Featured Post

Another New Book Available: States of the Union, The History of the United States through Presidential Addresses, 1789-2023

Mount Greylock Books LLC has published States of the Union: The History of the United States through Presidential Addresses, 1789-2023.   St...

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Two Nations

 One of the many things I owe podcaster Coleman Hughes is an ad recommending the site ground.news.  It's a news aggregator with a purpose--it divides 33 news outlets into various shades of left, right and center--you can see the list here--and its Blindspot page tells you what percentage of outlets reporting a given story fall into each.  To give you the flavor, I am going to share most of today's results.

Yesterday, on St. Patrick's Day, Joe Biden joked that he's "really not Irish" because he is sober and doesn't have any relatives in jail.  Only one of ten of their sources that reported that story was centrist and none were on the left, which evidently isn't eager to share embarrassing information about the President.  Similarly, only two of fourteen sources that reported that Kamala Harris was booed at an NCAA tournament game were centrist, and the leftist outlets ignored the story.  Nine of ten sources who reported that a Canadian pastor was arrested for protesting against a drag queen story time were on the right, no leftist outlet (and only two centrist ones) mentioned that Ron DeSantis is leading 18 states opposing the Biden Administration's encouragement of environmental, social and corporate governing investing, and nearly two-thirds of the outlets reporting that the Biden family received more than $1 million from an associate of Hunter Biden who was reportedly connected to Chinese interests were on the right.  

On the other side of the fence, while 8 leftist and centrist outlets have reported this morning that Donald Trump will surrender to authorities if indicted, only one conservative organ has touched the story.  A similarly low percentage of rightwing outlets are ignoring that one of Trump's lawyers has been ordered to testify regarding the classified documents found at Maralago, and no rightwing outlet has mentioned that the Capitol police have denied Tucker Carlson's claim that they had reviewed the January 6 footage that he aired on his show, or that Michael Cohen has expressed his willingness to testify against Trump. Ron DeSantis meanwhile is establishing himself as a highly controversial figure.  While the Left ignored his anti-ESG initiative, 13 leftist outlets carried a tale of him eating chocolate pudding with his fingers on a plane.  Simultaneously, rightwing outlets are ignoring a story about his new book, The Courage to Be Free, explaining that he advocates using the power of governments to undo cultural and ideological damage at the hands of unresponsive bureaucrats and elites,

The pattern here is rather obvious: both sides like to print embarrassing or inflammatory information about the other side, while ignoring parallel information about their own side. That is also why the New York Times seems to print far more stories about Donald Trump, even now, than about Joe Biden.  It is also, perhaps, why the biggest focus of the Democratic House of Representatives in 2021-2 was the January 6 investigation, not any of the huge economic and social problems which the nation faces and which might have benefited from an extended set of hearings. Both parties are now arguing, in effect, that the electorate has no choice but to vote for them because the other side is so horrible.  And yet, if the media are any guide, both sides also seem to understand that much of what their elected officials are doing is unpopular.  It's the leftwing outlets that are reporting new Republican laws limiting transgender care and abortions, for example. 

Two weeks ago I quoted George Washington on the importance of relying upon reason, not emotion.  Our politicians and our media today have stood that warning on its head.  The market is partly to blame: emotion sells, while calm reason has become a turnoff.  We face a real world crisis--political, military, and economic.  Democracies from Israel to France to the United States are riven in two by contentious issues.  Russia may well still win the war of attrition in Ukraine.  We do  not know if our new financial system can survive high interest rates.  We are ill-equipped to handle these huge problems.

1 comment:

Energyflow said...

This is very philosophical. One person sees something entirely different than another. The seven blind men and the elephant. Except now it is rather on purpose to control and mislead people. Framing of events is everything. This is why balance, adversarial views is important. Real journalism is interested in digging out the truth presumably. Freedom fighters are just terrorists. False flags a cause de guerre. History usually wins out. Galileo won due to scientific progress. Washington and co. could all become persona non-grata due to slave holding. 100 years from now anything one holds dear could be banned from discourse. We see sci-fi dystopias where women are enslaved, cannibalism is the norm, books are burned. A rational Star Trek future opposes modern tech nightmares assuming all goes badly, due to flaws in human nature. This of course follows from emotions and interests based reporting, judging, congressional rule, policing and general life. Can we become more rational, distanced from self interest, balanced? Perhaps it is only the elite pushing the populace apart. Perhaps if people were educated in a well rounded manner over decades and taught critical thught everything would be ok. However it seems that a critical social experience over centuries plays out. Our 80 year generational cycles within a larger civilizational rise and fall. Nowadays basic religious morality of the pilgrims is sporned, cynicism, superficiality, laziness are the norm. Decline is clearly our future. Once death, war, starvation, tyranny is the everyday experience will things turn around. A dark ages is needed where strict adherennce to truth and primitive religiosity blossoms. We are certainly at peak population approximately and consumption per capita. How much worse can things get?