Friday, March 11, 2022

Caleb Anderson: Mainstream Media Religiosity

I guess the New Zealand Herald should be commended for recently seeking input on its editorial content.  That they were inundated with concerns around political bias does not surprise me, nor, sadly,  did their response to this avalanche of criticism.  

Among the responses from sub-editors one particularly stood out.  The claim was made that the roughly equal accusations of bias from readers on the left and right, must surely suggest that the Herald have things about right.  In what sense could the volume of letters possibly be representative of the perceptions of readers as a whole?  What value are responses when divorced from the context and coherence of the argument presented?  Isn't a point well made worth a hundred points poorly made? 


One thing that has surprised me over recent months, is the media's (apparent) stunned disbelief at the reaction they are now receiving from the general public.   Not alone in declining subscriptions, and viewership, but in the vitriol being directed at them by the public.  It even appears that some media are now accompanied by minders when reporting on particular stories. The media seem to be in a state of collective denial, like the last Romanovs ensconced in the winter palace, oblivious to the empire crumbling around them.

A very recent example of media superficiality and bias was an item on the NZ Herald website site, alleging that a group of protesters had been disrespectful when local Maori, performing a haka, with at least one wielding something that appeared to be a taiaha, tried to move them on from a local beach.  On closer inspection, it seems that this story is not remotely worthy of its sensational and emotive headline, with the protesters moving on quite quickly to avoid conflict, and relatively calmly in light of that with which they had been confronted.  In short, this story was spun to cohere with the familiar oppressed/oppressor good guy/bad guy narrative.  It was a golden opportunity to further portray these protestors in a negative light, and to paint them as racist .... interesting as many of them were Maori.  No depth, and certainly no balance.  

Television New Zealand and TV 3 are also prime offenders, with reporters repeatedly peddling predictable lines, interviewing predictable people, choosing predictable stories, and vilifying and belittling views that diverge from the target narrative.  Reporter after reporter feigned bewilderment at the "incoherence" of the Wellington protests citing, again and again, the diversity of views, and the absence of any clear and coherent message.   I have no doubt that within 10 minutes a class of young teens would have detected a common theme in the diversity of placards, and thus a likely commonality of cause.  And yet experienced journalists were bewildered, not for a day, but for weeks. 

So what drives a media that seems hell-bent on its own destruction?  When confronted with reasonable evidence of their bias, what causes them to dig themselves deeper?  Does it not concern them that they are held in such disregard, and that they are no longer believed?  Why can they not see that they are sawing away at the very branch on which they are sitting?  While the infamous fifty-five million dollar media bribe maybe goes some way to explaining this, it seems unlikely that it is as simple as this.  These tendencies were evident long before the fifty-five million dollar bribe.  In pondering this issue, Hillary Clinton's infamous "deplorables" comment comes to mind.  Perhaps in like fashion, mainstream media consider many of their viewers, and readers, to be something approximating deplorable.  Deplorable for no other reason that they see things differently, they do not concur with the mainstream media narrative, and are sometimes insolent enough to challenge this narrative.  That some of these people are highly credentialed, experts in their fields, and very well respected, makes no difference.  Purveyors of "dissenting" views are portrayed, at best, as unfortunate victims of misinformation, at worst as a proselytizing menace.  Their views should be canceled before they take root, and before others are contaminated by their arguments.  Such accusations of "misinformation" are patronizing and disingenuous.  Such accusations disguise what is, in reality, a determination to stamp out alternative views.

Much of this inevitably touches on the issue of what constitutes truth.  While misinformation certainly abounds, it isn't always easy to know what does, and what does not, constitute misinformation.  If a majority holds a view, and the minority a dissenting view, are the former automatically purveyors of truth, and the latter purveyors of misinformation? Is it a matter of how many PhDs or Nobel Prize Winners line up on one side or the other, is it a matter of counting heads?  Almost every advancement in thought has been advanced by a minority (sometimes courageously so) while the majority, jealous of their own interests, opposed, obstructed, and obfuscated at every opportunity.  It is interesting how often today's misinformation becomes tomorrow's orthodoxy, and how the outcasts of today become tomorrow's heroes.  It's amazing how quickly things can change, and how different things look with the benefit of perspective and hindsight.

In recent decades journalists have been indoctrinated, and catechized, into the WOKE fold.  It is the club they have signed up to, there are rules and rites of passage, and there are consequences for apostates.    Theirs is a higher calling, and they accept this calling with an unthinking and fervent religiosity.  And there is no end of back-slapping (psychological stroking)  in the newsroom (or the green room) from like-minded zealots.  The future depends on their success in bringing others to their way of thinking.  It isn't, alone, about vaccinations, mandates, racism, decolonization, indigenization, or climate change, it is about the promulgation of a more enlightened way, it is the great re-set, and they believe that they have the blueprint.  History is replete with great re-sets, and every such re-set did incalculable damage, but now we know enough to get it right, really!  Thus the media are the high priests of a new world order, and the public is the great unwashed, requiring psychological cleansing.  The former are the purveyors of truth, and the latter must be re-educated.  

While alternative media are filling the void, the mainstream media still dominate, at least for now.  So how do those in search of balanced news detect mainstream (or alternative) media misinformation?  How do we know fake news?  Here are some simple indicators.   On any given topic  ...  Can you guess who they are likely to interview?  Can you guess what the questions will be?  Can you guess what the answers will be?   Can you guess the interviewer's opinion?  The answers are usually YES.  Are alternative views being sought?  Are they digging when things don't make sense?  Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is usually NO.  And for confirmation, flick channel to channel.  Can you guess which news item will be covered and which will not be covered?  Are the stories the same?  Does anybody, anywhere, challenge the approved narrative?

"The Truman Show" is one of my favorite movies.  Truman wakes up one day and things don't look right, they don't add up, things look fake.  Truman feels that someone is pulling the strings, and he is right.  The pictures painted by our mainstream media are as fake as the backdrops to Truman's life.  Familiar and realistic enough to draw us in, and momentarily settle our misgivings, but unfamiliar enough to rightly arouse our suspicions.  Truman's world is the construct of another's mind.  Make no mistake, we are being schooled on what we can and cannot say, in order to influence how we think.  As did Truman, we know we are being manipulated, and as with Truman, we are pushing back.  We are pushing back because there is too much at stake.

 Caleb Anderson, a graduate history, economics, psychotherapy and theology, has been an educator for over thirty years, twenty as a school principal


DeeM said...

I entirely agree that the blatant bias exhibited by our MSM is due to a lot more than just some money doled out by Auntie Jacinda.
The MAIN reason is that these people are WOKE to the core. They actually really believe all the minority, positive racism and climate-change crap, and to be paid extra for expressing their views is just a bonus.

Just remember "One MSM reporter's claim of misinformation is another sceptical and logical person's deductive reasoning"

Terry Morrissey said...

I have posted this comment to another site but on visiting here I thought it almost more appropriate to this topic.

“A cult is a group or movement held together by a shared commitment to a charismatic leader or ideology. It has a belief system that has the answers to all of life’s questions and offers a special solution to be gained only by following the leader’s rules. It requires a high level of commitment from at least some of the members.
1.Charismatic leader: The charismatic leader is the originator of the group. Charismatic leaders are great manipulators, they’re charming. They know how to read people. They come along and offer a message that is going to resonate with somebody. Once they get a few followers that’s all they need and then those people go out, recruit more and they build up an aura around the leader."
They start out being empathetic and then….
"2. Transcendent belief system: Most religions and even political groups are going to have a transcendent belief system, meaning they’re stating how to get to some better place. But what’s different in cultic groups is they have their way to get you there. It’s what’s called the recipe for change. In order to be part of the group, you have to go through a transformational process, which they dictate to you and you can’t be there otherwise. That’s the indoctrination program."
They go for co-governance.

"3. Systems of control: They think they’re joining something that’s going to give them purpose and meaning. Slowly the heat gets turned up and you go through the rituals or the study sessions that get you more and more drawn in. As this process goes on, the person begins to adopt this new worldview that requires new behaviors and which most often requires cutting off from the past. There’s all kinds of control mechanisms, which are the rules and regulations."
Empathy goes out the window. You must accept that the TOW has principles. You must accept that maori life before 6 Feb 1840 was utopia. The tribes were not killing each other, and they didn't have slavery or cannibalism, they owned water, the oceans and the airwaves.
We do not have a government, we have a cult controlling pretty much every facet of our lives, and it is only going to get worse as we continue to comply.
The media is just another useful idiot as far as the supreme leader is concerned

Janine said...

You are absolutely right. They daren't print or show an alternative viewpoint as someone might actually believe it!

All we really need is the facts presented to us and then we can make up our own minds as to the validity of the commentary.

The MSM appear to feel a bit threatened by the independent media and rightly so. They are providing a better service and are attracting many more followers.

RRB said...

Taxpayers money has been used by the Adern Labor Party to buy media and journalist bias, somewhere there is a list of those beneficiaries of personal greed and the taxpayers have a right to know who they are.
So why hasn't that list been published?