Class Warfare Blog

December 6, 2016

All the “Fake News” that Is Fit to Publish

Apparently the latest hot topic for political pundits to pontificate upon is the idea of “fake news,” otherwise known as lies. What they are decrying is not that lies exist or that there are so many of them, but they are so easy to “publish.” Hah!

There are more lies now than any other time in human history and I am confident in that statement because there are more people alive that ever before in human history and all humans lie. And it is also true that each of us has more reach than ever before. You are, for example, reading this blog, which in effect is my personal publication organ. This was not possible even a short time ago.

What is lacking is not control over the sources of such material, after all we do pride ourselves in having a political system that protects the freedom of speech, but that people are apparently not at all skeptical about the “information” they have available.

I must insist that all news is fake news. It is the case in which every time I have been interviewed for publication that I have felt that the interview and what was published were at odds. Local papers never seem to get it right. I have heard that same criticism over the years about larger publications.

“I must insist that all news is fake news.”

The manipulations of the Bush administration leading up to the Iraq war were willingly embraced by major “news” publications, even though they turned out to be made of whole cloth. What, the utterances of our politicians are no longer trustworthy? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you … that anyone ever thought they were. Politicians look at the “press” (now “the news media”) as something to be managed or controlled, not as something to embrace as a bulwark of democracy. The “press” no longer looks at itself as the protector of democracy, nor does it have the role of scourge of dishonest politicians.

What is needed is for all of us to be a lot more skeptical. We need to ask “Where did you hear/get that?” On Facebook? Oh, that explains a lot. Apparently many Americans get a substantial amount of their news off of Facebook. WTF? Well, Facebook has a well-known reputation for journalistic integrity I guess. (No, it does not; I am being sarcastic!)

Come on, people! Get a pair! Show the whole world that you are not the gullible idiot who thinks that “if it was on the Internet, it has to be true.”

We need more guidelines. How about “Breaking News!” — Breaking news means we got it wrong, but we got it fast! And “this was verified through a confidential source” means (a) if I told you who told me, you’d laugh at me or (b) I am willing to be manipulated by someone who is unwilling to be quoted.

Our news media were on an upward trajectory away from “yellow journalism” and toward greater integrity but that trend has been reversed. In today’s journalism, opinion is promoted as fact and to make money news organs are peddling opinions without any facts. The newspaper guideline “If it bleeds, it leads” has been replaced with the 24-hour news cycle’s “Look at the shiny object, how does it make you feel?”

July 27, 2013

The President Has No New Initiatives to Deal with the Economy!

This must be my day to post about whining, first about the messiness of Egyptian democracy, now the economy. Again commentators of all stripes are whining that President Obama is not offering anything new to stimulate the economy. He’s just offering the same old, same old: spend on infrastructure projects (paying Americans to do things that are in dire need of doing), invest in education, invest in alternative energy, etc.

These same people probably complain when they are at their doctor’s office with a cold and she tells them “Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, take aspirin for headaches.” They probably whine, “don’t you have something other than the ‘same old same old’?”

When something works, do you really think we should swap it out for something that doesn’t, just to be “new and improved”? My heart aches for the quality of the political discourse in this country. My brain does, too.

Egyptian Democracy

More than a few commentators, conservative and liberal alike, are whining about how “messy” Egypt’s democratic throes are. Oh, “what should we do?” they ask.

Allow me to remind those commentators of the neat and tidy route to democracy of this nation. Here are just a few highlights:

March 5, 1770             The Boston Massacre
December 16, 1773     The Boston Tea Party
Sept-Oct, 1774            The First Continental Congress Meets
April 18, 1775             The Ride of Paul Revere
April 19, 1775             Lexington and Concord Clash
June 17, 1775              The Battle of Bunker Hill
March 17, 1776           The British Evacuate Boston
July 4, 1776                 The Declaration of Independence Adopted
September 15, 1776    The British Occupy New York City
December 26, 1776     Washington Crosses the Delaware
September 11, 1777    The British Win the Battle of Brandywine
September 26, 1777    British Occupy Philadelphia
February 6, 1778         The U.S. and France Sign an Alliance
June 19, 1778              Washington’s Army Leaves Valley Forge
December 29, 1778     The British Occupy Savannah, GA
June 21, 1779              Spain Declares War on Britain
May 12, 1779              British Occupy Charleston, SC
March 2, 1781             Articles of Confederation Adopted
June 6, 1781                U.S. Recaptures Augusta, GA
October 19, 1781        Cornwallis Surrenders at Yorktown, VA
November 30, 1782    British Sign Articles of Peace
April 19, 1783             Congress Ratifies Articles of Peace
September 3, 1783      The U.S. and Britain Sign Treaty of Paris
September 17, 1787    U.S. Constitution Signed
June 21, 1788              Constitution Ratified

Actually, I left out the messy bits. So, starting with a somewhat democratic system (albeit locally, all Americans were Subjects of the British Crown), it took us oh, about 20 years to get it right, and that was just the beginning. We didn’t have a religious divide, like the Sunnis and Shias have, but we did have to have a Civil War eighty years later to settle the question left unsettled by the Constitution: slavery.

“What to do about the Egyptian struggles to create a stable government is simple: nothing. It is called self-determination.”

What to do about the Egyptian struggles to create a stable government is simple: nothing. It is called self-determination. Consider how much we liked it when England told us how to run our affairs. Consider how much we liked it when they “intervened.”

Give Egyptions some time and freedom from interference and let them determine what kind of government they want. If you have to intervene, intervene against those who want to inject themselves into Egypt without Egypt’s permission.

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