Sometimes stuff happens—beyond our control, of course. Such has been my fate this past week. House confinement is a terrible thing; and, BORING is such an inadequate term to describe it.
On the bright side of things—or perhaps the dark side depending on one’s perspective—I’ve had plenty of time to do something constructive. I spent the entire week, as they say, “surfing the web.”
I’m no stranger to the Internet. I spent many hours using it for professional research before I retired. And, SINCE I retired and began writing this BLOG, I’ve used it even more—at least it seems like it to me.
The Internet is an invaluable research tool, but you have to know how to use a good search engine and how to filter out the garbage. This isn’t a problem for competent researchers. But, even the best researchers are not beyond being fooled.
Many of them—including me—use professional data aggregation software. But, even with such fantastic search tools, some of them—including ME—end up swallowing well-baited trolling hooks… HOOK, LINE, and SINKER!
But, I’m not talking about trolls. I’m talking about ordinary people who now have access to a forum to express their beliefs. These are not evil people. Some of them are DANGEROUS because they’re abjectly stupid; but, their intent is not evil.
The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated it best when he said, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
And, nowhere do “sincere ignorance” and “conscientious stupidity” manifest themselves LOUDER or CLEARER than on OPEN Internet FORUMS. Please note, however, I’m not talking about ALL forums.
The ones run by professionals in the sciences, art, law, and politics are competently moderated by people who know what they’re doing. They keep the loonies at bay.
But the open-ended non-moderated ones run by amateurs pose an entirely different reality and associated problems.
Do a Google search on “discussion forums.” There are too many to include here. Maybe I’ll do it in another posting. It might be interesting.
However, since I spent this entire past week reading sample content from many open-ended UNMODERATED general discussion forums—ALL of them run by people whose ONLY qualifications for doing so are adequate finances and the technical ability to set them up, I came to a startling conclusion.
Given the content of the majority of these forums, practically EVERYONE seems to know EXACTLY how to solve EVERYONE else’s problems. So, all we need to do is hold a massive exchange of problems.
Voila! We’d solve the entirety of this nation’s social, economic, and political problems in a matter of a few weeks—maybe even DAYS!
But, don’t count on it! There seems to be some real confusion in this country over what constitutes news reporting and what constitutes commentary (OP/ED) relative to news reports.
News reporters speak or write accounts of WHAT happened, WHO did it, WHEN it happened, WHERE it happened, and HOW it happened. As well, they may also include WHY it happened, provided they’ve verified it as FACT.
News reporters are NOT supposed to insert their personal opinions. They are NOT supposed to imply things by inserting half-truths which, incidentally, almost ALWAYS constitute whole lies.
However, their counterparts—commentary writers, opinion and editorial writers, and people who write letters to the EDITOR—are not hindered by such mundane restrictions as adhering to FACTS and telling the TRUTH.
TV personalities such as Bill O’reilly, Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, Chris Mathews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Shultz (The Ed Show), and a host of others are NOT news reporters.
They’re opinion spouters who may well SPIN facts—even make them up from scratch—just to support their own opinions.
Neither are justifiably respected opinion writers such as Steve Chapman, George Will, Debra Saunders, Michael Gerson, Lawrence Kudlow, Kathleen Parker, and others. They simply interpret facts and write their opinions accordingly.
Actually, the main goal of competent OP/ED, electronic (radio and TV) or print (newspapers and magazines), is selling advertising. And, ideally, they do it by providing listeners/readers with assorted relative facts to help them reach reasonably intelligent and rational truths.
But, this seems to be faltering, especially over the past 20-years during which this country has had to contend with a proliferation of 2-digit IQ morons.
So, some segments of cable TV and “issue-oriented” talk radio have rushed to fill the intellectually blind needs of this particular demographic. And, they hit the airways and print-ways each day just brimming with partisan-driven manipulative anecdotes.
A primary purpose for SOME of the programming, and those who deliver it, is providing the clueless with 100% of their needed daily intake of optimized reality and shameless customized facts to support idiotic preconceived notions.
Armed with such factoids, this army of idiots shows up all over the Internet and talk radio exercising their “God-given” rights to be LOUDLY opinionated over things about which they are completely ignorant.
And, a few TV/radio hosts feed the ignorance frenzy by actually SAYING things that only colossal of assholes are capable of thinking! They proudly SAY what only colossal assholes are capable of thinking.
Actually, some of the programming hosts, as well as a few noted politicians do the same thing… come to think of it.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. Email comments here.