Tag Archives: news

Worldview: The word which has empowered propaganda machines of the left and right

Worldview (n.) – a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

hqdefault
Nothing truer than this.

Worldview is everything in political belief, whether or not we wish to admit it. What dictates beliefs from an ideological standpoint varies widely from person to person. The extremes of both sides of the ideological aisles often fail to see, or choose to be blind to, this fact. What is more bothersome is that many of the things which we hold as truths, as Obi-Wan Kenobi once observed with such eloquence, depends entirely on our point of view or, to use a more modern vernacular, our worldview.

This definitely affects how news and information is approached and received. The notion of “fake news” is not a new concept; President Theodore Roosevelt spoke of reporters who infiltrated sweatshops in America’s Northeast and Midwest in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as “muckrakers.” To him, many of these reporters were simply attempting to sensationalize the conditions, such as those described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, in an attempt to advance an agenda. Granted, this was largely the case and did achieve historic changes which led to modern health and safety rules in the workplace, but Roosevelt and, more to the point, industrialists directly affected by the changes caused by said articles, regarded these journalists as self-serving do-gooders whose publishers where more concerned about selling newspapers than actually looking out for the national interest. It is very familiar song.

While the journalists of that time were unjustly regarded as parasites, today’s media has created much of its own perception issues, but those problems have also been exacerbated by the proliferation of the sources which cater to one particular worldview. Websites such as RedState, Huffington Post, NewsMax, and Mother Jones were all established with one purpose – activist journalism, which takes legitimate information and manipulates it to advance an agenda, be it conservative or liberal. These websites have become popular, and even trusted, because traditional legacy sources such as network news and periodicals such as Time, Newsweek and USA Today lost sight of their primary mission – to inform the public. Instead, traditional information sources have focused more on the viewpoints of individual writers and “anchors” to “sell the story,” rather than letting the story sell itself.

A great example would be to compare the Trump Administration to the Nixon Administration in terms of media coverage. Today’s media is focused on “pouncing;” attacking what the President does with Twitter, or what his underlings say in press conferences, and picking it apart. The media of the Nixon era was more concerned with receiving information as it was disseminated, analyzing it, and finding inconsistencies. While it was not entirely investigative journalism, the reporters of Nixon’s day focused more on the facts and allowed that administration to create its own worst nightmare; impeachable offenses revealed through a combination of individual hubris and collective administration incompetence. For the Nixon White House, the gaffes of ego committed by the cabal led by both Nixon himself and advisors, such G. Gordon Liddy, did more damage to that President than any newspaper editorial ever could. For Trump’s Administration, the media now appears to be willing patsies in a war of misinformation and blatant ego inflation. Rather than reporting on inconsistencies and obvious conflicts of interests, the media’s obsession with the President’s twitter feed and what his children do in their off hours appears to be stuff of political and editorial vendettas, as opposed to the work of truth-seeking reporters.

During operation Desert Storm in 1992, the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf pulled one of the great distraction moves in modern warfare. He sent coalition forces to the Kuwait border in such numbers to keep the late Saddam Hussein’s forces occupied and obsessed with stopping a direct invasion and then, in a bold move, launched a massive offensive to west of Kuwait, destroying the Iraqi Army’s rear lines. Much of Trump’s campaign and administration’s public relations moves appear to be the same; focus media and public attention away from the more pressing issues of the day by using marketing buzzwords and research to distract the public and media, then working to do things his way without public scrutiny. This sort of distraction is a classic tactic in business – use distraction in negotiations to focus attention on one hot-button issue in order to gain larger concessions on broader matters, and his most vocal, rabid supporters are defending him at every single turn, no matter how questionable his statements on these matters. A good question is why are these voters buying into it, but a better question is how is Trump pulling it off?

The answer is simple; Trump is playing to the fears of his base’s worldview.

0922-beckchart1
Former Fox host Glenn Beck, who became famous for his conspiracy chalkboards, started his conservative talk career at WFLA-AM in Tampa in 1998.

Many Trump voters share a similar, if not identical, worldview; a collective group of nations, largely Muslim, which seek to destroy the United States by any means necessary. While several of these nations exist, most lack the will or ability to strike even indirectly. In addition, they feel that corporate America is part of a globalist cabal which seeks to destroy the American-Western way of life. Some of these worldviews also put white Anglo-Saxon protestants (so called “WASPs”) at the top of the world pyramid of authority. Others espouse the worldview that Western culture is far superior to any others on Earth – former radio host and libertarian standard-bearer Neal Boortz once famously admitted he was not a racist but a “culturalist,” stating he did believe that Western civilization was superior to all others on Earth and must retain its eminence, and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck was pulled from Fox News when even the heads of the largely conservative-oriented news network got the jitters over Beck’s increasingly conspiratorial claims on his own short-lived TV program.

While these worldviews are often based in personal experience, they can also be based in a facade of nationalism designed to profit from the fears and emotions of those who seek validation of their beliefs and views. It is these individuals, such as conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones and Breitbart head/Trump advisor Scott Bannon, who are the greatest purveyors of convincing misinformation. In Bannon’s case, a reasonable individual can deduce one reason for his practices – packaging propaganda in a veneer of factual data to present in such a way that it’s accepted because it matches the accepted views of those who voted for Trump in the first place and, therefore, emboldens the President to behave in a manner which is to the advantage of both Bannon and those of his ilk.

To many, the media is not reliable because it was the media itself who bought into the notion of not only informing the public, but influencing it to act in accordance with a narrative. Individuals such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Nancy Grace, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, and even Fox News’ newest crop of hosts are not journalists in the true sense of the world, but commentators using the facts given by genuine reporters to advance an agenda. This is reminiscent of another individual who has used legitimate reporting as a means to advance an agenda – The 700 Club’s Pat Robertson. The controversial conservative minister’s Christian Broadcasting Network, though a reasonably ethical operation on its own, allows its facts to be manipulated for Robertson’s own purposes, mainly fundraising. For this reason, CBN suffers from a heavy dose of “guilt by association,” and is regarded as a less-than-credible outlet for information.

Another example of worldview issues could be found on the other end of the spectrum, BBC News. For years, Britain’s government-owned network was regarded as a go-to source for information from around the world, with strong ethics and a high standard of quality and accuracy. As time went on, BBC’s own anchors became more and more focused on news which portrayed the United States in a less-than-flattering way and, for that reason, aided far-right media types in a campaign to paint the mainstream media as liberal elitists. Unfortunately, this image was only entrenched further when a scandal broke within the BBC’s ranks exposing editorial bias being encouraged and dissent being quashed by network bosses. Those with a worldview of journalists being nosy crusaders only concerned with their career found their views confirmed, and this only served to undermine the media and enhance the position of ideologically-oriented websites which take legitimate information and spin it to suit their needs.

maddow-jones-trump1
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, known for her fiery ultra-left views, is considered part of why the network’s ratings continue to languish far behind CNN and Fox News.

So how can we separate the good from the bad, the reliable from the speculative. Critical thinking comes into play here. If something doesn’t an instinctual “smell test,” chances are it is either false or manipulated. Stories about Trump which seem too crazy to be truth tend to be so, just as stories about former President Obama also lean that way. Both sides have websites which focus on fomenting resistance though inflammatory news articles, and both are extremely adept at pointing fingers at the other side while denying stories which they themselves plant. One way to determine the veracity of story is to know the backgrounds of the writers. When one sees the words “activists,” or “political expert” or “left” or “right” in their bio, it is a fairly safe bet that writer has the interests of their cause, not the reader, at heart.

While some ideologically oriented websites have quality informational articles, double checking the information though other mainstream sources is always advised. If even a sliver of the information is accurate, it could point to a much greater situation. Nevertheless, worldview contributes to how we view news, whether we want to admit it or not.

Winter Storm Helena: Semi-Serious, Hour-by-Hour sarcasm

24563944_bg5
Shown:  Downtown Birmingham after Winter Storm Helena hits it.  Now Shown:  Alabama fans doing donuts in the snow.

Winter Storm and Warrior Princess Helena is nearing the end of her life, and has taken many a casualty.  According to the National Weather Service and Liberal Extremist Propaganda Arm (now under New Management of Trump Political Enterprises), this particular weather system wreaked havoc on several states as well as the Federated Football Republic of Alabama.  Of course, America’s southeastern news outlets kicked into hyperdrive and began their usual “Breaking News Round the Clock First Coverage You Can Count On” routine.

FRIDAY

8:35 AM:  National Weather Service officials, in conjunction with the Russian News Agency TASS, begins issuing “facty” weather alerts about reports of blizzards hitting areas of Mexico, Idaho and the Andromeda Galaxy.

9:45 AM:  Alabama Governor Bob “Northwood” Bentley, in a move of complete foresight and genuine political vision, opts to receive instead of kickoff the storm.

10:22 AM:  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, upon hearing the choice of his Alabama counterpart, immediately sends Winter Storm Helena to the National Weather Service for booth review, and also alerts the NCAA for possible recruiting violations.

11:11 AM:  Outgoing Alabama offensive coordinator and soon-to-be Florida Atlanta coaching guru extraordinaire Lane Kiffin announces that Winter Storm Helena has delayed his time table for learning organization by “several years.”

11:49 AM:  Georgia DOT officials immediately begin brining all roads and bridges in the Atlanta area.  Alabama DOT officials also begin brining their highways until it’s pointed that pickle juice doesn’t work.

12:45 PM:   Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, exercising extreme intelligence, announces that he will, in fact, be driven home by police escort in his black SUV with blue lights going.  When asked why this was necessary, he refuses comment, but his staff issues a 1,000 word press release about the merits of the Atlanta streetcar’s ice-resistant wheels.

1:18 PM:  Walker County, Georgia officials issue a statement describing the situation in Lafayette as “dire” and “untenable,” until it’s revealed that Bebe Heiskell didn’t actually issue the release, so it’s taken seriously for once.

2:45 PM:  Macon-Bibb County officials, in preparation for the oncoming storm, suddenly remember that I-475 actually runs through their county and maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to treat the road.

3:18 PM:  Cobb County DOT deploys thousands of gallons of brine solution onto local roads and interstates, but the plan is thrown into disarray when the County Commission is sued for a lack of public hearing in the decision.

4:22 PM:  To the south, in Florida, 19 million residents laugh derisively at the rest of the southeast, then light their grills start the ritual winter cookout season.

5:30 PM:  Birmingham is paralyzed when the Heat Miser vanishes and Jack Frost is found in a drunken state on the campus of the University of Alabama.  Lane Kiffin is blamed for the incident.

6:19 PM:  Every single news outlet east of Tupelo, Mississippi goes into all-out DEFCON 1 alert status.  In Atlanta, five stations interrupt popular programming to issue extremely scary, confusing and “facty” weather bulletins.

7:29 PM:  Fearing a shortage of French Toast as a result of the oncoming storm, Atlanta residents buy up almost 9000% percent of all available bread and eggs.  IHOP futures spike in after-hours syrup pouring.

9:45 PM:  An entire hour of news coverage is lost when Winter Storm Helena stops for a moment, looks at Atlanta, scratches head and asks “which way do I really wanna fuck this city up?”

10:18 PM:  News outlets across Atlanta declare an state of intergalactic emergency and call on the United Federation of Planets to fire photon torpedoes at the to intensify it.

12:00 AM til…

SATURDAY

6 AM:  Something happened overnight resulting in a lot of snow and ice in some areas, and nothing but slush in others.  The Russians are believed to have been behind it all.

8:10 AM:  Donald Trump issues a statement saying that Winter Storm Helena did not actually affect Atlanta and promised to “Make I-285 Great Again.”

9:30 AM:  The Atlanta Falcons announce they are going to actually win their playoff game next week in a news release written by former Men’s Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer saying “you’re gonna like the way we play…we guarantee it!”

10:34 AM:  Everyone goes back to sleep

12:19 PM:  Birmingham officials announce they are shutting down the city and that people need to stay off the roadways – Atlanta drivers immediately flood to the city and jam up interstate highways.

3:02 PM:  Winter Storm Helena sends a text message politicians across the southeast which translated roughly into “you my bitches!”

4:19 PM:  We decide it’s too damned cold out, and we’re fresh outta beer!

5:01 PM:  Levi’s takes over the show.

6:11 PM:  Everyone dials directory assistance asking for the number to their governors to complain.

9:00 PM:  NOBODY knows where their Winter Storm is.

10:52 PM:  Time for a nap and just walked outside and shouted at Mother Nature to take her freaking Xanax!

BREAKING NEWS: Hope for those who suffer from TIRED

We interrupt this election cycle for a special medical announcement:

Experts have been discovered a terrible new medical issue afflicting millions worldwide, so much that even the most mundane of tasks, such as the World Series, must be interrupted for this breaking news announcement.  The announcement is being announced for the sake of all affected by premature medical announcements.  Here is the announcement.

man_yawning
This individual is suffering symptoms of the insidious condition known as TIRED.

According to a worldwide medical cadre of people who call themselves “cadres,” a new strain of life-depleting symptoms have arrayed themselves against mankind.  This condition is called Total Irrational Reasoning Exhaustion Disorder, or TIRED.  This syndrome has become a worldwide scourge, one which must be controlled, contained and, if necessary, eradicated through a complex series of maneuvers which are still being developed by scientists in well shrouded bunkers around the world, most of which are located near large sources of caffeinated organic filling fuel environment epicenters, or COFFEE.

Scientific studies have concluded, in fact, that reduction of the symptoms of TIRED can be directly affected by proximity to COFFEE.  Symptoms of TIRED include irritability upon standing, inability to awaken at a predetermined moment or location, aggravation with stressful situations, predisposition to violence due to loss of patience, extreme bouts of oral inhalation of oxygen, and commonly referred to as “yawning.”  Conversely, the many healthful benefits associated with being near COFFEE have been cited as reduced inclination to violent action, increased sociability, and the desire to engage with everyday life.

Experts warn that TIRED is a relatively new diagnosis and must be treated as such.  It should not be used as an excuse to miss work, school or potentially pleasurable activities, and research holds hope of treatment and possibly, working hand in hand with COFFEE, a potential cure.  Many COFFEE locations have been identified worldwide; easily visible by their association with pastries, sugary products, and a bizarre clientele of youthful entrepreneurs identified by anthropologists as “hipsters.”  These environments have been known to induce states of increased intellectual awareness, as well as lively debate and the occasional argument over which COFFEE location is superior to the other.  According to the research obtained, instances of TIRED are nearly nonexistent at these locations.

We encourage all who read this notice to contact their elected officials immediately and demand that more COFFEEs be made available to combat TIRED.  Unfortunately, some of these officials may be COFFEE averse, instead opting for the time honored tradition of the bribe.

This concludes this Important Message Pertaining to International Safety Health (IMPISH) bulletin.

The Writer’s Arrow

A playful artist he was
Soulful, skillful, unafraid
Where his peers used brute force
His weapon was the pen
Its tip, like an arrow
Ink held in a well
Much as a quiver.

He was a man of ideas.
Thrust upon the great stage
Far too soon, before his time
Still, he held firm, fired his arms
Faithful lieutenants all around
He chose his battles with care
He learned the ways of the enemies

Before long, the young man
Was respected, feared, exhaulted.
But he suffered a darkness
His was an addiction of the heart
A thirst only quenched by woman’s touch
It drove him mad beyond reason.
Soon he would fall from grace.

Some still speak of him in whispers
Other don’t speak at all
In the end all that matters to him
Was getting the story, telling the truth
Even if doing so would lead to his fall.

Power of Words

Tropical Storm Colin update: more than what the storm really DID

Tropical Storm Colin roared through Florida this week with maximum sustained winds of approximately 50 miles per hour (or 900 Klingon “uys.”  Don’t judge me!), destroying and uprooting mailboxes, palm trees, and several fish tanks before finally puttering out into the Atlantic.  Of course, news stations across t

68722299
Estimated losses from Colin:  $900 dollars.  Check with your local dollar store for details.

he Sunshine State and parts of south Georgia went into full storm alert mode, with wall-to-wall “Coverage” including in-depth analysis ever hour, on the hour, for as long as the storm will…wait, what?  It’s gone already!  Dammit!

The storm, which began in the Gulf of Mexico as an errant breeze, managed to wander along the valley of the shadow of death (East Tampa – seriously!), until finally realizing, in a moment of stunning clarity completely uncharacteristic for anything associated with Florida, it could organize itself!  The Occupy Movement was unavailable for comment at that time.  Moments later, this particular breeze grew into a tropical “wave,” which managed to distract the Atlanta Braves long enough lose a few more games, then into a tropical depression, but quickly snapped out of that after an timely run-in with a powerful blast of energy from a satellite transmitting the Hallmark Movie Channel.  This energy, combined with the toxic sludge on the Gulf of Mexico from several oil spills to be named later, caused this weather system to transform into the mighty Tropical Storm Colin.

This storm proved to be powerful, indeed.  As a mighty storm named after a male, this particular system moved with the utmost swiftness and confidence towards the denizens of evil in Florida.  We are pleased to report that riptides went…..AHHHHH!!!!   Sorry, folks!  This is what happens when you outsource a humor post to North Korea.  That, and the check bounces!  Memo to Kim Jong Un – you owe me a blonde roast from Starbucks now – that covers the face value of the check, and North Korea’s NSF charge.

As for Colin, the storm itself managed to caused some chaotic moments, including one in which all the news stations in Florida were unsure as to whether Colin would actually stay long enough to cause continuous, around the clock coverage to be necessary.  As it turned out, Colin caused about $900 worth of damage, mostly to local dollar stores which forgot to bring in pool noodles from sidewalk sales.  Colin also caused parts of South Georgia to go into full storm reaction mode, meaning that city councils in many communities actually had to do real work such as planning for flooding and fire protection instead of complaining about who caused what business to close this week.  It also meant that many televisions tuned off Game of Thrones for exactly ten seconds, a new world record.

Colin taught us all a great lesson, and that’s that you can never been too prepared for a tropical weather system.  I am pleased to report that Florida merchants remain well stocked with hurricane essentials; you know, beer, wine, grills, hot dogs.  Plywood is also in plentiful supply, mostly because most “real” Floridians never took down their boards from 2004.  A special “recovery” fund has been established for Colin survivors.  Just stop by your local supermarket, buy several dozen beers, and drink them all!  Or you can send a random Florida resident a prescription for Xanax.  Trust me, it’ll be appreciated.

What if North Korea handled Trump’s press releases?

We now return to our regularly schedule humor, already in progress.

Republican presidential candidate Trump gestures and declares "You're fired!" at a rally in Manchester
You know he’s about to drop an F bomb…you just KNOW it!

Everyone knows that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are now the presumed “Final Two” on the GOP end of the 2016 Presidential Campaign.  The New York billionaire and hairpiece extraordinaire has made verbal gaffe after verbal gaffe, and has inspired his followers to such a fervor that acts of violence appears to be committed in his name.  Still, it could be worse.

I have taken the liberty of posing the craziest “what if” scenario possible – what if the Trump campaign contracted the writing of their press releases to the Korea Central News Agency, the government press apparatus of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (North Korean for “Fatboy Slim” – you better Praise Him Like You Do!).  With that in mind, and having read many of the North Korea government’s press releases, I believe I can now approximate a press release using “North Korean-style” journalistic and public relations techniques.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 30, 2016

HIS EXCELLENCY AND MOST EXHAUSTED AMERICAN HONORARY PATRIOT DONALD TRUMP DEMONSTRATES EXTRAORDINARY POWERS AGAINST ENEMIES

NEW YORK – Americans should take heed that their most powerful option for lasting peace through ultimate truth and attractiveness has begun to attack his enemies in a manner which will leave them listless and begging for extinguishing of their souls.  Eternal Eminence and Creator of True Wealth Donald Trump emerged to greet his followers today at a rally in New York.

According to Mr. Trump’s campaign, the Creator of True Wealth is sound in his beliefs, and is assured that his positions are based in both truth and the highest divine mandates.  Mr. Trump himself is reported to be in excellent health, superior strength, and agility akin to the most graceful animals who can run like the majestic gazelle.  Mr. Trump’s hair is reported to be in docile spirits and obeying his every command, as any legitimate appendage should to its master.

There are few experiences more exhilarating than witnessing the raw magnetism and power of Mr. Trump in action at his campaign rallies.  His supporters are devoted followers of our charismatic leader, whose victory is assured despite the vicious attacks by his enemies.  These individuals shall be dealt with in an appropriate, decisive, and most unpleasant manner once His Eminence has been elected as the President.  Mr. Trump has expressed a confidence in his campaign, his followers and the people of the nation that they shall recognize his greatness, his eminent manhood, and his charismatic charm, which has proven to be both divinely granted and inspired.

His Eminence assures us that he is a man of peace, and will work diligently to rid America of unbelievers, traitors, and undesirables.  His raw power is such that a simple look into his eyes will convince wrongdoers to cure the errors of their ways, traitors to end their own lives, and unbelievers to look to the heavens for the necessary inspiration to follow Mr. Trump to the vision he has bared for the nation.

Mr. Trump will continue his campaign up until the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where it is expected he will be easily named the nominee by unanimous vote.  Should that not happen, he is prepared to deploy all available options, including the decimated of his enemies and the entire City of Cleveland, though to decimate the city would be profound waste of ammunition.

We wish His Excellency an expedient nomination and election so we may begin the process of securing peace and harmony through appropriate application of diplomacy and force, as well the use of his mighty hair to cow opponents into submission.

Bonus points to anyone who got that Fatboy Slim reference, by the way.