Corinne Dalelio
October 7, 2009

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in the physical world, and even if you cannot clearly see how it applies in the social world, the fact cannot be denied that every action taken by a person or group of people has the potential for negative consequences. A book written, a news program aired, a video filmed, a law enacted, a precedent set, all of these, no matter how benign the intent, have the potential to, and often do, affect our society, and therefore the lives of all, in various ways.

Turn off your TVs, folks, and find out the facts yourselves.

When faced with such potentially consequential actions, it is a natural reaction for people to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive, questioning in what directions they may take us and our society. In the mainstream media in America, however, such questions are often dealt with in one of two ways: they are either left unaddressed, or portrayed as the most extreme version of those negative consequences, allowing for their quick dismissal.

An example of the former can be seen in the reporting on the protests at the G20 in Pittsburgh last month. Few mainstream news articles and reports mentioned the fact that LRAD devices, or sound weapons, were used on the American people for the first time, but even those that did, decided not to even question whether or not this was a good idea. This is but one example of many, including but not limited to coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, third party presidential campaigns, the passing of 1,000 page bills like the Patriot Act or the stimulus bill, the appointment of a sitting president to the head of the UN security council, secret meetings of heads of state, the illegal arrest and detainment of American citizens without a trial and so on and so forth. This list could go on for pages, so I will spare you the wasted screen space and move on.

An example of the latter can be observed in the media’s version of the healthcare reform debate, in which the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, a real panel of 15 individuals created in the Stimulus bill to determine the agenda of healthcare research in order to discover what’s “effective” in healthcare (see H.R. 1, Title VII), and being given more authority in the proposed healthcare reform act to make recommendations to healthcare providers so that they may “more informed healthcare decisions” (see H.R. 3200, Title IV, Subtitle A), is reduced to a paranoid delusion about “death panels.” Thus, real concerns about the council, such as the fact that the individual in charge of bioethics, Ezekiel Emmanuel, has written that doctors take their Hippocratic oath too seriously, and that healthcare priorities should be focused on those aged 15-40, and not wasted on those younger or older, are never dealt with.

[efoods]Again, “death panels” are just one of a litany of reductive terms that obfuscate serious and legitimate concerns and turn them into fodder for smirking pundits (“birther,” “conspiracy theories,” and “tea-bagging,” to name a few). I would also include in that list anything that reduces a concern to a “left-wing,” “right-wing,” “liberal” or “conservative” issue, as it automatically eliminates that concern’s credibility to those who identify with one team or the other.

So, now we must turn to the meta-question: why have such questions been stifled? Why has the mainstream media abandoned their watchdog role and begun reducing serious and normal public concerns to dust? What are the consequences of the media’s actions? That is something to seriously be considered and dealt with (although, of course, you won’t see it seriously addressed in the media).

We now have a situation in this country where people are being paid to discredit us. Enough is enough. We can no longer trust these people to research the issues for us. I don’t care if you sometimes agree with what they say. Turn off your TVs, folks, and find out the facts yourselves.

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