Propaganda is defined as:
derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
News is defined as:
a broadcast or published report of news. (Interesting that news is defined as news. Not a lot of substance there.)
We bristle at the thought that we might be subjected to propaganda that is designed to shape our thinking on particular matters. We think of news as factual information on the happenings of the day. While ‘propaganda’ is an anathema to most of us on its face, we subscribe to various sources of news reports/writings without bothering to question the bias with which that ‘news’ is delivered.
It is very nearly impossible, in my opinion, for a person to present news without that presentation having been affected by his or her biases. If that were so simple, why is it that editors see everything before it is disseminated to us in one form or another. But, can an editor also be biased? How would it be possible for an editor to magically lift self above all others and cause non-biased information to be the only thing we see in publications we take for granted?
If you were to sample a variety of newspapers on a particular subject that would be deemed newsworthy by any and all media outlets, you would likely see several versions of the particular story. There would be a simple fact: the two vehicles hit each other at a high rate of speed. And more likely than not, the news would be colored such as the vehicle coming from the left ran a red light. Still, this seems potentially factual. Then the additional sentence “the driver of the vehicle coming from the left appeared to be slumped over as if he had passed out”.
The news that you and I are expected to take as pure unadulterated fact seldom is not always pure unadulterated fact. There is usually a slant if not an outright creation from whole cloth sometimes not even remotely based on the facts that exist. Those who are charged with making the news available to us sometimes feel an obligation to help us better understand the news and to apply the proper value to that news…since we are obviously simple-minded if we are turning to that source for news. Or, their personal bias simply makes them take a slant on the story. It is that additional service offered without our knowledge or expectation which can quickly push a news article into the realm of propaganda.
I am biased to the conservative side of issues. I openly admit that and you can easily discern that is true by reading a blog. There also are liberals who proudly wear that brand and write accordingly. It is those people and those institutions that would have us believe they bring no biases to the various stories whom and of which we need be very aware and very questioning of all conclusions drawn. These might be likened to the proverbial ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
The latter writings strike me as more nearly propaganda than the simple distribution of news. And that is a perversion that is dangerous since a lot of folks simply are not very discerning in their intake of information; they do not think in the terms of propaganda or news. It appears in print, therefore it must be news that can be taken as Gospel; that is what amounts to discernment in their worlds.
And each of us citizens has a vote that weighs the same in the polling booth. Now, which party’s approach to presenting their rationale hoping to gain votes is more likely to see votes coming from the nondiscerning group? Right; the Democrats own those votes. That is why we see the people who’d be booed off the stage at any conservative affair holding sway in that party. “We’ll give you this and that” vs. “you will have the opportunity to achieve this or that” from the conservative side of the docket.
Media outlets also tend to favor one side or the other; admittedly conservatives seem not to own any of those outlets but we do see more fairness in one or two than in the others. That likely describes the rapid rise of Fox News at the expense of the other network brands. It represented one place where conservatives could get fairly unbiased news; we still have to be discerning but it is likely the best choice we have today.
My local newspaper was already liberal enough when it put itself up for sale and was purchased by the USA Today organization. Needless to say, it has become an empty husk that leans even more decidedly to the left. I never thought I’d give up the tactile sensation of a newspaper in my hands but I’m down to only the Sunday print edition now and that has scant little news value, but still a lot of advertisement sections. I did subscribe to the weekly electronic version and even that is falling into danger given the tiny little bit of unbiased information I can find.
It isn’t easy being a conservative since we do our own heavy lifting, but we weren’t looking for ‘easy’. Whatever extra effort it requires is more than made up for by the feelings of freedom. We decide what and whom to believe and what and whom to pooh-pooh. I have the feeling that there are more and more of us with each passing week and month.
As Fox’ Waters would say, “Welcome to my world”.