Deciphering the Information Overload
Podcast Episode 062620
While our feeds (Twitter, Facebook, etc) are filled with this supposed “news”, we find that even our network “local” news brings twists and editing that produces a message that the editors (or more dangerously, their sponsors) want us to think, and rarely (if ever) that actual truth of what was said, or done is portrayed. This is the mainstay of news outlets around the world. Honestly, we can’t even trust the weather people. So for this episode, I’d like to discuss these “slants” that our news channels bring us and find ways to help us find some level of real knowledge, and hopefully provide several proven sources of unbiased information.
In these days of information overload, we find ourselves bombarded with information. Information that contains a plethora of “slants” leaning in one direction or the other. Political and economics are two major influences, however, don’t rule out division and classification efforts. We listen to podcasts, watch YouTube, visit Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and others in a desperate attempt to obtain a level of truth and understanding. The unfortunate reality we typically find is that ALL information sources have a particular view of the information provided. Either as a way to mislead the public or as a response (attempt to redirect) to another fact already released in the wild. When it comes to information, less than 5% of Americans will attempt to locate the actual truth. Because of our “busy lives” we rely on soundbites to support our life’s narrative. It is this fact alone that creates more of society's problems than any other singular issue.
NOTE: The image just above here was taken completely innocuously (at first), however, once ANY narrative was attached to it, it became fake news. In this case, the original poster did not fact check his work to determine that a very large holding conference had leased the buses to bring in attendees to their conference. Instead, a social media circus ensued. This is how misinformation is handed to the public.
This is the world of counter-intelligence. This is where the American public has been duped, fooled into thinking that their “sources” are legitimate. While the powers behind the curtains retain the actual controls, they play the public like marionettes. I am reminded of the famous pictures of the pyramids of Egypt that my beautiful wife introduced me to the real facts. In most pictures you see of the pyramids, they are vast and placed out in the deserts of Egypt. However, what those pictures do not show, is that if you turn about 45 degrees from the pyramids, there is a crowded street with modern stores and a booming population. This public persuasion is one of the cornerstones to my understanding of information, particularly information presented to the public as “news”. The idea of creating an image within the minds of average people of one thing, while the truth could be no further away.
Misinformation, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is: “(noun) false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive”. Most of the social media outlets are designed to circumvent the standard “news” channels which have some level of fact-checking involved. The further news channels move away from fact-checking, the closer they come to becoming another social media outlet. This is happening at record levels today here in the United States. In other countries where the standard news is mandated and managed by the government, we see that social media has taken the opposite tactic. Becoming (to some extent) the “truth”, whereas the government broadcasts its agenda or propaganda.
Recently, during one episode of "The Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj", Hasan brought up some SUPER inciteful theories and although he portrayed things from a different perspective from my own, he did touch on many points that spanned across any aisles and could establish a balance of information. From this source, he introduced me to a really decent source that I’d like to give some kudos to. Now, before I tell you that its the ONLY source, let me caveat it by saying it’s a good start source. I won’t blame the reporters of the world, as they are used just like the American people. My sole finger-pointing lies in the editing of stories produced for public consumption. Too often, critical facts are left on the editors' floor in an attempt to swing the voters/readers/listeners/viewers one way or another. With all that said, let’s look at a few decent sources, and as I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, don’t just use one. Check and balance.
First up, your local newspaper. Many of us don’t have a local newspaper because the Twitter/Facebook crowds have killed them in a move to destroy what they provide. What they provided was a “check and balance” for local governmental bodies. There is nothing more dangerous than a reporter who brings facts to the public about bad government decisions or deals. To this point, I would argue that there have been many newspaper reporters who have toppled big coverups or conspiracies throughout the years, and although they rarely get the credit deserved, they are out there attempting to “break” news stories about their government officials, or corporations attempting to make some part of their operations “disappear”. This is a HUGE issue. The newspapers can be an excellent ally in the war against corruption and coverup, and yet, they are being destroyed at record rates.
Currently, there have been over 2000 newspapers who have had to shut their doors completely, and 1300 how no longer have any local news coverage at all. This comes from a PBS story “Local newsrooms across the country are closing. Here’s why that matters” posted on January 1st of 2020. This story was an interview of Chuck Plunkett (formerly of the Denver Post), and Charles Sennott (of GroundTruth Projects) by Jeffrey Brown from PBS.
The next decent source of “real” information is the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), or public network reporting. They assist the local newspapers by elevating breaking stories to a more visible platform. With one foot in the “real” news area and one in the social media shit storm, they are able to bring more real information to a larger crowd. The PBS is the modern equivalent of the Daniel Craig version of James Bond. Being a non-profit by organization type, they are not as easily swayed by million-dollar advertising campaigns. Their news offerings are about the truth and understanding the whole picture, not just one particular side of the argument.
Finally, I’ll give credit to foreign reporting agencies, and Al Jazeera leading the way as a fairly decent source of information. However, as in all the “sources”, I’ve identified here, be leery of any potential political infection, which can happen. A great example of American organizations tampering with foreign news is the interference of a recent assault weapons ban in New Zealand, Australia. The NRA supposedly attempted to bolster the anti-gun ban groups to stand firm against the institution of a gun ban in that country. Local news stations brought the public the mixed messages (depending on which side of the argument they were on). Although I have found Al Jazeera seemed to ignore most of the rhetoric, they could have no choice but report what is happening, which could be greatly influenced by some underlying international political infection.
Political infection can happen at multiple levels, so this is something one has to deeply consider when evaluating your source. Firstly, you have to evaluate the actual source, who is this providing information? If it is the U.S. Press Secretary offering data, fine, but accept it as having a twist in the direction of the current administration, if it’s the actual POTUS, then one has to consider his/her need to be re-elected. Then, establish who is reporting the event. Did they provide you with the whole statement without any editing, or did they just offer soundbites from the original statement? If you’re looking at an event, did you see the whole event or just one side? I am constantly amazed at how camera angles make all the difference to the perspective of a particular piece. Locations devoid of people and smashed buildings, when turning the camera 45 degrees shows hundreds of people repairing damage from a natural disaster, and not riot made. When evaluating pictures or videos, one has to be VERY cognizant of the camera angle. We have even heard reports where news outlets have utilized footage shot in a war zone to speak of a story in Chicago or Atlanta. The clip depicts a culture/environment that is steeped in a civil war, but yet, the story given to the public is that this is happening in large towns around completely different countries.
Misinformation can be as damaging, or even more damaging than actually what happened. Remember, drama sells air time. “News” outlets require funding to make them work, and most of this funding comes in the form of advertising. Advertisers are not going to write checks for news channels that don’t have viewers. It really does come down to simplistic economic points. If news stations can’t pay the pretty faces to read the news because the channel has very few viewers, then ultimately the channel fails because advertisers are not lining up. If the channel has millions of viewers, then the advertisers will pay the substantial fees necessary to get their ad in the commercial breaks. Simple math.
So, the next time you find yourself needing to know the truth, check out one of the sources I have listed here, or get off the couch and be at the rally, or speech, and get the real information yourself, first-hand. Otherwise, be sure to balance what is said by your source against what another source might report. Don’t worry about “common sense” as it's not used anymore, simply gather all the points of view, then contrast them against what your belief systems are.