I have grown weary of the current rhetoric: me good, them bad. I’m disgusted with the media as a whole, and after reading this article in Politico, I’m doubly upset. I think most of us know that the media does not necessarily represent the Average American. To the contrary, media outlets cater to a particular audience, and that audience thinks like the media. So, for example, the New Yorker, obviously, has an East Coast philosophy that does not translate well to the West Coast sensibilities. The Times are each biased by location, and those locations are all large cities (Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Miami, etc.). The rest of the country, apparently, does not really matter.
Some may think that that is just fine. “I live on the West/East Coast, so I’m content,” seems to be the feeling. The media bubble mentioned in the above article makes complete sense when taken in context with the demise of actual paper news, loss of newspapers. It’s a money game (always follow the money). Paper publishing costs a lot; paper, ink, printing, journalists, distribution. The advent of the internet certainly changed all that. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, and with that, coverage of more localized news has nearly vanished.
What does that mean? It means the media is biased to their location and staff, not the people they purport to represent. We end up with the nonsense of rhetoric, and by virtue of 24 hour news channels, we get sucked up into believing it. And what is rhetoric? By definition it is: “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.” Lack of meaningful content.
We need to start thinking for ourselves, and not let the media play to our fears and biases.
Everyone has bias in some form or degree. It’s only human to base one’s beliefs and morals on one’s own personal experience. However, this leads to prejudice against ideas outside of our personal experience, reality and world. Prejudice that is not easy to shake. Only way to remedy this is to open one’s mind to the infinite possible points of view. The media helped us do that once upon a time. Now it is up to each individual to learn how to open their minds to ideas they might normally be opposed to. Wouldn’t you like it if the Republicans and Democrats cared more for the country than party? Personally, I see no reason to have political parties. I’m a registered Independent for the last 25 years or so, but I still have preconceived ideas and a deep dislike to changing my mind. I also have a deep desire (now) to open my mind more, and possibly even change it.
This is where Free Thinking and/or Critical Thinking comes in. It helps to take the emotion out of the equation, which where we all go wrong. It’s our emotions that get in the way of critical thinking. Think like a scientist; take a theory and set about to disprove it.
I don’t think using critical thinking will make me change my mind about the fact that Trump doesn’t belong in the White House, but it may help me understand how he came into power, and why the media did not accurately report on what All Americans wanted, just what the Average American wanted. Not the same thing at all. The average American makes $65,000. I make half that with my and my husband’s income combined. Nothing average here.
So. No more rhetoric for me or from me (I may slip now and then, but I am trying). Ted Nugent promised that he would no longer engage in such talk. If he can, certainly I can. It hasn’t been a month yet, and since his announcement came only after a Republican senator was shot and nearly killed, I’m having trouble buying it. I checked his FB page and website and don’t see anything hurtful or hateful. But neither do I see his denunciation of hateful rhetoric. I’d never gone to those sites before so it may be he never posted the rhetoric there. For now I’ll give him benefit of the doubt. I want you to believe the same of me.
I know advice is worth it’s price, but my advice? Stop talking only with the people who already agree with you. Stop using only media sources that favor your preconceived ideas. Expand your media horizons and you may find out some very surprising things. What I’m trying to say is, try to keep an open mind and think for yourself–don’t let the media do it for you.