Saturday 03 Dec 2016

Newspeak
AJ Robinson

I remember reading "1984," back in 1982. My classmates and I marveled at how the people in the story could be so stupid and gullible. Right in the middle of a speech, the nation's enemy, with which it was at war, changed from one country to another, and the people immediately accepted this! We chatted amongst ourselves and said how there was no way that real people could ever be that way. How could anyone accept that love is hate, black is white, right is wrong, and so on?

Recent developments have shown me that people can be that bad, and that they can see things that way!

Part of the problem is the "fracturing" of news. Where once we had the "Big Three," that is, the major television networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, now we have a ton of news agencies. Walter Cronkite, a little gruff, but grandfatherly, used to give us the news; now, we have people who look more like models simply reading a teleprompter. As a result, people can say just about anything they want, and they can get on some sort of "news" show. They can also avoid any media outlet that they don't like - at least for a while.

To what does this lead?

We have pundits who blame environmentalists for the BP oil spill! We have others saying that it was too much government regulation. D o you want to know who's to blame for the Wall Street and banking meltdown.
There are many "experts," each will tell you it was, again, too much government regulation. Why, if we just take away all rules and let the banks do things the "right" way, everything will be fine.

Then there's history. A politician can go from calling himself a renegade to claiming he never said such a thing - and there are "news outlets" who will report that as gospel. Do you remember when the mantra was "Drill, Baby, Drill"? Oh, that was only on dry land and under ideal conditions; the person in question never meant offshore oil rigs.

Yeah, they did.

That's the one great thing about our digital age. With cameras literally everywhere and websites like YouTube posting clips daily: it's become harder for politicians and pundits to get away with their "double speak."

Today, I sit in my home in Orlando, Florida, and wonder what's going to happen to our beautiful coastline. For me, the kicker was when a pundit said that we shouldn't be worried about the oil spill. As he put it, oil is a perfectly natural material, what's the big deal? Another claimed that once the hurricanes came along, they'd clean everything up!

Once again, there were idiot "news" agencies that reported this crap like it was gospel coming from some leading expert in a field. Fortunately, there is one major weakness that many of these politicians face - dealing with news people outside their "comfort zone." It's easy enough to talk to "reporters" who swallow your stuff completely. Once a politician is running for office, they have to talk to other news agencies; that's when the fun begins.

I have to say, I actually find it funny to hear them try to "back pedal" and revise their previous outrageous statements when they're talking to someone who asks real questions. Yet, it is a pity that there remain so many outlets for phony-baloney news. It would appear that "newspeak" is here to stay.

I only hope people are smart enough to see through it.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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