The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Changing One's Perspective

I have a confession to make. I have been watching Glenn Beck's show on Fox News. It's not that I want to see a grown man cry, I truly don't. I tend to turn away when he starts to tear up. But something he said planted itself in my mind. He said something to the effect of:

You don't have to believe me, you shouldn't, but you should check out what I say and show you. Because if I am right, and I hope I am not, even one fourth of the time, we're in trouble.

So I did. Checked him out, looked up the names he used, researched them, checked on incidents he reported, and so on. I decided he didn't need to be right 25% of the time, just 10% and we'd be in trouble. Big trouble. And it's awful easy to be right 10% of the time.

He does something that I find refreshing in commentary. He plays clips of people saying things. He then comments on that, putting a bit of his own spin on it. I tend to tune out the commentary. But I don't tune out the clip.

You have to be a little careful when listening to ideologues. Video clips and quotes will likely be presented only in the context the ideologue thinks is important. Lead ups and full context will be left out of the presentation. It's important to remember this when reading or viewing anything in media today. This includes network news, periodicals like Time and Newsweek, and everything on blogs.

It wasn't always this way. We used to believe the network news, those periodicals I mentioned, and the various newspapers told us the whole story. We used to believe there was something called "objective reporting." I may have become too cynical but I no longer believe any entity is free of bias.

The journalist who says he (or she) can set aside their personal political feelings when developing a story is lying to both you and, possibly, to himself. One's personal ideology permeates everything. It affects how you approach a story. It affects what you choose to emphasize, what you see as important, and how you treat the people within the story.

If you watch only Glenn Beck, or Keith Olbermann, or Wolf Blitzer, or Anderson Cooper, or Chris Matthews, or Bill O'Reilly, you will get only what they think the story means. If you read only the NY Times, or Newsweek, or the LA Times, or the Washington Post, you will get only what they think is important.

Read Media Matters for America but double-check their "stories" for context, for clarity, for bias. Read the Huffington Post but doublecheck their facts. Watch Foxnews but also CNN and NBC, ABC, and CBS. Compare takes on events, compare what gets reported and where in a newscast. Compare the presentations.

Everyone is lying to you and few of them know it.

If you aren't depressed enough now, go read the following...

25,000 new asteroids found by NASA's sky mapping


Charlotte Ann said...

AMEN! Though most of the time the bias that drips from Fox News is so obvious it's nauseating, at least the other channels play at being non bias.

Douglas said...

Charlotte Ann, so you are saying that you dislike Fox, though honest, and like the other channels though they aren't?

Irish Gumbo said...

Very well played, good sir! Knowing everything is slanted makes me miss Hunter S. Thompson all the more.

Douglas said...

Irish, Wasn't Hunter a bit slanted himself? I am fairly certain he was rarely upright for much of his life. I base that on a careful reading of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas".