Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We've Got the Media Infrastructure In Place, Use it to Inform the People Instead of to Sell Them Lies and Democracy Will Be Secure

I'll bet more than half of the people could tell you more about 535 figures in entertainment and sports than they could about any one person in the federal government. Nearly a hundred-percent could tell you more about ten B-grade Hollywood figures than they could about the ten most powerful people in their own government.

A lot of the blame does go to individuals but most of it is squarely assignable to the media and inadequate education. Since media is a much more powerful force in public deception than education, it is more necessary to fix that.

Even if most of the the Peoples' ignorance is due to "natural" laziness, effectively dealing with that fact, as it is and not as we might wish it to be, is absolutely essential to securing democracy. Democracy is dependent on the population actually knowing enough.

Viewing the possible ways to provide that information and the effects those have on the population, the only reasonable conclusion is that the electronic media has to be made to EFFECTIVELY provide the information that we need to know. It can't just be a matter of having the information sitting on a shelf where, we all know, it will remain unread by the majority of people. Ours is, one hopes temporarily, no longer a reading culture. The electronic media has to be made to serve the purpose of democracy, they have to be forced to inform the people. It won't happen by laissez faire, that's what we've got now.

Another big part of it is not allowing them to lie in what they conveniently assign the label of entertainment. Spreading political lies by entertainment is probably more destructive of democracy than doing it through the "news" simply because more people watch the junk.

The right of a People to govern themselves extends to the right of the People to have the accurate information on which that depends. It is a right that overrides the right of commercial media to maximize profits or to promote whatever ideology provides them with the most profits. I don't believe that there is a right to lie. There can't be. That is another thing that democracy can't survive.

We have a choice. With the lessons we have to learn from the Reagan-Bush years we should be able to see that we can't just assume a lot of the things we used to. One of the most important of these is that the electronic media can't be permitted to be the vehicle for making Americans stupider and less able to govern themselves. That's what we have now. The only alternative is to compel them to effectively inform the public without lies or bias. They have proven that they won't do it on their own.

Those are the choices and it comes down to despotism or democracy. We are at the crossroads, no more avoiding that reality.

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