Black Lives Matter2

“Black Lives Matter”

There is very little news, but an awful lot of politics.

 Most people, when they are looking for a safe neighborhood to live, don’t visit the local police station.  They do not check out the operational state of the police motor fleet or their effective fire power, nor even research the level of officer training, minority representation, nor their level of community representation, nor the sheer number of officers on the street.  They do not travel to city hall for a run down on the applicable laws in place so that the neighborhoods behave and whether Federal Law might come into play.  If they inquire, it’s about tax and sewer rates, and proximity to good schools and medical aid.  When normal people judge the safety and desirability of a neighborhood, they do so by going there and looking around.  The laws in Ferguson are pretty much the same laws as in Pocatello or in Buffalo.  And if you see a lot of police activity or bars on the window or pit bulls inside of cyclone fences, you don’t want to be there.  And if you don’t see an active police presence and the homes and the lawns are kept with pride, the fences are picket, and a lot of idle groups of young males aren’t giving you the eyeball, it’s more than likely a good spot.

However, when there is a ‘newsworthy’ problem, reporters generally do just the opposite.  They interview the police, city hall, victims and onlookers, and sometimes either the victim or the perpetrator’s neighbors.  Then they interview the experts.  Until finally we get to the talking heads and the national pundits, if the level of interest should climb so high.  Eventually the politicians chime in.  Because in the final analysis the news is showing us the politics of what is going on: claim and counter-claim, heading into to the jury trial.

In short, a lot of the news is not the news of what it purports to be.  The average Joe, given a brief glimpse of the situation, could often deduce that there is no news here, that things are pretty much as they would expect and move along.  They could resolve the issue just about as quickly as they could decide whether to move to the neighborhood.  And that would probably be a big, “No”.

It would seem that nowadays most of the news is politics.  The facts themselves are shared, only in so much as they would affect the public temper.  And depending upon the particular tenor of the media source, these facts are revealed either sooner or later – or not at all.

So herein lies the disconnect.

The signs say, “Black Lives Matter”, but the visuals say, not so much to us (the majority) – “what with the way they dress, the way they act, the way they talk and the arguments they pitch”. Angry  pundits say the police are “out of control”.  But the more complacent visuals say, “I’d hate to patrol this place” and moreover, “How can they find people to do it?”

Best move along.

What is interesting about the ‘news’ nowadays is that with the advent of the internet search engines, we can actually see how the ‘news’ is assembled.  There has been talk in the media of how the internet has fractured the ‘news’ into slivers of self-referential fiefdoms with each audience ‘bubble’ opting to hear what is most comfortable.  What is also interesting, I would say, is that we can now see what the ‘news’ is and how the narrative has been assembled.

Many years ago I added some Adobe movie software.  Afterwards I found that some other Adobe software wouldn’t work, though I hadn’t connected the two issues.  So I went to the Adobe help link to find why my software had these problems.  The offered help was not helpful.  But Adobe said on the link that if the offered help was not sufficient, that for a certain price/hour you could talk to a technician for further assistance.  This seemed like buying a pig in a poke.  So instead I Googled my problem using a quotation technique offered me by a friend.  Soon, the nasty underbelly of the software industry was revealed!  Here I found that the very problem Adobe was going to charge me to help fix, was a problem the new addition of their software program had caused and that they very well knew this, but weren’t saying.  I was astonished!

Flash forward to our current conversation:

A narrative is created in one prejudiced ‘news’ agency, which is countered by facts from another prejudiced ‘news’ agency, so that these later facts must now be incorporated into the narrative of the first.  We can see the ongoing battle for narrative that occurs throughout the life of a news ‘story’ displayed on the internet right before our eyes.

We can now witness what the ‘news’ is, and how it is assembled from a meticulously controlled release and spin of information.  But, we are forced to do at least twice the research and reading to discern some truth.

There are other complications.  As the news entities become more polarized so do they attract more prejudicial, polarized readers.  This in turn allows these more advocating journals leeway to spin and to slant their information – all the way to downright fabrication and lying.  This leaves the discerning reader in a quandary.  As the poles of advocacy journalism and their chosen audiences separate further, it can happen that the polarities become so estranged as to ignore one another.  And a discerning reader can wonder whether they aren’t reading a story published in two separate parallel universes.  There is less and less of the common tale to compare!  What to do?

Keeping up on the news has gotten a lot harder than opening the newspaper over coffee in the morning with June Cleaver.

Another complication ensues within the competition for audience i.e. market share.  “Life is not fair,” Jimmy Carter re-iterated famously.  Life is rarely balanced.  There is usually a winner and a loser.  Such is the case with the media.  Currently the liberal sources dominate.  Studies of the political bent of journalists shows that the liberal majority of them vastly outnumber the conservative.  A liberal slant controls the news, which in turn controls the narrative.

This, in turn, has created oppositional sources such as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh etc. which are not sources in themselves, but doppelgangers to the dominant established media.  That is, they exist as an oppositional slate of faux conservatism which respond like zombies to the established liberal narrative.  (And to my mind, perform about as graciously also.)  These faux sources have no ‘being’ in themselves other than opposition.  (“Only a head shot will take them down.”)  They are exactly such ‘obstructionists’ as the liberal media intended.  In a sense, the prejudices of the dominant media create ‘hate-groups’, of which Donald Trump is the most recent conjuration.

The authentic conservative sources currently fight as an insurgency.  Their position is described in weekly periodicals, such as “Commentary”, “First Things”, “The New Criterion”, “The National Review”, books, and think tank publications such as “Cato” and “The Discovery Institute”.  But fighting from these rag tag positions, it is almost impossible for them to influence the narrative.

So.  Sadly…

With this current election cycle we are determining which side of the progressive/liberal narrative we chose to follow.  Their direction, however, is the same.  This election is like a dysfunctional family.  You can chose to align yourself with either the mom or the dad.  But it’s still the same screwed-up clan.

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