Further media biases

There appears to be a major culture war occurring around us, and the sounds of battle are in the screeches of modems and the splashes of virtual ink. The sounds of war have become so incessant now, that it is impossible to ignore it. News cycles ring out each day, notifying the masses of the actual and perceived slights being experienced by people online.

The Roseanne Barr shitfest most recently being an example of a battle raging for seemingly ages, with the result being Barr’s loss of employment, dashing of future career, and a complete and utter wipe out of her previous career. Apparently her entire series has been pulled, including the seasons of yesteryear.

While Bill Cosby’s show remains oddly and readily available, despite his recent conviction.

Eric Schneiderman was recently to have found to be sexually assaulting his partners, oftentimes calling them his slaves, and hitting them. Despite this case being a prime example of the kind of racism and sexism the media would willingly decry and hold as an example of the ugly society we currently inhabit, this case seems to have yielded very little coverage in comparison.

Why?

Eric Schneiderman is a Democrat. His behaviour could definitely hurt the image of the party, and it would seem that the media seems complicit in limiting the fallout. Oh, they’ll cover the story, sure. But they won’t return to that well for more water to carry.

The media seem keen to portray themselves as this bastion of truth that is a fundamental part of a functioning democracy, yet when their allegiances are on naked display, this claim is hokum. The infuriating part about this, however, is their plausible deniability on these matters. They can point to maybe one or two stories and then claim that they covered the Schneiderman case, and then shrug and rationalise away why they run Roseanne Barr stories day-after-day.

Perhaps if they were just upfront about their biases, I could perhaps stomach the churn. But it’s the pretention of balance that really irks me. Yes, I feel the same about Fox as I do CNN – stop with the veneer of impartiality when your preferences are clear. Perhaps then I can feel like we can recover some semblance of civil public discourse.

This isn’t “Whataboutism”, or whatever baked-up term the culture-savvy seem keen to throw out as attacks on arguments against their dim world views. I am not defending one because another is worse. I am pointing out the media’s actions on one, and their inactions on the other while claiming to play some pivotal role in society.

Remember; Roseanne had her career scrubbed from today and from history over a single (albeit terrible) tweet. Schneiderman resigned, but his offences seem to have been buried in the news cycle quickly and efficiently. It was there, but no one will ever speak of it again.

While these kinds of things occur, and the media continue to flap their junk in the wind while calling it news, they will continue to discard audiences, losing the trust of populations.

And regular people will see their claims of being “important to free democracy” and laugh their asses off.

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Orbiting the drain

Further to yesterday’s post, in where I highlight the bellowing dumpster fire that is, and forever will be, Roseanne Barr’s poorly-thought-out tweet, I have begun to notice that somehow, prominent people have seen fit to point score – like the Activist Journalists they so desire to be.

Will ampersand Grace star Debra Messing was seen making the following observation:

I am not one to usually cast stones when it comes to acting chops, because I get the feeling these days that whether someone’s acting is “good” is often associated with whether the judger of the acting actually likes the actor. However, if I could use this tweet as a gauge of the kind of ACTING that Messing performs, then I don’t think much of her ability.

Tears? Of relief? That someone who made a single, albeit racist, tweet got shown the door? Because that person shows inklings of wrongthink? Get a grip.

But its the middle part that really raises an eyebrow. “Trump’s orbit”.

What exactly does this mean? Well, from what I can tell, Messing is trying to draw a correlation that it’s a certain kind of individual that is attracted to Trump. This is divisive rhetoric to say the least, and it’s the kind of thinking that needs to go die in a well. It’s the extremist view that suggests that if you don’t one-hundred percent condemn anything associated with Trump, that you’re a racist. An irredeemable human.

Did these people not learn how they got Trump? This is how they got Trump. And this is how they’ll continue to get more Trump. When one side is willing to throw horrible labels at opponents, as well as people who are undecided on the fence, then they shouldn’t act surprised when fence sitters shrug and say “Well, I might as well side with the other guy then, if I’m such a bad person for asking questions”.

Did they learn nothing from Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” speech?

Speaking of Hillary Clinton, shall we do a quick analysis of the kinds of people in her orbit?

Because let’s be consistent here. If we are to judge people upon the company they keep, or of those who are drawn to them, we should apply the same standard, right? Let’s do a quick look.

Hillary Clinton with former KKK member Robert Byrd. Sure, he stopped being a member, but when has time passing been a redeemer of people?

And of course, the kicker, the man whose lechery kicked off the Me Too movement; Harvey Weinstein, long-time supporter and donor for Hillary Clinton.

What I write here is not to defend nor condemn anyone, but rather highlight how stupid it is to try and shame people for being in “an orbit” of someone. People are not their groups, and cannot be condemned for the bad actions of the company they might have kept.

 

Barred from research

I have written previously on the mob mentality, and have each time lamented how peoples’ errors should not mean that their livelihood is attacked. It is a sentiment that I stand by, but probably warrants clarification in the wake of Roseanne Barr’s bafflingly idiotic joke at Valerie Jarrett’s expense.

After looking up who exactly Valerie Jarrett is, it revealed the shockingly poor taste of said joke, and it is something that cannot simply be defended. It was something which ABC, Barr’s employer, needed to immediately address considering Barr’s profile and the apparent success of her show’s reappearance.

The cancellation of her show was clearly something that Barr’s employer felt was too hot to deal with, and ABC was within their right to distance themselves from her and her “joke”. I feel in this case, it was an employer acting quickly, rather than it being a result of a widespread campaign on the internet to pressure employers to let Barr go.

Therein lies the difference between my stance on online twitter mobs and the Roseanne case.

Barr, it seems, doesn’t seem to be taking the dismissal lying down, after her odd excuses fell flat and did nothing to redeem herself in the eyes of the audience. However, there are a couple things I do find strange, and it may require a couple posts to address the many issues.

Firstly, let’s look at Roseanne’s tweet:

In this tweet, Barr claims to have been an activist for fairness in the US. Okay, fair enough. A claim warrants investigation. However, let’s look at internet search results for “Roseanne Barr activism” to see if we can get any information on her claims. This is what I got:

It would seem that the only information that immediately comes to hand is news covering the recent events, and “Celebrities, activists and co-stars react to ‘Roseanne’ news”. There’s a bizarre repeating of the same headline here. Looking on, I began to search the second page of search results:

Holy cow, there’s a remarkable lot of parallel thinking along these myriad websites. How very, very odd that everyone seems to be repeating the same headline, over and over.

I don’t profess to understand why and how this kind of thing happens, but the result of what I am seeing is what goes beyond oddity and into Orwellian territory.

When news comes out that smears someone, particularly someone who has been saying things that align with “the bad side” or played a character on television who aligned with “the bad side”, then that news is posted again and again, so that all the possible noise you can find reinforces what story that someone, somewhere wants the people to know.

I don’t know whether all these outlets follow the same headlines because that’s what the SEO algorithm uses to garner clicks, or whether there’s a concerted effort to ensure only one story is told, but the result, to me, is as scary as glowing shit.

For now, it seems, we are at war with Roseanne, and we have always been at war with her.

The Activist Journalist

The media have truly lost their way. This is not a new revelation on my part, because I have long loathed the media way before the phrase “fake news” was birthed out the mouth of a failed presidential candidate. Yes, I am a media-hater-hipster.

There’s always the sensationalism. There’s always the reinforcement of Mean World Syndrome despite us living in one of the most peaceful times in this planet’s history. There’s even clickbait. These things are only incidental to the recent rise of the most heinous of creatures to ever proclaim themselves a “vital part of a democracy”.

The activist journalist.

The activist journalist does not seek to report the facts, trusting their audience to take information from their story and then formulate their own understanding of the world. No, the activist journalist holds no high regard for their audience. The activist journalist must tell the audience what to think. Don’t you know? It’s not enough to provide the story from which the dear reader can walk away feeling informed. No, it is the activist journalist’s role – nay duty – to tell you how you think, or how other faceless people think.

Oh, to think that they feel that lecturing people is the best way to convince them. It clearly worked on them during the years they spent at the Sunday School their parents forced them to attend.

This past week saw a number of photos circulated of the atrocious conditions that children of unlawful immigrants must endure. Activist journalists posted the images far and wide, condemning the US administration for the horrific turmoil inflicted upon the innocent.

Except the photos were from the Obama-era Administration.

Activist journalists, upon realising the “mistake”, quickly deleted tweets, and offered weak platitudes to minimise the story.

This is why activist journalists are a problem. If they were truly about the craft of journalism, and wanted to be true agents of good in a democracy, the photos would not need to be removed and explained away. Why?

Because the photos could have lead to more important questions to be asked. Questions such as, “Is this still occurring?”

Because that is far more important than who was at the helm during the time that the atrocities did occur.

The paving-over of the story because it paints the activist journalist’s preferred team in a bad light reveals the truly dark side of the activist journalist. For all the noise they would make about childrens’ suffering, the deletion of the tweets and photos shows that they actually do not care about these childrens’ suffering.

They only cared when they thought it politically beneficial to care. They only care about lives when they can leverage said lives and use them to forward their cause.

That is not what I want from an industry that is apparently a cornerstone of a good democracy. That is truly evil; an evil that would use lives of children to promote their team before they discard them to the wastebin of history, forever forgotten.

This is why media is currently a blight, and needs a strong clean out, preferably with the coarsest of brooms that leaves a groove in the dirt so deep that no future journalist would want to ever be associated with such cynical, callous and truly despicable practises.

A return, of sorts

After the fallout of what happened in Charlottesville, I noped out, considering the topic of conversation of this blog being far too chaotic and volatile to handle. I still believe this is the case, but I still cannot shake the idea that there’s a game going on, and its players are largely the media, the political establishment, and the useful idiots on the ground.

I see the people lying by omission, the bad framings of reports to skew the reader a certain way, manipulations and games, all for the pursuit of power.

It would be entertaining if the game itself didn’t adversely affect regular people. That’s the twisted tragedy of all this; people with power will play these games to improve their numbers and keep their wealth coming in, packaging up these stories in the media like a lunch box with a label, prime for the public to focus upon, ultimately distracted from the real theft occurring.

The bread and circuses have spread to the chambers of the powerful, and yet they still dictate what we can and cannot see, despite pledging transparency.

I noped out before, but I feel I can still chip in, even if my corner of the internet gets literally zero traffic. This is a fault of mine, as I am terrible at marketing. It would be arrogant of me to think my teeny ramblings on a wordpress site would be subject to the tweaking and channeling that Google et al perform to swerve eyes away from wrong-think.

All these things seem to be conservatives complaining about being shunned or unpersoned, and I find myself agreeing with them. And I’m not even a fucking conservative. I hate that discourse is now this false dichotomy of us and them. Arguments devolve into “you’re one of them” as opposed to “I don’t believe that because x…”

Disagreement is not akin to the worst of humanity.

Feelings trump the news

In the wake of the testifying of former FBI Director James Comey, I’ve noticed a fairly significant rhythm and rhyme in the way that the media has been reporting on the event.

Aside from the non-revelation that a billionaire would dare to be outrageous with the truth for the sake of personal benefit, I am surprised a little that the headlines seem to focus upon Comey’s assessment of Trump’s character, rather than the actual news stories I took from the testimony. Those being:

  • Then Attorney-General, Loretta Lynch, asked Comey to call the investigation into Clinton a “matter” – effectively removing any kind of insidious tone to the process – to which Comey actually complied.
  • Comey was the leaker of information, albeit indirectly (not a crime in this instance, but certainly questionable for a public servant).
  • The New York Times was “almost entirely wrong” about the alleged contact between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It is no great surprise that media outlets are very biased in their coverage, and their glossing over these particular points does make me understand why trust in them is at an all-time low.

However, many would distill this down to being a left-right issue, when I think it crosses party lines and starts treading into “establishment elite” versus their outgroup. Ever since the US election in November 2016, there has been zero let-up in the attacks on the person who the people voted for. These attacks have come from Democrats, the media (both left and right), the majority of social media sites, and even Republicans.

I don’t care for Trump, personally. However, I was happy to let him see out his first term and watch him make an ass out of himself, letting the system oust him over time. However, it appears that the powers-that-be are not content with this timeframe and are wanting to hurry things along. This concerted effort, I am sure, has not gone unnoticed with those moderate people who were on the fence with Trump, and are now seeing rich elite entities poo-pooing the peoples’ choice and trying to have it removed.

I am aware that when it comes to conspiracy theories, that if you are unable to name a “they”, then the theory is just paranoid delusion. I’ll deal with this later, I think.

Modern Day Philosophers

Comedians are Modern Day Philosophers, goes the thinking of some. “Hogwash” goes mine.

In the brief moments of pure, arrogant hubris, I consider trying out comedy as a vocation. Then I hop onto twitter and read opinion articles, and then nope the fuck out. Comedy is far too fucking serious.

It’s not that it’s not funny. Some of it is. It’s just that it’s something that is hugely scrutinised. If it’s not the “parallel thinking” of Amy Schumer that’s under the microscope, it’s the policing of jokes for what harm they may bring. Jon Stewart once lauded himself for being a greater news source for the youth than traditional media, after which the next few years saw talk shows like his turn into the traditional media.

Comedy can make very striking observations, however they typically are only superficial assessments of any given topic. Any comedy piece I’ve seen that tries to delve too far into any given topic usually ends up pandering to the audience, and descends into what I call “Woo Comedy”.

The kind of comedy that usually gets one or two lonesome voices in the crowd to yelp “Woo” before everyone else awkwardly applauds afterward – possibly because there are stage staff who are telling the audience when to applaud.

I do not find Woo Comedy funny. I do not find Woo Comedy informative. I do not find Woo Comedy useful even as philosophy. In fact, to call comedians philosophers is to insult those who might actually study philosophy.

Woo Comedy is preaching.

When a Comedian is telling me what topics should be taboo, I disagree. When a comedian spends more time insulting their political opposites, I turn off. When a comedian tries to wrap something up as intellectualism, I cringe so hard my face folds in half.

This isn’t to say what comedians should and shouldn’t do. Oh no, quite the opposite. They are free to do and say as they want. I just won’t be watching. And I’m not so arrogant to assume that my thinking is any different to many others out there. In fact, I dare say that my view is not unique in anyway, and that comedians serving as shills for politics are only going to slowly erode in relevance before they become merely preachers to the already converted, while they continue to have their lunch cut by others who actually try to convince moderates in the middle.

Maybe then they’ll realise what comedians were all along; Not philosophers, but jesters.