I saw a comment on Twitter the other day accusing someone of expressing their view but not knowing what they were talking about, they’d just heard it on the news.
I thought what an extraordinary thing to say and how ignorant, because where else do we gather information from other than from what’s reported as news?
We’re not garnering all our information in real life, wandering the halls of Westminster, seeing the live action and actually being there.
The issue isn’t that we’ve heard something on the news, but which news source and whether we’re sharing it uncritically, without engaging our intelligence, discernment, experience and critical faculties.
Gathering our knowledge of the world of politics and social issues beyond our lived in world, makes us very vulnerable to misinformation, bias and propaganda and that’s why we have to be very careful of our news sources and being critical of what we read and view.
I grew up with a single parent Tory voting, royalist, mother who used to read the Daily Express and I do not think she ever questioned the Conservative political bias of the Express for a single moment.
I remember her visceral loathing of Unions, fed her by the Express. It was a live thing inside her which affected me deeply, especially when I was old enough to battle with my own osmosed beliefs against what I was seeing the unions fighting for, which thankfully had enough power to cause me to question my beliefs and to change my mind. It was a hell of a battle in which I felt like a traitor to my mother and my upbringing.
I still have a hint of the taste of that inside me, but it’s just a toothless memory with none of the power to confuse me that it once did.
I recall coming across the expression ‘deferential voter’ describing working class Conservative voters who deferred to ‘their elders and betters’ and who believed in royalty and the privileged aristocracy with unquestioning fervour. Thankfully we were too dirt poor to get dragged to line the Mall for any royal weddings or other public events of the ‘great and the good’ and these days I am merely bemused that people still do that (and somewhat jaggedly annoyed at the displays of today’s deferential voters spending their hard earned money to wave and drool at royalty).
But who can blame them? A royal baby (or wedding) in the offing and the media is reduced to dribbling, simpering, bowing and scraping, adoration that Jesus in a manger could only dream of. Millions respond, enthralled and in thrall to the news and I am left to wonder what bad news gets buried in all that devotion. But then, I am no longer my mother’s son and the blind subject of familial and media conditioning and bias. Rather, I am that most despised and reviled of creatures in Britain (if you believe the media), a socialist.
A bloody socialist – a commie bastard, Trotsky, Leninist, Marxist, Corbynista freak. If you believe the news…
And millions do. And there’s the problem. It’s not that we hear it on the news, it is that the news is swallowed whole and then regurgitated as if it is the Gospel of Christ instead of horse shit from some billionaire owned propaganda sheet like the Daily Mail or the Express or the Sun or the Telegraph or the Times or (sadly) the Guardian (and let’s not forget television – and the BBC in particular).
Since 2010, I have personally shifted away from the main stream media, which has ceased to be the Fourth Estate and is now, mostly, just the propaganda arm of global wealth and power, in thrall to neoliberalism and corporate greed.
Thankfully, with the Internet, there is a thriving left of field independent body of news sites which are dedicated to being truthful that the mainstream media (MSM) cannot hope to match because the mainstream media is owned by those whose purpose is to deceive. The vast majority of the news I read is garnered from (links below) Vox Political, The Skwawkbox, Dorset Eye, Politics and Insights, Pride’s Purge, Bella Caledonia, The Canary, to name but a tiny, but significant, few. My own efforts are listed there too and I am rather pleased with Fear and Loathing in Great Britain, my voice in difficult times.
News is not the problem, we are literally drowning in news, but absent honest news which the mainstream media has almost universally abandoned. Today, if you want to know why people go on killing sprees, look no further than the right wing mainstream media. The Daily Mail is the most hate filled rag in Britain and has been repeatedly hailed as Britain’s most unreliable, yet second most read, paper, lagging behind only the equally despicable Sun  . Today the mainstream media is a horror story, including television, yet that’s where the majority of people get their news, and if you swallow the output of the MSM whole and uncritically you get the cluster fuck that is UK politics generally and votes for the worst government since WWII.
Looking back at 2010 I feel I am looking back to a much younger me for whom there was the space and tolerance for my own naivete and I’ve had to grow up in a great hurry. Not only have I discovered hatred, the Tories are only the first target and the media comes a close and unforgivable second.
No one can swallow the output of the MSM whole and remain unscathed. Demanding the end of the Tories almost looks like a turkey shoot compared to the MSM, the Mail can lay out its rabid front pages with impunity, when we should have the power to shut it down for its obscene hate filled extremism and incarcerate its owners for a very long time.
The tragedy is that people are generally better then this. To use a film reference, people should have the right to be hobbits, to go about their business undisturbed by cynicism and hate, to be unsophisticated and live simple lives. There is nothing wrong with such things. I can think of no greater pleasure than to wander through woods, past babbling brooks and to breath good, wholesome, air without fear or worry and I very much yearn for such days again.
The Tories and the cynicism of those for whom wealth is their only god, are abominations. Life is still a magnificent wonder, and more than anything else, we need to take back our lives from these monsters and enjoy living. Now there’s a radical thought.
Keith Ordinary Guy