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2/16/11

Thinking Out Loud

Switching the channel...

On turning the "news" off.

Once I was like a newshound hot on the blood trail of every economic, political, entertainment and social news that I could sniff out. After the events of 9-11-01 I backed off watching TV pretty much completely but still followed news on the internet and by reading. At one time the news was also a common source of conversation in work break rooms, waiting rooms and other public gathering places. As we became homogenized by becoming educated, mainly in the workplace, about what was acceptable to say and not to say in case we should offend someone, public discussion became bland. It was too difficult to deal with the niceties of political correctness we were trained to submit to in order to avoid confrontation, especially at work where there were consequences. News was a minefield for making an error in this new environment and by the nineties most people limited public conversation to the superficial.

Although I still followed news, it was only discussed among trusted people. I started recognizing that not only following news was exhausting, it had become an addiction to always being current. In 2007 when the economic crisis broke out, I decided to see if I could uncover the source of lack of veracity of news media that we absorb in the United States. My suspicion for the previous 15 years was that it was a product, prepared and sold in the mold of the MBA Marketing mindset that permeated our consumer economy was confirmed. It seemed obvious, due to the advent of cable television becoming widespread in urban markets, with multiple channels and cable news. Call me naive for not recognizing this earlier but actually I wasn't that simple-minded, my assumption was that it was marketed to us (Y2K was a perfect example) but there was a kernel of truth in much of it we could discern for ourselves.

The beauty of the internet is that much of the real truth can be ferreted out and the beast of it is that it's not that easy. There are as many charlatans proclaiming all kinds of junk economics, science, political analysis as there always has been in the world. It's just more available. On the other hand there is much truth and factual information to make lie of what is sold in newspapers, television and old mainstream media but it requires a lot of discernment and time to discover it. My conclusion is there is collusion between the power players in traditional mainstream media, government and the financial world. This is a revelation that I recognize is no surprise to any thinking person. It was once easier to distinguish the "MSM" since it was primarily in newsprint and on radio and television but now it has also crossed over and permeates the internet also. The real question is how does the average person stay abreast of current news without having to filter out so much?

Early in 2009 I had enough of following current events and backed off considerably. I still waffle between willful ignorance, a preference a lot of the population seems to opt for, or keeping one eye open for headlines. Realistically I can't turn it all off, primarily because of the intellects I'm around most of the time. It's difficult to not be engaged by intelligent people who have something realistic to say about factual events occurring. Especially since it's a much better kernel truth than what the media would have us believe.

My conclusion is that if I pay close attention to the so-called news media, in all the forms it takes shape, it frustrates me for no useful purpose. It's full of contradictory information about the state of our world, country, economy, politics and social attitudes. My determination is the actuality of where we are as a country fundamentally is we're in a period of change, with severe underlying economic problems being propped up, there is little I can do about it and paying any attention to what the media says is vexing. My answer is to be aware we are in for stormy weather, many people and institutions are unprepared for it and that I cannot afford to let it affect my day to day life.

I base this on one piece of logic. I've weathered enough international, national, local and personal storms and in hindsight, my positive thinking and attitude have in the long term kept me safe and sound through them all.