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Are you getting the most from your news sources?

Posted by on October 27, 2008

As the United States continues to spin out of control, taking the majority of the world with it, it shocks me that the election polls are as close as they are.  I suppose this is what happens when a portion of the population receives all of their information from heavily biased (see:flawed) sources.  These sources not only broadcast blatant lies as part of their scheduled programming, but also brainwash their listeners/viewers to hate any other outlet of information.

Any current McCain/Palin supporter reading the above paragraph swears I am referring to the New York Times (cue mob screams and some gosh done pandering), when in fact I am referring to the right wing media like FOX News, the National Review, and a host of other ethically and logically blurred organizations.

The reason there are so few right wing outlets (in comparison) is because the devil has a limited amount of capital from which to purchase souls to work for them.  I do try and read from a variety of sources, as there are always multiple facets to a story, and to acquire all of your data from one source is never a smart move.

Its like in high school when your buddy tells you the girl you have a crush on is a total skank, so without gathering any further information you stop courting her.  Two weeks later you hear she is in fact not a skank, but is now dating your (former) buddy.

Important lesson: Know your sources well and understand their motives.

Today more than any other day I subjected myself to a frustrating few hours by reading almost every recent article from The National Review (uber conservative “news” outlet).  Then I immediately took a shower and even had to scrub off the extra stench of manufactured righteousness, and unabashed propaganda.  Some articles, such as Point of no Return, by Mark Steyn are as disturbing as they are decently written.  Point of No Return is the perfect combination of  propaganda, opinion based historical review, misleading facts, and absolute conviction.

It is people within the same frame of mind as Mr. Steyn that likely concocted the McCain aide Mutiliation Hoax. Its the Mutilation Hoax story that has finally put FOX News and other faith based media in some hot water (see: well lukewarm at least). As the story goes, a McCain aide was assaulted and vandalized by an Obama supporter, who was described as being a large black man.  These allegations and corresponding pictures were proven by authorites to be completely fabricated.  It was nice to see Rick Sanchez of CNN take issue with this obvious ploy, as it could have escalated into the unknown in the absence of further scrutiny. Read the article and see the video HERE.

In my opinion, proper journalism is the reporting of the facts, not their creation.  In theory it is the media’s job to obtain factual information and provide it to the public so to inform us adequately so we may form our own opinions. In articles like Point Of No Return, Steyn and most right-ish accounts I’ve read, paint the picture of “us vs. them” and conclude with one version or another of, “So are you with us, or against us?” playing to the frailty of human psychology and our need for acceptance.  This tactic seems to compliment the Republican fear tactic quite handsomely.

Meanwhile, it appears those “crazy left-wing liberal rags” as they have been so endearingly named, are reporting much more factual information.

Every reporter, author, and blogger alike pen their phrases on the foundation of whatever slight or heavy bias they may have.  The crucial difference is; are those biases causing the author to distort the truth to aline with his/her perspective? Furthermore, are the writers basing their opinions on facts, or uneducated assumptions and unverified informed?

As a quick summation, the McCain campaign have positioned the following as truths at one moment or another:

Obama is a Muslim – he is not

Obama pals around terrorists – he does not, and the information provided by the GOP is completely misleading.  The entire William Ayers and ACORN associations have been explained and disputed so many times it brings the “beating a dead horse” analogy to an entirely different level. This horse has been sliced, gutted and turned into glue.

Obama wants to take away money from the middle class – this is a blatant lie and how McCain and company can read Obama’s policies and say this repeatedly with a straight face is appalling.

Obama is a Marxist, Socialist and Communist –  These are all false, and the pathetic part is that most current McCain supporters likely haven’t a clue what these words even mean.  They are simply buzz words used to instill the same type of baseless fear they did 50+ years ago. I would be surprised to hear Hannity, or O’Reilly define these types of governments properly.

If current McCain supporters are calling Obama a socialist, but will be paying LESS taxes under Obama then they paid under Bush, why isn’t Bush a socialist? ahhh right, because he starts wars. My bad.

It is the distorting of facts and the fabrication of slanderous concepts that I find borderline criminal from the McCain campaign.  Take a look at THIS video of a recent interview Joe Biden gave. The accompanying article gives perfect examples of spin reporting by the right wing media.

You can’t ask a question like, “How is Obama not a Marxist?” and claim it to be unbiased. Less than a month ago Sarah Palin’s answer to “What do you think of the Bailout package?” was completely void of any useful information (and complete sentences), but somehow there were those that claimed it was a media bias, “gotcha journalism” strikes again.   I don’t think its an unfair leap of logic to think these people are out of their bloody minds.  Its like someone asking me what colour a STOP sign is, and then claiming my answer is skewed because I am bias towards red.

Simply because a magazine, TV station, or newspaper report on something detrimental to your candidate’s campaign doesn’t automatically make it a “rag” or a partisan account, it simply means that you as a *gasp* thinking voter may have a little more thinking to do ($150k on clothes. Seriously?).

Know your sources well and understand their motives

Your vote shouldn’t be taken lightly and that is why I have always taken direct offense to someone hand feeding me faulty information and passing it off as the truth.

To be frank, anyone still backing the McCain/Palin campaign disgust me (note: this does not include all Republicans, just those current lock and step supporters) with their arguments based on fabrication and half-truths.  Its like trying to reason with a child about the boogie man.  Telling them there is no such thing is the obvious answer, but it just doesn’t work.

How you vote is your own perogative, but I suggest at least opening your mind to a number of a news sources.  Though I did not appreciate the scare tactics in the National Review today, I will keep reading, because sometimes being sure where not to get your information is as important as where you should get it.

Political news is like a relationship as there are three sides to every story. His side, her side, and the truth.

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