Tri­via­li­za­tion of news crea­ting a world of me­dio­crity ...

The­re is mo­re of a market for tri­vial in­for­ma­tion that dis­gui­ses it­self as news than the­re is for in­for­ma­tion that can chan­ge the world

La Jornada (Canada) - - PORTADA - Gerry Chi­diac is an award win­ning ge­no­ci­de edu­ca­tor and high school tea­cher who has li­ved on four con­ti­nents and speaks four lan­gua­ges. Gerry is in­clu­ded in Troy Me­dia’s Un­li­mi­ted Ac­cess subs­crip­tion plan.

If we want to crea­te chan­ge in the world, we need to be truly in­for­med.

A num­ber of years ago, Ame­ri­can phi­lo­sop­her and hu­man rights ad­vo­ca­te Noam Chomsky put forth the idea that, in wes­tern so­ciety, the po­wers that be ma­ni­pu­la­te the me­dia to “ma­nu­fac­tu­re con­sent.” That is, they get people to fo­cus on mea­nin­gless in­for­ma­tion or in­for­ma­tion that furt­hers their cau­se in or­der to keep the mas­ses un­der con­trol.

So­me of Chomsky’s pers­pec­ti­ve rings true.

The most poig­nant exam­ple oc­cu­rred du­ring the Cold War. In the la­te 1970s, a ho­rren­do­us ge­no­ci­de in Cam­bo­dia was very well re­por­ted. We all knew about the cri­mes com­mit­ted by the com­mu­nist Kh­mer Rou­ge. What we didn’t know, ho­we­ver, was that not far away in East Ti­mor, a very si­mi­lar ge­no­ci­de was ta­king pla­ce. The dif­fe­ren­ce was that it was being ca­rried out by In­do­ne­sia, an Ame­ri­can ally.

Chomsky points out that mains­tream me­dia co­ve­ra­ge of this atro­city was al­most non-exis­tent for nearly 25 years. It was not un­til In­do­ne­sian Pre­si­dent Suhar­to be­gan to fall from the good gra­ces of wes­tern lea­ders in the la­te 1990s that the­re was any sig­ni­fi­cant co­ve­ra­ge. And little of that drew at­ten­tion to the fact that Suhar­to’s ef­forts we­re sup­por­ted for many years by his allies.

Af­ter the Cold War, the trend to ig­no­re sig­ni­fi­cant glo­bal is­sues con­ti­nued. In 1994 and 1995, we we­re glued to our te­le­vi­sions wat­ching the O.J. Sim­pson trial, yet we lar­gely ig­no­red the ge­no­ci­de in Rwan­da.

Even with the growth of the In­ter­net and the free­dom it allows us to find al­ter­na­te news sour­ces, we con­ti­nue to fo­cus on is­sues that are of little con­se­quen­ce, is­sues that simply fill our minds with in­sig­ni­fi­cant in­for­ma­tion and ma­ke us com­pla­cent. It would ap­pear that Chomsky is co­rrect.

Yet many people in the me­dia vehe­mently deny that the­re is any overt pres­su­re put on them to “ma­nu­fac­tu­re con­sent.” This has cer­tainly been my ex­pe­rien­ce as a free­lan­ce co­lum­nist. I have found edi­tors qui­te happy to pu­blish my ma­te­rial if what I pro­vi­de is thought-pro­vo­king and well writ­ten. At ti­mes, my to­pics are con­tro­ver­sial and be­co­me a sour­ce of de­ba­te. But open and res­pect­ful dis­cus­sion is one of the pri­mary goals of free­dom of the press.

So why is so much mo­re writ­ten about the li­festy­le of the Kar­das­hians than about their ef­forts to draw at­ten­tion to the dan­gers of den­ying the ge­no­ci­de in their an­ces­tral ho­me­land of Ar­me­nia?

Per­haps the ans­wer can be found in the fact that the­re is mo­re of a market for tri­vial in­for­ma­tion that dis­gui­ses it­self as news than the­re is for in­for­ma­tion that can chan­ge the world. Per­haps the me­dia is simply res­pon­ding to the fact that, in or­der to sur­vi­ve - in to­day’s digital age - they have to gi­ve people what they want.

The ar­gu­ment that the me­dia is simply res­pon­ding to market de- mand doesn’t ne­ces­sa­rily dis­pro­ve Chomsky’s theory, but it does draw at­ten­tion to the fact that we need to fo­cus on edu­ca­tion.

And the most im­por­tant thing to teach our chil­dren is that we be­co­me what we think about. To be bet­ter people, we must fo­cus not only on our good­ness but al­so on our res­pon­si­bi­lity to be­co­me our very best. To ma­ke the world bet­ter, we need to fo­cus on the real cha­llen­ges be­fo­re us and join with ot­hers in a spi­rit of har­mony in brin­ging this about.

Do we want a world of me­dio­crity and com­pla­cency, or do we want a world of po­si­ti­ve chan­ge? Ul­ti­ma­tely, that’s the de­ci­sion that each of us has to ma­ke every day - and it de­pends a great deal on what we know. -TROYMEDIA

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