That title is a simple question but one that would make sense only in our modern era. In the past, from the time news was carried primarily by the print media, and into the age of radio, the news was a serious business, meant to convey information that would inform the opinions of its recipients, or spur them to action. This changed with the development of television.
An excellent book on this subject, “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” written by Neil Postman and published in 1985, provides an in depth history of the development of the news industry from colonial times until the mid nineteen-eighties. This work was done long before the digital age took over as the main source for what today passes as news.
The consumers of digitally presented material are notoriously short on patience and generally lack the attention span to foster any in deep dive into the exploration of current news topics. As a result facts no longer matter. We as a nation are now too willing to accept whatever we are told, wring it dry of any amusement value and then move on to the next hot topic.
Allow me to present few examples. During the recent “insurrection” at the Capitol a young lady was tragically killed. The scene was captured in its entirety by surveillance cameras, from several angles. The footage shows her being coaxed to illegally climb through a window while a different angle presents the shooter, weapon drawn and aimed. She enters the room through the window, empty handed and is shot at point blank with no warning shout from the shooter. He is later portrayed as a police officer but following the incident there was no mention of the standard officer involved shooing protocols having been followed. The news cycle played out and the attention span of the public merely shifted to the subject of the next cycle.
We have just completed a peaceful transition of Presidential power following an election which is held to be fraudulent by fully half of the country. Perhaps we will never know the truth but certain aspects are indisputable. That no resolution of the dispute is likely merely emphasizes my statement that facts no longer matter. For instance, the 133 million registered voters somehow cast 159 million votes. Fact checkers have attempted to conflate the issue by juxtaposing the votes cast with the number of eligible voters, overlooking the inconvenient fact that not all eligible voters are registered.
Putting all that aside, the best proof for there having been a massive fraud perpetrated is the simple fact that the current administration, having a vested interest in gaining the trust of the American people in order to pursue its stated goal restoring unity, would naturally want to prove its legitimacy. Given that several hundred people, eye witnesses to what they claimed were irregularities, have issued sworn statements under penalty of perjury, it would seem a simple matter for the administration to bring these people to court and test the accuracy, or lack thereof, of their statements. A few convictions would probably convince any others having issued false statements to recant. That the administration seems to have no interest in demonstrating its legitimacy is both curious and telling.
Another news subject of major but fleeting interest is the story of the discovery of a very large international ring of pedophiles. The ring leader apparently organized the entire operation as a means of providing people with the opportunity to engage in sex with minors and then recording them engaged in the illegal sexual activity for the purpose of blackmailing them. It was reported that he became fabulously wealthy in this endeavor before being arrested and incarcerated. At the time of his arrest federal law enforcement managed to seize the evidence that he had amassed during his career and this evidence was taken into custody. The ring leader subsequently died under mysterious circumstances while in custody and those charged with keeping and protecting him while awaiting trial dismissed the incident with, “nothing to see here.” The unanswered question is where are the investigations of the people shown on the video evidence that was confiscated during the arrest of the ring leader? That evidence is factual but facts no longer matter. The amusement value ran its course and we moved on to the next thing.
We could easily explore hundreds of such examples but that would serve only to belabor the point. The news presented in this current era, while fact based, no longer provides the depth required to spur people to action. Five minute sound bites of some remote tragedy read by a smiling commentator and followed by commercial images of happy people doing happy things is what now passes for news coverage.
We are no longer given anything to take seriously, it’s all theater, smoke and mirrors, while the invisible hands behind the curtain manipulate the world for their own purposes.
The question should be will we collectively wake up and realize that facts do matter, that the world of engineered entertainment is akin to Nero’s bread and circuses, meant to keep us amused to the point that we won’t care what “they” are doing to consolidate power and strip us of liberty?
The future belongs to those who will engage in shaping it and all others have no right to complain when they realize that the final uncontested shove has taken them over and into the abyss.