Random Saturdays – Propaganda & Bias

One of the phrases I loathe is, “Now more than ever”.  It applies to plenty of things, but I’m tired of hearing people use it the same way that they use, “literally”, which is to say that they misuse it.  This phrase has been used in so many discussions about biased news and propaganda, as if both of these things are brand new and started in the 2016 election.  The U.S. used propaganda in WWII to get people to sacrifice things like nylon stockings to help the war effort.  We also used it to make people paranoid that Japanese Americans were out to destroy the U.S.  Nazis used it to convince people that they were just trying to make Germany the great country that it deserved to be.  Propaganda and bias have been used in plenty of elections in America’s past, by such celebrated presidents as Roosevelt (Teddy and Franklin).  During the American Revolution, guess what the Americans and the British were doing?  They were fighting with words just as much as they were with weapons.  Propaganda and bias are just things that exist because people with opinions exist.

I wouldn’t even blame it all on social media or reality t.v.  The internet and social media give people immediate access to events across the world.  Whether it’s Arab Spring or a hilarious cat meme, it’s all there before the eyes of the world for immediate viewing and enduring saturation.  As for reality t.v., I never thought it would last.  Thank goodness I didn’t bet on that.  I just think that “Reality t.v.” is a complete misnomer.  Reality is waking up too early to go to a job that stresses you out so that you can come home and pay bills that you hate for things that you barely get to enjoy because you have to go to bed to get four hours of sleep to go back to the job that you hate.  That is reality for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs that actually pay our bills.  Nobody wants to see that.  Reality t.v. has been around in different forms for years.  People love to watch other people.  Have you ever heard of a little musical called, “Chicago”?  It’s based on actual events that happened in Chicago that involve people being wrongly convicted or freed for crimes based on how well lawyers could sway the opinions of the press, and therefore, the public.  This was decades before Al Gore invented the internet.

None of this is to say that I think things in the world are fine as they are and nothing needs improvement.  There is so much at stake right now, in my city, state, country, and around the world.  If anyone has taken a U.S., European, or world history class, you’ll notice that the nationalistic movements growing in popularity around the world closely mirror similar movements in the past.  Those movements had some positive results, but mostly catastrophic results from which the world will never recover.  This is why it irks me when people act as if all of the divisiveness between political parties, world leaders, etc. is something new.  If anything, I’m worried because none of it is new and we have seen this before.  We fought through this before.  We survived this in the past and said that we would never allow ourselves to get to this place again because we are now enlightened.  Yet, here we are…again…

By the way, I am not citing sources of actual facts, quotes, etc. because this isn’t a political blog.  This is just my place to sort through some thoughts about things going on in my life and there aren’t enough people who read this to make it an effective platform for me to use it for anything other than rambling. So, I do not feel that I’m being hypocritical in this post by voicing my opinions while not citing facts and sources.

I have toyed with the idea of sharing random facts of the week on here, sources and all.  I might still do that.  The facts may or may not have to do with politics, but I’m not sure.  I always forget what I want to write about as soon as I sit in front of a blank page.