I've read a lot of opinions on 'current events' in the forum threads at hubpages. Sometimes I think that media who report on current events are just giving us general information that we SHOULD NOT comment on but should gather much more information about and think about very critically.
Things such as shootings, any kind of violence, law-breaking, and such are commented on while we truly only have the information that the media allows us to see.
Yet...we sum up situations we know nothing about very tidily by saying things like 'tougher gun laws,' 'longer jail terms,' 'I would do the same thing and shoot anyone who touched my child' and things of this nature.
Aren't these responses (from the instict part of our brain, the hypocampus, rather than 'top-brain' sorting and critical thinking area) the EXACT reason why (some) people end up 'reactive' and end up promoting or perpetuating violence...because people become enraged, engaged with, reactive to all the media and events we see in the media?
Are we really qualified to respond immediately to media publications, broadcasts, etc? Or would we really do better to, say, wait a week, search for the facts which are behind the headlines, excerpts and blurbs - and then formulate and share opinions?
I think many of us are qualified to respond immediately and in some cases it is neccessary to respond immediately before the propogandist put their spin on a news event.
Waiting a week or so makes the new irrelevant to public opinion and it is public opinion that makes the wheels spin, at least in Western culture. If public opinion is suppressed then the media complex can put any spin they want on a subject and soon we have chaos and Authoritarian rule.
I am all in favor of sharing public opinion.
We would be much better off waiting a week and having that cooling off period.Propaganda since the days of Edward Bernays has gone from using theories of collectivism to using the science of M.R.I. imaging to test commercials and newscasts.There are some excellent videos of this being applied online from a company called Mindsign Neuromarketing.The brilliantly perceptive mind of Alduos Huxley warned us of this progression.This reactionary thinking is leading us directly into a breave new world.As the people grow increasingly violent so does the reponse from big brother.Problem,reaction,solution seems to be the way the world operates today especially America.Osama Bin Laden,the Saudi Arabian,living in Afghanistan was behind the 9/11 attacks,let's invade Iraq!We should have spent a little more time in wise passiveness before reacting with a collective,Hell Yeah!!! before that decision was made.
It's easiest to control and influence people when they lack the ability to think critically.
Good thought. I try to do this, but I must say - there is an awful lot of disinformation out there at the moment. I am beginning to think it is all but impossible for a typical person to find any genuinely impartial information. I have gone the opposite and automatically distrust everything I read from the international and national media. But try as I might, there are some things it is impossible to find information on.
As an example - What is the environmental damage caused by building a new automobile and disposing of an old one? You just try and find that LOL - If you do - let me know.
I see a lot of people working off biased assumptions and their own agendas on a variety of issues--items in the news, politics, estimations of people. It's rampant.
And I'd absolutely agree with your assertions concerning critical thinking. This is one of the reasons, incidentally, I decided I was not interested in being a 'hard news' reporter when getting a journalism degree. It's always so much more than "who, what, when, and how." It's also a reason to gravitate towards writing longer works--like books. I believe that a good interpretation of events can be had, but yes, it takes a thorough critical analysis. It's also a reason to read across a wide variety of sources to gain understanding.
And yep, that is how the mainline press (and most people in general) operate--to the tune of the 'lizard brain.' That is why we see everyone all excited and fearful about an issue (take as example, Swine Flu), and then it fades away--even though the 'imminent' threat is still there.
It would be nice if everybody studied and considered before they formulated an opinion--but then that really isn't respected by typical American society, either. Action and glib answers are much more. I'd even go so far as to say it is part of our 'cowboy' culture--or that 'cowboy' past has been dumbed down by our culture makers into a specter of our real inheritance. This is how we have come to call our educated 'elitists,' lost respect in the greater world as a whole, become fat. Any of a number of things. I could go on...
Excellent post, by the way.
Absolutely agree with this, especially if you are acting in the capacity of a journalist. However, reactionary commenting on news is very relevant to the publishers of news. The gathering of public opinion statistics allows the publisher to make decisions on the value of the news being offered. Like it or not news in any type of media generates revenue which is the ultimate goal of their business.
Having public debate allows us to discern which news is relevant and which is propaganda. And this works just fine until certain trolls get involved (like yesterday) and then the discussion takes on a different and lesser value.
Wow, thx for the excellent contributions here - some definite critical thinking in these answers. I have more to think about with livewithrichard's ideas that we sometimes need to respond to what we see in the media - "before the propagandist put their spin on a news event"
I'm wondering if this is "American" culture-specific or 'Western-World' response to media - livewithrichard alludes to this, as well...but still, I believe that we are nearly herded into responsive action by 'Western-world' media tactics in order that we DO NOT THINK before acting...that we respond from our instincts, rather than true common sense and critical thinking.
Something I cannot ignore and am actually 'reactive to' right now but must think more carefully about and not deny is your statement, livewithrichard, that if public opinion is suppressed, then media plays an even more manipulative role in our lives and leaves us helpless against more possible chaos and Authoritarian rule.
Makes me want to just go camping in the mountains - with no radio.
To clearify, I was only refering to analytical commenting as we see here in the forums. Absolutely we must weigh all avenues before resluting to physical action or reaction.
resluting to physical action - I love this but I usually hate typos, especially my own.
LOL yes my fingers move faster than my thoughts. I'll try to slow down. But just for giggles:
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.
Laughing at the handle "TheMindlessBrute" when I look at this hubber's very apt comment!
I have much more to think about - thx for dropping the name of Edward Bernays as well as the mention of Behaviorism (from moposan)... more 'stuff' for me to look up!
And DO GO ON, Lita...I like what you say about 'cowboy-culture.'
Thank you all, for giving me so much more 'homework' to do now within 20 min of posting this topic. LOL What was I thinking? I must have been in Lizard-Brain (Lita Sorensen) mode!
It leads to exactly what you suggested before,more chaos and authoritarian rule.We are no longer in control of our actions if we no longer control our thoughts.This tactic was exemplified during the recent domination of the news cycle by the swine flu outbreak.The W.H.O. has now deemed the outbreak to be a level 6,the highest possible rating for a pandemic.It is interesting to read the legislation passed unabated during the previous news cycle when it was at level 5.Draconian measures that were stagnant in many state houses were passed during this stage of media induced fear.Legislation that previoulsy failed numerous times,because of the authoritarian rules and regulations they contained.I wrote about what makes you want to head for the mountains,before,Edward Bernays,Huxley,swine flu propaganda from 1976 etc... in a hub Are you in control of your thoughts?I think you will enjoy Bernays,he was the father of public relations and the nephew of Sigmund Freud.His first contract was with a tobacco company and it is interesting how he increased their profits by almost 50% by getting women to smoke,using Freud's theory on collectivism."We've come a long way baby",since then.Freud also believed that sexual desire is the engine that drives human nature and this tactic has been used most excellently as the engine that drives human consumption.If it weren't for my children I'd already be living on a farm with no radio!A mindless brute,with calloused,dirty hands and a clean mind,far from the rat race between mice and men and planting flowers for Algernon.
Now I have to leave this thread to go do some research on this Bernays fellow!
If you get to the farm before I do, TheMindlessBrute, send me the "land coordinates"...it WILL BE THAT far away from the nearest town, right?
I just read this post in full... Bingo. And I thought that Obama's speeches during that time, with painful segues offering comfort about the Swine Flu 'epidemic' into our economic issues ('we're all in this together,') was just SO obvious. I wanted to smack him.
Only good thing I could say is that it was obvious he did not write that material and that he has a hard time making it seem like he did.
You think the smoking advertising campaign was genious. LOL. Wait until you read how diamonds being a girl's best friend (useless) were marketed...and how they promoted many murders...over a period of 100 years by DeBeers.
You're going deep here Lita,alot further than most people would ever want to go.Cecil Rhodes the founder of Debeers continues to extend his influence in the state of affairs worldwide to this very day.Now you are playing on the grand chessboard when you talk about a girls best friend.That company still produces 40% of the worlds diamonds in the world,leaving nothing but blood in his wake.There was an interesting scene in the movie"Blood Diamond" with Leonardo Dicaprio where he corrects someone who refers to the modern day city Zimbabweformerly known as Rhodes-ia.
In his will the ardent proponent of colonialism and imperialism of the British Empire,left his significant fortune to establish a trust to perpetuate his vison of British rule worldwide.We refer to it today as the Rhodes Scholarship Fund.From presidents to prime ministers the recipients of this fund have been educated at Oxford University and sent back to their respective countries to be leaders of politics,media,business and finance.We see this today in America with the 8 Rhodes scholars in the Obama administration,former president Bill Clinton,Rachel Maddow of M.S.N.B.C formerly a talk radio host on Air America and even on the right with the potential republican nominee for president Bobby Jindall,governor of Louisiana.All Rhodes scholars and I can keep going for the rest of the day on the influence Cecil Rhodes continues to extend over the global chessboard including Canada.
Aldous Huxley who was a family friend of Leonardo Dicaprio's family andwho would often stay with them while visiting America.Leonardo is to star in the upcoming remake of Huxley's great dystopian novel A Brave New World.I mention this because Aldous Huxley's grandfather the infamous Sir Julian Huxley was a founding member along with Cecil Rhodes of the Milner roundtable group,who shared Cecil Rhodes views on colonisation and imperialism.Sir Julian Huxley was the most inspirational professor H.G.Wells ever had and he shared this sentiment in his writing.Sir Julian Huxley was the first director of U.N.E.S.C.O(United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation)among many other things.H.G.Wells is well known for his sci fi but he wrote volumes on political observations inspired by Sir Julian,"The Open Conspiracy","The Shape of Things To Come","Anticipations"Wells science fiction works through the edu-tainment of Hollywood continue to shape a particular worldview,worldwide.
I have to stop myself before I get too carried away.I am not making any of this up and the history professor responsible for recommending his bright and capable student in the 60's named Bill Clinton,for the Rhodes Scholarship,wrote almost 2,000 pages detailing every aspect of these groups,including 100 pages of footnotes,without the internet,in the 60's.His name was Carroll Quigley and the books are "Tragedy and Hope A History of the World in our time" and "The Anglo-American Establishment"President Clinton considered him a mentor and mentioned him during his inaugural address.I have both of these books on my desk right now and I have been writing a dissertation on sociology, for the last 14 months.
Professor Quigley stated that although he did agree with the motives of these groups he did not agree with their tactics,of manipulation and subversion.Your thoughts are very existentialist in nature,Lita and I like that,I'll have to look at your hubs when I have time.
"resluting" (livewithrichard) - I know it's a typo...but I think we can work this in 'as is' somewhere on a hub, don't you?
j/k - thx for participating in this discussion, livewithrichard.
(lxxy, drax or pest will find this typo and write a surprisingly insightful hub on it, I'll bet!)
I see what you're saying about disinformation. I decided to just 'walk' instead of trying to find out your environmental puzzle about the automobile. I also disengage myself from most media blurbs because I recognize that most headlines and 'stories' are just 'stories' that I cannot trust to be really factual or unbiased sources of information...
Obviously I love stories, 'cos I publish hubs about them all the time...but I keep thinking that NEWS and media are supposed to tell me true events.
Possibly, I need to crawl back into my Utopia and avoid the real world, anyway, huh?
Unfortunately it is all to easy to swallow the line that the newspapers are there to provide the news.
Their primary function is to sell advertising space.
Well, there is initial reaction to a situation--a first source knowledge. This IS important, as livewithrichard has pointed out. If propaganda is our main source--people can be taught NOT to believe their own eyes.
Then there is assessment. Analysis; meta-analysis of sources/information out there. Both play a role in critical thinking, and I think both can be blunted by interests, or even our own reactivity (lizard brain--lol--not my word! Ask Earnesthub about lizardbrains....and anyway, its from some book).
Maintaining perspective in both modes is necessary for valid viewpoints/decision making.
As to reactivity being Western-centric: I'm sure overall this is the case, but America is Western-centric on steroids (?) And I have heard the European countries--especially the Scandinavian ones--have a much more civic interest based culture. Meaning, not so much nonsense TV news or entertainment, and reading a newspaper and quality magazines a requirement.
I'm interested in this civic-interest-based culture (Lita Sorensen)
Time to send a friend, Jane Taxpayer to do some research for me on civic-interest-based culture!
Is there any place one can go to find out how to 'think' in special/critical ways about news hype - I mean - how to recognize and separate propaganda from 'valid news' in the media? Or is this 'stuff' a set of skills one just has to develop over time?
Over time, absolutely. And maybe just nature winning for you in the nature/nurture debate, .
And our universities ARE supposed to teach these things. I also wouldn't rely on Jane Taxpayer, there, Myth...lol. For these kinds of things, self reliance IS good, .
edit* lol But see, that's all a part of the dumbing down of our cowboy inheritance.
Actually, Lita, I DO rely on "Jane Taxpayer" lol Jane is a personal friend and hubber who just signed up at hubpages recently. In r/l Jane is my tireless research companion on social justice issues. Yeah - in real life, I don't get to tell many urban legends and stories...I work side by side with Jane Taxpayer lol
As much as I respect your opinion Ms. Sorenson, I am most up to this task. And Many universities do teach these things, yes, but again, many institutions, if not necessarily having an agenda, hire professors who do. And it may not be deliberate, but professors do tend to teach based on their opinions and experiences, ergo, propoganda itself, in a less threatening form, does exist in our post-secondary institutions.
I live in Canada, and I think every media outlet has a political affiliation. Sunmedia and the National Post Newspapers are promoting a Conservative agenda, much like the Americans FOX and CNN promote Republicans. The Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun are Liberal, and some of the lower-tier magazines (FFWD Weekly, Metro) which are usually free tend to support a strong socialist ideology.
Much of the news is valid, but can still be told from a viewpoint that may not twist the facts, but still push one agenda over another. Just read a variety of Canadian articles on gun crime, from a variety of different newspapers and you will notice the difference in reporting. They all tell you the news, and all are valid, but you can tell the angle they come from without even glancing at the editorials.
But yeah, maybe my next article will be on civic-interest based culture.
lol Ms. Taxpayer. The mention of 'Jayne Taxpayer' in my message was nothing but a perhaps failed joke... I thought your friend Mythbuster was suggesting that researching public interest based countries (most of which are in socialist Europe) would cost the public money--possibly at a publicly funded university, . I didn't know he was talking about a real person with a screen name.
And I completely support the rest of what you are saying here. I know exactly what publications hold what biases. New Journalism, of course, attempted to take this into consideration. I still hold that a good interpretation of the facts can be had, but it is difficult. That's why I have always steered, myself, towards features, interpretive features, and longer works.
I know how publications work. I've worked at many.... Lately, though, I've been thinking perhaps this is just how life works--how people work. There is always give and take, even if it is aboveboard, ethical and 'nonbiased.' ...Perhaps that doesn't make sense--is too existential, --but maybe I'm saying (and this is my attempt at solution) it is good to listen to all those profs and their differing viewpoints; all those papers with their different 'agendas' (not all have them, either, in the 'official' way it is being used here). I am not saying that truth is relative in a post-modern fashion. I'm saying that with all voices taken into consideration, one is more apt to find the universals (truth), while still appreciating and taking into consideration the subjective.
I knew if I simply typed my friend Jane Taxpayer's name online, Jane would find this thread and jump in with some social justice blurbing and 'argument.' (A little more adamant in tone than I would have guess tho')
Jane...your comments look suspiciously like 'redefinition of terms' in a debate...I'll get back at you later, ya brat.
Lita, yep, I know Jane personally...whoops - I should've warned people about this Taxpayer, who takes almost EVERYTHING very seriously...I think Jane's 'critical assessing mode' never shuts off, except, of course, or maybe - during sleeping hours?
I like the fact, however, that some serious topics are being discussed, additional to my main questions. People are thinking a lot in this thread...Heck - I have no worries about 'critical thinking' from hubpages members now!
Lita...there would have been a 'joke' about research into other systems causing taxpayer money if Jane Taxpayer had been a joke but she is real - and I DO get the joke, despite all other things posted in this thread...but didn't expect Jane to respond so seriously. Actually, I WASN'T thinking as critically as I could have been when I posted the troublesome comment the way I did, specifically BECAUSE I was giving the name of a hubpages author I know personally here...
Sorry 'bout creating this misunderstanding.
All in all, however, I think a lot of POVs are being addressed here.
I think it's a set of skills one develops from personal experience. Take a look at the news offered from opposing sources, for example, the huffington post vs. world net daily.
The hp has a very liberal spin where the WND has a Right wing spin. There may be commonalities in the posts to related stories, but you will notice a dicernable spin on each side.
Just to add, you will notice that each of these sites are supported through ad revenue. So they put the spin to attract a certain audience, right or left, or both. As it was pointed out above, news is about making money from their targeted audience, kind of the same thing we do here on HP.
I think I strayed from the original intent of this thread...sorry.
Very interesting post, Mythbuster
The Western-Press thing is very interesting. The UK media is much the same; reactionary and shallow. In Greece, on the other hand, the media still has teeth - the investigative journalism that Lita likes.
Part of this is that Greeks are taught how to critically assess and evaluate information, but part of it may be that Greece is not really a 'Western' country.
For anybody interested, there is an adaptation of the great Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit. It is more aimed at scientific literature, but parts of it can be adapted to most topics.
So, by what method, if we are constantly inundated with rhetoric, media distractions, etc., do we begin to learn to think critically about issues before we spout off and risk ticking people off?
I like what Sufidreamer put forth about Greece - that people in Greece are taught "to critically assess and evaluate information"
The link that Sufidreamer posted:
The above is a 10-point checklist for assessing the validity of information that might be presented to you. It seems this list would work in all sorts of situations - though 'science' and 'pseudoscience' are mentioned in the sub-title of the page. This page is in my bookmarks now. Very easy to understand information.
Thx for the page, Sufidreamer
I for one am pleased you guys didn't succumb to a life hidden on some farm in Idaho. Your minds are too valuable not to be talking about these issues.
The media in Australia thrive on the emotional response and there are currently only 2 stations that 'comprehensively' cover world news. I wince at saying comprehensively because it's just not enough. Like Mark, I'm a cynic for what is the truth and the underlying con is like a wafting smell of something off, you just don't know if it's a dead rat or dead cow. Emotional response media turns me cold. But isn't it effective!
Read and delve and don't believe everything you read and hear. Discuss and ask and discuss more. At least with internet you can get easier access to the source of news instead of relying on the bias of a stressed journalist employed by Mr Murdoch.
I think people need to know what kind of information makes an immediate response appropriate and what kind requires reserving judgement. If we hear that some high-level official has been arrested for corruption - that's a "hold off" type of story. Most of the time people need to hear more information. If we hear that a little girl is in a coma after being beaten with a baseball bat, that's the kind of story for which an immediate reaction is, to me, appropriate. I guess asking, "how much of the whole story do we likely have?" may be a guide for this type of thing. In the little-girl case, you have a girl in a coma and her parents and a baseball all in the same house. Since there's really no "good excuse" for a beaten child I don't see any reason for reserving judgement.
Then there is the Virginia Tech type of story, which does get emotional responses like "tougher gun laws". I'm not sure that because "tougher gun laws" was the message of the emotional response, that necessarily means it wouldn't be the same message after a cooling down period. For people for whom "tougher gun laws" comes immediately to mind, that leaning was probably already there. Someone else's immediate response may be, "better detection of mentally disturbed children". Whether or not either of these ideas were expressed in the emotional aftermath of the incident or later, both are valid; so I don't necessarily think the presence of emotion makes much difference in that kind of situation.
Are the petty personal attacks really necessary? Try to control yourself.
WTF! I say we are just as qualified as the commentators and journalists! Maybe someone is daft to say whatever, but no worse than some of them!
This is mainly in response to mythbuster and Lita S. Yeah, sorry, i wasn't even thinking of the fact that Jane Taxpayer is also a term, I completely missed the Joke and figured you were talking about me Lita. Sorry about my ego getting in the way there. I'm having difficulties finding specifics on civic based culture, but I've got several hours to kill so I'm not going to give up. I have found several articles on propaganda so I'll put up a hub on those, and probably link to the articles I'll study, and probably put a link to this discussion in here too.
Critical Thinking is important, but not just for seperation of fact or fiction. Critical thinking (and MB, you should know this ) allows us to feel comfortable with the decision propaganda calls to make.
Myabe I should put it this way: Propaganda gives us an issue and tells us to make a decision (and tries to tell us what decision to make.) Critical thinking doesn't necessarily tell us whether we're making the 'right' decision, but it allows us to evaluate if the decision we make was for the right reasons.
I believed King mentioned that in his letter we studied.
Again, I apologize Ms Sorenson, for the miscommunication, and my ego. I have enjoyed reading your submissions in this thread and we'd probably make wonderful allies.
And true to my name, I believe we don't have to be informed of the issues to have an opinion. In most 'western' countries, we vote, we pay taxes. We have a fundamental right to our opinions, regardless of the influences that formed it. However, it is our responsibility to be informed before we respond. We don't have to be qualified to respond, but it is a good idea to be properly informed, and to think about where your information is coming from.
After all, there's the (new) age-old adage: "I saw it on the internet so it MUST be true!"
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