News is terrorism

From SusoSight

News is terrorism
Number: 105  
Date created: 2004-01-28 16:49:52
Previous Thought: We can always do better.
Next Thought: In any situation, think of who your target audience is.
Voting results: I agree: 93

I disagree: 7
I do not care: 18

The dictionary definition of terrorism is:
"the systematic use of terror especially as a means of restraining or dominating by force or compeling to an act or choice or to bring about by force or threat".

The news media are the real terrorists

Most of the news in America is littered with murder, death, threats, bombs, explosions, kidnappings, disease, dispute, war, guns, scandal, plane crashes.... Anything that is bad is covered in great detail. Much of the American population has become so accustomed to relying on the news for information that might affect them that they have never questioned it and how much the news they watch really does affect them.

How many news stories that have captured your attention recently have actually affected your own life directly? I can actually think of none. When someone is murdered, if you do not know them, does it really affect you? If one plane crashes and nobody that you know is on the plane, does that really affect you? If a war starts and you are not a soldier or do not know a soldier, does that really affect you? If one cow gets mad cow disease out of the millions of cows out there, does that really affect you? The answer to these questions is almost always "No".

When I was over in Uzbekistan recently, I saw on Russian news that the mad cow disease had spread to one cow in America. When I return, I went to Wendy's. While I was in line, I heard about 10 people in front of me all order chicken. You are what you eat I guess. If mad cow disease was really that prominent, then we would really be hearing about it. There would be a government hold on meat products. But people are so scared by one news story, they think that the next hamburger to come out of their local fast food joint will be infected. They don't even know that the disease is usually transmitted through eating the brain or liver of a cow.

Even the attacks on September 11th, 2001 didn't affect most of us. But everyone acted on those news stories like they did.

News is terrorism

Have you ever noticed that the news media never follows up on their stories much? Every once in a while when it's an important person or a special case they will follow it all the way through to the end. But what about all those other stories that terrified us or captured our fear for a moment? The media will whore the information out to you as if your life depends on it, giving you the horrifying facts and scaring the hell out of you. But what about the end of the stories. They never make a big deal about how the the Governor that was accused of a drug scandal turned out to be innocent and that he was really framed.

It could be that the media feels that by bringing such information into the limelight, the public would not be as shocked by future headlines. They might then be able to draw a conclution based on previous outcomes. They might stop watching the news and realize that it's not important.

Here are some examples of stories that are scary at first, but never were followed up on:

  • late 2002 - 3 muslim looking people where arrested after being suspcious in a Florida resturant (were these people innocent?) (Its interesting to read this transcript of a Larry King Interview with the 3 students)
  • August 28th, 2003 - Pizza man has bomb straped to neck dies when bomb explodes (So what did we find out about the investigation? Who did this to him?) (Well, here is a followup finally in July of 2007, and finally here on July 12th, 2007 is the whole story.)
  • Sept. 21st, 2003 - 7 dead in Grand Canyon tour helicopter crash (they never followed up with what the cause of the crash was.)
  • Late 2003 - Large solar flares cause headlines on websites and newspapers to proclaim that it will interfere with communications (They never follow up by saying that it didn't really affect much).

There are many many more stories like this. Keep track of some and you'll see it happening on your own.

News is entertainment

Most people don't realize it, but they are mainly watching the news as a form of entertainment. People like seeing horrifying things and murder and scandal. Otherwise horror movies and detective novels would not have their own industry.

Back in 1999 I was on vacation in Arizona. I woke up and was watching the morning news to see the weather and there was a breaking story about how a plane radioed into the airport that it might be having trouble with it's landing gear. They followed the plane with their cameras live as the plane came in to attempt a landing. And when it successfully landed with no explosions or problems, the announcer said "and another one lands safely" just as the camera fades out and they cut over to something else. The tone was very much that of "Damnit, I was hoping it would crash and we'd have a good news story".

I realized at that point that news is entertainment and that they rely on entertaining stories to keep their audience. This needs to be stopped because it is brainwashing us into thinking that the world is getting worse and worse. It also makes us make poor choices based on what we think the current state the world is in.

Think for yourself. But don't believe everything you think.