A Return to Common Sense JournalismMay 23th, 2008
How the media fails in filling their once traditional roll of providing useful objective journalism.
When the media sensationalize and misrepresent true statistics and nature of topics such as economic hardship to teenage pregnancy to poverty they do a true disservice to all Americans. Everyone should be informed of both-sides of every issue so they can arrive at their own conclusions.
One of the best quotes I've found pertaining to the role of the media is: "To provide people with the information they need to be free and self-governing." This quote is found in "Elements of Journalism" Many topics of our day that should be fodder for debate, instead become doctrine that is sacrilege to speak against. "Elements of Journalism" was written by several prominent journalists who collaborated to make a clear statement that the ideals of their profession have gone astray.
The shift away from providing true analysis in the media began in the early 1960s. For the purposes of this article we will examine trends related to crime, teenage pregnancy and poverty.
I've found that the most telling way to define a politician's ideology is to ask them to describe the decade of 1960s. Most on the right will say it was one of the most detrimental decades of history in terms of true conservatism in governance. Many on the right will also describe the 60s as a decade of riots, drugs free-love and rock and roll and lack of control.
Most on the left, however, will describe the 60s as empowering liberation from boundaries, moving society closer towards enlightened governance. It was indeed a decade when America saw great change in the roll of government in the lives of citizens, and a time when people began to trust the government to provide education in sexuality and psychology in public institutions such as schools and prisons. In essence, the legislation that passed during the 60s began to shift to the state what religion and parents had typically provided. In essence the United States Government took on a much more secular and progressive attitude. However, propaganda often writes history instead of truth and the media has failed in delivering true facts on this topic.
How Do We Find the Truth Through the Propaganda?
How does a unbias observer examine the decade in a more quantifiable manner? I believe truth can be found by examining statistics and numbers related to policy.
At the beginning of the 1960s crime had been in decline since 1939, the norm back then was for prisoners to do hard time. There wasn't much in the way of making prison life nicer and easier as what we find in prisons today (offering televisions, libraries and college degrees). Also, poverty in 1960 had been in decline for the past several decades and fewer people were living below the poverty level ever in recorded history in the United States. Finally, teenage pregnancies and abortions were nearly twenty-times less common than they are today.
During this time it can be argued that citizens in general were much more analytical and less emotional in their reasoning. There wasn't a barrage of images and superficial story treatments flooding the airwaves. Instead, there were daily newspapers, staffed by many reporters, four channels of black and white T.V. and a few good radio stations.
Since the early 1960s crime and punishment have skyrocketed. The United States has a greater percentage of our population in prison then any other developed country. Also, teenage pregnancies, and people living below the poverty line have increased substantially since 1960.
If we listen to the excuses the media has to offer we hear that teenage pregnancy, crime and poverty all stem from the government not doing enough for those who can't help themselves. We hear about "planned parenthood" and how they help millions of women conduct better "family planning." (Human embryos sucked thought tubes from women's bodies is labeled as "family planning.")
The single-parent-mother living below the poverty line receiving hand-outs and government incentives to remain unmarried and in poverty -- is labeled "a victim of society." Lifetime criminals are also "victims of society" who only need "better rehabilitation programs."
What you won't hear from the media are the government programs that were established during the sixties that were all designed to redistribute wealth in order to "cure the ills of society." The first was "War on Poverty" initially launched by the Kennedy administration then adopted into law in the Johnson administration. The war on poverty was intended to be a "hand-up rather than a hand-out." Job programs, incentives and help for those who were stuck in poverty for one reason or another. The program initiators failed to realize the natural inclination of many people to not see through incentives to jobs. If there is an incentive not to work, for assistance in raising your child as a single-parent-mother- many naturally fail to see the reason to find a job or a raise their child with a father.
Another big change found in the decade of 1960 was prison reform. Prisons adopted behavioral psychological approaches to rehabilitation, offering programs that were more kind and gentle; attempting to find the root of the prisoner's problem (such as early parental neglect). Rehabilitation became the focus rather than toughness. It's interesting how Chinese inmates need so little rehabilitation in order to prevent repeat offenses. Chinese prisons are known for their toughness, as a result very few who commit crimes ever return prison.
Finally, sex education became funded throughout the public school system and Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics also began receiving huge amounts of government funding to facilitate teenage sexuality and promiscuous behavior. It's appalling how the media and television sexualizes girls at ever younger ages. But you would never hear that the result of hyper-sexuality is more teenage pregnancies, pedophilia and abortions; only that we need more sex education.
How Poverty, Pregnancy and Crime Relate to the Global Warming Debate of Today
The stories related to "man-made climate change" have never been out in greater numbers. One would never realize that in recent months there has been some very big news in the area of climate science. A growing number of scientists are pegging the cause of climate change to cosmic rays rather than Co2 emissions. These climatologists are coming from places like M.I.T. Recently, NASA scientists found that not all recent changes happening to the arctic are associated with long-term trends of global warming. The Canada Free Press and the U.K's Daily Mail are reporting on the recent discovery and changes in data analysis. However, where is MSNBC or CNN on this?
If the American media were in the business of providing "the information that people need to be free and self-governing," this would have been a big story. There could be continuing coverage on the science and debate over the global warming issue. This story would have been widely reported and we could all breathe a collective sigh of relief (and not worry that the Co2 we exhale is going to bring on global destruction). Instead, the media once again demonstrate they run a non-analytical propaganda engine only out to keep their global warming ideologs like Al Gore safe from scientific scrutiny or debate.
How the Internet Can Facilitate the Return to Common Sense
The Internet provides hope that their could be a true return to common sense with regard to the global warming and all other important social issues. As more people find their own facts and news and understand that issues of consequence should at be debated and analyzed, we end up a much stronger democracy. With every important issue, both sides should be rigorously analyzed. This must hold true especially with global warming, where the idealogs are proposing economic handcuffs to be placed on every American in the form of high gas prices for inability to tap the resources found in our own country.
As more citizens are being proactive in their news gathering, we all become stronger. There needs to be a non-combative, non-indoctrination approach to civil dialogue. As we becoming freer thinking an analytical as a society and the media are disbanded into citizens who wish to offer each other a non-bias tool for democracy, our decisions and policies will become much stronger in the end.
Note: The majority of the facts that I present in this article about the failed social policies that were enacted during the 19560 come from "The Vision of the Anointed" an excellent book by author and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell. The mission of Utah Stories is to provide useful stories and information from the voices of the people. More about Utah Stories found here