Saturday, July 21, 2018

Quickies: Some Events In Israel

     Sometimes we get a concise report on important events: a report stripped of opinion and other nonessentials, that leaves us to form our own conclusions. This is the essence of honest reporting. The following graphic is a case for study:

     Before all else, we must decide whether to accept the reportage as honest – factual in its details, omitting none of importance. Confirmation from an independent source would help to assure this. In the usual case of exchanges of fire such as the graphic describes, such confirmation is available. At the moment, I don’t have any, so whether to accept the report as honest is up to the reader.

     What evaluations of the events described are possible?

  1. That on July 20 of this year, Gazan Palestinians committed cross-border acts of violence against Israel, and Israel’s military performed reprisals upon HAMAS military posts in Gaza in the hope of deterring further such acts;
  2. That the report is a fiction intended to justify violence against Gaza by Israel.

     I can’t come up with any others. Can you, Gentle Reader?

     In the usual case, the selection of one evaluation over the other will be a matter of already-held convictions about relations between Israel and the Palestinian irredentists of the Gaza Strip. He who is inclined to believe that the Israeli government is relatively moral will adopt position #1. He who sides with the Palestinians and believes that Israel is an oppressor will adopt position #2.

     Now let’s assume that we acquire confirmation of the above graphic, and can therefore be confident about its reportage. The reader who holds position #1 will smile. (He might say “I told you so.”) What about the reader who holds position #2? What might we expect from him?

     Were the second reader to say, “All right, it seems to be correct,” he would be displaying honesty and personal integrity. However, in the most common recent cases, that reader would either attempt to discredit the confirmation, or would try to change the subject.

     Ideology – a set of convictions founded on a postulated model of the world –can cause seemingly reasonable people to believe, say, and do some very unreasonable things. This is especially so when ideology is combined with the power of group affiliation, as Eric Hoffer has told us.

     The massive foofaurauw about “fake news” that’s been in the air is seldom about misstatements of fact. It’s nearly always about framing and phrasing: the construction of a story so that it will lead the reader to specific conclusions that a bald statement of the facts would not support. It’s far subtler than a blatant lie, and much harder to detect and bypass. Yet skill at framing and phrasing is what media barons value in the reporters they dispatch to cover events such as the ones discussed here. Editorial offices have habitually placed the advancement of their preferred ideology over honest journalism.

     Only the availability of diverse sources and perspectives can countervail the pernicious effects of “fake news.” Which is why it’s more important than ever that absolute freedom of expression, regardless of the specific medium, should be defended to the death.


JWMJR said...

We are looking at a generation or two of children who never grew up. They got sent off to college and told that any degree is better than honest work. They have been taught to believe political ideology trumps facts. Those connective synapses in the brain that would tell them otherwise have been deliberately atrophied, if not completely severed. The real world is not as their handlers told them it should be. Success and more importantly survival depend on hard work, the application of knowledge and the accumulation if experience. All things they were told don't matter. That when faced with this kind of cognitive dissonance it should come as no surprise that many will resort to violence.

I've used it before but it still fits perfectly:

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians in which instinct has learned nothing from experience."

George Santayana

Infants in grown up bodies are everywhere. Between so-called colleges and Opra Winfry they have nearly succeeded in destroying the social cohesion of Western Civilization.

John C. said...

I think they are succeeding much more than we give them credit. Western Civilization is at the brink of extermination by its own making and by its own progeny.