Mis-Information in the Digital Age…

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Saying Someone’s Dead When They’re Not

I guess I was caught with my proverbial pants down on Facebook this morning.

  • I was checking Twitter updates and read that a former President had passed on yesterday, but it turned out to be false information. It was his former aide and press secretary who had passed on from a suspected heart attack.
  • Anyway, I jumped the gun and posted “RIP ***** ******”, but someone questioned it, and of course the information I was passing along was false.
  • Twitter is great at bringing news quickly around the world, and many times the news reaches people on Twitter faster than via regular media.

The Kanye West Debacle

For instance, the news that Kanye West had interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV VMA awards had hit Twitter immediately after it happened. This instant gratification of the news makes social networking sites like Twitter a very powerful tool. I’ve noticed several times, that many of the major media sources have used Twitter as their source for quick news, as people “tweet” them as they happen.

Remember that commercial jet doing an emergency landing in the Hudson? Twitterers “tweeted” about this very quickly.

But unfortunately, misinformation can also travel fast…. and it’s not just about false or inaccurate news, it’s about “mass media brainwashing” and propaganda. For example, there is always the battle between Republicans and Democrats, the religious right-wing conservatives and the left-wing liberals.

The Democrats vs The Republicans

I hate to say this but if you pick any one of the many right-wing ultra conservative radio talk shows, you’ll find such vicious bashing of Democrats and our current Democratic administration. That is a fact. And that viciousness really bothers me.

In fact, talk show radio and major media sources can be quite biased to a fault. Whatever happened to fair, just and impartial news reporting? Well, some years ago that all flew out the window….

There, on right-wing conservative radio, they are always trash-talking President Obama, for instance. Calling him a socialist and a communist.

Obama + Democrats = Communism

I was driving on the freeway yesterday and saw a big sign on the back of a car that said: “Obama + Democrats = Communism”

While every person in America has a right to express themselves freely, however, I just see how misinformation can be spread because of a biased opinion. And if you hate someone strongly enough, the tendency is to spread false rumors to cast that someone in an unfavorable “light”. If not “false rumors”, exaggerated ones that diss your opponent and heavily favor your own cause… it’s called “negative campaigning” (on steroids). And there’s just too much of this going on today, that it really is upsetting.

It’s just plain silly!

Think about it. If President Obama was a true Communist then the government and the people would already be Communist. The truth is, America is a complex entity. There IS a Communist Party, but President Obama is not a member of it. And there is (if you study the Democratic Party) no way they can be true Communist. Surely, they can be more liberal than Republicans… but the truth is, many of us are moderate, or have certain liberal beliefs while still holding on to conservative ones at the same time. The world is not ALWAYS black and white, there can be shades of gray as well.

  • This polarization of the entire political spectrum puts people either on one side or the other, depending where the most you are leaning toward. But, what of the moderates and those in-between each end of the spectrum.

America… The Complex

As far as Socialism is concerned, again America is a complex society. There are several things that are already Socialist in America by nature. For instance, we have “free” police protection and the Fire Dept. is “free” as well. Not completely free, of course, but in a sense that we pay for their services through taxes, etc. The services of the Fire Dept. and the Police Dept. are meant to serve all equally, and the taxpayer is meant to pay for their services. It seems like a fair deal, just like a lot of other things in American society…

There have been unionized jobs, and unions in general can be considered as Socialist. There are so many clubs and organizations throughout the country that could be considered Socialist by nature. Would we then be considered a communist or socialist society simply because we adopted a nationalized healthcare system? I’d tend to think that, if things were done right, a nationalized, public healthcare system could be a reality just as the Police Dept. and Fire Dept. are a reality today.

  • But the United States could never be Socialist. Economically speaking, to change the country from a totally Capitalist nation to a Socialist one would be next to impossible, and it wouldn’t happen overnight.

America’s Diversity, Has Anyone Noticed?

The United States is too diverse a country to simply say that it is one thing or another. It is this essence of “We The People…” that makes the United States of America unique.

It’s up to us to educated ourselves, so that we can intelligently sift through all the misinformation, the lies, the biased reporting, the name-calling, the propaganda… so that we can intelligently and compassionately understand what the truth really is, and to help make the world a better place for the generations to come… for our children.

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Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

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