Ken's View: News like life, unexamined is only one perspective
By Ken Robinson
A close friend told me this week he believes the ‘media’ is responsible for amplifying lhe ‘scare’ about the coronavirus. This is a real head-scratcher for me. In some way, he said, he thinks the nation and the world would be better off if the big news network and newspapers and radio and the internet would stop telling the stories about how we are all affected by this mysterious virus.
I have some sympathy for my friend. In his household, his wife has the radio going 24/7 on conservative conspiracy theory programs. He said he gives this stuff short shrift. But it IS playing in the background of his life. His wife, he said, things Covid-19 is a fake thing. She doesn’t watch TV (or read a newspaper as far as I can tell) and they don’t have cable for TV (just rabbit ears).
My puzzlement about his point-of-view is underscored by his distrust of ALL media, which he believes is corrupt, controlled by Deep State operatives and imposing a Big Brotherish force on us.
My own view is not as severe. I do believe the big banks are a form of legalized grifting, tied in with the credit reporting agencies and now joined by Facebook and Amazon as devices to collect information about us and used to ply all manner of goods and services. It has come over us like a cloud and enveloped everyone. So when my friend suggests the coronavirus is a world conspiracy, I get why he thinks that. I just don’t feel as threatened by this as he does.
The crazy swirling disinformation coming at us like a cold rain can be intimidating, can cast doubt on the veracity of it all as there has been so much disagreement. There are as many countervailing opinions that it might make you want to run away from it all.
But did ‘the media’ make this happen? Guess what: YOU are the media. With your computer, you now have worldwide reach with your opinion. You are free to propose any notion or viewpoint you want to put forth without any sort of restriction. This fact has given use a nasty sewer of opinion unvetted by anything.
The so-called “Mainstream Media”, under assault by Trump, is not innocent of telling stories that project a point of view. But there are rules followed by the traditional news sources that have held up well over time. The underpinning of their presentation model is to act as the eyes and ears of the community and to be watchdogs on the behavior of government, elected and appointed. This system has worked well and still works well. The foundation of this method is to represent you in seeking the truth.
When people fail to separate opinion from fact, they begin a slow slide into a kind of madness. And they stop thinking and begin parroting.
We got a letter last week from the wife of a West Seattle doctor cancelling her subscription. I asked her why she was had subscribed and she said it was to get information about the bridge closure. But when she read a column about white privilege in the latest issue, she got mad and fired off her quit notice. She said you could not abide an extremist point of view.
“I guess I do tend to distance myself from extremes... on both ends. I prefer to focus on a peaceful life without everyone else’s point of view (perspective of life) in my face. God bless everyone but I can’t jump in to hope others see life how I do. We read some news, never turn it on the television and breathe deep, have grateful hearts and that ripple effect will have it’s influence. “
Today during a regular periodic personal home office clearing cleaning organizing, I picked up the WESTSIDE SEATTLE paper version ( Friday, May 29, 2020) After reading your "Go figure" column, I want to to tell you I appreciate your thoughtful and articulate comments about many peoples opinion of "the media" often digress into a plethora of ranting conspiracy theories.
I especially appreciated the paragraph that stated "when people fail to separate opinion from fact, they begin to a slow slide into a kind of madness. ...They stop thinking and begin parroting." Kudos and cheers! Thank you for all the "service work" you and your entire team do to keep an honest newspaper going as a voice of sanity during these Mad times.