Whatever happened to “trust but verify”?

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    • #421080
      David the Gnome
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      • Total Posts: 2,915

      For a number of years now, it seems to me that there are two particularly large political tribes (and many, many smaller ones) among Americans.  Generally speaking, these are republicans and democrats.  They (in general – exceptions apply, of course) have a specific set of values or principles that align more closely with either left or right wing ideology.  Such things will always be a choice – and that is as it should be… but it seems to me that they are trying to remove choice from the equation.  Perhaps they do not understand that any such effort is doomed to failure – simply due to (if nothing else) the nature of humanity.

      So we’ve got Fox news and its counterpart MSNBC – or CNN.  We’ve got NPR – and we’ve also got a whole gaggle of conservative radio show hosts.  Each station and organization brings in its experts, of varying levels of credibility and actual expertise (some are perfectly genuine – some should probably be committed) and they tell us this and that.  Always trying to sell a point.  Perhaps it is the increasingly loud bull shit articles about “mysterious (invisible) directed energy attacks from the Cubans/Russians/Chinese… lizard people??!?”  Or perhaps it is that fool Tucker Carlson when he blathers on about masks being an assault on personal liberty, etc.

      Here is the problem though: more and more often, whatever one station or group says, is almost immediately swallowed whole by millions of people.  Plenty of them aren’t even really political, they just watch the news and believe what the headlines say.  24/7 news stations, endless social media, blogging and so on and so forth… who do you trust?  Who do you believe?  IMO – trust your instincts.  If you suspect that a story you’re reading is total bull shit – look for second, third, even fourth and fifth sources.  Issues of subjectivity aside (for the most part) you can usually tell the difference between opinion and fact, or between something that sounds genuine – and something that does not.

      I have been (many years ago – and never made any money) involved with MLM organizations.  I have believed book authors who talked about the “all natural cures that THEY don’t want you to know about!”  I have been sold essential oils, supplements – and all kinds of things that generally speaking, might be useful on occasion, but don’t work even a thousandth as well as advertised.  The problem is that the media, the politicians, the journalists, the preachers… all such people are trying to sell us things.  There is, for each of them, a very easy to see profit motive.  To a great extent it is what sickens me about our materialistic society.  I hated selling shit – but at one point in time, I wanted money more than I wanted to be able to live with myself.  Regardless, never made enough to be a real issue.

      I was a terrible salesman and I cannot write an ad to save my life.  I know this because I’ve tried.  What I can do is share my genuine thoughts and feelings.  They are this: Our society and most of its institutions are not merely lying to us – they are now lying to us so severely, so obviously, so blatantly, that it boggles the mind that anyone still believes any of it.

      The various villains, the various ills of the world, hacking, “election interference” and so on and so forth ad infinitum – the overwhelming majority of it is total bull shit.  The people peddling it are not journalists, they are not sharing the news as they know it to be.  They are selling an agenda, usually one directed by billionaires, politicians, alphabet agencies (the difference between the bunch is almost nonexistent at this point) and they will happily accept your allegiance, your faith.

      Don’t take what these people say without a truckload of salt.  When every “expert” that comes on television is trying to sell you a book, a product, or telling you to do shit that sounds batshit crazy?  Trust your instincts.  Don’t drink the koolaid.  There probably aren’t chips in your bloodstream, Russians probably aren’t running around shooting at you with microwave weapons – and the lizard people really aren’t real.

      Of course, we are free to believe as we choose – but when our thoughts and beliefs are so easily (and deliberately) manipulated by the various institutions of a society, it is worth asking whether those institutions should continue.

    • #421097
      retired liberal
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,826

      They don’t teach critical thinking, or anything close anymore. Now it is teaching to the test. There is only one correct answer. Never mind if the “correct answer” doesn’t pass the reality smell test.
      As a result, people just unthinkingly take in what they see and hear, without processing it first.
      So we get Hillary running to be the 1st woman president and people campaign and vote for her on that premise alone, forgetting her horrible record of war mongering and Human Right violations.
      People can hold two and often more clashing ideas in their heads, all being believed to be somehow true. The COVID-19 is injected through a slender needle. The smallest chips are the size of a grain of rice. No way is anything that size going through that needle. But that mindset still persists.

      We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
      If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
      The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
      Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.

      • #421115
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 20,155

        Wow. Did that high school course open my eyes! The homework was great–find examples of each. The term paper was on what types of ads went with what kinds of TV shows, and we were to ask ourselves who would be watching those shows?

        I quickly learned to apply the same sort of filter to everything from Episcopalian sermons to just listening to other teenagers talk about stuff. That’s when I learned a lot of people don’t want to ever admit being conned or manipulated about anything.

        I’m also sure that same course was banned in Texas public schools at least 20 years ago, if not 40.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

        • #421139
          Cold Mountain Trail
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 12,404

          Interesting & not what I would have expected in a TX hs in the 70s.

          D governors in TX all through the 70s

          • #421158
            Ohio Barbarian
            Moderator
            • Total Posts: 20,155

            People living along the Austin-San Antonio Corridor and in the adjacent Hill Country once prided themselves on their good public schools. We looked down our noses at the Dallas and Houston schools. We didn’t have busing, you see.

            San Antonio integrated its schools in 1954, after Brown v. Board of Education came down. It was done locally, voluntarily, and was popular with most people. At least that’s what my parents and their friends always said, and they lived through it. They were proud of their city for that. Take that, Birmingham, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, all you hypocritical racist assholes!

            That was really their attitude. It was a matter of civic pride. San Antonio and Austin outclassed those other folks by obeying the Constitution once the Supreme Court said what it meant.

            It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

            You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #421098
      JonLP
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,359

      As far as CNN or the rest they have fact checkers, editors, and sources and usually news rooms have good sourcing policy. Sorry comparing that to Alex Jones isn’t the same.

      As far as the things you mention if those things are hard to believe then you would probably be shocked by a lot of things that happen in Geopolitics.

      If we end up having a WW3 I’d like to know the facts on how we got there.

      Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

      Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

    • #421106
      Pam2
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 7,859

      @jonlp

      “Good sourcing policy”? Not really, when they report stuff from anonymous sources within the intelligence community.

       

      • #421108
        JonLP
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 3,359

        What they do with the information is a different story but for the most part the top intelligence agencies do information collecting and in some cases that can stop wars if a world leader has a misunderstanding what the other country is really up to.

        When it comes to WMD it was a diplomat that exposed it as BS so Novak leaked his wife’s name that was a CIA agent under non-official cover.

        Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

        Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

        • #421110
          closeupready
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 2,233

          I’m kind of surprised – your implied claim that intelligence agencies are mostly benign is more than just naive, it’s kind of childish.

          The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

          • #421114
            JonLP
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 3,359

            They do a lot of boring information collecting work. Breaking into an office or recruiting a source to take pictures or hand off documents is a big part of their job.

            I’m actually very critical of the world’s intelligence agencies. I actually am not comfortable with most countries having a secret police.

            Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

            Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

        • #421199
          MistaP
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 2,946

          and the other half of the time the President’s ignoring the CIA and DoD because they’re not hawkish enough

          • #421203
            JonLP
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 3,359

            They work for the President. They gather the information for him and advise him through his options.

            FBI is supposed to be an Independent institution but Trump violated so many post Watergate norms so as far as FBI counterintelligence Trump did a good job of countering their investigation and getting a lot of their top agents fired or resign.

            Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

            Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

            • #421446
              MistaP
              Participant
              • Total Posts: 2,946

              mammajamma, there isn’t one President that the CIA didn’t mislead, with extensive documentation

              • #421447
                JonLP
                Participant
                • Total Posts: 3,359

                Take the drone strike on the Iran General (they obviously provided accurate information where here was) the drone strike was actually the extreme option which they also presented to Obama but the reason why they said they did was to make the other options more palatable.

                Trump even did a failed raid because Obama turned it down and Trump was chewed out by a Gold Star father.

                All this is also well documented.

                 

                Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba

                Like many public systems, GOP want to rip the battery out + say the whole car doesn’t work, so they can sell it for parts - AOC

    • #421116
      David the Gnome
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 2,915

      I have to disagree.  I was once more inclined to believe that way.  Various things in my life though, forced me to take a hard look.  At sources of information, financial influence, media organizations and so on.

      I will say without hesitation that i do not take their word on anything that seems controversial or suspicious.  Too many times I have seen allegations and suspicion claimed as facts – or facts scoffed at.

      They don’t always lie – I would go so far as to say that they rarely (though on occasion) lie outright.  They paint a picture of a particular issue or event – and in a very clever manner tell you exactly what to think and how to feel about it.

      Yep, there are editors, fact checkers… and some are even decent.  In this era though, what they typically lack is integrity.  Every day I see opinions, suspicions and speculation posted in the news as though it were fact.

      That is not the place of a journalist.  Subjectivity, neutrality, honesty as much as possible.  We all have an opinion – the journalists responsibility to help us differentiate opinion and fact.  It is to report on events – without having a controversial or even blatantly ignorant opinion of what they mean.

      You could ask Maddow or Hannity, but I think my point is obvious.  In a different time, I would probably have pursued a career in journalism.  I no do not now though, consider it, in general, to be either a calling or even necessarily a benefit to us.

      Not when they are constantly supporting one political agenda and demonizing another.

      You can accept CNN as fair and balanced if you like, but I take their articles as well salted as I take those from Fox.

    • #421120
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 20,155

      None of them practice journalism when it comes to reporting on politics. Every once in awhile, one of them does fuck up and do a good journalistic piece, such as the New York Times asking people who lived in other countries what they thought of various stories on the American health care system. It’s on Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk if you’re interested. They were all horrified by what they saw.

      One guy, not sure from where, said he always knew that his country would take care of him if he got sick or injured, and that fact gave him great freedom. Americans love to talk about their freedom, but he said we don’t have it if we don’t have guaranteed health care.

      And this was on the New York Times website! The fact that I find that astonishing tells me all I need to know.

      All of them depend on corporate America for advertising revenue in such volume as to make Crassus look like a pauper. Corporate America, or our oligarchy, is quick to cut off that revenue stream if one of those organizations steps out of line. When was the last time you heard NPR criticize the oil industry? When was the last time you saw a PBS show not made possible by the Koch or Gates Foundations?

      In short, our former journalistic institutions are hopelessly corrupt, way past any hope of reform. I know it’s frustrating that so many people just don’t know that, and worse, don’t want to know that.

      But I’m 62. So my attitude’s swinging towards “If they don’t know and don’t want to know, that’s their problem. If they want to know, they’ll let me know they do  because they’ve heard what I have to say on the subject before.”

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

      • #421152
        closeupready
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 2,233

        media outlets play a part in terms of disseminating propaganda, for which they are undoubtedly rewarded in spades:

        In May 2007, ABC News, and later The Daily Telegraph, reported that United States president George W. Bush had authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to undertake “black operations” in Iran in order to promote regime change as well as to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.[9][10] ABC News was subsequently criticized for reporting the secret operation, with 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying he was “shocked to see the ABC News report regarding covert action in Iran”, but ABC said the CIA and the George W. Bush administration knew of their plans to publish the information and raised no objections.[11]

        In June the same year, the CIA declassified secret records—part of a collection of highly guarded documents called the “Family Jewels”—detailing illegal domestic surveillance, assassination plots, kidnapping, and other “black” operations undertaken by the CIA from the 1950s to the early 1970s. CIA Director General Michael Hayden explained why he released the documents, saying that they provided a “glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency”.[12]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_operation

        The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

        • #421168
          Ohio Barbarian
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 20,155

          Yeah, the corporate media, especially its liberal political wing, has been taking dictation from the intelligence agencies since at least 9/11/01. As Glenn Greenwald said, “That’s not journalism. That’s stenography.”

          I will never forget that these so-called news outlets helped flagrantly lie this country’s way into multiple wars for profit, most recently the conquest and occupation of Iraq. I didn’t believe them then, I didn’t believe them when Reagan was arming the contras in Nicaragua, and I don’t believe them now.

           

          It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

          You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

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