Barely a day goes by when I don’t marvel at the media’s ability to tell deliberate and calculated lies and the general public’s ability to swallow these same lies hook, line and sinker. The lies are about little things and about big things. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason to it. One person or outlet concocts a lie to serve their own purposes then other media outlets pick up the story and regurgitate it verbatim without providing any critical thought.
And we get told we should trust them and swallow this crap they’re serving up to us. I’m alternately amused and horrified by how many people do just this. This past week has thrown up stellar examples from both the stupid/meaningless end of the spectrum and the serious end of the spectrum. I did a post about a week ago on how a local commercial channel ran a fabricated story on their tabloid “current affairs” program about a granny being chained up in a nursing home.
They simply made it up. There was no basis in truth at all. Think about that for a minute: someone who pitches themselves to you as a source of news, reliable purveyors of the truth, just sat and said “I’m gonna make some shit up.” They didn’t make a mistake. They didn’t get some details wrong. They didn’t fail to thoroughly check a story. They didn’t exaggerate. They made a conscious decision to fabricate a story out of whole cloth. That’s plain stupid.
Then there were the lies spread about Al Gore’s electricity bill. A right wing front group pulls a figure for his energy bill that is supposedly (depending on who is parroting the story) somewhere between four and ten times the average. This group, by the way is NOT non-partisan despite what they say. In fact, the moment you hear ANYONE say they are non-partisan, no matter what views they present, it’s safe to assume the are the most rabidly partisan people around. This particularly group do not receive SOME funding from oil companies, THEY ARE NOTHING BUT A FRONT FOR OIL COMPANIES.
This energy use, they say, is hypocrisy. Well, Al Gore sure aint living the life of a monk. That’s one big-arse mansion he lives in. Of course the non-partisan report fails to mention that both Gore and his wife work out of the house and there are special security arrangements and the energy is bought from green/renewable sources which makes it more expensive. So maybe anyone who wanted to be fair would compare the cost of an average home and two small businesses as well as taking into account the green vs. non-green energy sources.
But this isn’t non-partisan reporting. This is a lie. This is a straight up fucking smear job. Gore’s opponents are losing the argument so they attack Gore rather than the arguments he puts forward. I’m no huge Gore supporter (if he wanted to get serious he really would live in a smaller house) and I haven’t seen “An Inconvenient Truth” but I know when, in football terms, someone’s playing the man and not the ball.
Here’s the thing that frustrated me most about the way media outlets perpetuated this lie is that the charge is so much against character for Gore that anyone who thinks they’re worth the mantle of “journalist” should have automatically been suspicious. “Hmmm, so someone reckons Al Gore, the world’s biggest proponent of the dangers of global warming actually contributes to global warming ten times more than the average American. I wonder who these people making the claim are, what their motivations are and what Gore says in his defence?” Well, that’s the sort of fool’s paradise I live in. It’s like if someone tried to smear Bush by saying he was secretly funding abortion clinics. It’s so unlikely that you should do some serious checking before running with the story.
And I’m fucking sick of of the way our trust is continually betrayed. I don’t automatically believe what I read in blogs. I try to apply some critical thought to things I read. But I almost cough up a lung laughing when I hear or read a “journalist” saying blogs are unreliable. Give me a fucking break. It’s an oldie but it’s true:
Q: How do you know when a journalist/politician/lobbyist is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.