The Back Forty (Media Mistrust)
According to a recent poll, 60% of Americans do not trust the media to report stories fully, fairly and accurately. This represents an all-time high. Forty percent of Americans trust the U.S. media to do these things in a fair manner almost all or most of the time. This raises the obvious question, what's wrong with 40% of Americans?
I mean, it's obvious that our media is biased. It's clear that they are here to distract and misdirect rather than inform. Why just last week Sec. of State Mark Martin returned from visiting the troops in Afghanistan as part of a project to find the best ways to make sure the votes of overseas troops get counted. Arkansans had to read about it in newspapers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and various other places around the nation because our state papers didn't cover it!
I have already proven conclusively to anyone with the courage and integrity to believe it that when the subject is Mark Martin you cannot trust the state's largest newspaper to tell you the truth. That is both in terms of what they say about him, and what they fail to report. I assure you, that's not the only subject where the state media spins it. It's just one example, and the national media in some ways is worse.
So again, what's wrong with 40% of the population? Various things I suppose. One in ten persons are also part of a group which represents the least intelligent tenth of the population. Perhaps when they soak up the latest details of Lindsey Spears' trip to rehab they really think the media is informing them on the important issues of the day rather than trying to distract American's attention away from what the ruling class is doing to our country. My guess is that most of this least-intelligent 10% can be found in the 40% who think the media is fully, fairly, and accurately reporting the news.
Another group in that 40% will be people who want to be lied to. Some slice of the population wants to be lied to. Facing up to the difficult truths which confront our nation today requires a bit of wisdom, but really much more courage and integrity. It's hard to face how deep the rot runs. It's easier to buy into the blue team - red team mentality and hope that all will be better if your team wins. Some cling to this fantasy despite the historical fact that for most of us things have gotten worse, and policies have in principle been the same, regardless of which team is running things.
For those who wish to retreat into this sort of delusion, the media is happy to form a pro-blue team and pro-red team subsidiary. After all, the global corporations and banks which own big media also largely fund the red team and the blue team. So this slice of the population will simply tune in only the media color of their choice, and persuade themselves that they get "the truth" from this preferred media.
Then there is another segment of the population which thinks the media is doing a good job. It is the ruling class and their wanna-bes. For them, they will be satisfied with the job the media is doing, so they will say its "fair", but what they mean is, that it is serving their interests. The ruling class does not see the rest of the world the same way that the country sees it, so why should this issue be any different?
Add to the mix a few people who are very trusting and gullible, and there you have it.
Of the four groups who still trust the media, I see all but the third continuing to lose faith in them. Eventually, even the slowest members of the population will come to understand what the sharpest in the population have already discerned. People who want to be lied to often have a wake up moment when they realize their desire to be lied to has resulting in their lives becoming filled with liars and their lies. Those often flip and become the most voracious opponents of the ones they come to realize were playing them. Gullible and trusting people will, like the slow-witted, continue to catch on in increasing numbers. The only group I see that continues to "believe" the media is the ruling class and their wanna-bes. And of course, on some level even they may not "believe it" in the sense that the trust that the media is telling people the full story, they only trust that the spin the media is giving serves their interests.
So the day may soon come when literally almost nobody trusts big media anymore. Nor should they. It's the very fact that big media are so powerful which impedes them from deviating from the establishment line. Because they are so powerful, they have been an attractive target to moneyed influence peddlers. They have all kinds of special interests who have sought, and gotten, influence with them. Once they get that influence, truth becomes supplanted by spin on all things political. That happened a long time ago.
You've heard of "too big to fail." Unfortunately in our current culture media can become "too big to tell the truth." At least the whole truth. What the average person sees as the stamp of media legitimacy, size and closeness to the establishment, is in fact a sign that the information it feeds you is less credible.
This leads to Moore's Media Maxim: In a political culture so corrupt that connected business are "too big to fail", you will also find connected media that is "too big to tell you the truth."
That's where us little guys and gals in the blogosphere have the edge. No special interests have levered me. I have no ad dollars at risk. I don't have to pump up the establishment's chosen face man of the hour. I can just write the truth. I may not write as well as the pros write. I might not have the resources to make it look splashy. I might not be able to match the volume because this is a hobby not a paid job. But the one edge we bloggers have is that when the Emperor has no clothes we can sit down and write that the Emperor has no clothes. The court jesters don't dare say that.
The only way this erosion of trust is going to stop, is if the agents of the big media start reporting the truth. I hope it happens, because I love truth and I hate misinformation. I hope they realize the error of their ways and repent. I am pulling for them, but not counting on them.