This afternoon listening to the radio I heard a report on the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that amazed me. It amazed me because the reporter was reporting positive things and not negative things.
The TV news reports were strictly negative. The dead bodies floating around. The looters. The armed gangs raping and attacking people. The horror, the anarchy and the ugliest side of humanity. You watch that kind of *news* for long enough and you can get depressed, or angry, or start feeling helpless or powerless in the face of such relentless horror. And you can really get twisted up with it. It can twist your mind around in a sick way when you are only shown the worst and ugliest aspect.
But in the radio report I heard this afternoon, the reporter was focussing on positive things. One of them was a story about two guys who had been neighbours for years, had only ever said hi to each other, but in the big exodus from the flooded city found themselves walking together along the highway. By the time they got out of that doomed deathswamp they were like best friends. This fearsome terrible natural disaster threw them together and they bonded where they never would have otherwise.
Another story was about the people seeking refuge in a sports stadium. Some *looters* came in with food and drink and shared it all around with everybody. But the way those TV news people reported it, the word *looters* meant wild criminal gangs running around opportunistically stealing shit from stores for purely selfish reasons, like "Yo dawg, check dis out I gawna git me a big screen muthafuckin' TV!", and naturally that made the TV news viewers go totally bananas and righteously declare "Damn, we gotta go after these looting bastards and shoot 'em on sight!"
So now we know that when you hear the term *looters* it can mean two different things, but the TV news won't make that distinction.
The TV news reports it in such a way that makes normally quite sane and reasonable people act rabid, howling for blood. Why do they do that? Why was it such a big surprise to hear this radio report that revealed positive aspects of the disaster? Of humanity? People bringing out their best qualities; qualities that were previously submerged and only brought to the surface by this ferocious appalling act of nature. Men and women acting in a selfless way, sharing even when it could mean their own demise.
People think they are smart and can't be fooled. But the media has an awesome power to fool you, to twist your mind and sabotage your better instincts. I think there's something vitally important to be on guard against and it's this: if you find that after absorbing some kind of media information you suddenly begin to experience feelings of HATRED, you're probably being manipulated.