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Take a stand against ignorance by getting more of the news. Take a stand against ignorance by getting more of the news.

Letters From Home

Life looks at infmom / infmom looks at life

Break on through to the other side

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It may seem paradoxical, in light of the previous entry’s suggestion that one may take a stand against ignorance by watching more TV, that today’s suggestion is: Stop relying on radio, television and/or the internet as your primary source for news and current events.

By their very nature, such media can’t provide background, careful analysis or in-depth reporting. There just isn’t time. People get bored. The advertisers won’t go for it. Broadcasters aren’t journalists, they’re entertainers. You know the drill.

But in the end, it’s mostly true. There is no time in a half-hour show to explain the buildup to this or that current event and put things in perspective. A “personality” who does commentary on the news of the day isn’t going to stick around long if he or she doesn’t entertain the audience (usually at the expense of actually informing them). Advertisers have to consider what will sell, and extend or withdraw their support accordingly.

The result is that people who rely on broadcasters to tell them what’s what, are likely going to end up as #1 on YouTube trying to explain why nobody can find anything on a map.

The first and best thing one can do to take a stand against this kind of ignorance is to subscribe to a weekly news magazine called, appropriately, The Week.  This is no ordinary news magazine.  Its stories are short and well written.  But what makes this magazine stand head and shoulders above any other is that its staff incorporates news stories from a huge range of other publications, and in any controversial issue includes multiple voices from all sides.  There are also excerpts from newspapers and magazines published around the world, so the reader can see exactly what other people think.   “The Week” doesn’t favor any particular point of view.  They do report all sides.  There’s no better way to look at the issues and make up your own mind–and learn something in the process.

In addition, if you’re not a regular reader of daily newspapers, now would be a good time to start.  Newspapers may report the same stories the TV newscasters do, but a newspaper can give you more.  A TV story has to be cut short to fit in the time available.  A newspaper can give you what Paul Harvey calls “the rest of the story.”  Newspapers are not as free of editorial bias as “The Week,” of course.  But they do reflect the sentiments of the communities in which they are based.  And, of course, if you disagree with the paper’s point of view, you can always write a letter to the editor and tell them why.  There’s not much chance of getting your letter read on a newscast, but if you can write a coherent sentence, you stand a good chance of getting published in the paper.

As for getting information from the internet–well, you can find both the best and the worst here.  The ecstasy and the agony of the internet both come from the fact that anybody can post anything they want.  You can find information that comes from the most highly respected authorities in any field, and you can find a lot more information from wackos with axes to grind and tinfoil hats.   And it’s all right there at the click of a mouse.   We can easily find ourselves so overloaded with conflicting points of view that we end up knowing no more than when we started out–and being a lot more confused thereby.

Take a stand against ignorance by refusing to accept the sound-bite or the sound-byte version of any story.  Get the big picture.  You might be astonished by what’s being left out.

Hope you'll recommend my posts via your favorite social media. Just don't copy the material as your own.

Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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