Monday, June 22, 2015

Media acts to distract and divide

Before I start, let me say that I am not commenting much if at all on whether this study should have been done. Certainly I don't agree with the way it was conducted. I am referrin to the timing and manner of reporting by the news media. Of course, that will not stop those who are hunger for the adrenaline rush of anger and the feeling of superiority from finding an excuse to attack others, and who will react as the unthinking robots as the power elite expects, or those who cannot think rationally.

This morning, NPR reported on mustard gas tests on members of the military during WWII, designed to find out if the skins of different races reacted differently. I did a search, and it is appearing on other news sites today, or within the last month.

They went on for awhile talking about tests on African-Americans and Japanese-Americans. They finally had a couple of sentences that the tests were also done on Caucasians, then went back to exclusively talking about the tests on non-Caucasians. At one point, they made a mention of the people being volunteers, such a brief mention that many people might not have noticed it, esp. if they were listening while doing something else, which is common.

They eventually mentioned that this has been know for more than 20 years. Now, why did they choose this point in time to focus on this. Of course, once one news source reports something like this, other will follow suit. But why did someone decide to get this into the news at this time, when it is not some new discovery?

Before I go further, I note that I have no reason to think, and no expectation, that the recent church shooting was anything other than the act of an unhappy, angry individual.

What I do note is that the church shootings did not get the response that we have come to expect, with big spectacle. We have African-American members of the congregation expressing forgiveness, Caucasians expressing condemnation. Angry, sometimes violent protests have kept other tragedies in the news for an extended period, helping to separate people from working together and paying attention to their common problems caused by the power elite.

And now is a sensitive time for the power elite, as there has been focus on Pope Francis' encyclical on our duty to be good stewards of our earth, and care about the poor, who are especially hurt by climate change and other kinds of pollution and actions by business.

I am 69 years old, and from my experience of following the "news", I say it is very possible, or probable, that the timing of the mustard gas stories at this time is a deliberate attempt to distract us from our common enemies, and stoke distrust among groups so that we do not work together.

There are at least two aspects to this. One is simply that dramatic & controversial news generates more viewers, which means more possible donations for NPR, advertising dollars for commercial media.

Another is that the advertisers, owners, and corporate donors have an obvious influence on the media. It is in their interests to keep us distracted from their actions, and keep us divided. And it is obvious that they use their influence to do so.

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