it is churlish to argue with them and try to come up with different facts. So if the Mudville Times tells us at risk youth are increasingly drawn to crime by a lack of education and special programs, you are supposed only to ask what specific type of education or programs need to be offered, and whether a substantial amount of money should be allocated or an even more substantial amount. Pointing out that education is of little use to those who don’t want to be educated or that for people who enjoy the pleasures of crime sports are a poor substitute will only get you shocked gasps.

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About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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