Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Who is Actually to Blame

The video I posted in my previous entry makes some very valid points about the culpability of the American press in the fiasco that has been Campaign 2016.  Surely we would all like to believe, as the narrator says, that it is the job of the press to say, “Time out, something really dangerous is happening.”  But let’s think about that for a moment; and when we do, we’ll have to admit that it’s been a really long time—probably at least 25 years—since the press embraced that responsibility.  The 21st-century American press—heavily influenced by characters like Rupert Murdoch—is much more likely to say, “Oh look!  Something really dangerous is happening!  Let’s hang out and watch the bloodbath!  Maybe we can even circulate some conjecture and hyperbole that will make things even gorier!” 

We don’t have journalism in America anymore, folks.  We have entertainment.  We have hundreds of media outlets trying to rake in profits off a 24/7 reality show.  The press is not charged with protecting us.  It’s charged with making those cash registers ring.  And that has been the case for a very long time.  I’m actually surprised that a man as young as the narrator of the “False Equivalency” video can labor under the delusion that it is the job of the media to warn of danger.  I’d be willing to bet that, in his lifetime, he’s never personally witnessed the press fulfilling that archaic obligation. 

Still, if it was only our stinking mess of perverted press that we had to deal with in this election, I think we could survive.  We might possibly be able to grab it, hogtie it and clean it up.  But, no; we have a much larger hazardous waste issue to contend with. We have a gigantic heap of steaming garbage so huge that the American press is a single rat turd in comparison.  We have an inexhaustible font of crowd-sourced “news;”  a place where millions of anonymous everymen spew the putrid contents of their disaffected guts. We have the internet.

There aren’t enough lead-lined tanks in the world to contain the poison released through the internet every minute of every hour.   Nor are their regiments of moral warriors stepping forward to lead the clean-up effort, if there was even the slightest suggestion of the will to do so.  The one or two brave souls who make the effort are almost instantly silenced, buried under the sheer volume of hatred, violence, disrespect and darkness that is the bread and butter of the World Wide Web.

We are challenged to formulate regulations that do not violate our Constitutional protections, and can yet hold the disaster in check.  We must come up with rules that govern the anonymity and factuality of internet content.  It’s possible that these rules might rub up against some of our more cherished Constitutional rights.  The Founding Fathers of our republic would have had no possible context in which to predict the future existence of such uncontrolled malevolence, any more than they understood that “the right to bear arms” would bear the fruit it has born two centuries in the future.  But it’s plain that our lofty American ideals of freedom of speech and of the press are not proof against this massive machine of destructive energy. 

I don’t believe in the devil; but if I did, I’d declare the internet a tool of that evil, all-consuming fallen angel.  I do understand that there is dark, negative energy at large in the world…and there is bright, positive energy as well.  For some inexplicable reason, human beings seem to show a marked affinity for darkness and ugliness…perhaps never more than at this moment in history.  And the internet embodies and feeds that craving for darkness, violence and contentiousness, in such a sick and uncontrollable way that it is entirely likely to be the tool of our destruction. 



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