Friday, May 15, 2020

The Murray Gell-Man Effect in Media Today

I've written about this before. But, it applies more and more, every day.

MGM is the idea that, when you are consuming media, you may have some area of expertise that is greater than the writer/reporter. You disregard the story, because your greater knowledge has informed you that it was garbage. Completely wrong. Useless, except for page-filler.

Then - and this is where the Amnesia part of the Effect takes place - when you turn to other parts of that same media source, you lose that skepticism, and believe what you read/hear.

The thing is, so much of what is written/reported in the 'news' is:

  • Wrong - just in error on basic facts.
  • Partisan - the source of the piece is almost always a Leftist one, usually one with a specific agenda. The reporter's fervent desire to create a latter-day Woodward&Bernstein persona for himself overwrites any caution or fact-checking.
  • Gossip - same as above, but fluff. Just gossipy "he said", "highly placed sources", and if-I-gave-you-the-name-you'd-know-the-thing-is-BS foundations. You might think that these pieces are written/reported by fresh-from-journalism-school grads, but, no. They are often a  desperate story by an aging former star, eager to re-capture the headlines again (yes, I'm talking to you, Dan Rather - and others, too).
  • Repetitive - this is a bigger problem on the televised media, as each hour or so, they need to warn you - AGAIN! - about the WuFlu, the perfidy of Trump, and how, unless Impeachment is restarted, the economy completely shuts down, and all guns are confiscated, the world will come to an end. Right now. Film at 11. Why, it's ALMOST as though they think we're stupid.
Right now, the Leftists are waving their hands around to dismiss the Obamagate story, the collapsing pandemic (who'd have thought that Leftists were so vile as to root for death for millions?), and the obvious mental deterioration of Joe Biden. And, a lot more.

You wouldn't know it if your only exposure to news was the mainstream kind. Hour after hour, Trump is ridiculed, vilified, and - now that some near him have tested positive - watched, eagerly, for signs that he is infected and will DIE, DIE, DIE!

What can I suggest?

Skip the news - pick it up on some normal news aggregators - Instapundit, Lucianne, and others - and realize that you're missing nothing. Scan the headlines for Fox, if you're concerned you might miss something important. Check the local news once a day.

Otherwise, occupy yourself with more important things:
  • Spend time with family - if necessarily, remotely. Write some letters - they will last longer, and can be re-read for years.
  • Learn a skill/trade - what holds most of us back is time, which is something we have plenty of right now.
  • Clean/clear out/organize - when this ends, we should have the house and yard up to standards we've never achieved before. The yard has been cleared of shrubbery and debris, it's been leveled and sprayed for weeds/pests, and in another week or so, we'll have topsoil delivery and  seeding. Inside, we've sent carloads to the dump, have boxed up stuff to donate, and have rotated the old food (and either used it, or dumped it), and have organized what is left.
  • Read - for the first time in a long time, I've been able to read extensively. I'm keeping the cost down by using Kindle Unlimited and library loans (e-books are widely available).
  • Exercise - in this, I've been lax. I've had a flareup of my old knee injuries, and will need to see the ortho people about possible surgery or other treatments. But, I am moving around as much as I am able at this time.

No comments: