Fear and Paranoia - Brought To You by Mockingbird Media

(Updated - Originally published 4/23/15) 

Where is the beauty in the news?  Local news isn’t even local anymore.  All of the stations have the exact same stories; stories designed to create fear and paranoia.  It may seem hilarious when late night shows do a montage of allegedly independent local news stations using the exact same verbiage all across the nation, but it’s really creepy.

“Tune in tonight as we remind you of a young woman that was skinned alive and raped 20 years ago.  We’ll discuss the gruesome details with the son of the perpetrator who confessed on his deathbed.  And later, is vanilla or chocolate ice cream healthier for your heart?

"Fact not fear!  Tonight we tell you how many people have died from Covid without providing any context whatsoever and leave you to wonder if everyone you love will be dead in two weeks time!"

It bleeds, it leads.  It doesn't matter where the bleeding occurs as long as white America becomes fearful from it. That’s a problem.  It’s a problem for the media because while it may be their target demographic, it’s one that’s changing.  This forces more money to be spent actually marginalizing the slight minority of not-white Americans.

It pushes against the flow of the universe.  It creates tension.  The U.S.A. was not just founded by ex-pat Brits.  (It was founded by the second sons of British oligarchs.) We must remember that later, it took all the different peoples that came together to form our nation.  Many of them were white Europeans, but in the 18th and 19th centuries, white Europeans didn't exactly all get along.  Many Brits still hate the Irish and discriminate as a matter of course.  You can bet it’s that way on purpose.  If government wanted to end that discrimination and lead the populace to a more reasonable treatment of the Irish, it would happen almost overnight.  You just stop feeding the stigma. It’s politicians and the media that chant the call against the marginalized, no matter what they say out the other side of their mouths.  It’s the same in America.

Suicide bombings happening daily are just a footnote on the news.  When I was a kid in the 80s I would occasionally hear on the news about bombings in the U.K. and Northern Ireland.  I couldn't fathom how in a country so much like the U.S. could have bombings like that.  I couldn't relate.  I still can't.  I'm so far removed from that kind of hatred, vitriol, rage and violence.  Well... rage I know, but blowing people up because of that rage is so disconnected from me. (Okay, it's 2021 and the last year saw a LOT of Molotov cocktails and large fireworks used against people.) People in general don't get to that level of action without prompting.  Of course the ones leading dissidents to that violence are not participating physically themselves.  The leader's job is to get his followers whipped into a fervor (see: Hitler).  Get that adrenaline pumping!  Tell the same lie often enough and those around you will start to believe it.  It's even easier if those people are looking for something to believe in. 

Gods forbid the news actually made efforts to improve the lives of its viewers and the subjects of its horrible stories instead of fomenting fear and paranoia. I'm in my mid-thirties and the U.S.A. has been at war in the middle east for about 18 of those years.  Oh, I'm sorry, I meant conflicts with terrorists in the perpetual War on Terror.  We haven't been officially in a war since WWII.  And 18 years is pretty conservative if you consider all the other conflicts we've been involved with during my short lifetime.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

I tell you what; you go out and do something positive.  Don't protest, don't sign petitions. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Be an example of peace and love.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Join a community garden if you live an apartment.  Invite your neighbors to share your garden if you're a homeowner (never hurts to have more people help you weed).  Walk to the store, bike to work, meet your neighbors.  

Quit smoking to gain health, and to give a finger to the tobacco and pharmaceutical corporations that count on your money to fund the rest of their products.  Quit smoking to spite a government which taxes the ever-living shit out of your cigarettes (an inordinately taxes the poor, who smoke more).  Be nuanced in political discussions.  Think through those "obvious and simple" solutions.  Not really such simple solutions, eh?  Maybe you're not as interest in politics as you thought?  

Promote not only critical, but lateral thinking.  Take a step back and look at the world and see your place in it.  You'll be okay and it will get better.  Make it better for someone else too.  It's 2021 now.  We're more divided than ever.  Don't contribute to division.  Let go of that urge to corrects someone who's wrong on the internet.  Call your family and friends and see how they're doing.  Dedicate some attention to those you care about rather than a passing IM conversation.  See what you can do to help others and how we can help each other.  You may be surprised.  And stop watching the news out of habit.  I promise you the world will not fall apart if you stop paying it attention.

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