This topic is a real struggle for me. It’s basically about truth, lies, propaganda and the resulting confusion, mistrust and apathy that inevitably follows. But, at a different level it is also about function, energy allocation, focus and life. It’s personal! Put bluntly: it turns out we need truth to operate properly and lies makes us operate like idiots!
My examples below are not particularly good ones but they are recent, current, ongoing.
Let’s first look at how our media’s current dysfunction recently affected Trudeau and, ultimately, us. He was just given a good dressing down by some European parliament MPs who accused him of first being a China-lover, then a democracy hater and finally a bully because of his actions regarding the Freedom convoy that occupied Ottawa. I am, as you know, 100% displeased with Trudeau as a leader but everything they said about him was wrong. Totally fabricated. Two idiots in Europe have miscast Trudeau to the European Union. Two idiots have miscast Canada and the people in it.
How do we explain away two well-placed, educated, informed and elected MPs being so ignorant, so wrong and so misled?
Blame it on the media, I guess.
Now let’s look at Ukraine and Russia, for a second. I read, see, hear every day how valiantly the Ukrainian forces are defending their country and, frankly, I believe most of it. I hear of Russian soldiers deserting, surrendering, condemning their leaders. I kinda believe much of that, too. I see wrecked Russian tanks, fallen fighter jets and helicopters and even a good-sized ship or two that has been sunk. Ukraine is punching way above their weight. I am sure of that….. well, pretty sure…..
And yet…..Russia plods along. The heroic messages and stories do not quite jibe with the fall of Mariupol and the loss of the two eastern states. There has to be a lot more going on. But what is it? Most of the real story goes unreported, I think.
Blame that on the media, too, I guess.
And the media have been reporting the fall and destruction of Trump’s evil empire for a long time. For four years it was ‘wait ’til the next election and then he’s gonna get his.’ And then Biden won. And then the Attorneys General, the FBI, the special counsels and the media ramped it up. And yet, Manafort, Stone, Bannon and, most of all, Trump, family and friends still just carry on. Put another way, Capitol rioters who only violated the law of trespass and vandalism are already in jail and doing their time. Trump has been crooked since the day he was born. But he’s free. How is that possible? Is he going down? Or not?
Oh, hell, blame that on the media, too, I guess. To my mind, if Trump doesn’t suffer significantly, there is something significantly wrong in this world.
“Dave! What’s your point?”
The media can’t be trusted? The media do not do a good job? The media is just propaganda? Maybe the media cannot do a good job?
I really do not know the answer. I guess the media (whatever it REALLY is) has been that way for a long time and it is only the rapid inclusion and infusion of social media that has cast this different light on our primary information source. We were not confused when we had only one main media stream. Now we have many and the result is just confusion. Maybe we have been lied to or at least misled all of our lives?
Confusion? Mistrust? Apathy?
My Hong Kong friends constantly tell me a different story of Hong Kong than the one our media presents. They are happy. Western media says otherwise. My friends who go to Mexico every winter consistently tell me different stories about Mexico, too. I have friends in the Philippines, Germany, Britain and the United States. They all tell me different points of view from that which is reported.
Confusion? Mistrust? Apathy?
Bottom line: I have never read an accurate story about anything I was closely involved with either. Never. Not once. The reporter always got it wrong. That was usually quite alright for me because I was almost always the sympathetic subject (delinquents, Skid Row, refugees) and they told a story that made me look better than I was by a huge dollop of exaggeration. But they got it wrong. People reading it without the background were misled. Those reading it with the right perspective, were either lied to, misled or knew it was wrong but they were also okay with it (sympathy floats all boats in Skid Row).
Maybe the truth is too elusive and all we can hope for is to get close…….
“And sure enough, there it was,
not the sought-after needle, but,
to my agreeable astonishment,
the haystack in the field by the lane.”
― Robert Kroetsch,