If there are two things I’ve been obsessed with for the past couple of months, they’ve included following the news and watching The Walking Dead. While both pastimes are fun and easy ways to show people that I have no social life, only one of them helps me improve as a person. Only one gives me the information I need to survive in an ever-changing and hostile world.
That still doesn’t explain why I follow the news.
That’s right: I get more relevant information from a show about living in a world overrun by zombies than I do from the mainstream media. That’s not to say that the mainstream media doesn’t give me access to an almost infinite amount of information; I just don’t trust any of it.
One of the most disillusioning things about America’s election, other than the Electoral College selecting someone who wasn’t popular enough to win an Emmy, was how much it felt like a total blindside.
Political pundits are quick to point out that many people live in a social media echo chamber where their likes on Facebook influence their news feed, causing them to see only posts they agree with. It can be tough to see something coming when none of your friends do, either.
But what almost no pundits are doing is accepting fault for months of false information that painted Clinton as a landslide winner. Instead, the finger is inevitably pointed at a seemingly endless line of culprits: lack of black voters, abundance of elderly voters, and Russian hackers. The list goes on and on.
However, no one is blaming the lack of unbiased reporting. It has long been a standing joke among me and my friends that the liberal media is to blame for most of the world’s woes. Be it forgetting a homework assignment, missing a bus, or any other type of simple screw up, we take great pleasure in blaming the typical liberal media.
We didn’t realize that we were so close to being right.
If there is one thing that this election has brought to the surface, other than a clear road map of how to make Jeb Bush feel bad about himself, it’s the bias in our media.
None of our mainstream media predicted Trump winning the election. And despite the fact that he had round-the-clock coverage, none of it was positive. If on the surface, never-ending, negative coverage which predicts your loss looks biased, that’s because it is.
That’s not to say that conservative media is any better. The leanings of Fox News and Breitbart are well known, yet both outlets function more as persuasive loudspeakers for conservative ideals than self-respecting news agencies.
So where does this leave the people? If both our mainstream and right wing outlets are skewed, how do the people stay informed so we can make the best decisions regarding our democracy? There are several options.
First, people can try to find common ground. Look at the most biased news sources for both the right (Fox) and left (NBC), and research a topic from perspectives of both organizations. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Second, if you’re too put off with typical media, there are numerous homegrown blogs dedicated to using open source materials for investigative journalism. One good example is Bellingcat, which does particularly strong Syrian War reporting.
If the first two strategies fail you, don’t worry. You can always watch The Walking Dead. Who knows? It might be teaching us very useful things for Trump’s America.
What a ridiculous article. I suppose that you were too busy watching “The Walking Dead” not to notice that over the past 10 years, the role of the media has certainly changed from merely “daily news dissemination” to “sensationalizing just about everything”, primarily because of the income revenue sensational news tends to generate through “clickbait” and whatnot. They used to call it “yellow journalism” back in the day because it sold newspapers and guess what? It still does! What you as a writer (and hopefully a “thinker”) should be asking yourself is “why”, “what”, “who”, “where”, “when”, and “how” ? Only if you do that will you realize that, historically speaking, we have definitely ” been here before” at least in terms of the promulgation of yellow journalism and propagandizing “news” cycles.
I agree with your point that America has a history with Yellow Journalism in the past and this does seem to be a resurgence towards those times. Although much better written (reading old newspapers sucks more than reading vanguard comments). I do think it’s funny that you think that media has changed significantly in the last 10 years. In reality the news has been over sensationalizing stories and threats since the end of the cold war in order to fill the boogeyman void left by the USSR, not since you started reading Huffington Post in 2006. It is commonly referred to as the “State of Fear.” But you were probably too busy commenting on Vanguard Articles to notice.
Right, like getting the US into the longest war in American history by falsely reporting that Iraq had WMD’s.. false media narratives and disinformation campaigns – media hasn’t changed? The intentional use of false information by mainstream media has definitely increased many times over since the early 2000’s and had much wider impacts, like getting the US into wars under fake pretense, just to name one.
I don’t think the media uses false narratives and disinformation campaigns to actively propagate war, that’s giving the media too much credit. It’s not a invisible hand guiding our country into endless conflict, it’s a just a bunch of people trying to sell stories for their papers/blogs/magazines. And as the recent election has taught us, they clearly have a liberal bias (am I using liberal correctly?) I would argue that the proliferation of inaccurate reporting in the 2000’s has more to do with the ever increasing number of options for news sources rather than some sinister hidden agenda. Because there are so many options, people as a society tend to flock to what reaffirms their already held beliefs. The media industry knows this, knows it’s losing money by the day, and decides to give the public what they want. Is that bad for society? Yes. Is it the Media’s fault? I’d argue that it’s more under our control as citizens then journalists.
But blaming the Media for the Iraq war? That seems to fall more on the footstep of the CIA than anything else. Funny, because everyone now is overflowing with CIA approval (media included) because….It reaffirms their previously held beliefs about Trump. See the cycle?
Oh dear. You are either very young, or very naive to think there was ever a “boogeyman void” left by the USSR that needed to be “filled” or perhaps “redirected” in some political way. Russia has never been our “friend”, or a country that we can trust. Doesn’t their reprehensible actions in Syria prove that, with hundred of thousands dead thanks to Russian intervention and bombardments? But please, feel free to engage in addled anti-American tropes such as the deliberate US creation of a “state of fear”. Of course, quite possibly you may have been in crawling around in diapers during the fall of 2001, so you may be forgiven for such ineptitude, especially if you fail to remember that Portlanders throughout the city were scanning the sky on September 11, 2001, not out of an abstracted “state of fear”, but an ACTUAL fear of attack. Now run along, junior to your Huffpo, and your Buzzfeed, and be sure to keep yourself entertained and tuned into your zombie apocalypse.
I’m afraid we’re at an impasse of beliefs friend. All I can say is thanks for reading and I hope you have a merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate!
If you have aspirations for becoming a writer, then reading criticisms of your published work will naturally become a part of your job. The problem with your piece here is that you failed to recognize the kernel of truth in your question: “Who’s Lying to Me Now?” You do not realize that your feeling of not being able to determine truth from fiction in politics – where the public is deliberately confused – has happened before. Had you pursued your original question in earnest through critical thinking skills, you may have been able to write a worthy and informational piece, rather than sticking your head in the sand through “zombie distractions” – which by the way, is the preferred response of confusing, and contradictory narratives.
The only thing ill say about this article is that people need to stop referring to the Left and Left of center Democrats as “liberals,” actual liberals like me find it hilarious that somehow the Democratic Left adopted the term just like they claim that “the parties reversed after the civil war” – news flash, no they didn’t and they’re not liberals.
“Liberalism is a political ideology that values the freedom of individuals — including the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and markets — as well as limited government.”
The Left in this country certainly does not fit into this category.
Exactly. The politics in Portland is not liberal now, and it hasn’t been liberal for quite some time. What’s there is a leftist “type” of politics that resembles more of a political “brand”, much like a product that you can pick from a shelf, that appeals to a certain “demographic” – only this “product” is increasingly “insular”, “small-minded”, “irrational”, and wholly uninterested in ideas of personal freedom. The people that lived in Portland 25 years ago were more libertarian in nature. Basically, you could do what you wanted to do and nobody got on your case, or traded that dull fashionable rhetoric that is so popular now there, ad nauseum, or punished your opinion, if they disagreed with you. It’s just a ridiculous farce now in Portland, but sadly, the newcomers don’t even know what they’ve missed.