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The Artificial Reality of the Matrix Media
American Thinker ^ | January 15, 2009 | Selwyn Duke

Posted on 01/17/2009 11:56:44 PM PST by neverdem

A common defense of error today is to say, with due indignation, "I have a right to my opinion!"  Legally this is true, given that our First Amendment is extant.  But as G.K. Chesterton once said, "Having the right to do something is not at all the same as being right in doing it."  There is no moral right to an immoral opinion -- nor to one bred of emotionalism unconstrained by reason -- nor to a deceitful one.

More than ever, Americans are realizing that this isn't a sentiment to which the mainstream media subscribes.  In fact, with how it shamelessly carried water for Barack Obama during the election, 2008 has been dubbed "the year journalism died" (Sean Hannity is fond of this label).  Yet, while such pronouncements make for compelling commentary, nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is that journalism is alive and well -- outside the mainstream media.  As for the latter's journalism, by the third millennium it was not only dead, not only laid to rest, but fossilized and buried under the stratum containing the hula hoop and pet rock.  And it would take a Jurassic Park-like effort to reconstitute its DNA and resurrect the ancient beast.  Thus, a more accurate statement about 2008 is: It was the year that many more illusions about the validity of mainstream journalism died.  Let us now take a look at a media that has made malpractice an art.

During the budget battles in the 1990s between the Republican Congress and Clinton Administration, we heard much talk about "cuts" in spending.  While this was a time when the GOP still stood for fiscal responsibility, in reality there rarely if ever were any cuts; rather, at issue were merely reductions in the rate of spending growth.  How it worked was that the government would start with a "current services baseline" that would automatically raise the budget by a certain percentage annually; then, any reduction of that already inflated budget projection would be called a "cut."  It's like this: Let's say your son receives an allowance of $10 a week and, in a spirit of entitlement, assumes it should automatically be raised 10 percent per annum, which would give him $11 after New Year's.  When the time comes, you do give him more, but settle on the figure of $10.50.  He then protests, calling it a "cut."  What does this mean?  Your boy has a future in politics and knows Washington-speak well.

Despite this being a consistent theme in the 90s, I only remember one instance in which a mainstream media reporter broached the topic.  The scene was a press conference with President Clinton, and a reporter -- I can't quite remember who it was, but he must have woken up on the right side of the bed that day -- asked the President why he was characterizing spending increases as cuts.  Talk about hitting a nerve.  Clinton, at his petulant, red-faced best, chastised the newsman, saying something to the effect of "Don't ask me!  This is the language you people were using when I came to Washington!"  

In other words, how dare you confront me with the truth after making lies the norm?

Really, though, I can't place too much onus on Clinton.  Sure, we all have an obligation to speak the Truth, but a liar only rises to prominence in a culture of lies.  And if the so-called watchers in the media deal in deceit, how can we expect the watched to be any different?

The budget con of the 90s is just one of innumerable deceptions.  The reality is that the mainstream media are thoroughly corrupt -- manifesting itself in a lack of both conscientiousness and honor -- which leads to incompetence and duplicity.  It deals in half-truths, the suppression of facts, the exaltation of evil and savaging of the sublime, and outright lies all the time.  And we could use up countless gigabytes compiling examples.

During the 2008 campaign, for instance, CNN correspondent Drew Griffin interviewed Sarah Palin and, to discredit the governor with the notion that even conservatives were lambasting her, said,

"The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can't tell if Sarah Palin is ‘incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above.'"

What is the truth?  Those words were taken grossly out of context.  The point of the NR writer, Byron York, was that the media coverage of Palin was so biased that based upon it one couldn't tell if she was "incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, or all of the above."  And the irony is bittersweet.  By taking words designed as a defense of Palin and indictment of the media and using them to impugn the governor, CNN reinforced the very point York was making.  That is, among the small minority of the population that actually heard the truth from alternative media sources.

This is reminiscent of the Dan Rather forged-documents scandal.  They both were, I believe, the result of incompetent and biased underlings handing off misinformation to incompetent superiors, yet the latter's culpability is greater than this characterization indicates.  For conscientiousness is an imperative of morality and a prerequisite for competence; thus, the more immoral the person, the less he will care and the more incompetent he will tend to be. 

But while we can argue about what percentage of the media's untruths are actually lies (when you tell an untruth knowing it's untrue), the number of untruths - as well as half-truths and distortions -- is staggering.  Here are a few off the top of my head.

The media used to disseminate a statistic that 150,000 women a year die from anorexia, but when the originally-cited source was tracked down, the real number was found to be about 52.  We continually hear that the male/female wage gap is caused by discrimination, when in reality it's a function of the sexes' different career choices.  The press widely disseminated the statistic that there were 3 million homeless people in America and John Edwards' claim that 200,000 veterans were "sleeping under bridges" yet failed to report that these figures were wildly exaggerated. 

The media never pointed out that what they were calling "assault rifles" -- a term conjuring up images of machines guns in laymen's minds -- were merely semi-automatic firearms (one shot is fired every time the trigger is pulled).  Diane Sawyer once did a report on the low crime rate on the isle of Fiji and attributed it to the absence of guns; the truth is that native Fijians were brutal and warlike -- even though they didn't have guns -- until Christian missionaries came to their island many years ago. 

The media demonize "racial profiling" but never place it in perspective by mentioning how it is no different from sex profiling, which is when authorities view men more suspiciously than women.  They will report any allegation of Republican voter fraud -- no matter how specious -- while ignoring stories about where it is rampant, Democratic strongholds in the inner cities. 

They perpetuate the Malthusian myth that the world faces inexorable population increases, when the truth is that man is poised to experience a "demographic winter," a population implosion.  The media inundated us with stories about the relatively minor Abu Ghraib affair, which hurt our nation's image, while ignoring the huge oil-for-food scandal, in which foreign nations were complicit.  They publicize fabrications about transgressions against Islam -- such as the story about the Koran being flushed down a toilet -- while suppressing news about Moslem atrocities.  They gleefully impugned Pope Pius XII by promoting the "Hitler's Pope" myth, when the truth is, as Rabbi David Dalin says, that Pius saved more than 800,000 Jews from the Holocaust and, consequently, was hailed as a "righteous gentile" by prominent WWII-era Jews such as Golda Meir, Albert Einstein and Moshe Sharett. 

The above is a set of truly disparate examples with a very definite pattern -- one of deception.  The hard, cold, sad truth is that the mainstream media distort virtually every important issue of the day. 

This is tragic because the media have a sacred trust.  It's a cliché, but it's said that knowledge is power, and the media are the relaters of knowledge.  In fact, we rely on them for even fairly basic information about current events and the world.  After all, virtually none of us will ever meet our prominent politicians or travel to war zones; thus, how many would even know of these leaders' existence (as it is, most Americans can name precious few office holders) or much about the war in Afghanistan were it not for reportage?  Sure, there is word of mouth, but it only goes so far and relates so much, and the grapevine tends to distort matters even more than Moveon.org on a million-dollar George Soros bender.  Without a vibrant media, we cannot have a vigilant populace.  This is why freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution.

Unfortunately, also powerful is misinformation, as it engenders a misshapen world view.  For how can people make correct decisions regarding what policies and politicians to support if they aren't given correct information?  Why would they defend the good if they were lead to believe it was bad and fight the bad if they were lead to believe it was good?

It's much like a computer.  If the data input is incorrect, so will the output be (the same is true if the data is incomplete, yet we still encourage people with insufficient data to vote).  If, for instance, stories about how guns are used to commit crime are showcased but those about how they're used to thwart it are suppressed, people will be more likely to conclude that firearm ownership should be prohibited.  If the electorate is made to believe that climate change is the handiwork of man, their very logical conclusion will be that man can and should do something about it.  If you convince people that the symptoms are something they're not, they will make the wrong diagnosis and prescribe a drug that doesn't treat what truly ails us but often has some very nasty side effects.

If I've been a bit verbose, perhaps it's because I'm trying to describe something for which words are insufficient.  It's much like when the Morpheus character in the movie The Matrix said that no one could be told what the Matrix is, that you have to see it for yourself.  Our matrix media (along with academia and the popular culture) has constructed an all-encompassing faux reality that cannot truly be understood unless you step outside of it.  For the average person this means, first, being willing to question all his basic suppositions about political and social reality, as these have been shaped by the matrix media.  The second requirement is to embark upon a Reality 101 course on the Internet, where the wheat can at least be found amidst the chaff.  You see, unlike the movie, our virtual world is in a way more real than the "real" world. 

If this sounds dark and conspiratorial, know that it is the former but not the latter.  In truth, what is so dangerous about the matrix media isn't so much that they're akin to a cabal of calculating sentient programs but that they cannot think outside the box themselves.  They are like an insane man who knows nothing of the world beyond his insane asylum and thus can relate only insanity.  You might say they have become one with their mistaken notions.  Call it, The Zen of Being Wrong.

Yet, where does the real blame lie?  Some may say that since the media deny us the information necessary to render good decisions, it's not fair to claim that people get the government they deserve.  But it must be remembered that people get the media they deserve, too.  After all, there is a reason why a celebrity gossip piece might get ten times the readership of incisive social commentary.  If people want sweet lies and stories about Paris Hilton, bread and circuses, there will always be "journalists" willing to provide them.  It's just as with politicians, only here people vote for demagogues by clicking a mouse, pressing the remote or buying a paper. 

So journalism isn't dead -- not any more than the readership, anyway.  It's just that those practicing the authentic variety are seldom elected to high office.

Contact Selwyn Duke


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 4thestate5thcolumn; dbm; houseorgans; matrixmedia; media; msm; puppetmedia

1 posted on 01/17/2009 11:56:45 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

“They perpetuate the Malthusian myth that the world faces inexorable population increases”

To be fair, the Malthusian myth is that population growth will outstrip food production.


2 posted on 01/18/2009 12:00:48 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: neverdem
The "Matrix Media" is an absolutely perfect term for the deceitful manipulative dysinformation pulled over our eyes, to hide the truth from us.

The Matrix Media works in absolute lockstep, all really indistinguishibly malicious.


3 posted on 01/18/2009 12:09:26 AM PST by FormerACLUmember
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To: neverdem

4 posted on 01/18/2009 12:44:00 AM PST by chuck_the_tv_out
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To: chuck_the_tv_out
Must Save Water Ya' Know... Image and video hosting by TinyPic ...;0)
5 posted on 01/18/2009 12:49:58 AM PST by 1COUNTER-MORTER-68 (THROWING ANOTHER BULLET-RIDDLED TV IN THE PILE OUT BACK~~~~~)
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To: neverdem

Very accurate. So many more examples. Target Rich Enviroment


6 posted on 01/18/2009 1:28:36 AM PST by GeronL (A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood)
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To: neverdem; ebiskit; TenthAmendmentChampion; Obadiah; Mind-numbed Robot; A.Hun; johnny7; ...
Theodore Roosevelt's 1911 speech to the Sorbone in Paris is famous for the "man in the arena":
"It is not the critic who counts . . . the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena Theodore Roosevelt
But the entire speech rewards a reading, including this appropos segment:
. . . The phrase-maker, the phrase-monger, the ready talker, however great his power, whose speech does not make for courage, sobriety, and right understanding, is simply a noxious element in the body politic, and it speaks ill for the public if he has influence over them. To admire the gift of oratory without regard to the moral quality behind the gift is to do wrong to the republic.

Of course all that I say of the orator applies with even greater force to the orator's latter-day and more influential brother, the journalist. The power of the journalist is great, but he is entitled neither to respect nor admiration because of that power unless it is used aright. He cna do, and often does, great good. He can do, and he often does, infinite mischief. All journalists, all writers, for the very reason that they appreciate the vast possibilities of their profession, should bear testimony against those who deeply discredit it. Offenses against taste and morals, which are bad enough in a private citizen, are infinitely worse if made into instruments for debauching the community through a newspaper. Mendacity, slander, sensationalism, inanity, vapid triviality, all are potent factors for the debauchery of the public mind and conscience. The excuse advanced for vicious writing, that the public demands it and that demand must be supplied, can no more be admitted than if it were advanced by purveyors of food who sell poisonous adulterations . . .


7 posted on 01/18/2009 4:38:47 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Change is what journalism is all about. NATURALLY journalists favor "change.")
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To: neverdem
Bookmarked

The Right to Know


8 posted on 01/18/2009 4:45:12 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Change is what journalism is all about. NATURALLY journalists favor "change.")
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

BTTT


9 posted on 01/18/2009 4:55:07 AM PST by E.G.C. (Click on a freeper's screename and then "In Forum" to read his/her posts)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion; neverdem; All

Thanks for the ping/link. Thanks for the post. Very good article by Selwyn Duke. Thread BUMP! Link BUMP!


10 posted on 01/18/2009 5:43:02 AM PST by PGalt
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To: neverdem
I prefer the formulation, "Big Journalism" - or the even more specific (and IMHO perfectly accurate) appellation, "Associated Press journalism" to "The Mainstream Media." After all, "media" is a plural noun, and Big Journalism is singular - if you've seen one of them, you've seen them all. Big Journalism calls itself "the press" as though there were no other, but books which aren't written to journalistic deadlines are certainly printed, and are certainly included in the First Amendment reference to "the press."

Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution includes the stricture that

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States
Therefore "the freedom of . . . the press" cannot refer to an oligarchy of printers.

Article 1 Section 8 explicitly provides the authority

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries
So the First Amendment should be understood to guarantee the right of the people to spend money and apply technology to their efforts to promote their opinions.

11 posted on 01/18/2009 6:07:04 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Change is what journalism is all about. NATURALLY journalists favor "change.")
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To: neverdem
A common defense of error today is to say, with due indignation, "I have a right to my opinion!" Legally this is true, given that our First Amendment is extant. But as G.K. Chesterton once said, "Having the right to do something is not at all the same as being right in doing it." There is no moral right to an immoral opinion -- nor to one bred of emotionalism unconstrained by reason -- nor to a deceitful one.
The trouble is that journalists and Democratic politicians arrogate to themselves the right to enforce their own brand of sophistry.
sophist
1542, earlier sophister (c.1380), from L. sophista, sophistes, from Gk. sophistes, from sophizesthai "to become wise or learned," from sophos "wise, clever," of unknown origin. Gk. sophistes came to mean "one who gives intellectual instruction for pay," and, contrasted with "philosopher," it became a term of contempt. Ancient sophists were famous for their clever, specious arguments.
philosopher
O.E. philosophe, from L. philosophus, from Gk. philosophos "philosopher," lit. "lover of wisdom," from philos "loving" + sophos "wise, a sage."

"Pythagoras was the first who called himself philosophos, instead of sophos, 'wise man,' since this latter term was suggestive of immodesty." [Klein]

Modern form with -r appears c.1325, from an Anglo-Fr. or O.Fr. variant of philosophe, with an agent-noun ending. . . .

American conservatives are, in the etymological sense, "philosophers," and their opponents are, in the etymological sense, "sophists." For if you think about it, to get away with sophistry you need some sort of power advantage over your opponent in order to enforce your presumption. And in the passive acceptance of journalism's cynical perspective, "liberals" have precisely the requisite sort of advantage.

12 posted on 01/18/2009 6:15:22 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Change is what journalism is all about. NATURALLY journalists favor "change.")
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

BTTT


13 posted on 01/18/2009 7:00:54 AM PST by PGalt
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion; neverdem
If this sounds dark and conspiratorial, know that it is the former but not the latter. In truth, what is so dangerous about the matrix media isn't so much that they're akin to a cabal of calculating sentient programs but that they cannot think outside the box themselves.

To the squeefs in the system this may be true, but in the hiring process for academic deans or editors and in the dissemination of talking points among editors there is definitely collaboration. It is instructive to see how fast stories are disseminated among competing networks and then presented in precisely the same construction and order. I used to enjoy flipping back and forth among radio channels to see if I could build a contiguous story; the "message" was that coherent. Over time, I came to recognize the "leaders" among MSM cadres. The editor at KCBS in San Francisco, Don Goldberg, is an evil genius at arranging bits of stories into a coherent leftist message.

14 posted on 01/18/2009 8:18:47 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by central planning.)
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To: neverdem
Macluhan: "the media is the message."

theinsivisb1ehand: "the media is the state."

15 posted on 01/18/2009 10:01:15 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: neverdem
It deals in half-truths, the suppression of facts, the exaltation of evil and savaging of the sublime, and outright lies all the time.

Innuendo. You forgot "innuendo."

And even liberal Don Henley bothered to sing about it 20 years ago.

16 posted on 01/18/2009 11:09:30 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: neverdem

I have nothing but contempt for ‘journalism’ as it is now practiced by mainstream news organizations, particularly in this country. The article does a pretty good job of demonstrating why.


17 posted on 01/18/2009 4:05:21 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion; Brucifer; AnnaZ; Allegra

bttt


18 posted on 01/18/2009 8:25:30 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life ;o)
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To: the invisib1e hand

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2PxAIAI1QQ

Dirty Laundry


19 posted on 01/18/2009 8:28:06 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life ;o)
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To: Liberty Valance
Dirty Laundry

Thanks. Always up for some good rock and roll. But what's Henley's point - that there's a right-wing bias? He couldn't possibly know how backward he had it, in that case.

Then, too, liberals are always claiming there's a right-wing bias. Now, either they're bluffing, or the media is somehow having it both ways...sort of like a boxing promoter.

Gotta hand it to the Eagles, who either separately or together, seem to put on excellent live performances that are musically faithful to their recordings - they took their music seriously.

20 posted on 01/19/2009 6:00:53 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: FormerACLUmember
*BUMP*

...Great graphic, by the way.

21 posted on 01/19/2009 6:22:35 PM PST by T Lady (The MSM: Pravda West)
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To: the invisib1e hand
'Thanks. Always up for some good rock and roll. But what's Henley's point - that there's a right-wing bias? He couldn't possibly know how backward he had it, in that case.'

No kidding, especially since in 1993, Fox News Channel was nothing more than a thought in Rupert Murdoch's head, Rush Limbaugh was the only dominant Conservative voice on radio (and what Liberals listened to him, anyway?), and Al Gore hadn't yet invented the Internet (Wink, wink, nod).

And when you really get down to the truth of the matter, at the time Dirty Laundry had been originally released (1982), El Rushbo could only be heard in Sacramento, California...and wouldn't go national for another six years.

22 posted on 01/19/2009 6:38:32 PM PST by T Lady (The MSM: Pravda West)
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To: neverdem

news media: intellectual pornography.


23 posted on 01/20/2009 6:11:56 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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