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The yearly "out of the blue" post.
I'm in the middle of a chat with [info]normanparamedica friend of mine who's serving in Iraq at the moment, and has some great mural photos up on his site. The discussion has prompted me to post some of my thoughts here:

Terrorists are not our – the human race - current worst enemy. The media is. The media cause us to hate and anger and fear, and thus fight and blame and seek retribution and justice, rather than work together for what's possible for our world community.

The media's fundamental interest is power and money. They achieve this by keeping our attention on what they're saying, how they're spinning the world, what they're focussing our attention on. They achieve this by installing fear and anger against "others" and against our own governments. Governments that, if we could empower then rather than resisting them, could be the focal point for the sheer power of the human race.

With just a little focus, we put men on the moon... back in 1969! Imagine what we could do NOW with the technology and human resources we have. Yes, we have, all of us, done bad things in the past that we need to acknowledge and apologise for. This, however, should come secondary to creating what's possible for our future.

The media can, but has no interest in playing any part in this, and is being the worst possible detriment. The media, in its current form, needs to be shunned.

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If we shun the media in its current form, which is indeed quite detrimental to our world outlook, what other options do we have to stay informed about current events? Things like Twitter are no better than the guy you meet in the pub. Blogs can be informative, but you often don't know the blogger's biases until later. Wikipedia is like meeting a group of people at a pub and arguing back and forth.

Great question.

Do you, personally, need to know what's going on on the other side of the world? Sure, it might be "interesting", but if you're not able or willing to do anything about it, then it's just "entertainment" and you're playing right into the media's hands again.

Want to make a difference in the world? Get out there with your community, whatever it might be, and create something. Want to make a difference in the world? Then... you're going to need a REALLY BIG community, and you need to start with what you have.

If you want to find out what's REALLY happening in the world, talk to people that are actually THERE, and not just reporting on what someone else reports on what someone else reports, etcetc.

The other side of the world happens to be where the largest deposits of the most desirable natural resources are, where more than half of the human race is, where the majority of the worlds intercontinental missiles are, where the majority of US dollars are, where our empire is, where are largest trade partners are, so yes, we kind of do need to know about the other side of the world.

I disagree entirely. "The media"--by which I suppose you mean news first, and entertainment second--are vital to a free society. It is sheer paranoia to think that the media needs to stir up it's own hatred where none exists, it is merely a carrier for existing ideological hatreds, not their inventor. Places like Fox News do help to create a reinforcing feedback loop to radicalize it's viewers, but only the ones who shun all other media in favor of only Fox News's ideological biases. Blaming the media for hatred is kind of like blaming radar for an air raid, but not quite as bad as blaming a seismometer for an earthquake.

Then on this point we must disagree.

I don't even think a "news media" is vital to a society. Sure, it COULD be a huge benefit... but my argument is that, in its current form, it isn't. It's a detriment.

Does it not stand to reason that uninformed people are unable to support a meaningful democracy? Without news reporting we'd require a different form of government.

Which is fine if you're being informed by facts, rather than opinions and interpretations being dressed up as facts, or, at the very best, facts being selectively presented.

"Modern journalism" nowadays consists of forming an opinion, and then going off to find some "expert" to agree with you, and then reporting on that.

The only way to get any USEFUL information nowadays is go out and get it for yourself. And, while you're there, do something that makes a real difference.

You're only describing the worst of the 24 hour news networks. Get a NYT subscription.

We should all just watch Fox News so we know exactly the right people to hate and all be on the same page.

Which is, of course, more fear and anger mongering...

... but of course, you were joking, right. Right? :)

Yes :3 point is that of all the fear mongering news sources at least they are very open and blatant about it and all their pundits and newsmen seem to be on the same page in terms of who they want you to hate, hehe.

The problem with media outlets is that they're just big corporations that say and do ( or ignore ) what their sponsors want them to. An example for my neck of the woods is the power company BC Hydro, they've been doing lots of bad things for the past decade or so but never are they criticized by the media. I'm sure it's because they're paid advertisers for all forms of media. And they're a monopoly with zero competition and millions of customers that have to buy their services. They don't even need to advertise but flip some dough to the newspapers, radio, TV etc and they can do whatever they want.

I think there are some outlets more credible than others though. For world news I like The Guardian Weekly.

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