Attacking The Root Cause Of Our Country’s Problems: The News Media – Bunker Builders First in a Series

October 28, 2014: Updated with link at bottom.

An analogy: Your doctor tells you your deteriorating medical condition is due to your excessive use of illegal drugs, and if you don’t cease immediately you will die within a year. But instead of giving up your drugs, you decide to stop drinking booze. A year later you die and, as your spirit looks down on your lifeless body, you are puzzled about why you died — because, you know, you quit drinking alcohol.

root-cause-tree-3The reason you died is because you refused to address the root cause of your medical condition. And that is the very reason for most of the hundreds – even thousands – of problems we have in our country today: We are refusing to address the root cause. Instead we insist on focusing on the many results of the root cause. So in today’s series, we will look at the major obstacle in attacking the root cause of the vast majority of our country’s problems.

Precursor: If you’ve ever sat in on a court trial, you will know that the oath given to a witness is a variation of, but includes, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?” Point being, it not just the truth, but the entire truth that is required.

Normally you might think today’s “instant” news is a good thing; and it would be if not for — the news media. Today’s news media has become extremely biased. As such, we seldom get just the truth, and never the whole truth. In many cases we get no truth at all. And before the root-cause for our problems can be eradicated, we – must – be – accurately – and – truthfully – informed.

We have an overwhelming number of problems in our country today, and the vast majority is due to our broken & corrupt political system, upside-down economical system and ever-widening social differences. But none of them are going to be resolved until we fix the root cause. Don’t know what that is? Don’t feel bad – most people don’t. That’s because our news media has taken sides on all our issues, distracting from the root cause. And when you’re biased you become unreliable, because any story you tell is slanted to emphasize your biases. So, in order to fix these problems, what is the first thing we must attack? Our news media; because issues – all issues – must be reported in totality with accuracy and truthfulness. (Yesterday’s post is the absolute perfect example of what I mean.)

I know many will say that fairness should be part of the equation. But asking them to be “fair” places the media in a position of having to be properly schooled on ideological differences as well as the consequences of those different ideas. And we could never trust them to be that proficient, ignoring their own biases. To that point, the only thing that needs to be “fair” is to ensure that ideological guests are evenly split, each are given a fair chance and equal time to speak, refereeing at times, with the reporters / anchors challenging the guest when known untruths and inaccuracies are spoken. As for the reporting itself, if they include all the facts with accuracy and truthfulness, and nothing but the facts, the people of America have the intelligence to decide for themselves what they want and do not want. We don’t need the news people “explaining” to us or telling us what is best for us.

I’m sure you get tired of hearing it, but, relative to the news media’ biased and dishonest reporting, the gigantic elephant-in-the-room showed up back in 1996 with the arrival of Fox News. It didn’t take long for the rest of the media to recognize that Fox’s only purpose was to be a major player in promoting the conservative cause (Fox’s official excuse for their biases was to present “opposing views” to a then non-existent “liberal media”). And it’s only gotten worse.root-cause-tree-1

As a result of Fox, other main-stream media began to either jump on Fox’s band wagon or take the opposing view, depending upon their ideology. The result is that the American people do not get all the facts with accuracy and truthfulness anymore. As such, very few people believe today’s news media can be trusted to give us the tools to make a proper, rational informed decision. Not only is that distrust justified, but is a real problem toward eradicating the root cause we seek to destroy.

when-reporters-were-reporters2Edward R. Murrow is considered to be the first reporter / news anchor during the 20th century that could be completely trusted. He took no sides in the political or social arena, giving credit when and where credit was due, and criticizing when criticism was appropriate, regardless of political Party affiliation. Murrow set the standard for honesty, accuracy, truthfulness, integrity, civility and morals in the news media. He was followed by Walter Cronkite (CBS), Howard K. Smith (ABC) and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley (NBC Huntley/Brinkley Report). As it were, Cronkite was the most trusted by Middle America. But the obsession for celebritism, fame, wealth, power and ideology by today’s media figures has long since replaced the standards set by the pioneers.

A major indicator of how the news media try’s to attract its audience today is reflected in the anchors / reporters themselves rather than their reporting quality. For starters, take a look at the women of Fox News. They are nothing more than would-be celebrities, and Fox leans heavily toward the blond hair, Caucasian ladies (more than half of the lineup, although some are not natural blonds). This was not by accident. While these choices are designed in part to draw envious females, it is mainly to attract the male audience through sexism. Even their female field reporters fit the description. For the most part, the women are window dressing provided as lead-ins for the radical male anchors to push the conservative agenda and pound on anyone who isn’t far right.

As for the men of Fox, you can’t really put them in the same category (except for a couple), but that too is by design since male viewers are Fox’s (and the GOP’s) primary target, and Fox doesn’t want male viewers who are attracted to men. They still strongly believe that white, heterosexual males should be making all the important decisions for the country, and that that’s all they really need to attract in order to get and retain power.

There was a time when CNN wasn’t trying to use sexism to draw their viewers, but that appears to be rapidly changing since they’ve decided to make most of their reporting biased. To that point, CNN seems to have taken a page out of Fox’s playbook, although, unlike Fox, they do keep one or two that doesn’t “fit the mold”. Mostly the difference between Fox and CNN is that CNN is subtle; very subtle. While they aren’t as flagrant with their ideology, you can easily spot it if you pay close attention.

The network evening news (CBS, NBC and ABC) has only 30 minutes each day dedicated to reporting the news, so they rarely become ideological. However, if you watch their special reports and/or their weekend shows, it comes out — especially NBC. CNBC, the business channel, outright flaunts their right-wing agenda. Although not acceptable, it is understandable given their business relationship with the corporate world and wealthy individuals.

And then there’s MSNBC. I’m not sure if we should refer to them as “news media” or a talk show. About the only time they report any news is when it’s a lead-in for a topic of discussion and/or talking point. At any rate, they lean strongly left in their political and social ideology. Therefore, they too cannot be trusted to give you total accuracy and truthfulness on everything, although, unlike right-leaning media, they can be heard from time to time criticizing left-leaning & liberal politicians for their inaccuracies and/or screw-ups.

One thing that can be said with full confidence is that the left-leaning media doesn’t come close to the right-leaning media when it comes to using bullying tactics. But that’s just the DNA make-up of the hard right.

The one specific category that all main-stream media anchors and reporters can be placed in is “celebritism”. They all want to be famous like big-name Hollywood types, followed closely with an overwhelming desire to become wealthy. The former is reflected in their efforts to become “the story” in many reports. I could make a long list here, but I’ll use just three examples.

Let’s start with HLN’s Robin Meade. Her extra-circular activities tells one a lot about her. She has appeared on stage with country singers at several events, always with her own (HLN?) cameras in tow. She even has a couple of albums. Just Google up her name and you’ll find all sorts of celebrity photos and events. As it turns out, being a reporter is simply a platform (with income) to support her addition to clebritism.

Next is Megyn Kelly of Fox. Googling up her name will produce about 8 million hits. She is known for all kinds of sexy pics and celebrity appearances. Maybe the most famous is when she almost bared it all in a photo shoot. All this says one thing about Kelly: She could care less about being a reporter; getting her face on Fox Faux every day is simply to feed her ego and obsession for publicity — plus she gets paid – paid very well – which is a bonus.

Finally there’s Kate Bolduan of CNN’s New Day. She may be a little less flamboyant than Meade and Kelly, but she’s still in love with herself. Like the others, her favorite subject is herself. For example, Bolduan is from Indiana and was raised as a hunter. Therefore, she is very familiar with guns and loves shooting. In fact, she is a skeet shooting instructor. In June of this year she and the “New Day” team went skeet shooting – with CNN cameras to record the event. That resulted in about a 12 minute report on New Day, during a time when there were several major news events happening around the world — pre-emptied with the report on — herself.

All this adds up to one thing: Most news anchors and reporters are more hung up on themselves than reporting the news. And, in an attempt to be dramatic, “acting” is a big part of their reports.

One thing that must be kept in mind: First and foremost, news organizations are in the business to make money. That makes them corporations, thus corporate-policy friendly. Therefore, when it comes to corporate ideology, they are going to slant their reporting in favor of corporate-friendly people and policy. Consequently, under no circumstances will they ever report unfavorable corporate news accurately and truthfully. On most occasions, they always blame the government, government policy, the people or circumstances for the corporations’ action.

In the early days of TV news, audiences were not only capable of thinking for themselves but insisted on doing so. They listened to and read everything, then came to their own conclusions. They let no one decide for them or tell them what to believe. Not so today.

In our fast-paced world, we want fast foods, fast news and someone thinking for us. We don’t have the time to do our own thinking, so we sacrifice 5 minutes of our day to listening to our favored talking head tell us what to think. And who is our favored talking head? The one that best suits what we already want to hear; and we stick with them regardless of whether or not they are legit. That mentality has played a huge role in the way news is reported and, like it or not, has shaped our political & economic world and the way we think about social issues.

So how do we rebirth the news media without their biases, and turn them back into the accuracy and truthfulness machine that we once respected? Understandably, it won’t be easy; but we-the-people actually do have the power to make it happen – and if there was ever a time to forcefully exercise that power, it is now.

There are a number of ways of getting the media’s attention. But regardless of which we choose, we must do so en masse, leaving no doubt that we will no longer accept their biased reporting.

In the past, the most commonly used and effective means was through their sponsors. That was done by boycotting any and all products advertised on the major news media networks and in newspapers. In conjunction, people refused to watch and read the main stream media, thus dramatically decreasing their popularity. However, in most cases, that took time and, at best, was only temporary. Those tactics could be used again, but to be certain of victory, it must be incorporated with other major efforts. Under no circumstances can we be passive.

Thousands of years of history have proven that the only major changes which were lasting came about as a result of a massive revolt. Some of those resulted in overthrowing a government while others dramatically changed policy and/or the way people were treated. The latter is the revolt we must choose.

Corruption is so deeply embedded in the modern news media that empty or passive threats most certainly will not work. As already mentioned, we must show our force en masse or we are doomed. No war has ever been won by sending a few dozen warriors to face thousands of hardened combat soldiers. And it is imperative that we view this in the same way.

I know many do not approve of the OccupyWallStreet effort, but to be sure, that was the best opportunity we’ve had to change the way ordinary American citizens are treated since the civil rights efforts of the 1960’s. Two things thwarted OccupyWallStreet: (1) The news media, which was just as afraid of the sudden appearance and massiveness of OWS as were the bankers and politicians, and (2) the way OWS chose to organize.

While it was thought to be an idea whose time had come, decentralization left it up to individual OWS groups throughout America to choose their own causes to protest. The result was there were so many different demands that the main objective of the movement became overshadowed. The media, pursuing their ideological objectives and spurred on by their corporate and wealthy masters, began dismissing OWS as a rag-tag group of hippy-type protesters, projecting OWS and their main message in a manner best reflected in this cartoon.

But a small indicator of how the biased media can be forced into submission is evident in those rare occasions when a major player is caught in an outright lie with no defense whatsoever. A couple of examples that come to mind are Shaun Hannity and Rush Limbaugh of Fox News fame. Each of them has had to face the music for their outright and intentional lying, where later, after being called down on it, responded with some sort of a sheepish, arrogant smile followed by some audible version of “Well, everyone knows my show is just entertainment”. So the dishonest media can be held accountable.

Every single one of us will have to make sacrifices. The most important — and maybe the hardest — is that we must completely abandon our own biases which fan our burning desire to ignore what we don’t want to be true, and listen to and read only what we want to be true. Additionally, we must be willing to accept the truth and accuracy of an issue or a person regardless of ideology. Finally, it is essential that we know the difference between opinion & so-called “entertainment” and the facts. We do all this by not accepting one sources’ input as gospel (Just like a computer, trash in, trash out). It may take some effort on our part, including research, but without these sacrifices, there is no chance whatsoever that we will win back our country and democracy.

The following links are a few posts that CPS News has posted over the past 2 or 3 years about the news media. Below these are links to a couple of other CPS News post and document, including an evergreen list of articles by other about the biased news media.

Not previously listed is a post I wrote back in 2007 about how news was reported and, in 2009, their self-serving reporting. You may be interested in those. For more on CPS News reports about the media, follow the link. For more information on the news media being an obstacle to attacking the root cause of our political, economical and social problems, including reports by others on the biased news media, check out the biased and self-serving reporting by the news media. And here you will find a list of categorized reporters along with their photos.

UPDATE: Post: Elected officials are the primary root cause of America’s Problems


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