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Christopher Scott

Marine combat veteran, 4X author, speaker and host of over 1,700 podcasts and radio shows. 

What Happened to Real News?

The Decline of Objective Journalism

At some point you have to ask, is anybody interested in real, fact based reporting of the news? I'm talking about news without the political slant and the tailoring of information to fit a narrative. According to Gallup 7 in 10 Americans don't trust the media. One thing's for sure there's a lot of what's being called news that really isn't news. You could more classify it as propaganda, or at least reporting that doesn't classify as journalism. Maybe the real issue is whether or not it supports a certain way of thinking which is why I say it's propaganda. But, plenty of people still tune in which begs the question, if the news was just real news would anyone watch it?

Back in the late 1800's and early 1900's there was a popular form of entertainment called Vaudeville. Vaudeville was a show that was made up of different forms of entertainment wrapped into one show. Freak shows, racial bigotry, bar room nonsense and dime museums that played out all kinds of weird quasi-scientific stuff. So basically it was just like cable news is today except today it has a political spin.

The Vaudeville shows gave rise to another phenomena you might have heard of, the peanut gallery. The peanut gallery was a term that referred to the cheap seats at the show. People would sit in these upfront seats and throw peanuts at the performers.

When I was growing up it was a term used to describe someone making a stupid comment. It was usually the response to something sarcastic, something my brothers and I did regularly. When we did it the person on the receiving end would usually say something like, "we've heard enough from the peanut gallery." The real definition of peanut gallery is people who criticize somebody, usually by focusing on details that don't matter or aren't important things.. You can label it a bunch of things. Some people call it kibitzing, Yiddish word. It's just a polite way of calling someone an idiot. Look I like sarcasm. If your former military or you've ever hung around military guys, sarcasm is kind of part of the fabric of who we are but everything has it's time and place.

Doesn't all that kind of describe what we see going on with the national, big corporate media and cable news? We call it news but isn't it really just bad entertainment? The result is the same. A bunch of people responding with crappy, unwelcome comments. The result is the crap show of American news and politics we see play out every day. Add in social media and it's beyond chaos. Watch the news is like watching two drunk guys in argument, especially when you look at the responses on social media.

President Trump started using the term fake news during his election campaign in 2015. It's not the problem of fake news started in 2015. It's always been a problem on some level. At one time it was called yellow journalism and there is plenty of historical references to what we now call fake news. The difference now is that it's so wide spread. Why?

Media companies want profits and they've traded integrity for profits. The question is why would they do that? It's my observation that the problem of fake news became a big problem around the same time Facebook and Google started implementing their secret algorithms. This changed the way information is shared. It prioritizes what people see based on popularity instead of relevance or accuracy. So in other words the more people look at something the more of it they see. It's like putting a big place of chocolate brownies in front of a hungry teenager and in the same way we're all getting sick on it.

Here's what happens. Somebody posts something with an attention grabbing headline. People click on it, share it or whatever and because of that it gets spread around more and more. It's called viral headlines and everybody in media is constantly trying to create viral headlines. Now, what kinds of headlines do you think are going to get that kind of attention? It's not going to be budget talks, taxes or efficient government. That kind of stuff is boring. Mass shootings, sex scandals and outrageous headlines end up getting pushed to the top of the list. So what do you think media companies do? They focus on the things that get the most attention.

Then there's the issue of syndication. It used to be that news was mostly localized. That's not the case anymore. One program, blog, news site whatever gets share all over the country. So what's relevant? It's not local news or state level news it's national news for the most part. That leaves everybody talking about what's going on in the federal government. They have too, it's the only way to create relevant topics that can be syndicated in markets across the country.

The way information is sourced has also changed. It used to be that a local newspaper or news outlet had reporters and journalists that had to go out and get information.

That's not how works anymore There are thousands of people scanning and monitoring what happens on social media, the internet and cable news. They look for the things that are trending and they copy it and share it. What we end up with is a bunch of unverified information getting spread at a very rapid rate. No wonder the majority of Americans don't trust the media.

We now have a massive amount of news and information that is controlled by a few big companies. These companies are under enormous pressure to keep the attention of massive numbers of people. Which brings up a big question. Suppose the news was just news, real, fact based information. Reporting without bias or opinions. Would anybody watch it? My guess is probably not. At least not the 24/7 around the clock attention it currently gets.

The modern media has become the countries jezebel. If you don't know what jezebel means its name given to someone who doesn't show respect, is shameless and morally unrestrained. How can you argue the modern media isn't all of those things? How do you think we'll look back on all this in 10 or 20 years? Who knows, it sure isn't showing any signs of improving or slowing down.

It sure seems to be creating division. Look at the result, most people are afraid to talk about politics or religion in their private lives. Because of that we no longer debate or think for ourselves. Everybody is on information overload. Most of it meaningless nonsense and the result in my opinion is a very warped sense of reality.

I want to share with you a fundamental belief I have why we see a lot of what we see going on in the world. I'll say it's not new. Human nature hasn't really changed in at least 4,000 years. So why exactly is all this happening? Why is there all this craziness going on? Look I don't all of what is going on. I couldn't possibly imagine but I do know WHY. This isn't the answer to all of it but it's the answer to a lot of it. And there's a valuable lesson to be learned here.

Let me explain it in simple terms. Do you know what the first sin was? No this isn't a bible lesson so stay with me here. Do you know what the first sin was? If you ask any 5 year old they'll tell you it was the apple. Adam and Eve ate the apple. That was the first sin. Ask any bible scholar and they'll give you a lesson on obedience. They'll tell you that Adam and Eve didn't obey God. Some will even tell you how it was Eve that sinned first then lured Adam into. But all of that misses the point. I'm not trying to get all religious on you. There's a lesson you can learn from here. And, it's an important lesson because it is quite possibly the thing that drives almost everything bad that happens in this country, in your life, in this world. If you understand it you'll be able to see it and if you see it you can avoid it.

Adam and Eve were happy and they were free. They had it all and everything was from God. Then the devil comes along, disguised as a snake. Now I'm not trying to give you some theological lesson here or trying to convert you. But there are forces, natural laws at play in our lives. Once you understand this you will have a certain wisdom and your eyes will be open.

Don't believe anyone that starts by giving you lessons on apples and snakes and whatever. Because they don't know. Nobody knows for sure if this story is an actual account Or, it is a metaphorical story that we can learn from. But it doesn't matter because the lesson is the same. And, there's one thing missing from this story. The story does not tells us, some people think they know or have figured it out, but the story does not tell us WHY the snake tricked Eve.

And, that was the first sin. The first sin was deception. The snake, the serpent tricked Eve. He said here eat this apple it's good for you. See, I just took a bite and I'm fine. Take a bite you'll like it, trust me. And, she liked it. She liked it so much she gave some to Adam. But she couldn't see through the immediate gratification to realize the long term consequences. She was deceived. The snake tricked her. He fooled her.

Why though? Why would the snake, the devil whoever do such a thing? Adam and Eve were minding their own business. They weren't bothering the snake. The snake deceived them because it was good for him not for them. But that's not what he said. Instead he tricked them. The snake told Eve the apple would be good for her. He never mentioned what HE was gaining from her eating the apple. Do you see the difference?

This is why every day I caution on the danger of temptation. There's always going to be temptation. It's everywhere and it affects everyone. No one, no one no matter how good they are or were, how smart they are or what position they hold. No one is immune from temptation. It's always there. But you have to realize the danger of giving into it.

Look at what it did to Adam and Eve. It impacted all of humanity. And, maybe this is too abstract. Maybe it's too much a story from 4,000 years ago. Snakes talking, people walking around naked. Maybe it's impossible for you to comprehend. But look around you. How many people have you see where their lives have been ruined? Otherwise successful lives ruin because of one stupid mistake. How many times have you seen that? Someone cheats, someone steals, someone lies. Whatever it is. The gave into the temptation and it ruined their life.

But I didn't bring this up to talk about temptation. I brought it up to talk about deception. See the problem with deception is the concealment. The trickery and it makes it an easy trap. But it's still a trap. Why do I bring all this up? Because we are swimming with snakes and every one of them has an apple. I'm talking about propaganda, fake news, lies. Lies meant to deceive us. To rob us of our liberty.

I know this has become kind of a joke, oh fake news hahahaha. It's not funny. It's not a joke. There is a power at play here, An influence from people who seek to gain for their own benefit at the expense of others. I think sadly the deception has gone so far that there are players that don't even know what they are doing! But if anything that makes the danger so much more destructive. Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see. We live an age with unprecedented access to information. Don't be lazy. Check, question and verify everything.


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