News Is outrage alive today?

  • Thread starter mathwonk
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Here is another view of the "noisemakers"

In 2009 this came out:
Kathryn Olmsted (UC Davis),
'Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories in American Democracy'

A precis of the book (all of this is my impression, please blame me for any factual distortion):

This book is the recent history of conspiracies. From WWI through 9/11.

Premise:
Many US citizens believe that their own government is guilty of real crimes. A live alien landed in Roswell and was hidden away. Government agents shot the JFK. NASA faked the moon landing. In order to cover up their crimes, the US Government commited even more crimes.
One thing that disturbs me is the title of that book. We've cozied-up quite well to the word "democracy." And we hardly ever hear of the "Constitutional Republic" anymore, as though "Constitution" is some kind of curse word. It's unfair to muddy the water by lumping all of those well-known conspiracy theories together, as to imply that anyone who believes in a cover-up about the JFK assassination also believes that aliens landed in Roswell, for example.



[...]

Many US citizens believe that their own government is guilty of real crimes.

[...]

Conclusions:

1. The theorists beliefs have been reinforced by real cover ups like Northwoods.

[...]
So we can accept that Northwoods is real, but we can't conceive of the idea that officials within the government commit crimes?

In addition to holding our governmental servants accountable, as alluded to in the OP, we ought to be "outraged" about the lack of accountability in the mainstream media. As for all the conspiracy theories that one may find distasteful, consider this: perhaps those distasteful theories wouldn't exist, or be as prevalent, if the MSM had a sense of duty and patriotism, and would simply do their job. Or perhaps they wouldn't exist if we did a better job of holding the MSM responsible for their content.

MSM reports are full of just as many holes as some outlandish conspiracy theories, but we're supposed to accept them as pure truth? Why? Because some handsome news anchor puts on a fancy suit, gets up on the stage, spits out a bunch of conjecture, and spins it as gospel? That sounds a lot like church to me. The mainstream media has become the Church of Politics. And every time we hear some neat-and-tidy, yet unverifiable report, we're supposed to jump up and yell out "hallelujah!" and "amen!" Being fans of the scientific method, we seem to have a hard time applying it to journalism. We need incontrovertible proof that an electron moves counterclockwise in a magnetic field, or that it carries a charge of 1.602 X 10-19 C. But we don't need incontrovertible proof of exactly why we're sending our men and women off to war, for example? There's something very wrong with that picture.
 
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jim mcnamara

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I took mathwonk's question to be: where are [fill in the blank]. The people described as theorists in the book [fill in the blank]

And the book was not journalism, see the bibliography.

I don't get where your points have much to do with the book's POV. I do see that MSM (I take this to be Main Stream Media) irks the heck out of you. So what constitutes a good news source? - the PETA monthly publication or the Survivalists Guide to the Post-apocalypse? Neither is MSM, and one is FAR left and the other is very FAR right. The Onion? Fox News? Tell us.

Every reporting agency exercises editorial rights. None are truly unbiased. My father was a photographer for the Washington Post 1933-1978. 1974: He shot pictures of Rep. Wilbur Mills near a sports car just as the stripper (Fanny Foxe ) he was with made a dash for a swim the Tidal Basin. Mills was pulled over for what we call DWI now. His face had been flayed by Fanny's nails. He looked great.... She got a trip to Saint Elizabeth's - the local nut house. She was released the next day. Mills got a return trip to his elected post. Courtesy: voters.

The story made page one. All kinds of legal assaults ensued against the paper, Mills got reelected. The Post was accused of all kinds of reporting bias. For running the story the way they did. But they did not print the photos because they thought it was in bad taste. The MSM at work, I suppose. Baloney. Pick your media and don't grouse about the ones you think are lying. Maybe the one you like lies, too. Ya never know. Until you were actually there, as my Dad was. Then you are free to grouse. And accuse most of the media as irresponsible liars. (my opinion and mine alone --not given to me by the MSM or by your news source either)
 
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@jim mcnamara

I apologize for the confusion. There were two (separate) parts to my previous post. The first part was, of course, a response to the book that you cited, and the second part was simply a continuation of the thread's subject matter (political outrage) as it pertains to the mainstream media. That is why my latter points didn't "have much to do with the book's POV." I didn't intend for you to mix the two parts, but it's my fault that you did. Next time I'll make two separate posts.

That's an interesting story about your father and his career as a photographer. I read that shortly after Rep. Mills was re-elected, he had another drunken incident which incentivized him to resign as the chair of the Ways and Means Committee and he didn't seek another term. I imagine your father's photos had a lot to do with those decisions. Let me be clear: When I voice my distaste for the MSM, I'm not speaking of people, such as your father, who appear to be busting their humps to get the real scoop.

Pick your media and don't grouse about the ones you think are lying. Maybe the one you like lies, too. Ya never know. Until you were actually there, as my Dad was. Then you are free to grouse. And accuse most of the media as irresponsible liars. (my opinion and mine alone --not given to me by the MSM or by your news source either)
Put simply, I don't have to "actually [be] there" to form a disagreeable opinion (or grouse, as you mistakenly understood it) any more than you have to "actually [be] there" to form an agreeable opinion.

As for choosing news sources, it's difficult, because as you pointed out, not a single one is unbiased. One could probably write a book on how to pick-and-choose reliable news sources, so I won't go into much detail about it here. But one admirable attribute that I tend to look for is the mention of Constitutional Law and natural rights. After all, how can one make heads or tails of a political issue without considering the supreme law of the land? Another attribute would be the avoidance of placing blame solely on the left or on the right. This left-right nonsense has unnecessarily polarized the voting population. We elect a republican, then a democrat, then a republican, then a democrat... and so on. And regardless of the party in office, we continue our economic struggles, our loss of national sovereignty, our loss of personal sovereignty, our loss of privacy, and more. Republican, democrat, republican... and we get the same result. Sound anything like Einstein's definition of insanity?
 
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639
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I'm not sure how young you're looking for but my two cents...

I think there's actually a sort of opposite problem. I think lots of people feel "outraged" and that in fact, "outrage" itself has become sensationalized to the point that people are very proudly "outraged" by any number of things. The SOPA, PIPA (even chik-fil-a) examples demonstrate this. "Outrage" is the overwhelmingly popular response.

Indeed, I think too often today, young people try to associate the political issues of our generation with that of the '60s. If anything, the younger generation sort of idolizes that generation. Even looking at fashion and music, and the entire trend of hipsters (which I personally believe is indicative of quite a lot,) it's apparent that today, the younger generation has this obsession with reliving the past, trying to recapture the spirit and yes, "outrage" that possessed earlier generations.

The Bush WMDs and invasion of Iraq were very often directly compared with Vietnam. And as would be expected, many college campuses were full of students actively protesting. However, these protests were the sort of sensationalized "outrage" I'm talking about. While there are definitely those who felt very passionately about the war, it was instead the popularity of opposing the war that drew the large crowds. This is apparent because protests gradually dwindled and the immediate "outrage" became less trendy. In fact, an opposing trend "support our troops" became much more fashionable. And interestingly, both trends advocated ending the war, (the first because the war was WRONG, the second because they wanted to "bring our sons and daughters home".)

And not to be critical, but I think part of this phenomenon is that the older generations, who did in fact live through Vietnam and rightly remember the wrongs that occurred, seem to encourage this trend as well. Legitimizing this "outrage" in a way.

Honestly, I'm not personally terribly outraged by the government. I'm more disappointed in the masses of people wrongly directing their interest toward "trendy" issues, and "trendy" responses to them. People get more "outraged" at the president for implementing policies that he was basically forced into because of various levels of bipartisan politics, than they'll get at their local school board for refusing to supply books or supplies to their own children. Or they'll complain about corruption at the executive level and never stop and examine how some local businesses practices are affecting the local environment. People, old and young, should be engaged in politics at a much more civil level that doesn't require "outrage" in order to be active. However, today, we are so insulated from local affairs, and constantly bombarded by "news" that is so far removed from our local environments that we associate our lives more with national (or even international) level politics than local. While I don't advocate ignoring the higher levels of government, I think people should take a much more passive stance regarding its decisions. Stronger local situations will help mitigate any national issues, as well as provide a firmer foundation on which national politics take place.
 

mathwonk

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I suspect two things have tamped down outrage against recent excesses at least as bad as the vietnam war, and the first is loss of news coverage of outrageous behavior by the US. The war in IRAQ was just not covered as well as that in vietnam so the public was unable to see all the devastation it wreaked on innocent Iraqis.

As Rick Perry said, I forget the second thing, but it may have been the loss of an expectation of justice and honesty from our government. It is hard to be as outraged when a villain behaves just as you expected him to do, as it is when someone you trusted betrays you.
 

russ_watters

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Are you kidding? The Iraq war was probably the most media reported war ever, with an extremely high level of access!
The Embedded Press System Can be Judged as Widely
Successful Across a Broad Range of Outcomes and
Measures
Summary page 8: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG200.pdf

Are you equating the negativity of Vietnam coverage with inherent superiority? Throughout its length, the Iraq war was a cakewalk compared to Vietnam, for both sides. The Vietnam War killed something like 20x as many people!
 
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Outrage is alive today, but the outrage isn't appropriately focused. For instance, everyone jumped on the PIPA/SOPA proposals but not many people where fighting the patriot act or the so-called "protect america act" or any of the other hundreds of privacy and rights violations packaged as protection acts. While I completely agree with the anti-SOPA movement, I think a lot of its momentum simply came from the actual threat to piracy itself.

A more recent example is the outrage over Chik-Fil-A, who campaigns politically against homosexuals. What about the homosexuals being murdered across the globe? Why isn't the outrage there?
1.The SOPA thing was a novel threat, in the sense that people are used to a free and open internet, thus the outrage. People have become accustomed to political corruption, lies, the growing police state. As far as the latter, it's been done through incrementalism, a policy that has worked going back to Augustus Caesar.

2.People never get too upset about things that happen outside America.

3. The chik-fil-a thing is an example of the growing popularity of sports coverage. The "team blue/team red culture war" thing is treated by the media like a sports game, to generate controversy, web hits, ratings, etc. People buy into it and play along for the same reason they get so passionate about their local sports franchises. My team versus your team for the future of america, rah, rah, rah. (SOPA didn't fit into this narrative, as both teams are dependent on the internet in the same way)
 
30
1
I'm not sure how young you're looking for but my two cents...

I think there's actually a sort of opposite problem. I think lots of people feel "outraged" and that in fact, "outrage" itself has become sensationalized to the point that people are very proudly "outraged" by any number of things. The SOPA, PIPA (even chik-fil-a) examples demonstrate this. "Outrage" is the overwhelmingly popular response.

Indeed, I think too often today, young people try to associate the political issues of our generation with that of the '60s. If anything, the younger generation sort of idolizes that generation. Even looking at fashion and music, and the entire trend of hipsters (which I personally believe is indicative of quite a lot,) it's apparent that today, the younger generation has this obsession with reliving the past, trying to recapture the spirit and yes, "outrage" that possessed earlier generations.

The Bush WMDs and invasion of Iraq were very often directly compared with Vietnam. And as would be expected, many college campuses were full of students actively protesting. However, these protests were the sort of sensationalized "outrage" I'm talking about. While there are definitely those who felt very passionately about the war, it was instead the popularity of opposing the war that drew the large crowds. This is apparent because protests gradually dwindled and the immediate "outrage" became less trendy. In fact, an opposing trend "support our troops" became much more fashionable. And interestingly, both trends advocated ending the war, (the first because the war was WRONG, the second because they wanted to "bring our sons and daughters home".)

And not to be critical, but I think part of this phenomenon is that the older generations, who did in fact live through Vietnam and rightly remember the wrongs that occurred, seem to encourage this trend as well. Legitimizing this "outrage" in a way.

Honestly, I'm not personally terribly outraged by the government. I'm more disappointed in the masses of people wrongly directing their interest toward "trendy" issues, and "trendy" responses to them. People get more "outraged" at the president for implementing policies that he was basically forced into because of various levels of bipartisan politics, than they'll get at their local school board for refusing to supply books or supplies to their own children. Or they'll complain about corruption at the executive level and never stop and examine how some local businesses practices are affecting the local environment. People, old and young, should be engaged in politics at a much more civil level that doesn't require "outrage" in order to be active. However, today, we are so insulated from local affairs, and constantly bombarded by "news" that is so far removed from our local environments that we associate our lives more with national (or even international) level politics than local. While I don't advocate ignoring the higher levels of government, I think people should take a much more passive stance regarding its decisions. Stronger local situations will help mitigate any national issues, as well as provide a firmer foundation on which national politics take place.

1. I agree with you about trendy issues. I remember thinking, when I was observing the 2004 protest of the RNC- What difference are these people making? By protesting something, theoretically you make a minor contribution to something that might make a slight difference in public opinion that might lead to a change occurring. Whereas you could say, sponsor a third world child and provide them with food and some other basics for a few dollars a month. Obviously, as far as the contributing to world justice, one gets you alot more bang for your buck. But protesting is fun and sexy, and it's a community thing. It's also an assertion of your identity, a way to make your voice heard, a way to meet people, a way to feel that you're not alone in your identity/moral convictions, a way to feel like you're part of something historically significant. I remember the 2004 protest I referred to was more like a parade then a serious political action. The whole thing just seemed silly. Working for social justice can involve sacrifice, be depressing (when you don't succeed), take time and effort, not be high profile, and can often be dangerous.

2. Sorry, but I hate the sixties. The whole boomer nostalgia thing makes me sick. I don't think most kids like the sixties or anything, i think that is just a projection of the boomers. There is such an obnoxious mentality. Oh, there was this unique time (when we were young), and everything we did was so significant and original, and will never be done again, and nothing can ever compare with that, and we've seen it all and mistakes were made and now we've decided to be stock brokers and make media do endless retrospectives on the sixties and dedicate entire radio stations to the music that was popular when we were 20. Bleh!
 

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