Sunday, September 04, 2005

Media Terrorists

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.


CA said...

It's great to hear good news as well as bad news. I agree that being inundated with only bad news makes a person freak out sometimes.

But another thing that makes someone freak out is remembering past episodes of horror that mirror this tragedy. Like the Watts riots. There black people rioted against what they took to be a single injustice by a white cop against a single black man. A traffic stop, I think.

In the end, the rioters had completely burned down and destroyed their own entire section of the city. (Watts) They didn't destroy any white section of town, only their own. It didn't make any sense then and it still doesn't. They are no longer humans but monsters who don't care whom they hurt.

Mad dogs aren't allowed to run wild; these mad dogs shouldn't be allowed to either.

me said...

alot of the mass news media i find especially that from the states is to set people in a state of fear... when if you look closer at the facts and look at the details they are not throwing at you, its much different.

Stratu said...

CA: Admit it dude, you're just itching to get an old fashioned posse together.

ME: A state of fear, yes that's it exactly. They are trying to terrorise the people to such a high pitch they'll be so damn scared they won't wanna leave their houses. People are pretty easy to deal with when they stay indoors the whole time.
Screw them man, I ain't scared. I'll walk outside my house whenever I want and I'll take pictures and put 'em on my blog to prove it!

Brent McKee said...

There is, as is frequently the case, a racial component involved. It was seen in a pair wire service photos. In one a white man and woman are seen carrying some food they had "found in a store" through the water. In the other a "looter" was seen, also transporting food through the water. He was black. There are real looters in New Orleans - some of the first places that were hit were gun stores - but it is wrong to label someone a looter for doing what they need to do to save their own and other people's lives in a place where the veneer of civilization has broken down. The colour of their skin should not enter into it.