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What Is The News And How Do You Know? (a.k.a. Thinking For Yourself)

Today I ran across a repost from freelance investigative reporter Jon Rappoport entitled, “Mind control achieved through the ‘information flicker effect.’” While this linking isn’t meant as a full endorsement of Mr. Rappoport (I don’t know about him any more than what’s posted in his “About” page), and even though I think the phrase, “mind control” is a bit strong, I wanted to post on why I think he absolutely nails what the American media engages in for every major news story.

I’ll speak from experience.

For many years, I had been an avowed “info junkie,” sometimes incurring the relative wrath of my wife, in that I was watching news almost non-stop during those times that I had a chance to watch TV. While I spent a lot of time watching the Fox News Channel, I eventually drifted over to the Fox Business channel, because I began to get tired of the “surface treatment” that I thought the Fox News Channel was providing the news.

However, even as I made these kinds of changes — often shifting over to CNN or other news channels — something still didn’t sit quite right with me. It was as if stories weren’t being completely fleshed out, and where cursory searches on reputable web sites would still provide better, more fully researched data on the news than what the news channels were producing.

And, for me, there had always been psychologically what I term a bit of a “dull roar” from the constant input of what would be about 25 – 30% news and 70 – 75% “talking heads” — alleged (and some real) experts on what was actually news-worthy.

Then, I decided to turn the TV off — at least from 24/7 news. After about 48 hours, it was as if real silence returned, like I could think on my own without being told what to essentially think. It was like when I once tried a particular 7-day diet and it never occurred to me how much high-fructose corn syrup I was really putting in my diet (such a thing was a big deal for me at the time, a kind of understanding why I (and others) seemed to be so “hooked” to eating out or otherwise not eating healthy). The same thing had just happened from a media consumption standpoint.

It turns out I was unhooking myself from The Matrix (I’m using the venerable movie’s name in a tongue-and-cheek sort of way, but it gets the point across).

The real question, for me, was: how is the news getting folks “hooked” to the goods being sold? On the food side, it was relatively easy for me to see how I was being “hooked;” on the media side, not so much, though I did at least have the clue that there was very little actual facts being reported, and more of a story being told.

Mr. Rappoport’s posting filled in the gaps.

While he calls the methodology the “information flicker effect,” Mr. Rappoport does a great job of explaining that it’s actually the news anchor weaving a story through the repeated use of bringing up incomplete facts, one after the other, then “dropping” them (or brushing aside to be picked up at some point in the future), such that the story-teller (the anchor) ultimately has another agenda in mind (not so much simply stating facts). Such drop/adding occurs as a frequent enough clip that the audience never has time to seriously think through all of the open leads being produced as the story is “unfolding,” where the media show is more interested in an ultimate story to tell than stating facts (which is what news ought to be — the what, when, where, why, how and to what extent of a given subject or event).

Now, since it is true that you can never fool all of your audience all of the time, then when a media story is ultimately about, say, gun control, because such a topic is so charged (certainly in America), when this topic is brought up, enough of the audience does say, “enough,” and begins to engage in critical thinking once more.

That is why I believe Mr. Rappoport’s use of the phrase, “mind control,” is a bit strong. “Mind influencing” is probably a better turn-of-phrase, but I digress.

There were some excellent questions that Mr. Rappoport brought up, to wit:

Why is it that every major network anchor is reporting every major story from the same perspective?

Would it not be reasonable to expect that a legitimately-questioning journalist would be getting more facts on the table to at least present a different point of view?

Why is it that every major network also reports the same perspective on every major story?

Why is it that younger reporters just starting their career aren’t being used to proverbially “pound the pavement” themselves to gather facts? Why are only the authorities involved being trusted to relay facts to reporters who are then telling some story for which someone else (a producer or higher up the chain) has already provided a template?

The simplest (and perhaps complete) answer to the above is that those “in power” (and by “in power” I’m transcending political parties here) like to have a mechanism in place in order to persuade (I think “control” is too heavy a word) enough people that they ought to believe a certain way so as to promote such power. After all, what does anyone who has power want? To both garner more power and consolidate it the best they can.

To me, the good news is there’s a very simple antidote to the above — unplug! If you’re an “info junkie,” spend a couple of days shut off from whatever source you’re using to stay “up-to-date” on news stories and see if you gain a bit of intellectual peace (and perhaps sanity). If that works, then you’re being persuaded to not use your brain. Also, try watching news stories for the facts that are presented; once the “talking heads” are paraded in front of your face, that’s a clue to turn the news off.

You don’t need to be told by anyone what to think. Getting an education should be possessing a tool that helps you to logically deduce and infer facts and evidence from the world around you — not to simply memorize a list of things that someone else put together.

Having the ability to independently think on your own means being able to operate as a full-fledged citizen in society.

And our society definitely needs more such citizens.

-Phil

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