Thursday, September 8, 2016

Did I really see this sign?

     There's always a way out. You can question the science: science has historically been wrong; maybe it's wrong now. Happens.
     You can question the source: she lied once about A, years ago; maybe she's lying now about B. Possible.
     You can question the medium, the publication or web site or network that the source and the science are conveyed in. That darn liberal media. They skew and spin and dance to the music wafting out of hell. They have an "agenda" — everyone has an agenda, including PTA meetings. But somehow, just calling it an "agenda" makes it somehow suspect.
     Fox News — the top cable station — and the Wall Street Journal, the top circulation paper, and the Drudge Report and Breitbart and the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller and on and on? The rebel alliance. A small band of heroes, facing off against the massive might of The Atlantic.
     The bottom line is nobody believes anything they don't want to believe. No matter the facts. No matter the sources. No matter the media. We all vanish in the comforting soft fog of our own convictions, our familiar opinions. I happen to think mine are right. But then who doesn't? 
    The mists of certainty, of self-regard, of outrage, gather around us, so thick, we don't see each other anymore. We can barely see our own hands in front of our faces, so we go with the hand and discard the rest. It seems a recipe for destruction, does it not? A great nation, blind, paralyzed, sinking in the tar pit of history. Not a cheery outlook, true, but then you are free to ignore it, and probably will.  


  1. Or the twilight of the Roman Senate before imperial greatness. (Not that that is a good thing.)

  2. All this caterwauling about "the liberal media" is making mainstream media bend backward like pretzels in an attempt not to seem biased, which is why we have things like Hillary's e-mails treated as somehow equivalent to Trump bribing an attorney general to not prosecute him for fraud.

  3. People are enamored of all manner of weird and illogical beliefs. In the grand scheme of things, in a free country they should be allowed to believe what the will. They get all worked up because their beliefs are not echoed by the mainstream media, and therefore people are unaware of the truth. The problem occurs when strange beliefs become the basis for creating bad legislation that harms our society with unintended consequences. And when the bad outcome manifests itself, there is rarely if ever a demand to repeal the bad law, just a call to double down on bad and pass additional legislation to fix the problem. In the scale that weighs the merits of each candidate, the Donald has vastly more bad ideas than Hillary.

  4. How could we walk it back? There's a splintering, and only a more mature, reasoned population can get through to the other side of this. Barring that, extraterrestrials might be a good unifier.

  5. IMO the internet changed everything. Media is posting on-line every minute of the day, or so it seems. That is one reason people form these rather strange ideas and blame the so-call "lame-stream media", and of course, the "liberal media" get a good share of the blame. It wasn't so long ago that newspapers (and TV news casts) were the only media we depended on to keep us informed. Good news or bad, people believed what they were reading, for the most part, and were able to form intelligent opinions. Now, everything is out there, and the craziest stuff reaches the most vulnerable to it.


  6. Expecting the media to be entirely fair and balanced is perhaps expecting too much. When I had to deal with the press about my controverisl government program I was often impressed by a reporter's ability to take in what I was saying but just as often dissapointed at the outcome: my meanings distorted, not necessaritly by mendacity but the normal editorial process. The one sentence I know I could have phrased better was always the one highlighted. One does learn quickly to be brief and to avoid overexplaining, or answering questions that haven't been asked.

    Concerning the sign Neil saw, the notion of the liberal main-stream media, a traditional Republican meme, is losing a little steam from the way much of the right-wing commentariate has turned on Donald Trump. You can almost hear George Will sputtering as he writes his column.

    Tom Evans


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