Media manipulation

Events that are reported in the mainstream media are rarely uplifting. We are informed about weddings and births amongst the so called celebrities of our time; there may be a sporting achievement of note that a nation is encouraged to celebrate, but most events deemed worthy of coverage are reported to inspire outrage, shock or despair. These negative emotions will colour our views of the world and the people around us. We are being manipulated by those in power to think as they want or not at all; to tune in and condemn or tune out and turn away. We are encouraged to live a life where fluffy news matters and reasons are not explained. In much the same way as our schools are now run, we are being taught to answer the questions without asking why.

There is no doubt that a lot of bad things are happening in the world. This week I have been following a number of stories that have demonstrated just how base and inconsiderate so many people are. Google for Steubenville, Adria Richards or Lucy Meadows and you will find a plethora of reports, responses, comments and tweets that support and condemn in equal measure the protagonists and the victims of the events discussed. Whatever views may be held it is the vehemence of the personal attacks on people that most will not have heard of before that I find so depressing. Whatever happened to rational debate and considered opinions? It would appear that general attitudes and actions cannot be discussed without character assassination.

The tacit acceptance of objectionable behaviour allows it to persist and I have been left feeling despondent that so many people think as they do. Perhaps what we should be addressing is why this is the case. Alongside the shocking stories published in the mainstream media for our delectation we have the promotion of the rich and famous living lives where the grotesque has become acceptable. We are encouraged to admire behaviour that is perverse and to aspire to a lifestyle that is known for it’s transient nature and self-seeking disciplines. Too many people are starting to believe whatever they are being told.

For now there are still free thinkers around but even they seem to be losing the ability to listen dispassionately to views which do not match their own. They do not seek to persuade with well thought through arguments backed up by facts but rather to brow beat and bully, to put down and shame those who do not agree. It is as if they cannot see, do not want to see, that there may be a case for an alternative view. They cannot seem to comprehend that they may be wrong.

In politics and sociology the policy of divide and rule has long been recognised as a powerful strategy in managing opposition. By emphasising differences in seemingly similar opinions small groups may be made to work against each other rather than coming together to challenge the status quo. All may agree that things need to change but by ensuring that none can agree on the exact change to be fought for the fight remains fragmented and therefore not a significant threat. Distractions of detail can derail even the most ardent of opponents.

If our world is to improve then we need to start that change by being better people ourselves. We need to stop blaming others for our situation and  work to improve our own lives. We need to stop accepting that behaviours which make us uncomfortable are okay because everyone does it and that is the way it is – challenge that behaviour and let it be known that it makes us uncomfortable; ask for it to stop. We need to speak out for how we want our world to be even if it is scary to voice an opinion that may go against the crowd. This is our world and it can only be changed from within. Do not give space in your life to hate and prejudice; question what you are told and act as you feel is right.

The people that I know are good and kind to those with whom they are familiar. Perhaps if we could all get to know more about the people whom the media would have us condemn we could offer more kindness to them. I would like to see a lot less acceptance of the manipulation to which we are subjected in every news broadcast. If we could all think for ourselves and speak as we feel rather than as vassals of spurious popular opinion then perhaps we could make the powerful listen. As things stand, there is no incentive for them to do so. If we do not rebel then we are conforming to their ideologies.

Mainstream Media Hard at Work

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