Am I the Only One That Missed the Actual Evidence?
|April 20, 2013||Posted by admin under Musings||
I may have helped commit a crime yesterday. As soon as the news that the FBI had identified suspects in the Boston bombing came out, I was given the word to throw the CNN Wire story up immediately. After we got it up and beat out some other local publications, we cheered; not because we were helping achieve justice, but because we were going to get those cherished several dozen more page views.
I didn’t stop and think about watching the video of the “evidence” until after and I noticed something. There’s no actual evidence. It’s two people walking.
Didn’t CNN and the New York Post both come under fire this week for rushing out news that turned out to be inaccurate?
I saw the pictures the day before of the backpack that supposedly was filled with explosives. I didn’t see that backpack on either men in the surveillance video that only showed them walking. I didn’t see them place anything down.
Since when did the FBI become such a trustworthy source? Do we take their word because CNN and the New York Post are so bad? This is the same FBI that has a building named after J. Edgar Hoover; the same group behind COINTELPRO. That didn’t matter though and as I write this, one of the alleged suspects has been shot dead and there’s a manhunt for the other one. A cop has also been killed and Boston is on lockdown with police and military everywhere.
Some say that the fact that these men got into a gunfight with the police and one had explosives on him is proof enough that they were the suspects but as I learned from the recent gun control debate, there are plenty of armed people that are ready to fight back if the government comes for them. The only thing that these men being armed and shooting back tells me is that they were armed and shot back.
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s to not attach yourself to comfortable narratives. I wanted to believe that Chris Dorner was the Black Rambo fighting for racial justice but at the end of the day, where is the evidence that he did all the killing the police said he did? How do I get the whole story when the police burned him alive in a cabin?
Even this week, they broke the news that the person behind the Texas DA murders was a disgruntled government employee. It wasn’t the Aryan Brotherhood as had been previously speculated and projected ad nausea.
When the news broke that there was a shootout at MIT last night, I did something crazy and continued to watch NBA TV, a documentary on Public Enemy, the Daily Show and went to sleep. I didn’t even look into it until this morning’s news. As a result, I think I digested the information that was being fed to me with more clarity.
The 24-hour news cycle is designed to fill time. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. illustrate that on a daily basis by telling the same stories and often admitting they don’t have any new news on said stories.
There were many people arguing that by following Twitter or the police scanner, they were getting the true information in real time. However, if you’re not in Boston, why would you want to simulate the experience of being on lockdown and living in fear?
I can tell you from experience that it’s neither healthy nor is it a good way to obtain information. Several months ago, a man was murdered up the street from my house early in the morning. Of course, all we knew was that a cop had told Dad to go back inside and for everyone in the neighborhood to stay in their houses because a crazy, armed man was roaming the streets. I didn’t find out that a man had been slashed up with a machete until hours later when I finally went to work and got an update on Oregon Live. Even though facts from the story sounded weird, we were still on high alert around the neighborhood as the killer, who was reported to be a white supremacist, was making his way down to Corvallis.
This doesn’t mean that those throwing out conspiracy theories with no evidence are any better. Whether it’s been a bombing or a mass shooting, I’ve noticed that there are always people crying, “False flag,” the moment the news breaks. There’s a difference between asking questions and making accusations that you can’t prove.
To those fighting supposed “info wars” against these news giants, understand that is a reactionary move and one of the main tools of war is propaganda. Trying to be the first to say, “I told you so,” and counter the narrative is a different side of the same coin of CNN. Ultimately, it does more to feed one’s ego than create change.
The vast majority of people don’t follow the news regularly. The majority of those that do, don’t actually read and out of the readers, an even smaller few actually practice critical thinking. If you’re a politician, law enforcement official, or even a reporter sitting behind a computer, reposting wire news, you have the ability to play Geppetto with people’s minds, rather easily.
Most of this is done unintentionally, at least at my level. We get our news from an agreement with CNN. We can only change headlines and ad subheads. If we have the time (which we usually don’t), we can go through and correct spelling and grammatical errors. After that, we’re charged with reposting these stories.
As you get higher up the ladder, you get to see the corruption that often comes into play much more up close and personal. In this ever-changing news industry, the struggle to get ad money creates strange bedfellows for institutions charged with the task of exposing the truth. I won’t name names but I’ve seen it with my own eyes with publications around Portland and to be honest, it’s not too difficult to follow the breadcrumbs and see who’s in bed with certain institutions.
Readers and news consumers can combat the resulting rampant misinformation by resisting the constructs. Yes, we have a 24/7 news cycle but that doesn’t mean you have to be a junky that consumes this schwag news so you can stay more updated than everyone else. Believe it or not, that doesn’t actually make you more informed than the next man. A friend once told me that you can get all the information you need if you just check a story every eight hours. If you’re updating your Twitter feed or refreshing the news page constantly, imagine how much you could learn about the context of the situation with that time?
There are people poring over constant updates on the Boston suspects and they could be learning the history of Chechnya, the current political and economic situation of the country, what relations are like with the U.S. and other contextual information.
If any news source can scare you enough to trust them and hang off their every word, then they’ve got you. Their news becomes your agenda. I’m far more fearful of what the PDC has done and continues to do to make Portland a ghost town for Black people than I am of a random terror attack. Yet, the big story the other day was a random toolbox on the Steel Bridge.
At the end of the day, the best way to counter propaganda is to exercise your mind. Ask questions. Think critically. Know and understand history. No matter what side of the fence you’re on politically, don’t be afraid to challenge information.