Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


conspiracies (and what we don’t agree with) ~

I saw a post on Facebook that said we all will have computer chips inserted under our skin if Obama isre-elected. Riiiiight….Right up there with the allegedly secret Muslim wedding ring he wears, and the death panels, and the liberal belief that Goldman Sachs intentionally created the bank debacle. Not to mention Obama gives cell phones away, and Tagg Romney is going to steal the election via his voting machine…

Where do these conspiracy theories come from? Who starts them? More importantly, why do we believe them? What is it that appeals to us in these impossible scenarios?

I have no answers… All I have is a dumb-founded, raised-eyebrow-look in response…:) But I know that  right & left alike, we believe far too often in what we fear, and not what the facts show. And yes, you CAN find out (for the most part) ‘what really happened.’ In this day of the Internet, you can find ‘truth.’ It just takes time, and wanting to.

My sister’s friend refuses to believe anything not verified on Fox News. I have other friends who swear by Huffington Post. An interesting exercise: read each website’s headlines for stories covering the same event. Both will show bias. These days, w/ American corporate media (six businesses own 900%  of American media), you have to WORK to get ‘fair’ news coverage: Reuters, the foreign press, a few ‘old-fashioned’ papers that still believe the reader needs only the facts…. This is one way.

What irks me most, I guess, is that when a news media does lack bias, or publishes legitimate (but unflattering) news, it’s seen as ‘unfair coverage.’ As if simply being of your  same political, or religious, or corporate ‘club’ should somehow render your candidate/ religious head/ corporate leader immune to critique.

This is still a free country. With a wonderful history of free press. AND democracy. Both of which used to ensure that news coverage was rational and balanced.

Today? Not so much… And the very men & women who should be reining us in egg us on.

I suppose this is by way of a small rant. Because really: it’s not bias if the news covers your personal favourite whomever screwing up. It’s news. And if your news channel doesn’t cover it, but you hear of it from others, LOOK IT UP. As I told many semesters of research students: VECTOR it – look at different sources on the topic/ event, and their agendas.

I believe in research. I believe in science. And I believe in the resourcefulness of intelligent debate. Yes, I know each of them can be compromised. But I also know that in today’s world of Google & the Internet & 24-hour news, you have to WANT to believe falsehoods. For instance: I don’t know lots about statistics. But if you criticise a poll you don’t like for its forecast, I want you to show me how the stats from that poll are wrong. I want you to know enough about math and statistics and demographic polling to help me understand why it’s incorrect. I do NOT want you to just tell me it’s a conspiracy.

Because here’s the deal: the MINUTE you utter that word, whisper it under your breath with its breathy sibilance (conspiracy), you’ve lost me. You’ve also lost any credibility in the discussion, whether you know it or not. Which means we won’t talk any further — even if you continue to think we are. Because I will have stopped listening…

 


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