New York
 

Dumbing-down

I am going to continue this discussion involving interviewing tactics, but cast it in a new light in this section. Instead of engaging viewers in intelligent discussion and debate, there is a clear dumbing-down trend that can be observed in the mainstream media. In terms of interview questions, the following ones I would like to point out deal not with divisive politics, but rather focus on the personal aspects of politicians' lives. This includes anything having to do with relationships. This is yet even further removed from what is truly important for everyday citizens and communities. It builds on ignorance, and is closely related to what I mentioned earlier in regards to junk food news and "fluff." Take a look at some of the questions asked by Susanne Malveax (CNN) for her interview with the Obamas:

(To Barack Obama)
"What did you think of her?" (question regarding Obama's first impression of Michelle Obama)
"And on the first date I understand you took her to a Spike Lee movie?"
"Why were you being so coy?" (regarding some "back and forth" about Obama popping the question)
Was he seeking some sort of stability in his relationship to Michelle that he lacked in his own family (paraphrased)? "How did that make you feel becoming a part of her family and a part of that community in Chicago?"
"How did [Michelle's family] receive you?"
"Give me a sense of what she was like as a mother, as a mom." (regarding Obama's mother)
"What did [your mother] expect of you?"
"Did you have a sense of longing for her as a child?" (when Obama's mother travelled abroad)
"How did your father's absence impact you?"
"Was there anything in your 10-year old mind that you though you could do or say to make [your father] stay?"

Now I'm not saying that people don't want to know these sorts of things, or that there is anything necessarily wrong with the above questions themselves. The problem is, however, that these types of questions are taking the place of the far more important questions they should be asking. I have prepared a list of questions that I would like to compare to those listed above. As you read through them, you will notice a night and day difference. These are, by the way, examples of questions I would ask president-elect Barack Obama.

"In what ways can we ensure that there will be no further economic collapse?"
"Will you be taking a deeper look at the administration and intelligence departments as they stand, and if you already have to some extent, have you noticed anything amiss or that you would like to change?"
"What are some specific ways that you can help improve the education system?"
"What are the details of some of your economic proposals?"
"What do you interpret to be the major factors leading to the economic downturn?"
"Have there been any new specific plans and strategies for sending more troops to Afghanistan?"
"Would you consider eliminating the Federal Reserve system and making drastic changes to the way our economy works?"
"Do you support stiffer regulation for media conglomerates?"
"Have you found any executive orders executed by preceeding presidents that you know for sure you would like to change or remove?" "Who are some of the world leaders you have connected to since the election, what was discussed, and do any of these connections stand out for any reason?"
"Have you partaken or been invited to partake in either the Bilderberg Group or Council on Foreign Relations meetings? What are your impressions of these organizations?"
"As you move along in your transition phase, who are the people you are becoming more frequently engaged with in your daily routine, and who are some of your most trusted advisors?"
"As President of the United States, how can you help to inspire and enact ways to make the lives of future generation more prosperous?"
"Which, if any, of your religious views do you see as having an influence on your governing practices? Can you please be specific?"
"What specific areas of research and study are you pursuing or intending to pursue, to help you with your presidency, and is there anything you are learning perhaps just for personal enlightenment?"
"What are some of the ways which we can improve the inner cities and curb violence?"
"How can we improve the way the federal government handles emergencies?"
"What are some of the laws that you have supported or seen in place in Illinois or elsewhere which you think would be benificial in more states? What community outreach or other type of programs?"

There are a couple of questions on this list that the media wouldn't touch with a 50 foot pole. The rest are rarely, if ever, asked; and if so, they are usually watered down by politics and other spin factors that the media uses to distract and otherwise further their agenda. Notice that there was no overlap whatsoever between the questions I came up with and the ones the mainstream media has been asking. These questions are in entirely different leagues from one another. I could come up with many, many more examples too; believe me, there is an abundance. But this will suffice to demonstrate that the media, by and large, simply doesn't care about the questions and concerns of everyday citizens. It prefers that citizens are "dumbed-down" so that they can be influenced to a greater extent in order to sell them products, and to fulfill other aspects of the agenda.

Another thing I would like to discuss concerning this category of dumbing-down has to do with the how the media reports on the complex issues that face our lives. In many instances, for us to truly understand how an important issue impacts us, it takes a certain amount of explaining to do. In an economy that focuses on specialization, where we are narrowly focused on a specific job and/or field of study, we run the risk of being grossly uneducated and uninformed on anything which falls outside of our specialty. In that sense, good journalism should have a responsibility to help educate us to the extent that important issues can be understood in the proper context. This is crucial for us to make the right decisions, since this is, after all, a democracy. However, this responsibility is shunned by the mainstream media. Any information which even slightly borderlines on the technical, such as issues regarding economics, could potentially "bore" members of the audience, which could in turn cause them to change the channel. Thus, a portion of revenue from advertising could potentially be lost. This has an overall effect of dumbing-down the general public to the important issues we face, and it puts our very democracy in the crosshairs.

Dogma

I have dubbed the final category of the agenda "Dogma," because it deals with what generally goes unquestioned -- the "official" sources and the "experts" that the mainstream media follow with religious conviction. Instead of questioning authority, the media have a tendancy to take the word of politicians as law. "Experts" are seen as offering the final word on certain issues. When the media does question these authority figures, or offer alternate opinions to the experts, they do so superficially and with a narrow scope that falls in line with the agenda. When you add to the mix the media's tendancy to focus on stories that capitalize on our fears, then we have a very dangerous cocktail indeed. The most clear and pertinent example of this that we are all familiar with has to do with the Iraq War. No one in the media questioned the dogma that Iraq was harboring Al Queda, that they had in their possesion weapons of mass destruction (WMD's), or that Saddam Hussein was somehow personally responsible for the attacks on 9/11. Therefore, no one in the media really questioned President Bush's decision to go to war, despite the fact that his declaration was not legally sanctioned by the international community.

There are many more examples of the media blindly following the dogma of politicians and experts, but for now I would like to just leave it at that. I would, however, like to take a moment to point out some of the reasons for this tendency. By now it should be obvious -- the media executives have a relationship with politicians that is based on "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." Together they share the same agenda, whether it be the more obvious aspect of personal gain, or the more hidden aspects of the CFR and BBG. When it comes to the "experts," many of them serve the purpose of merely being unpaid placements for products that the media companies are trying to sell advertising space for. Sometimes, these experts are actually paid placements for advertisers, in which case the line really begins to blur between what constitutes news and what constitutes an "info-mercial." With that, my friends, I would like to wrap up this section on the agenda. Thus, my entire article is drawing to a close. However, I would like to make note of the fact that this work will be continually updated as I encounter additional examples that help support and reflect the dire importance of this discussion.

Conclusion

By now, the understanding of such concepts as the "hidden web" and the "damaging agenda" of the mainstream media should be second nature to you. I hope that I have at least opened your eyes to this enormous dilemma that we all face in regards to the mainstream media. Let me help to calm any possible apprehensions that you may have by spending a little time discussing what can be done about this. It's very simple -- we must merely turn our attention away from the mainstream media in general. If enough people do this, then the media will be forced to either change their ways, or go out of business. Remember, we retain the power to "vote" with our dollar, and we can collectively vote these people out of business. It is that simple. Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with the fact that we need reliable, alternative media sources to turn to. By and large, we can find such sources on the internet. It is true, however, that many internet sources can be unreliable. In that regard, we must rely on our own discernment. Another way of putting that is, instead of relying on the mainstream media to filter our news and entertainment for us, we can put our own filter in place which will help to guarantee that the appropriate information that is important to us -- actually reaches us. We can also filter out a lot of the crap that the mainstream media dishes out to us.

When it comes to using your own discernment for what is a reliable source of information, I would like to offer the following considerations. There are various internet sources which are non-profit -- websites that are self-financed or funded through donations. Understand that under this structure, they totally side-step the negative influence that an agenda of profit-making and/or selling to advertisers would have on their content. I will go so far to say here that real journalism has, by and large, moved to the internet. Those who have a passion for telling the truth, for doing journalism for its own sake, are generally not willing to have corporate executives stand over them and tell them what they can and cannot report. They are also not willing to trade in their values in exchange for such things as job security and promotions. I offer the following suggestions for independent news sources on the web that I find to be trustworthy, the first of which I mentioned already on several occasions in this article, that being Project Censored. Others include AlterNet.org, InfoWars.net, OpenSecrets.org, and media watchdog groups like FAIR.org (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), MediaTransparency.org, MediaMatters.org, and MediaReform.net. These are just a few examples that I have found, and there are literally hundreds more that you can go and discover on your own. The sheer volume of information out there on this subject is testament enough to the dire importance of these issues regarding the Mediopoly.

I would like to take a moment to address any possible accusations that what I have presented here constitutes nothing more than a "conspiracy theory." First of all, the term "conspiracy theory" carries quite a negative connotation, one that invokes images of paranoid nut-jobs making wild and irrational accusations. Understand that this is a stereotype; one that is constantly reinforced by the mainstream media. Consider this: before the Watergate scandal broke out, the reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were essentially conspiracy theorists. That brings to light the fact that, yes indeed, conspiracy theories can sometimes be proven true. In this sense, a conspiracy theory is no different than a scientific theory, or even a detective's theory on who committed a crime. However, those types of theories are usually held in high esteem by society, while conspiracy theories are usually rejected outright. Again, this is because of the stereotype in place that effectively redefines what a conspiracy theory is. As a result, we are left without a term that could accurately describe what could be considered a legitimate conspiracy theory. The term has evolved into a dismissive term that casts aside any and all evidence; and therefore functions as a tool for ignorance. Certainly there are many conspiracy theories that more closely fit the stereotype and cannot balance the weight of their accusations with their evidence, but there are also many more that are backed by volumes of research and evidence. Some of these demand consideration, and like any theory, it should be based on testing and verifying of the evidence provided, and continuing to dig for more evidence. Anyway, I want to distance my work here from the stereotypical notion of a conspiracy theory. I assert that I do not think that "they're all in on it." Quite to the contrary, most of the thousands of people employed in the media industry have no idea what is going on. Some have a better grasp on it than perhaps the ordinary citizen, but the vast majority of them are just following the orders of their superiors. There are a select few who do know what's going on, and they employ the agenda, or the "conspiracy" if you must, from the top-down. I also do not claim to know precisely who these individuals are. I have given you the names of many individuals, but I cannot speak for their individual intentions (unless they specifically state them). However, I do stand by my claims as they relate to specific groups of people that many of them represent, from which broader generalizations can be derived. Another important point to make here, in regards to such “conspiracy theories" as 9/11 and the Kennedy assassination, is how this article opens up avenues for research in those subjects that are kept hidden by the mainstream media. As I described earlier, the fallacious thinking goes something like this: “Well, if [a certain fact] were true, then the media would be all over it.” The media should not be used as a yardstick for measuring what is true and what is false, based simply on what they choose to report. Using this article as a launching pad, I suggest that we all go and conduct thorough examinations of many of the various “conspiracy theories” that are out there, using both alternative media sources and our own research and discernment.

While the mainstream media as a whole has come down with a terrible affliction, there are still healthy and worthwhile aspects to it. There are still some respectable journalists with good intentions left in the mainstream media, and there are many programs that I still enjoy watching. But anymore, those are few and far between. I grew up with a sort of love and trust for the mainstream media, and it has been only recently (within the past couple of years) that I have "woken up" to the true nature of the mainstream media. The world that the internet has opened up for us is far more encompassing of what we call "reality." Going back to the metaphor I used in the introduction, the mainstream media is merely the keyhole through which we've been peering through. Here I have provided the key that will open up the door to a far greater reality. As the saying goes, though, "I can only hold the door open for you -- you have to walk through it."

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