Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You’re Right; There IS a Problem With The Media - It has Always Been Bias

More than I can recall at any point in my lifetime, we hear how U.S. media outlets are no longer trustworthy; how everything they report is “fake news” and; “they are nothing but bias rags for corporations”.

And; as if they are themselves the “sole harbingers of truth, justice and humanity”, there’s not one politician anywhere on this planet who hasn’t blamed the media for the errors/missteps that lead to their failures and/or demise.

Indeed, in the United States, the media seem to have become more despised, unethical, and despicable than even the politicians they report on; something I find incredulous.

This especially true since the invention of television.  I’ll explain the reason for this in a moment, but first I want to make sure you understand, that blaming the media is an exercise in finger-pointing in which I’m not even remotely willing to participate.  And I fervently hope, that if you are one who does, despite your favored rag and your suspicion that all other rags are printed by the Devil himself, you stop such foolish and supremely dangerous behavior immediately.

While I’m certain there is an abundance of misinformation in the media, that does not mean, or even imply, that the media are completely corrupt and useless.  In fact; nothing could be farther from the truth, and no single comment could be more damaging to freedom itself, if taken as absolutely as people appear to be doing with Mr. Trump at the helm of His Majesty’s Ship, “Destroy The Free Press”.

Despite that common misconception, there remains to be an absolutely vital need for media in our daily lives; media who give us our daily bread.  I’m referring to media who go far beyond simply informing us of the accident at the corner of Main and Main, or advising us that the weather is going to be cold and snowy, despite the fact that it’s the middle of August in downtown Miami.

Media; one of the very reasons the first amendment exists, cannot be painted with that “bigly” and broad hegemonic paint brush Mr. Trump so loves to do, with his alternative facts, in his alternative universe.

We, as U.S. citizens, have grown far too fond of dismissing media as the enemy, when they provide information we dislike and with whom we disagree as we praise our preferred outlet(s) as if they’re the very tools with which the the words of the gods themselves are written, all the while, not even considering the implications of this behavior.

But; here’s a fact, a REAL, indisputable, historically observed and proven fact; the reality is that they’ve ALWAYS been filled with bias and erroneous information.

According to this source; “The Hoover Institution”, it has been bias since the early 19th Century (for those of you with the brains of Trump, that’s the 1800’s).

“The roots of media bias go back to the nineteenth century, and complaints about bias in part reflect a questionable idea about the media’s role and purpose: that newspapers and other dispensers of public information exist to transmit objective, factual information gleaned and communicated by credentialed professionals.
In fact, the notion that reporters should possess Olympian objectivity is relatively recent. In the nineteenth century, most newspapers were explicitly linked to a particular political party and the economic interests of the publisher. In California during the Gold Rush, for example, the San Francisco Alta California was the enemy of Democratic governor John Bigler, whose press champion was the Stockton Republican. Most of the coverage of crime during this period––particularly the spree of the Mexican bandit Joaquín Murieta and the state-funded posse that tracked him down and killed him––reflected those political interests and loyalties rather than mere facts. Moreover, the stories were written in a florid, dramatic style more suitable for a dime novel than a presumably more sober newspaper. Of course protestations of objectivity and accuracy were made, but these were understood to be mere rhetorical camouflage for the editorial opinions sown throughout most news stories.
The tradition of lurid sensationalism, scandal-mongering, and exaggeration put in service to profits and a political agenda continued in the “yellow journalism” famously on display in the circulation war between the Hearst and Pulitzer newspapers in the late nineteenth century. More significantly, that was also when the progressive movement promoted the notion that the proper function of the media was to instruct and shape the opinions of voters too uninformed and irrational to be trusted with making the right choice based on facts alone.”

What??? You gasp.

Yes!  I’m not promulgating alternative facts here.  Even the “Center for Journalism Ethics” agrees;

“You don’t need to have a degree in history — or even to have paid much attention when you suffered the US history survey course as an undergraduate — to know that American newspapers were very partisan in the 19th century.  “Editors,” wrote one historian, “unabashedly shaped the news and their editorial comment to partisan purposes.  They sought to convert the doubters, recover the wavering, and hold the committed.  ‘The power of the press,’ one journalist candidly explained, ‘consists not in its logic or eloquence, but in its ability to manufacture facts, or to give coloring to facts that have occurred.”

Bias and the media have been uneasy partners since long before journalism planted its roots in 15th Century Europe and American Colonies.

Harboring a bias either in favor of the King, or in favor of the Continentals, printed journalism has ALWAYS formed opinion, politics and nations.  Indeed, within the same continental townships, there were opposing views in the printed press; those supporting the King and those protesting the same, all printed up nice and neat for us to decide, right in the midst of the American Revolution.

In fact;  Journalism has been the very means with which to propagate the words and direction of the wealthy rulers for a minimum of five hundred years, after Johannes Gutenberg created the first printing press; a new tool shining the first light on the Dark Ages.  And, just as it is today, it was also used as an instrument of protest.  Media aided and planted almost every revolution man has ever been involved in.

Some, such as myself, will even argue that the Bible is itself bias media, for it was absolutely used to spread Christianity, and people eat it up, despite the utterly outlandish stories contained within and the vast existence of other religious belief systems that had been around for many millennia prior.

In the hope that I can rely upon your education to recall the events that lead us from those Dark Ages to the present, let’s return to the 21st Century, amidst an endless paradox; the forever raging and ancient battle of “whose rag is telling the truth and whose is lying beyond belief.”

The cold, stark reality of “free press” is that no human being is even capable of being bias-free.  It is literally impossible to make that claim and to insist it upon others simply shows one’s ignorance and sheer stupidity.  Especially considering the fact that those who do so are simply insisting that the rag they despise, reflect their own perspective, rather than give them "false information".

This is due to one reason and one only - hegemony; the condition that’s engrained into each and every one of us; past, present and future, as a result of the socio-economic conditions into which we were born and raised.

So; how do we find the “real truth”?

While reporting as objectively as possible IS their job, it IS NOT the job of the press to give you the truth.

I’ll repeat that; IT IS NOT the job of the press to give you the truth!

It is, no more their job to provide you with the truth than it is the prosecutions and/or defense’s jobs in a trial to provide the truth to a jury.  Rather; their job is to present fact and anyone who’s ever served on a jury knows; fact is not crystal clear, but muddy as hell. 

Likewise; it is the job, of the press to provide, to the best of their ability as hegemonic human beings, to report the facts as they are.  It is then YOUR job to make the determination of what those facts represent; be it true or false, or in the vernacular of Mr. Trump “fake or real”.  

And in that responsibility, you cannot shirk.  It is yours permanently and you cannot take that monkey off your shoulders and put it on those of the press, the politicians, your neighbors, your children, the cops, or the preacher; it is YOUR JOB ONLY.

If we assign this task to anyone other than ourselves, the risk of censorship is massive.

Absolutely and without exception; the most important function of a free press is that it reports to us; you and me, the behavior, events, issues related to and the direction our government is taking us.  In every sense of the phrase; they are our eyes and ears, sending us the information that’s vital for a functional republic such as ours.

You but need think of how despotic governments around the globe currently operate - “state owned media”, with which the State promulgates propaganda, eliminates opposition, hides the facts, and even expands its own powers, all while we’re blissfully unaware.  So, next time you feel like joining in on the choir’s song, you must make damned sure you know what the choir is singing, or you could be singing your own death song; along with that of 300 million + U.S. citizens without even realizing it.

Remember! Without a free media to report the facts, we have a horrifying scenario in which our government can and DOES operate in secrecy.  It has happened right her in the U.S. in the South, prior to the Civil War and later in many bar backrooms of the old “boss politics”.  

A secret government is not, in any manner, a government of free people.

This cannot be stressed enough:  If we follow the current Administration’s insidious direction, in undermining, castigating, and discounting the media, we are, each and every last one of us, in deep peril.

To make it easier to shirk our responsibilities, we now we have a new player in the search for the truth, one that’s far more insidious and covert than any written media could possibly be - televised media.  More hindrance than help, televised media only adds to our human tendency to kick back and let others do our jobs. 

We watch Fox News and accept for truth, the extraordinarily heavily biased representation of fact, leaning in their preferred direction and call it a day on our efforts to seek the truth.  Or; we watch MSNBC and accept extraordinarily heavily biased representation of fact, leaning in the other direction and call it a day on our efforts to seek the truth.

With a few exceptions, factual televised media is almost non-existent.  The very dynamics of the interactions between the human mind and television supports far more influence-peddling than does the printed media.

Television is absolute in its ability to cement the opinions of the watchers.

Now, here’s why you CANNOT trust television news.

There’s a reason televised media is completely consumed with, even overpowered by commercials, and a reason the relativity of commentary and news has changed dramatically since the invention of television.

That simple reason is; television literally rewires your brain and both the televised media and their commercial sponsors want to be there when it does.

So put aside that remote, turn on your PC, and start reading, reading, reading and reading.  Spend as much or more time reading the news than watching it and I promise you; at the very least, you will be a better reader, and at the very most, you’ll be very well informed in local, national and global events, culture and simple awareness.  And; be it Fox News or MSNBC, RT, or AlJazeera, don’t just read your preferred source.  The ONLY way you’re going to find truth is through assimilation of a variety of perspectives.

The absolute worst thing you can do to yourself, is to limit your information solely to the comfort level you find most appealing and you will not only do yourself an injustice, but every other human and animal on Planet Earth.


  1. Anonymous10:12 AM

    I believe because of the abuses of the "news" people of the 19th century, there was a move to improve the neutrality of news reporting. It was an embarrassment to the fact gatherers for a guy like Hearst to be able to say, I will supply the war. The fact to report was there was a war going on, the reason for the war was a little more murky. Mere facts don't always explain actions and a reporters knowledge don't cover all truths, as we learned in the seas off Vietnam.
    It is the ultimate responsibility of the people and that's a much harder job in the 21st century of alternative facts. The people rely on the fact gatherers because the people do not have the resources themselves to cover getting the facts. It's nearly impossible for a person to read multiple accounts of an issue, or incident and know, or decide which is the truth. To say we report, you decide, is not enough. Those reporting the facts need to pass the qualifications of believably, which is usually based on the truth of their past reporting.
    In the case of our current president (as with past presidents) it's important to investigate the facts. To be able (under oath) to determine what was actually said and done.
    Power lies with those who control the facts put to the public, true, or not. The leader of North Korea makes sure his people believe what he wants them to believe, even if the rest of the world knows different.
    Successful leaders control the facts. Jefferson had his publishing buddy publish stories that Adams was keeping a whore. Jefferson knew that was not true, but if he could get even a small percentage of the people to believe that story, he could win the election.
    Having read a lot, I would have to conclude our current president is lying about many issues. The motivation for those lies are less important and we may never find them out. The lies are so obvious it surprises me the public is not more incensed. It won't be the first time the American people were duped by a president, or even care enough to know if they are lied to.
    As I wrote to you in a previous comment, the worst abuse by fact gatherers (reporters) is to not even care what the true facts are, but only to report what leaders are saying. A good reporter must be willing to say a leader is lying, if his fact gathering, concludes the leader is lying.

    1. I so enjoy your comments. Thanks for coming by again.

      You said it very well; while it's the press' job to report fact, that’s not always, and perhaps even rarely, the case now and that makes finding the truth a very hard endeavor for us all.

      Unfortunately, that's the very reason we can no longer rely solely on one, or even two sources. Rather; we must almost be our own investigative reporter at times, just to determine what is truly taking place; a very tough and chancy effort at best.

      In that respect, fortunately, those like me who are retired and living in the empty nest we have the time to do so. And yet, it's still difficult to find that elusive reality, particularly when politics are involved. Still; despite the time we have, there’s still that lingering thought; “am I seeing this in light of reality, or is it bias?”

      Wouldn’t it be nice, not to have to be so diligent in this? I would love to have the likes of Edward Murrow, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, even Dan Rather back, but as my blog post states, it's always been a bit of an elusive creature and, in their absence and with such power in the hands of a the few, mostly affluent, today’s truth hides far too well.

      I was thinking, last night and this morning, as all the “defecation began hitting the oscillator”, if this shakes out the way it appears on the surface to be, this nation likely dodged, not just a bullet, but more like a MOAB, completely dismantling the government we’re so familiar with.

      I still recall the hair on the back of my neck standing and the chills that ran through my entire body several days ago at Trump’s statement about his intentions to create a "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch, streamline Congress and make government less wasteful.”

      Certainly our federal government needs to become more efficient, but that needs to come from a joint effort in Congress, NOT from a single individual by increasing his own executive powers.

      What a terrifying thought that is.

      Hopefully, ALL of Congress, Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisans alike, will learn a vital, and much needed lesson from all this and stop shirking their responsibilities to play politics and endlessly campaign for their future.

      Hopefully, they’ll return from all this, to the long-missing atmosphere of working together, talking to one another instead of at one another, to make the nation a better place, ending the decades of stalemate and obstructionist politics.

      I don’t know if you were alive during the Nixon era, but even that shameful period pales in comparison to what’s happening today. He was certainly unstable and unethical, but even Nixon wasn’t the pathological liar Trump is, who lies so much, every statement he makes contradicts the previous, even if that takes place in the short span of a single hour.

      IF this all shakes out to be many are implying, Trump, et al came far too close to dismantling the very checks and balances our government was established to enforce and the ease at which it was almost accomplished, be it purposeful, or simply the incompetence of a person who has no idea what governing is.

      As is usual, there is some positive take-home in all this. More Senators are calling for an independent investigation to get the truth, and that’s a very good thing, for partisans are not capable of independently investigating one of their own, regardless of their insistence to the contrary.

      That is the ONLY way they’ll restore America’s confidence in themselves and our government.

      Thanks again for your excellent comments and please, stop by any time. I truly enjoy your insightful comments.

    2. Anonymous9:29 AM

      Back for another shot at media and the recent change in viewing habits since FOX news is now number two.

      Rachel Maddow has been named the king of cable news now that Bill O. has been removed from the airwaves. It seems FOX is falling apart all together.

      To bad FOX's fall was about on air personalities misbehavior and not their horrible news coverage. That fails teaching Americans a lesson about what good journalism should be.

      I like Rachel. Her facts seem to be proven correct and she has had few "corrections" she had to make publicly about her facts. I like the way she builds a story and explains a story to an American audience. She has good guest (although to many of the usual suspects) asks good questions and covers an issue rather well. I think she is better than most who have a news opinion show. She is also one of the few who will have Dan Rather on regularly.

      But lets not kid ourselves. MSNBC and Rachel have a political slant. In fact, I was rather upset with MSNBC's extended coverage of Trump, especially during the primaries. If TV (public exposure) helps a candidate, and I think it does, MSNBC had a lot to do with Trump's success. MSNBC was so obviously biased towards Trump, it was embarrassing. Chris Matthews and others from MSNBC justified their Trump coverage by saying it was what the public wanted (ratings).

      So good luck to Rachel, at least her political slant is based in more facts than I ever heard on FOX news. It still mystifies me that Bill O. was the most watched personality on cable for almost 20 years.

      Although it would be hard to be unfair to a troglodyte like president Trump, there will be a lot of investigations coming that will get very detailed in their accusations. Maddow seems just they type to organize that information, but to what end? Is MSNBC rooting for impeachment and for ratings? Who will MSNBC promote during the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections?

      Total disapproval of Trump, which I expect to happen, will leave a void easily filled by a Democrat especially backed by the now most watched cable news network MSNBC.

    3. Indeed. One of the things I wrestle with, that you touch on, is the influence-peddling of the Media. It’s a cold, hard reality, but I find it a bit difficult to digest that media, ANY media have their influence in the direction our politics will take us.

      It’s disappointing to understand they’ve done so for ages, but, at the same time; what do we do without them?

      It’s a perplexing narrative to say the least.

      Although I would personally prefer no influence, I’m not sure that can or will ever happen and, while, in a perfect world, we should not have a preference for bias slant in any media outlet, I’m like you - I would much prefer someone like Rachel Maddow, even Jack Tapper, Anderson Cooper, or Shepherd Smith (that situation completely baffles me; Simth reporting at Fox) influencing our government than any person from Fox, for the simple reason these reporters at least try to give us fact with their influence, wherein I’m not sure those at Fox even understand what that word means.

      I can accept a conservative approach to news, but Fox’s agenda isn’t just a conservative perspective, it’s the complete obliteration of all things liberal. And they do so through complete disregard for fact and truth, as long as it destroys the liberal narrative. As long as it advances their agenda, they’ll say and do it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hired Tammi Fay Baker as a news anchor.

      At least there’s a silver lining in all the stupidity of those at Fox; they have successfully shown the world that the “truthfulness” of the misogynistic, freedom/rights-despising pigs and their beached blonde bimbos who say they have the public’s interest in mind has been exposed for what it truly is - the ultra conservative tool to disseminate their hate and xenophobic views of the world.