“Real Eyes Realize Real Lies”
That clever play on words (also attributed to Ray Charles, Woody Guthrie and Tupac Shakur) strikes me as being particularly relevant with respect to the current state of Main Stream Media, The Public, The Government and Corporate/Industrial interests. What does that clever sentence mean? There are perhaps many interpretations, and if you have one I would love to hear about it…but for me, in my estimated imagination this phrase means “those who look into the matter themselves (real eyes)…will come to understand and know (realize)…the truth from the lies (real lies). No matter how you or I might interpret “Real Eyes Realize Real Lies”, it’s essentially just a clever statement and not really a solution to the crisis we face with regards to the media, and others, and the use of “alternative facts” or down-right straight-up lies. It’s really not easy, trust me…trust yourself and you know…it’s not easy. Let’s try this, shall we…
Take this simple three question quiz. Determine if these headlines and their following bylines are Real News or Fake News.
It’s easy, it won’t hurt and there is no winner or loser. Try it;
“James Comey tried to hide from Donald Trump by blending in with curtains”
The former FBI Director was so desperate not to interact with The President at an event honoring law enforcement in January, he tried to use his dark blue suit to camouflage himself against the Blue Room décor, The New York Times reported. But Mr. Trump saw the 6’8” Comey and called him over for a hug- though Mr. Comey had been aiming for a handshake at the January 22nd event.
Source- The Independent
Is This Real News or Fake News?
“New Google Companion Nanochip Tracks Your Baby’s Life, Auto-posts to Social Media”
Google Companion, a nanochip 4G-LTE transmitter that tracks emotions, memories, new experiences, conversations and much more. The information is processed and transferred to your social media page to personalize your web experience. Instantly updating your status, location and other pertinent information to keep your social media experience relevant, personalized and seamless across multiple platforms, the nanochip is inserted at birth or can be retro-fitted into an adult and should be available as soon as 2020 according to developers.
Is This Real News or Fake News?
“Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World’s Most Powerful Particle Collider”
The Large Hadron Collider, a 17 mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons at nearly the speed of light, went off line overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable. “We had electrical problems and we’re pretty sure it was caused by a small animal” says Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, the organization that operates the $7 billion dollar partial collider in Switzerland
Is This Real News or Fake News?
How did you do, were you able to determine which story is factual and which is not? In this day and age it’s not always easy to discern the truth. Often there are multiple contradictory accounts of any given situation, conflicting stories from “unnamed sources” and a variety of reputable and not so reputable online resources that can dominate and/or slant a search engine result on many subjects. Add to this muddy stream of information a confusing cacophony of “double speak”, nonsense rhetoric and subtle deflection of “what-about-ism” and “if we did this, then they did that…” defense strategy. Not forgetting the editorial or opinion oriented news items (or the producers/talent who present the news) which all too often are provided as factual when, in actuality, they are only partially truthful. Then there’s just plain old propaganda backed by big dollars with specific interests to promote, information served up in the context of the news program that are, actually, promotional messages or sandwiched between related news stories that somehow favor their agenda…it’s bad, so bad even the most avid news junkie can easily get confused.
Sifting through the facts and the “alternative” facts is time consuming and nearly irrelevant because, as Mark Twain once said “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled" …then again, did Mark Twain actually say that? You know there’s doubt about this too…but that is my point. There are multitudes of resources and not all of them are accurate, some are not even truthful but to the average citizen like you or me…it’s difficult to tell sometimes, isn’t it?
Regardless if Mark Twain said that quote or not, it seems to ring true in my experience. People, when fooled, do not easily admit to the fact they were fooled and all too often they defend their fallacies with passion rather than admit to being a fool. Nobody like to admit their foolishness, I get that, but it’s really rather silly. It’s a sense of pride but it’s very dangerous in terms of both our social structure and the democratic republic for which we stand; The American Dream cannot be built upon lies and fallacies, The American Experiment cannot be governed by blind acceptance of “alternative” facts and propaganda. And all of us, every single American citizen needs to recognize this because, at the end of the day, it is our collective responsibility to correct this behavior so we as a nation can again move forward. Let’s get over it people, you and me both have been fooled, screwed and bamboozled by a number of different institutions, organizations and entities…for a very long time too.
But like Sgt. Joe Friday from Dragnet used to say, “The facts. Just the facts, ma’am…” (or did he, in fact say that?) ((yes, he did))!
The advent of today’s mass multi-media (over) stimulation, the social and political rhetoric about “fake news” and “false flags” combined with a sense of urgency, a growing impatience for significant change, along with a sullied veil of hope for our country, it’s not always easy to discern what is factual, what is fictional and what is simply hyperbole. Gone is the trust in the “fourth pillar” of democracy; the free press is, at best, a hallowed shell of the institution it once was and as culpable in the present state of confusion as any other institution. Two of the other three pillars of a democratic republic, The Legislative and Executive estates of government have too been sullied by years of misinformation, deceit and the corruption of corporate/military/industrial interests. Even The Judicial Branch of our government is called into question with partisan decisions or under attack (from The Executive Branch, no less) for various unfavorable decisions. Without these four pillars, like any structure, the ceilings will collapse and the building is destroyed. The Free Press, which is not so free if you pay a cable television bill, is failing for a number of reasons not the least of which is a lack of integrity for the sake of the bottom line. News organization today are profit driven but they were not always this way, the news department traditionally operated at a loss for television networks, they didn’t make big advertising revenue and the news was often a somber, serious and non-opinionated delivery of the facts as they were understood at the time. The networks, although perhaps covering the same events and stories, were diverse in the delivery and they each made the effort to fact check the facts before broadcasting them. To a lesser degree perhaps radio and news-print were also more accountable for their content because it seemed to be understood, this is about truth, justice and The American Way, not about profits, ratings and the bottom line for the Almighty Dollar.
Then there’s this Internet thing…as wonderfully and potentially enlightening as this new found medium is, it is equally as frighteningly dangerous and nefarious in terms of its impact on our collective well being. The Facebook debacle during the 2016 election, when they repeated and promoted clearly false information as real news…when “the Pizzagate” story broke resulting in a whack-job with a gun blasting a pizza parlor over a false story…as search engines become easier to manipulate with keywords and “factual” or “educational” sites can be altered and edited with unverified information…as proven science can be shadowed by creationism or climate science erased from government websites; when even our current President and his Administration make outlandish claims like “the largest inaugural crowd ever!” or “3-5 million illegals voted in the last election”…claims that were quickly proven to be false are twisted and spun into being simple hyperbole; as if this an excuse for out-right lying. It’s not just this President folks, it’s not just Republicans but Democrats too. Facts are routinely dismissed in favor of spinning a narrative more conducive to their individual or party agendas; Obama did it too, so did Bush Jr. and Clinton…all culpable for this United States of Confusion.
Unfortunately it’s obvious we are witness to devolution of knowledge, trust and hope. But you know, like Mark Twain might have said, it’s easier to fool people than convince them they’ve been fooled, right? How do we correct this perilous anomaly? Do we appoint a Brainiac Dream Team to fact check everything ever published on the internet before it’s published? Should we leave it up to the next generation of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) technology to determine when a story is purely factual and when it is not? Do we each need to be truth sleuths who check and double or triple check each thing we read and then maybe be a little more open minded to the possibility that we were wrong, we may have been fooled? Do we just throw our Hands Across America up in the air and declare “I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!”
I personally suspect the solution is a combination of remedies but the one thing all of the solutions have in common is you and me and our neighbors and friends, our mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers…you know, We The People, in the end, we are the answer. Short of demanding a purely non-profit business model for the delivery of news, arguably that’s what PBS (Public Broadcasting System) is supposed to be…but in practice it’s debatable how non-partisan PBS/NPR is with their respective news organizations. The Free Market offers another viable solution, however, speak to the networks in terms they will understand…revenue, ratings and the bottom line. This is easier said than done, that is given, but it is not impossible. The combination of a professional editorial review process; the deployment of non-partisan personnel, staff and talent; the advance of A.I. Technologies and the complete “middle of the road” delivery of the just the facts, the actual proven facts only will strengthen the trust of the information but it still comes down to the bottom line. Will it sell soap or beer or the latest model of automobile? That’s where it comes back to you and me and We The People and all that…we can boycott the sponsors of less than accurate news organization and favor those who advertise on the more reputable news services. We can reward the networks who operate news at a loss for the sake of truth and diminish the profits of the networks who report slanted information to advance their advertising partners or political agendas. It’s more than just turning the channel off, we need to stop supporting the companies…all the companies…who are advertising on that network. The consumer economy holds a power only We The People control…don’t give them your greenbacks, don’t use their products or shop at their establishment or subscribe to their services; better yet, give your hard-earned business to their competitors who advertise on a more suitable network.
This is only one method of holding the news and information industry (and it is an industry) accountable, but there are other methods available…after all, the American airwaves in essence, belong to The American People and through our Federal Communication Commission we allow a network or organization the liberty of using our collective airwaves; these entities must meet a certain standard and requirement, they must operate within specific guidelines and We The People have the power to revoke these licenses should it be found the established regulations are being violated. We can also amend, adopt and change the regulations as technology has evolved and the industry has developed.
There have been some changes over the past 83 years of The FCC and all too often these amendments have been less than transparent, especially with regards to the deregulation of the cable industry in favor of corporate interests and not for We The People…here’s an age gauge, do you remember when TV and Radio were free…when anyone with a pair of “rabbit ears” or low-band AM transistor radio could tune in the news of the day…not anymore, is it? We have to subscribe to a cable service (Television or Internet) even to get the local networks, this both limits public access and sets-up a potential for an abuse of information. The breech of The FCC regulations is a direct result of a 1987 repeal of “The Fairness Doctrine” as initialized by The Reagan Administration. “The Fairness Doctrine” was a policy of the FCC introduced in 1949, which required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was — in the Commission's view — honest, equitable, and balanced. In other words, the holder of this licenses is bond with a public trust to present truthful information, in a fair and reasonable manner, with respect and steadiness to all parties. In absence of this doctrine The FCC ruling is simply “say whatever you want, about whoever you want without impunity, accountability or revocation of FCC privilege” and it’s been downhill ever since.
Incidentally, The Fox Network was established in 1986 by Reagan’s largest supporter, Rupert Murdoch. Yeah, the same Murdoch who strongly supports Trump too.
As disturbing as the removal of that FCC ruling is, it’s equally as shameful that in all the years since that 30 year old removal, it’s never been challenged. Not once, by any administration, Republican or Democratic, in all these years…one can speculate and imagine why there’s never been a challenge, but really that’s a moot point. Perhaps it’s time We The People demand this ruling be revisited and reconsidered in favor of making it illegal to broadcast information that is not truthful and hold every network, every producer and on-air personality accountable for the breech of this scared public trust. We The People can DEMAND a more truthful news service through legislative process with executive leadership…this issue, the truth in media is not a Liberal or Conservative issue, it’s not a way to favor a Democratic or Republican agenda, it’s a trust We The People own. We should own it, not the networks or their sponsors, not even the representative we’ve elected, they do not own this powerful tool of democracy, the American airwaves, the infrastructure that supports this public do not belong to the Corporations or the Politicians, but to you and me and the people we really know… The airwaves belong to The People of This Nation and We The People deserve The Truth and Nothing Less.
Real Eyes Realize Real Lies…in looking into this myself, with my own eyes, my own thoughts…this is what I’ve come to understand and know…and I believe I can see truth from lies a bit easier. Oh about that simple three question quiz, do you remember your answers still? If not, go back and check…but for the sake of closure let me give credit where credit is due; those three Real News or Fake News Challengers were published on an online game (factitious.com) and all three headlines/articles were actually published online. In our little pop quiz, the first and the third headlines were Real News and the second article was Fake News…and this very article is simply the thoughts of a concerned citizen who is trying to get other like minded people to think about the state of our collective affairs (before it’s too late).
Lastly, in an effort to introduce ourselves to each other, my name is d’Philip Chalmers; I’m an author, public speaker, activist, husband, father, friend and die-hard Chicago Cubs fan who loves a good deep dish pizza every now and again…who might you be? Please utilize the comment sections on this blog or, if you’re feeling more private, send me an email and share your thoughts, please. I can also be found on Facebook or perhaps around our humble little town of Colfax and I’m always open for intelligent discussions about these (and many other) issues. Likewise, if you have something to write about, if you would like to share your previous (on-topic) blog articles or perhaps write something specifically for CA-04, I encourage you to contact us…we’re always in need of open minds and considerate thoughts.
As always, I’m Grateful for your time, I hope you enjoyed the article and until next time…Be Well, Stay Safe and Think For Yourself!
17 July 2017