29 September 2019

Bread And Circuses.

Panem et Circenses. Bread and Circuses.

Once again, the media is proving that shallow spectacle--"infotainment"--is all they have to offer. Rather than inform and facilitate sober and serious contemplation of the day's pressing issues, the legacy media offers only a steady diet of what is charitably described as "political porn"--click bait meant only to titillate.

President Trump's likely impeachment is the clown act du jour. Why is he being impeached? That is an excellent question. Apparently, Democrats are upset that he spoke on the telephone with the recently elected President of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and are in high dudgeon that he requested the Ukrainian government look into possible corruption and malfeasance involving former Vice President (and current Democratic Presidential front-runner) Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Predictably, Republicans are outraged that the Democrats are outraged. President Trump is outraged that the Democrats are outraged, and even more outraged that the legacy media is airing its sympathetic outrage over the Democratic outrage over President Trump's outrageousness.

Did you catch that important bit of news about people being outraged?  

Did you catch any other useful bit about the particulars of the incident and presumed offenses by Donald Trump? Probably not, because the facts only dribble out quite by accident.

Consider the latest breathless, pearl-clutching headlines over President Trump's phone call.

In "The Week That Everything Changed" the columnist assures us that the narrative has suddenly shifted, that the Democrats are finally on offense while the Republicans are finally on defense. She neglects, of course, to make mention of all the high dudgeon expended last summer over President Trump's seeming inability to properly berate Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in public over Russia's presumed meddling in the 2016 election--a narrative which I observed at the time was notable for the complete absence of factual support.

The author of "As Fox News goes, so goes Trump" earnestly assures us that the troglodytic commentators at the "conservative" Fox News are President Trump's only defense against the forces of Truth and Justice, but even Fox grasps the gravity of the situation, and thus is bolstering its array of talking heads with ex politicians who have a clear understanding of all that is at stake. The irony of looking to politicians to deliver clear and objective analyses of issues escapes him completely.

In "The Truth About Trump’s Insane Ukraine ‘Server’ Conspiracy", whose author is a "Senior National Security Correspondent", he pans Trump's request of President Zelensky and his mention of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, treating as ludicrous any notion that Crowdstrike might have erred in its forensic examination of the Democratic National Committee servers after the alleged Russian hack which purportedly resulted in volumes of DNC data being publicized via WikiLeaks. Unfortunately, this "Senior National Security Correspondent" manages to completely overlook the fact that Crowdstrike's assessment of the alleged hack, in particular the role of a pseudonymous hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0", was directly and categorically refuted in the only indictments issued over that hack, those being the indictments secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in July of 2018. While the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity is not a universally acknowledge body of intelligence expertise or forensic analysis, it is disingenuous for this "Senior National Security Correspondent" to gloss over the fact that VIPS made public their full analysis and the relevant source data. 

On the other side of the aisle, in "Anti-Trump media doing their best to get president impeached" we have dogged insistence that all the fracas is just a media conspiracy whose sole purpose is to get President Trump thrown out of office. President Trump, after all, is heaven sent to save America from itself. While I actually am inclined to agree with the charges of bias, having already commented at length about it with regards to the Russian Collusion Hoax and the fiasco known as the Mueller Investigation, the notion of the media being decidedly anti-Trump no longer qualifies as newsworthy. The aftermath of Robert Mueller's anti-climactic report establishing no collusion or conspiracy between President Trump's election campaign and Russian spies was littered with examples of the media promoting factually false narratives with complete disregard for facts very much in evidence at the time.

The reader will note that I do not mention these authors by name, nor do I highlight the publications from which these articles came. This is not an oversight. It is a protest of sorts--perhaps a silly one, unlikely to be an effective one, certainly a personal one. It is my way of saying "enough!" on this endless cycle of propaganda and Fake News. The articles in question I have archived on The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine", a service which caches web content against future deletion and modification, in part to deny these sources the benefit of any more click-thrus.

The criticism I have is simple: people need facts in order to decide the truth of any matter. We need to know the Who, the What, the Where, and the When. We need to be able to puzzle out the How and the Why. In my "day job" in Information Technology, I constantly encourage my technical support staffs to focus on these basic interrogatory questions when gathering information about a problem. Gathering the data is the first and most essential step in any problem-solving paradigm.

The role of the media--be it the legacy media or the up and coming "alt-media"--is to gather and present those facts. Even a blog such as this, which focuses on presenting analyses of various issues, has a duty to itself to focus on facts. Facts are what have credibility, not the people presenting them; we gain our credibility by borrowing that of the facts--and if we are respectful of the facts, and guide our reasonings and logic in accordance with the facts, we may hope that some of the credibility enjoyed by the facts will permanently adhere to us.

The media has long since abandoned the task of presenting facts. Where Donald Trump is concerned, the media were openly scornful of even the pretense of objectivity as early as August of 2015, while he as just getting his Presidential election campaign started.

What is to be done? Gather the facts. Amazingly enough--and probably quite by accident--the facts are out there. Even the legacy media occasionally slips and manages to release verifiable factual information. Each person, each reader of this blog or of any information source, must take the time to gather facts, to question what others are saying, and the conclusions others are reaching.

As I have advised previously, "Do not trust. Verify instead." Do not accept a pronouncement merely because it comes from some presumed "expert" in the media, legacy or otherwise. Read. Think. Judge for yourself. Read my essays and decide for yourself if I am insightful or insane--and feel free to tell me which you think I am. Challenge prevailing wisdom. Take every comment made on all sides with a grain of salt.

Above all, be mindful of this one basic truth about what the legacy media especially offers: it is all just bread and circuses, a clown show designed to entertain and distract while generating ad revenue and mouse clicks. It cannot be stated too much that the media has no interest in informing you; they wish only to entertain you.

Do not trust. Verify instead.

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