Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Demise of “Old” (Mass) Media

There used to be a fabled time in the distant past in which newspapers (mass media) was a source combating misinformation, disinformation, ignorance, bias and prejudice -- but has now become our greatest source of them, selling out their own credibility and usefulness.

It’s been pointed out to them pretty nearly constantly now but they’ve gone way past the point of “no return,” which is the major reason for the explosive growth of the alternatives. Information just grew too fast for any organization to control it anymore. The whole management structure of media organizations was based on uniformity, standardization and control -- which is certain death in the new world of information.

In all likelihood, the old media organizations cannot evolve to be viable in the new age of communications and information because its very life is rooted in the DNA of an extinct culture and society of the 20th century -- which was undoubtedly their heyday. It was the age of mass media -- which allowed the rise of demagogues like Hitler, which the new media precludes -- because one at best, is still one voice among many -- much to the disappointment of those who would still relish being the “voice of God,” on CBS or whatever. There are still a few people like that out there -- wondering each day what their “legacy” to humanity will be.

The rest of us, realize that we do well to do the best we can each day -- and in that manner, create a meaningful and effective life -- delusions not necessary to make any life greater. Such lives are properly focused fully in the moment -- rather than in the past, or the future, which was largely the creation of the mass media propaganda.

That was what they were most effective at shaping -- the past and the future -- while each person is master of his own present, because it is real and not just a fabrication of thought. So it was very necessary for mass media to get one living in either the past or the future -- because it has no control over the present, in which each individual can see for themselves what is real.

Arguments are always about the past or the future -- and seldom about the present, because that is verifiable reality -- and not simply a belief about some theoretical time in the past in which we presume to have perfect knowledge -- when we are not even that sure about what we see in the present moment. Obviously, we can not have more perfect information about the past or the future than we have of the present -- yet many believe their understanding of the past, or future is perfect, while they have no idea what is going on in that instant.

That is the fallacy of “knowledge” -- which is information of the past -- and not the more useful information, of what is actually happening right now -- which of course, is reality. The mass media (including schools and universities), instructs us to believe that their knowledge is more useful than real-time information -- because the present, they claim, is only a repetition of the past, because history only repeats itself -- rather than evolving to new possibilities and realities.

5 Comments:

At September 03, 2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Understanding the fall of mass media is important because the world is changing from mass culture (including mass education, mass transportation, mass marketing, etc.), to a personalized culture -- of choices each makes for themselves, rather than a self-appointed few who dictate them for everybody else.

So we need leaders for that kind of world -- of choices rather than government as restriction. In the past, government actually limited our choices to their own monopolies -- of the public education system, libraries, “liberal” studies, what they regarded as “politically” correct, and then sponsored public forums to legitimize predetermined decisions made in back rooms. And so the people despaired of that “participation” of “democracy.”

It can continue to swing in that direction until people decide it doesn’t have to -- and all the dire warnings of doom are just manipulations to choose irrationally out of old fears and anxieties. That kind of coercion is not freedom to choose -- but is the tyranny of no choice masquerading as “democracy.”

This kind of terrorism (tyranny) doesn’t just happen in places like Iraq. It happens wherever people try to terrorize others into thinking that life can not get better if we choose differently -- it can only get worse.

 
At September 03, 2006 12:16 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The most telling quality in leaders of the present time is communication style and tactics; do they provide information to make an informed best decision -- or do they tell you what to think? -- as though only they knew, because they are suppressing the rest of the information. That’s the nature of real democracy and not authoritarianism pretending to be “democracy.”

One can’t depend on mass media to be a surrogate for finding out oneself what is the truth of any matter. People got into that habit -- of first depending on others to tell them what was true, and such trust can easily be exploited. The supplemental information and interpretations should always be secondary to discovering the truth for oneself -- although many “professionals” will try to convince one otherwise. And that becomes a huge problem when the professionals then determine what is best for the consumer. Certainly the consumer should be the ultimate judge of the effectiveness and value of the professional they have retained to aid them in accomplishing their own ends -- and not that the professional should be carte blanche authority to do whatever he decides is best.

That situation is ripe for abuse -- as when the newspaper asserts, “We know everything the people need to know.” And then that becomes the right to tell the people what to know. That’s how democracies slide into totalitarianism (authoritarianism), the rule by those who know better what is right for everybody else.

One of the most common of these discussions is that the “educators” alone should determine what effective education is -- and not the students and their parents. Think slowly about this for a moment: Is it the citizen-consumer who should decide what he wants/needs to know, or should it be the service provider who determines when he has made enough exploiting the situation?

Health care faces that same conundrum: The obviously healthy person is not a very profitable patient for the service provider. Working for the IRS, one is struck by how those with the most severe problems, are so because of advice they’ve received from tax advisers who get them deeper into trouble, with each consultation and assistance. It is what observers term, the destructive relationship of “co-dependency,” in which the more help given, the more one becomes helpless and needing increasingly more help -- which is obviously going in the wrong direction, if a freer and more independent life is an objective.

In more primitive societies, exploitation of the weaker, is still the societal norm. The most notable of those remnants of that subculture are prisons and criminal/psychopathic gangs.

For those we choose to be leaders in government, they should have this kind insight into the problems beyond what the lobbyists and professional self-interests would like us to believe, and are so clever at manipulating these days. Our elected officials should be the gate-keepers of information -- in this manner. That’s why it is so important to find out how a prospective representative thinks -- and not whether they are “politically correct,” as determined by the lobbying groups.

 
At September 03, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I'll be on cable Channel 52 (Oahu), September 28, 2006, Thursday morning at 10 AM for 60 minutes, discussing new concepts of exercise and conditioning in one of the landmark public access programs, Understanding Conditioning (1994), one of the most requested repeat showings because of the timelessness of its content.

As far as I know, it was the first to propose that the answer to effective and productive exercise, was to make it easier and simpler -- rather than to make it more difficult and even prohibitive to most people, especially those of declining abilities who could benefit from an exercise program the most.

The concepts, revolutionary in their time, have withstood the test of time and have become that which makes more sense as the dominant Baby Boom population matures and outgrew their belief that wishful-thinking made it so.

Here are the sound principles behind maintaining full-range movement throughout life.

 
At September 05, 2006 8:45 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Understanding human behavior and motivation is not rocket science.

http://www.paradisepost.com/columns/ci_4288469

Is news just the facts? Not anymore
By Dick Little

There's an old saying, "... if you're 20 and not a liberal, you're heartless, and if you're 40 and not a conservative, you're stupid!" (This statement is often attributed to Francois Marie Arouet, better known as "Voltaire," but that's not likely).
If this statement is true, members of the so-called "mainstream media" in this country are either all under 40 and thus not "heartless," or they are over 40, and they are "stupid."

Well, that's a little harsh, but it does make a point. When I entered the field the ideal was to "... tell it like it is."

Not what I would like it to be, but simply lay out the facts. If one fact strongly supports a point of view we were obligated to seek other facts that would dispute it.

Unfortunately, many of today's instructors teach what is called, "advocacy journalism."

The columns you read in this newspaper like this one are usually one-sided, supporting a certain point of view. That's why they are on the editorial page. It would be deceitful to place them on the front page and label them as news.

Unlike many newspapers today, this paper brings you both sides so you can "balance" these opinions with your own principles in any way you see fit. To an old journalist, that's a good thing. To many new journalists, a view that does not match their own is a "bad thing."

That's why today we are increasingly seeing "adversarial" stories in the so-called "mainstream press."

Graduates in the "advocacy journalism" era have made their way into management and continue to support a "left of center" view in news reporting, which does this country a great disservice.

Dominance in the media of one point of view serves no one well. Here's a real quote from Voltaire: "... those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard's executive editor, has seen a great change since the 1980s. He says, "the mainstream media today is more liberal, more elitist, more secular, more biased, more hostile to conservatives and Republicans, and more self-righteous!"

He's right! Every poll of the media in the last 40 years shows he is right. In 2004, a poll of Washington reporters showed they voted Democratic, 10 to 1. Former Orlando Sentinel columnist, Peter Brown, polled reporters at American papers large and small and found reporters everywhere are like those who cover politics in Washington D.C.

Barnes claims reporters who work for his paper, "The Weekly Standard," are "...among the brightest in the nation," but they will never get a call from papers like the New York Times ... (the) mainstream media doesn't want them around."

When working as a journalist in central California, other reporters would taunt me about quoting identified "conservative sources" as if they were wrong because of their philosophy. Barnes claims the so-called "mainstream media" doesn't want good reporters who happen to be "conservative."

He says because of the direction of the "mainstream media," a "void" was left in other areas. As Henry Kaiser said, the key to success is to, "... find a need and fill it." That's what is happening today.

Talk Radio, and blogs are filling some of the gaps, along with Fox News (the nation's most watched news channel), which employs Barnes as a commentator, but it's still a lot smaller and not nearly as influential, and the large metropolitan dailies.

Barnes says the mainstream media created Cindy Sheehan as a spokesperson for the anti-war crowd, and "... shamelessly mischaracterized (her) ... it portrayed her as simply a poor woman who wanted to see President Bush because her son had been killed in Iraq."

(She had already met the president when she made the statement and favored the Iraqi insurgency).

He points out you never see the term, "ultra-liberal" in the mainstream press but points out they do use the word "activist" to describe those who attempt to block shopping centers.

"Of course what the term activist means is liberal," Barns told a college group, "but while conservatives are called conservatives by the media, liberals are activists!"

He also claims the Valerie Plame story was "blown out of proportion" by the mainstream media noting, "she was not an undercover agent ... she was not sent overseas." The story had no, "national security implications." On the other hand, the National Security surveillance story (where the Bush administration was using a computerized program to monitor telephone calls) Barnes called, "(a) secret and crucial program that was being used to uncover plots to bomb and massacre Americans."

He says the story was mischaracterized as a "domestic spying scandal."

(He says those being spied on were al-Qaida members overseas who were using the telephone.)

Barnes also notes, you never see the term, "... ultra-liberal" in the mainstream media, but you certainly see, "... ultra-conservative."

He also points out in the debate for judicial nominees, conservative nominees are often linked to the "conservative" Federalist Society, while left-wing groups are not given the labels like, "ultra liberal" or "left of center" which he said gives the impression, "they are somehow objective."

Barnes also claims left-leaning reporters use the word, "Christian" in such a way to suggest, "... they are mean and hateful."

He also notes in today's media, liberals "criticize," but conservatives "hate."

President Bush's commitment to the Christian faith also takes a "media hit" according to Barnes, "The press treats Bush as some religious nut!"

Paul Kengor wrote a book about the president's religion and studied past presidents, as well as the current one. Kengor says President Clinton quoted scripture and mentioned Jesus Christ much more often than President Bush.

Barnes' critique hits the nail on the head. It won't change the "mainstream media." But it may help the general public read the news more skeptically, and that's a good thing.

Dick Little is a Paradise resident who also contributes to a local Npr station.

 
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