As 2017 begins to unfold, I am feeling a bit uneasy about things. I am uncertain about the future. No, not because Trump will be our next president. He is an intelligent and skillful leader, and I imagine he will do well. But I am more so concerned about the steep fall society has taken over the past year. Not only has racism (a topic which when I came to America in 2006 was almost non existent in the media) taken hold and become a central theme in today's news and outcry, but many 'social justice' issues have been propagated to be a prime focus of the media's attention.
In my view, this is an example of a society which has too much time on their hands. We do have serious issues to address, but those issues are being ignored in place of social issues. Socially the USA is a melting pot of many cultures and ideas, and in turn has become a bit of a unique society unto itself. However, for some, our culture of freedom isn't good enough. Of course, you could argue that freedom isn't free, nor do we actually live in a free state, quite the opposite. But really, when you compare our constitution to European African and Asian countries, we are actually quite liberated.
Tho, the argument now is that only white people are liberated. Again with the race issue here. Without turning this into a rant about how white people (or white males in particular) are the ones being persecuted for supposed crimes of our forefathers (white guilt movement); I do want to remind the reader that creating laws and programs to enforce 'equality' does more harm than good for those who it is supposed to help. You give someone a handicap and you remove the need to actually try and accomplish their goals on their own. Using a race, or sex card to suggest that you haven't been able to overcome a problem because of that is but a silly excuse, for others who are 'non-white' or female or even trans, have been successful without needing to pull those cards, so why can't you if you try enough and put your energy into a solid honest effort towards your goals, as opposed to looking to blame others for your failures.
In any case, my concern is growing because of what I am seeing in the media. The topic of 'Fake News' is an interesting type of 'bait-and switch' scam being pulled off by some of our major networks. Journalism is dead. It has been dying a long slow painful death over the last half century. Ever since 'tabloids' and celebrity gossip became selling points for news. In 2013 the NDAA amended the Smith Mundt act to allow the federal government, and private media companies to engage in propaganda within the United States. In the past, the use of government propaganda was forbidden by law, but it is now legal. What is propaganda? "Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view" - Oxford Dictionary.
So who can we trust? The key is not in blacklisting or dismissing everything with a blanket dismissal, but rather in being observant and using common sense. Words matter, and so does analysis. The old journalistic tradition of actually putting names to quotes is also something to base factual coverage on. As well as gauging the sources credibility based upon money flow and political associations.
Climate change has been a huge issue for years. Are humans causing man made climate change? 97% of papers written by climate scientists of the 33% of papers written by climate scientists who have an opinion either way (note: that 66% of papers written by climate scientists showed no bias either way - the way science should be), seem to think so. Quoted from the article Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature:
"We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 991–2011 matching the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors’ self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research."
It is in the details that people need to look. The 97% number sounds better, so it is what they use. Because 32% wouldn't sound very convincing would it? Why do they need to propagate this agenda? I personally believe that the global warming scam is an economic attack on third world nations (and nations like China) to force them to pony up and enact laws similar to the health, safety and environmental laws that first world nations have had to enact. This way they are easier to compete with economically. In any case, this scam has a side effect in proving that a large portion of the population can be easily tricked into believing bullshit with some simple slide of hand, and with the right people propagating the 'facts' over and over until you finally believe it.
I bring climate change up because it is a good, safe example of how numbers, truth, and fact can be skewed or ignored, in order to sway the public to believe in something which isn't true. My concern isn't about climate change... I could honestly give two shits about if people 'believe' it or not. In my opinion it has turned into a religion, and is not true science. No; instead my concern is about the Media and propagation of false news, by sources which were once actual journalistic outlets.
Reports quoting un-named sources, or with stipulations that a source is saying with 'high confidence' that something is true or not, isn't saying anything. Imagine standing up in court and saying that "with high confidence, the defendant was the one who assaulted me." The judge would dismiss the case. But apparently in journalism today, that is taken as 'fact'. Words matter, and if someone isn't willing to come out and say for certain that something is happening, and give specifics, and allow themselves to be quoted, then there is no there there. What we are living in right now is a world where the media is more of a shaming and extortion empire, than a source for trusted news. Some people still believe the news. Others, I believe are confused and don't know what to believe or where to turn. Cognitive dissonance is a serious problem these days, often being the cause of depression and anxiety. But there are a few of us out there who are living in a stress free world because we actually have some sort of grasp on reality. The issue, however, is that it is kinda scary watching the rest of society tumble down around us. It is almost like we are living in a world of zombies who are growing hungrier and hungrier for 'brains'.
Let us hope people begin to wake up... At least let us hope that those we love are able to wake up, and don't end up turning on us.