Your humble correspondent and his amazingly tolerant spouse spent last weekend with family, preparing for all manner of family-altering events. In the course of that, we were exposed to Cable “News” of various flavors (we don’t typically watch that kind of crap at chez Blunt and Cranky) on family members’ TeeVees, as they keep those channels on during waking hours. This was a depressingly revelatory experience, and it explained a lot about how America has would up so close to becoming a Dystopia on the order of Brave New World, 1984, or one of such.
What this writer saw was a load of propaganda, innuendo, speculation, dissimulation, distraction, obfuscation, panic-mongering, manipulation, and outright lies: call it 90+% of the programming. Any actual news appeared at random and infrequently. This, whether one was subjected to Fox, CNN, or MSNBC. The vast majority of airtime was swallowed up by “panel discussions”, “analysis”, and members of the the Punditocracy doing their Pundit thing.
So this morning, listening to the Beeb on the car radio, all one heard was the Brit Flavor of the same programming. Perhaps a bit more news there, but not by a lot. And it brought home the pervasiveness of the phenomenon: we are getting the same sort of near-as-no-matter brainwashing as described by Huxley or Orwell. Big Brother may not be watching us 24/7/365 yet, but He is most certainly doing His very best to control our thinking. And having great success at it, too.
Ebola? Be afraid, shun the infected!
A mass shooting? Be afraid, buy more guns and hide!
Terrorists? Be afraid, elect authoritarians!
People of Color in our country? Be afraid, vote to take away their rights!
On and on, on nearly every topic (except the occasional cat video), fear was the product being sold. And a neo-Fascist, authoritarian approach was the lone solution being presented as the “only way” to be “safe”.
America has gone down this road before: the “Redskins”, the “Yellow Peril”, and the “Red Scare” are just a few examples of how the powers that be use the media to manipulate us, mislead us, and bit by bit, enslave us. By pitting us against the “Other” du jour, we are led down a twisted road to a Dystopian nation, in which we will all be at risk of being “Othered” if we don’t stay in line.
One bright spot: our President doesn’t watch cable news: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/jay-carney-president-obama-is-various-reader-of-print-does-not-watch-cable-news_b243577 One very dark spot: this is presented as a very unusual and possibly negative thing. By, of course, cable news:
STELTER: Is it true the president doesn’t watch any cable news?
CARNEY: It is true, which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get news, in a real time basis. He does. He’s a voracious consumer of the printed word, even the electronic printed word, and but he doesn’t — he doesn’t watch cable news. I have spent, you know, countless hours with him on Air Force One, especially, in the conference room where we always had the TV on, and it was never in any of the trips I ever took with him, tuned in to cable news.
So hey, cool, the Prexy isn’t getting the full brainwash treatment. Yay. He’s not peddling as much fear and loathing as most DC Politicos. But of course, most people don’t like him much, so who cares what he has to say?
I know most people don’t like Obama; after all, I heard it on CNN this weekend…
Mr. Blunt and Cranky