Sunday, September 6, 2020

Newsworthy


He liked this room. It was high enough to give him the perspective that he needed but not so high that egress would be difficult. He had to keep moving so he could provide the others with timely and accurate information as they advanced. But, yeah, it was a good room. The curtains were still hanging and functional even though the windowpanes were half missing. There was even a bed in the corner. The sheets had been pulled tightly some time ago by someone who never returned to find rest, time before lawlessness took over this area. Yeah, the room was perfect for his needs tonight.

Hey, and it even had reading material! Torn out and tac’d into the wall were newspaper clippings and papers that had been printed out, strings connecting the different pieces. One in particular caught his attention:

Washington Tribune – Op Ed February 6, 2021

Editor’s Note: the following opinion demonstrates the Tribune’s continuing commitment to provide dissenting viewpoints while providing example to our editorial board’s position on the dangers that religious fanaticism pose to a progressive society.

I grew up watching the nightly news, first the local station where the weatherman made predictions that almost never came true, followed by the national news. I remember as a five-year-old being sentenced to a child’s rocking chair in front of a black and white TV, watching Walter Cronkite after hearing the dreaded statement: “Wait until your father gets home!” Yes, I was in trouble for a crime I had irrefutably committed, and I kept expecting to have my life’s errors broadcast for the whole world to see while I awaited judgement! I don’t recall exactly how my father reacted, but I remember it at being more even-tempered than I deserved.

The news was important to my parents. My dad read the newspaper daily and the television was almost always on if there was a news program to watch: morning news at breakfast, evening news at dinner, and late-night news before bed. Later in life, Just Fax News played continuously on my mother’s TV, and whenever we got together, she was quick to ask me if I had heard about some recent newsworthy event.

As an adult, I didn’t have the same insatiable desire for the latest news that my parents did, but I would still try to watch the local news before going to bed or scan through the Internet headlines for something that was truly newsworthy. However, sometime in the early 2000’s, I decided the network news wasn’t a good use of my day. Oh, I’d still watch it on occasion, but it was with a growing apprehension for both what was communicated and how it was being conveyed. It was obvious to me that programs played an agenda, and it was played out very effectively over the years. Back then, it was more subtle than today, where a large segment of society has joined the deconstructionist ideology. Back then, the news often empathized with the prevalent mood in the country, at least initially, but they very craftily steered people toward a different perspective over days, weeks and even years, playing to the good nature and sympathies of a well-intentioned public.

By the time of the 2016 election, the United States had become two, competing cultures that edified their faction’s champions and vilified the political opposition. I had silently reached the conclusion that mainstream news couldn’t be trusted long before the president started his “Fake News” meme. By this time, I seldom watched a news program and had chosen alternative means for getting information. I’d still scan the headlines on internet news or posts on social media, but I’d try to find the primary source if it seemed important. Sure, I’d still follow network news for things that weren’t politically charged, like a natural disaster or school closings, but I didn’t waste much time listening to commentary when it reeked of propaganda. When I did choose to listen, it was with a discerning mind. I’d try to listen carefully to both what was said and question all that wasn’t said, pulling from what I had discovered in researching primary sources. I found certain podcasts that proved to be reliable, still cautious that even these new sources of information could be corrupted over time.

In my younger years, I served in the United States Marine Corps, and it was there that I had become aware of operations security. This special skill discerns the plans of a potential enemy by analyzing seemingly unrelated activities. There are experts in this field; I’m a novice, perhaps less than a novice. They are professionals, and I’m at best a hobbyist. But nonetheless, I’ve found myself intelligence gathering, no longer having the option of listening to any news source without a touch of skepticism, trying to triangulate information from sources believed to be reliable. I adopted the cartesian method, doubting everything I thought I knew to see where it led me, all from the lens of Scripture. What I discovered was disturbing, especially in light of the current coverage the media gives to the riots and retaliations occurring in our streets.

I’ve observed that power has been relentlessly centralized in the news media. Conglomerates purchased local stations and small-town newspapers until finally there were no more truly local communication channels. Then the news moguls started buying out their competitors until a silent signal seemed to trigger a truce. And suddenly all the news programs started to look and sound eerily familiar. Oh, they had their unique slant and personalities, but the message and often the sound bites were identical.

What I’ve concluded is that power corrupts and the centralization of power corrupts absolutely. A few people started controlling what was newsworthy and messaging to spin the truth and guide a nation, but you know what? We aren’t as dumb and na├»ve as you thought we were. We don’t buy it… and now we don’t buy your product, your so-called news. As I read all your arguments for rising up against a systemically corrupt government that was founded in classism… to challenge the outcome of this election because of the confusion created by all the mail-in voting you encouraged, I remember a vow I once made. When I joined the corps, I took an oath against all enemies, foreign and domestic to protect a document you now advocate replacing. That document was written for a nation that was once indivisible under God that paved the way for civil rights reforms of the 60’s, but your proposed revisions promise comforts in exchange for freedom. In short, it’s a contract for slavery.
Wow, he thought to himself, It turns out he wasn’t wrong. I bet he sounded crazy at the time, but he wasn’t wrong. Of course, history belongs to the victors, right? We need to win this.

Looking out the window, the night was still. Maybe it would stay that way. Maybe others hated the fighting as much as he did, but he reminded himself: some things are worth fighting for.

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

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