“There are four kinds of lies,” my friend Todd S. said yesterday, “lies, damn lies, statistics, and the mainstream media.”
If you’ve been watching, the hits keep coming for the MSM.
The Washington Post was forced to backtrack… again… on a story about Russian hackers. This time about them cracking into the U.S. power grid. Glenn Greenwald, in case you don’t keep up with his work, has done a great job not letting WashPost wiggle its way off the hook. (This is a worthy read.)
It’s hilarious. As you’ll see in Greenwald’s piece, the same people who proselytize day after day about the dangers of Fake News are the ones most responsible for spreading it en masse.
And, of course, many of the mainstream pundits will have this to say [cue mocking voice]: ‘It’s not fair. Everyone is so hard on the mainstream media while junk and lies are flying all over the Internet without consequence.’
To that, we respond:
You’re wrong. It’s totally fair.
When your network has the power to bring truths to light which could stop and prevent wars and save MILLIONS of lives, there’s a certain level of responsibility involved.
When you could, with just an hour spot at eight o’clock, save hundreds, maybe thousands of children from malicious pedophiles in high places and abuse at the hands of the State (but instead we see the BBC’s gruesome Savile scandal, the Discovery Channel’s blacklisting of the Conspiracy of Silence documentary and the heartbreaking stories coming from victims of Child Protective Services only in alt-media), you should wield such power.
When you have the power to speak truth to tyranny and actually make a difference, you should. When you can save innocent people from being thrown in cages for victimless “crimes,” nobler people would see it as a duty.
When you can almost literally part seas with nothing more than the magical power of words on screens… then it’s completely fair the mainstream media be expected to have the highest level of integrity possible. And should be scrutinized with the finest tooth comb in the Universe.
That teenager in Macedonia who just made a .00008 bitcoin on a fake news story? He’s tricking the same people who got scammed by Nigerian princes a decade ago. The fact that you feel threatened by him is very telling. And it’s also delusional. He is the ant and you are Kali, destroyer of planets. He has the power to make 8 hermits sincerely believe Hillary Clinton is a High Priestess of Black Magic who sacrifices chickens in her backyard to an owl spirit named Moloch. You have the power to move mountains and shift power structures overnight. Different leagues.
Unfortunately, the MSM didn’t understand its own power. And never wished to. It was an agenda machine. Plain and simple.
Which is why it’s past time for the mainstream media to start pushing daisies.
If you want to be depressed, sick and afraid that hiding in each bush is a predator planning its attack on you, then keep on watching the MSM.
It feasts on your fear and negativity for breakfast.
Which is why the MSM is now stewing about how bad last year was.
Unpopular opinion: I believe 2016 wasn’t that bad. Yes, bad things happened. But there was plenty of good, too.
Maybe it’s because I was looking for it, but amazing, incredible, fantastic, awe-inspiring things happened in my life, in the lives of those around me, and in the world-at-large.
But, alas, the trees were falling in the forest. And most eyes, mostly out of fear, were glued to screens.
In 2017, let’s look up. Life is happening.
Today, to drive this salient point home, we invite Dan Sanchez to the show to talk about why 2016 might not have been as bad a year as many people think. And how it’s all a matter of perspective — and, of course, consuming the right things.
On New Year’s Eve, many said “Bye Felicia” (today’s meme version of “good riddance”) to 2016.
Some called the year a dumpster fire. People I know expressed such sentiments on social media.
Yet I know for a fact that many of them had splendid years: a new job, a new love in their life, a childbirth, etc. They had every reason to celebrate the good fortune of their past year, but instead looked back on it as an awful ordeal.
2016-haters dwell on a seeming uptick in celebrity deaths, ascribing homicidal agency to the chronological unit. And opponents of Donald Trump see his presidential election as a bizarre blight on the year.
Then there was the turmoil and violence in America and around the world, much of which seemed to cluster in the summer of 2016: civil wars, geopolitical crises, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, police-related killings, mass protests, etc.
I myself remarked on July 19, referring to a song by Billy Joel:
“You know things are bad when you could fill a whole “We Didn’t Start the Fire” verse just with news stories from the past two weeks.”
And indeed, for many people, especially those who didn’t survive the events in question, things were bad. Yet, for many others, life was very good.
Innovations in markets and technology continued to increase living standards throughout the world. I myself, in addition to being very fortunate in terms of my career, relationships, and health, possessed a number of useful and delightful new gadgets and apps that hadn’t been available even to the ultra-rich just a few years ago.
They say “misery loves company,” and empathy certainly has its place, but it does suffering strangers no good to be vicariously miserable along with them. Many of us are not fully appreciating and enjoying our blessings, because we live so much of our mental and emotional lives in the news cycle.
If the image that springs to mind when you think of 2016 is the face of Donald Trump, as opposed to the faces of your family or what you accomplished that year, you may have a problem.
In 2017, you might resolve to follow the news less closely, or at least rethink your relationship with it. Resolve not to be distracted by things you have no control over. Resolve to instead dedicate that scarce attention to loving more, creating more, living better, and cherishing every day of your life.
Then next New Year’s Eve, you’ll have a healthier perspective on what transpired. And in the meantime, you’ll be more focused on making a year of your life worth celebrating.
[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on Dan Sanchez’s blog at this link.]
Essayist and author, DanSanchez.me
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