Mainstream Media: Cashing in on Public Fear
Addicted to Sensationalism
If I ever wanted to start a conspiracy theory, which I never will, it would be about the news media driving us nuts. Their whole excuse for playing on everyone's fears is that "public has the right to know the truth".
However, their "truth", beside being highly toxic to our nervous and endocrine systems is also very addictive.
Well, how could we possibly blame them---they are only "responding to the market's demand", something like your regular joint dealer, with that privilege of doing it legally. Since everyone is more or less addicted to their "stuff" with a chemical composition of those ugliest details in the world's coexistence---it is just as socially acceptable as consumption of alcohol.
"Truth" Under Microscopic/X-Ray Vision
There are a few ways that news media are hurting us, but let's start with those negativities like murders, wars, arsons, rapes, frauds, robberies, disasters, and alike. What they are doing could be illustrated by their hypothetical handing out special glasses that provide a microscopic/x-ray vision.
Before those glasses we were just fine in our teenage years, minding our school, social activities and sexual matters, not necessarily in that order. Even later in life, if we didn't care much for news, life was great without those glasses and we enjoyed our limited vision.
A pretty woman passing by and returning a smile, a tiny baby smiling at her mom, a puppy hopping happily and sending its loyal looks to its master; skies were blue, and hey, even your mother-in-law looked good with her new hairdo.
But then you put those glasses on, and for the first time you see a "truth" which scares the life out of you. That pretty woman is now a skeleton returning a smile, and there are skeletons all around you, big ones, small ones, baby ones, four legged ones, and you don't even dare to look at your mother-in-law now. What happened!? Don't they like their cemetery anymore?
And then the air...swarms of microbes everywhere, some navigating around your face, others crawling on it already, or taking a ride on dense particles of pollution. "It can't be that horrible"---you are saying---"After all, this is "true", it's here all the time whether we see it or not."
But true or not, here you go yanking those damn glasses off your face. The news media man standing beside you shakes his head with disapproval: "Pity. You should have kept them on - it is your civil right guaranteed by the Constitution to see the truth".
Living a Selective Reality
Now, let's face it, folks - we are not up to knowing the truth, or anything that even remotely looks like it, including "reality". As late Robin Williams said in one of his philosophical moments: "Reality? Hmmm, an interesting concept." For, a concept it is for us, indeed, since we are processing the factual reality only with our limited five senses and our limited capacity for conceptualizing.
We are living a "selective" reality, not an "ultimate truth". And I am glad I don't know what my wife looks like on her molecular level. So, why do we need anyone to mess with our minds by serving us those ugly aspects of collective life? If we wanted any drama in our life we could always arrange that mother-in-law comes for dinner every single Sunday, or around the time of our favorite TV shows.
Really, why should I be "informed" about every arson, murder, robbery, rape, and so on? The only people that should be notified are firemen and local police. What will I do with that information? At this age I am much more likely to catch a cold than a burglar running away with my empty piggy-bank.
Is that information supposed to cheer me up, to make me smarter, to help me with my crossword puzzle? You see, an average dude rushing to read his morning newspaper is not aware of these and similar questions---because he is addicted, he "has to know". Know what?
Well, I call him an "average" dude because it would obviously take someone "above average" to come to realization about his addiction, not his "real" interest about that "woman in a remote Indian village having been bitten by her dog".
Political Truth - Access Denied
No matter what level of education or your level of "being informed" may be, it won't do as a password when you click on "political truth". We may have an access to some superficial facts of "dignitaries meeting", of "bombs flying back and forth" in a warring region of the world---but those most crucial facts of political arena are the ones with the stamp "Highly classified" on it.
Whether we realize it or not, without possessing that information we are just being naïve in our belief that we "know" something. We might as well watch one of those movies like "Absolute Power" or "The Manchurian Candidate"---they would give us more entertainment.
What comes out at a press conference is merely a leftover after that careful filtering done by the department whose job it is to monitor and manipulate the public mood. Then the next refinement comes by the editors of the TV and print media, and the story will depend on their political preference---or better say---which political side is paying them, or owning them. Propaganda is a huge business, my friends, just like advertisement, and that's where the big money is.
However, before you choose a bunch of nasty words about government being so secretive---when you think of it, you can't really blame them for keeping most of that material classified. Making all that accessible to public would be like allowing a bunch of kindergarten kids into a cockpit of a DC-10 during a flight. All those delicate agendas, political strategies, and the rest of the complicated diplomatic chess game simply can't be for everybody's eyes---democracy or not.
Government has a job to do, and we don't qualify. Hypothetically speaking, if I came out fresh from graduating in political sciences, economy, home security, education, and all other aspects of running a country---I still wouldn't know what the current game looks like with all of its players involved.
Now, if what you are daily reading or hearing on the news channels gives you a feeling of somehow being an "informed citizen"---go ahead, knock yourself out. As far as I personally care, I can only affect something over which I have some control ---the rest is illusion making the news media rich.
So, What Is This World about - Aside from the News Media's Assessment?
By itself, it's a faceless world, all until you give it a portrait of your choice. Billions of people just like you and I living ordinary lives, from pay to pay, from pension to pension, from one to the next welfare check. If you want to meet some of those billions, go to a park, a shopping mall, or watch the kids play in their school yard at their recess.
Indeed, you can see this picture of ordinary life anywhere, in any town of any country in the world---something that TV cameras will avoid, by the first rule in the professional manual of journalism: no blood and intrigue---no money.
We could say that---considering this enormous mass of ordinary people living ordinary lives---nothing out of ordinary is happening much on this planet. News cameras have a chronic appetite for sensationalism, encouraged by addiction they have created.
So you are not likely to see them in a park following an older dude as he is busy feeding ducks and squirrels, or sitting peaceful on a bench, facing river and letting thoughts flow smoothly like that water. If they did, you would see me all the time on your TV.
Beach Sun Glasses vs. Microscopic X-Ray Glasses
As I was watching the sunset at a Hawaiian beach, cuddled by a gentle breeze, with mind somewhat groggy from the daily dose of sunshine, all those colorful bikinis, and the whole ambient that deserves to be called "paradise on earth"---I felt truly privileged to be a tiny part of this beautiful planet.
It was one of those many moments when I was happy to wear sun glasses---not those microscopic/x-ray glasses from the second paragraph of this post.
I hope this article added to your realization how enormous impact the news media have on everybody's life. Well, almost everybody's.