As I switched on the local news I caught a bit of the National news . . . a few CEOs of large Internet companies were being grilled by senators about excessive influence on the voting public. It ended with one senator (I don’t remember who) making a comment that it was perhaps time for the government to step in and regulate these industries.
I believe Twitter and Facebook were two of the companies and I suspect the third was Apple (I didn’t bother to check). Google offered to send their Chief Legal Counsel but the Senators declined the offer . . . so they could bash Google for not showing up.
In that short span of time, I heard so much stupidity and hypocrisy that I felt the need to make a few observations.
Wanna hear them? Well, you can’t . . . you’ll have to read them, instead.
First of all, it was ironic hearing senators who regularly take contributions from foreign and domestic companies, who regularly consult with foreign and domestic lobbyists, and who have used the privilege and power of their office to enrich both themselves and their families, it was ironic hearing them chastize public companies for exerting too much influence in a free and open society.
Second — and related to the first — it was funny listening senators basically say US voters are idiots who can’t think their way out of a paper bag and hence must be spoon-fed only locally sanitized bull-droppings. No Foreign bull-droppings allowed!
Side Note: it’s not that I disagree with the Senators; the vast majority of US voters are idiots easily swayed by negative ads based on lies and distortions. The reason those ads work is that all an idiot wants is confirmation that being an idiot is a good thing. Hence, we ended up with Hillary and Trump as our top two candidates in the home of the free and land of the brave . . . or is it the other way around? . . . it don’t matter none; most people don’t know and it sounds about right.
Third, the idea the government could be trusted to ensure our social media feeds are pure and wholesome and honest is laughable. It could only be more laughable if suggested at a White House Press Briefing.
Look, we should hold these companies accountable. Hit them where it matters; the pocketbook.
But, that’s the problem, isn’t it? It would require us letting go of the very things we’re addicted to . . . the outlandish and misleading headlines accompanied by salacious photos culled to mislead. Heck, you could write the most stupid headline, put together a photo of a walrus and Trump (or Hillary) and never even have to write anything in the text; you could literally have no text . . . the headline and photos would be enough to spark a media storm as they would be reTweeted and forwarded and commented about with nary a person bothering to check for any substance or even point to it all.
Call me cynical, but that’s my current perception of things.
I challenge you to pick your favorite news source, write down notes as you listen to it, and then do some research with regards what you heard. Try and find original material as opposed to relying on edited pieces of either videos or text.
Most of all, ask yourself if it makes sense. Also, analyze the way things are said in addition to what is being said.
For instance, there are different connotations between hearing “a man was shot during a confrontation and later died” and “a man was killed”. Or, “a group of people protested” and “a group of people disrupted”. There are literally hundreds of such examples in a one hour broadcast.
Even the choice of what to report is usually calculated to produce a given effect. Say I’m reporting an influx of immigrants or refugees. Great. Now, I have two other pieces of news; one about an immigrant saving the life of a drowning kid and another about an immigrant robbing and killing someone.
In theory, I should report both or neither . . . but, that’s not what happens. If you are pro-immigration, you’ll probably choose the feel-good story. If anti-immigration, the bad behavior story is a no-brainer. In either case, you’re inviting an association between the lead story about immigrants and the subsequent story.
The thing is, most people absorb that without even a second thought about the possibility they are being intentionally conditioned.
. . . and that’s the problem . . . it doesn’t matter who it is; given the stakes political parties and special interest groups play for (power and money), you can bet they want to shape your opinion, even if unintentionally.
This can be countered by awareness and being informed and the capacity to reason . . . and, apparently, that’s beyond the capacity of a large portion of the public.
And now, the photo:
I tried doing a watercolor version of the pineapple quilt . . . how did it go?
I’m way behind a lot of my projects . . . and I’m adding more projects and ideas even as I’m struggling to keep up with what I have.
It’s almost, but not quite, resembling work . . .
Sometimes, Willy really nails it. . .
Well, I leave you with . . .
. . . a Charcoal Artist Rendition of Centipede Bachelorette Party.
And . . . that’s it
Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.
You can read about Project 313 HERE.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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