Monday, January 5, 2015

The Absurdity of Dishonesty in Media in the Digital Age

Last night I played with photo editing apps on my phone and with a few deft taps I became an alien. Green smooth skin, hint of a mouth, giant black eyes.

Just because something starts as truth or observation does not mean that with a few taps, strong words and poignant images that it remains truth. Perhaps we should be teaching children about what truth is, about how to research and weigh information. When I was in graduate school they told us that primary school through undergraduate school classes were to teach people how to do what they are instructed and to do basic research, accepting the sources found as accurate.

Graduate school teaches you to lead, to weigh the veracity of information and information sources to stop assuming. Shouldn't we teach children not to assume? Why should we perpetuate an education system that doesn't empower development of independent thinking skills and problem solving? Are we afraid that children will turn on us? Sadly, I think it is more likely to happen when we continuously dismiss them, enable them, excuse them, and teach them what respect and honesty aren't. The plots of many children and teen programs are about how stupid adults are and how to successfully lie and manipulate them. Why? Why isn't it absurd?

I remember the newspapers before 9-11. I remember the headlines. The country was considering impeachment of George W. Bush. Then 9-11 happened. All the sudden, he was the symbol of something and the country forgot how just days before we were beyond frustrated with his lies and ineptitude. It is hard to dig up the articles on good ole George and impeachment now in the shadow of the horrific impact of 9-11. I am not going to go on about 9-11. In fact, I want to remind you that there was an earlier 9-11 in Chile in 1974.

I want to remind you that it is public knowledge that our CIA and  government supported terrorist actions against the government there, and it wasn't an evil overlord that got cast down. It was a democratic government. The atrocities committed by the terrorists we funded and supplied were terrible, and somehow that word just doesn't lend itself to the true impact of how bloodthirsty and malignant the new, violent regime was. It was about profits. It wasn't about supporting a democracy, or we never would have supported taking down a democracy. So when you say 9-11 I am reminded of the truth. Our horrific event was set on the anniversary of another horrific event; a clue from terrorists that we are hypocrites. I'm talking about "we" as a country.

Do you know that we have never formally apologized as a country to Chile for our involvement? The CIA was found guilty of atrocities and torture, yet a verbal slap on the wrist is all they get when the feeble excuse for committing heinous acts of torture on human beings was "we got some information, kind of…" Although, when told to spit it out and say what they got, they couldn't do anything other than generalize. Stop. There is no justification for torture. If you would not torture someone personally, then you should be vocal about pressuring your government to stop representing you this way. Become aware of how our country is perceived by the rest of the world. They don't see our communities, people volunteering or working together. They don't see us trying to implement recycling programs. They see us bombing, they see us sending in soldiers and randomly picking sides, they see us empowering cartels to murder and dominate through our fabricated war on drugs to once again, increase a profit for someone. The wars that happen continuously in the Middle East are about profit not really prophet. We could take the powder out of that keg by developing and producing transportation that doesn't operate off fossil fuels. Remember supply and demand? Demand goes away, doesn't matter what supply is.

Isn't it past time for the CIA to hang up it's hat? How about creating a World Relations Department that has a focus of fostering good, healthy relations with other countries? Perhaps if we focused on that instead of on the need to foster fear and profit off fear, we could start becoming a respected member of the global community instead of an oversized moronic bully. It is up to us.

It is the digital age. My fingers can dance on keys and call up news from other countries to see what the six news sources in the US aren't saying while they hyper focus on soap opera fluff. I can watch lies unfold and impact. Currently I am dumbfounded. We apparently, really don't like North Korea. After the Sony hack, experts in cyber-crimes investigated. Their findings do NOT point at North Korea, they point HERE in the U.S. however our government doesn't like the North Korean one. Instead of standing up straight, tall, and honestly our President lied to excuse sanctions. Why? Can't we put on our big man pants and say "We are sanctioning you because of your human rights violations" which would be completely honest. For some reason that isn't a good enough reason, so we exaggerate and toss in the hack they probably didn't do. We lose credibility, Korean dictator gains. His reply was honest, frank, and sadly called us out on our dishonesty. Why aren't we calling for accuracy in international relations? There should be a leash that we as citizens can tug on to say "hey, be honest with the world." I try to be as honest as memory allows me to be, we all forget things now and then. I do not like being represented with lies.

It is flu shot season. They do some good for some people, so if you get them great and if you don't great. Your choice, and I respect that. Did you notice there has never been a long term research study on the overall health impact of getting yearly flu shots? Did you know that one of the issues with flu shots that is overlooked is the uncertainty of whether or not it is actually good for the immune system? Last week, the news talked about how the latest flu has mutated so much that the flu shot doesn't have an effect on it. Now, wait a week. This week, the newspaper encouraged everyone to go get flu shots as it could potentially help, although it won't. It was the most unusual article and the writer had to try hard to sound positive. Someone wanted an article nudging people to get the shot, someone wants a profit. Thankfully, my memory lasts more than a week. I went back and read both articles side by side. Funny. As if we should have a reset button in our heads, that the media pretend gets pushed when they want to manipulate our lives.

We all have the power to reach beyond what is presented to us, we can ask for more or seek out different sources. We can start establishing what we will and will not accept from our 'leadership,' we can say no more lies. We can vote, we can protest, we can pressure to chance legislation. We can peacefully stand and say "We want accountability. transparency. honesty." Why not? Why not start working to heal some of the issues that are unhealthy about our country? It is absurd not to.