Deciphering myriad and complex media messages is both a science and an art. To say the media misleads the public is a misnomer. The media does mislead us, by lying to us constantly. If you’re one who naively accepts copy and image as dispensed by the major media outlets, you’re definitely being tweaked.
How do I know the media is deceptive, you ask? That’s easy…I have been a victim of the media on more than one occasion. It’s likely I will be re-victimized as the mainstream outlets are constantly upgrading their trickery and tradecraft.
Liberals, socialists, and normal folks who choose to ignore the media are not as vulnerable to the media’s engineered messaging. The real target for media untruth is those with a conservative leaning, a bent, or a bias toward a traditional America.
You cannot innoculate yourself to eliminate the media slant, there is simply too much of it. The sheer volume will overwhelm you if you let it. While you cannot filter all the lies the media floods us with, you can discipline yourself to spot deception and deal with it.
My Five Media Rules for Conservatives might help. These are not a comprehensive list of rules, but the core requisites. If you only practice these, you will avert a sufficient amount of media deception.
RULE 1: Assume all Stories are False
Be constantly on guard when you read or hear a headline. The headline is the first salvo designed to shape your thinking. You can get trapped in the title, whether written, spoken, or sent to you in the form of imagery is the thought framework.
Twitter is famous for directing our thought with tweet titles, news article titles, photos, and video messaging. I have made it a personal practice to read articles in their entirety before I comment on them. Clever Twitter experts know users are lazy. Therefore, the title and first sentence are designed to grip your thought and emotions, generating a quick response.
Rule 1 is foundational to understanding the media. If we assume all stories are false we tend to read more critically, looking for truth, lies, and deceptions. This is the first rule for conservatives to follow when dealing with media messages…assume what you read, see, or hear is fake.
RULE 2: Some Information in True Stories is False
We know some stories are not false. Each of us has our revered authors, who we trust. There are several dozen “conservative writers” whose messages I tend to trust based on name recognition. Yet, there have been moments when I discovered that even true stories and messages can contain information I regard as untrustworthy, even false.
As we deal with the media sources we trust, we tend to let our guard down. Why not, we’ve learned we can trust them. Occasionally, even the most trustworthy purveyor of truth makes mistakes. Remind yourself that they too are caught in the same information vortex as we are.
The best of conservative writers, news reporters, bloggers, social media messengers, and pundits make mistakes. Their sources fail them.
Remind yourself that some information in true stories can be false. Some information by our most trusted authors can contain false information. When digesting the truth, sift it carefully, especially critical articles containing large amounts of analytical information, polling results, or highly technical data.
RULE 3: False Stories can have Bits of Truth
The worst article is one you know is patently false. It’s written with a dubious slant, by a dubious author who lacks a demonstrable history of credibility.
While I might listen to a commentary by someone from MSNBC or CNN, or read an interesting editorial in the New York Times, I will do so with skepticism. However, this does not mean there are no bits of truth in a false story.
One of the validators I apply to a false story is whether or not it names its sources. A named source is a credible bit of truth, a validation of the author’s transparency. In fact, false stories with bits of truth are the most difficult to decipher.
When the truth is co-mingled with exaggerations or outright lies, it’s often difficult to separate reality from fiction. A fake story may contain factual components such as names, places, events, dates, and times. These factual elements can create a mental head fake causing us to conclude, “this must be true, after all, I know the Senator was there on that date.”
Tossing bits of truth into an otherwise false media message makes for tough journalistic forensics. Often, multiple reads will diminish deception. The media will co-mingle that which you can easily verify with its intended slants. We, as humans, have the propensity to believe. We want to believe that what we read, hear and see is true. It’s easier to simply believe, and more difficult to critique. The latter requires deliberate and sustained discipline. Frankly, I like to be lazy from time to time.
When digesting media information, train yourself to collate fact and fiction. It is not an easy skill. Deciphering truth is a science and an art. There are rules for dealing with the media (science), and there are skills (art) necessary for the separation of truth from lies.
RULE 4: Stories are about Politics, Power, and Money
We know from history and psychologists that life revolves around a set of needs. This is also true of the daily barrage of media information we digest.
Regardless of what you hear, there is no neutrality in the media. Most information political conservatives encounter revolves around the common themes of politics, power, and money.
Dissecting and sorting media information into one or more of these three categories will enable you to engage the storyline more effectively. Ask yourself:
- What is the political message and who is delivering it? What are their motivations, historically?
- What are the power implications…who gets the leg up, who moves up the ladder, who gains prestige and position?
- What about money? What / who is the source of any money? Look at who gains what, how much and why?
Political gain and position, individual and collective power, and money are the three factors driving most of the information we deal with as conservatives.
Stories and media-generated messaging are not created or dispensed in a vacuum. Keep reminding yourself that everyone and every institution has an agenda expressed in politics, power, and money.
RULE 5: Information you get is Delivered with a Globalist Slant
Teachers never teach without bias. No one can live or communicate without being in possession of a set of viewpoints. Unless someone is in a persistent vegetative state, options drive thought and action. There is always value and world view interplay when we deal with the media. Mark this down as “fact.”
Today’s media is not your grandfather’s nightly news. The information age has moved us beyond the confines of ourselves, our communities, and even our nation.
We live in a global media swamp. No one is innocent, no one is neutral, and no one is without opinion and therefore biased. We weren’t raised in hermetically sealed environments. We, all of us, are products of thought, and even indoctrination. My use of “indoctrination” is not a negative notion. It simply means we have an origin, family, education, location, culture, and slants built-in into our existence.
We are all trapped on planet earth with an undeniable spectrum of global views. These views and their originating cultures are not all equal. When President Trump announced, as only he can, that some cultures with shitho*es, he was right.
Media conglomerates and their subsidiaries, personnel, writers, anchors, producers, photographers, and journalists are all “cultured” professionals. That is, they have world views, national views, and personal persuasions.
When conservatives deal with the media and its message bombardment, all of the information is delivered wrapped in layers of biases. Our media environment is decidedly not traditional. It is flavored with decades of personal and corporate views. The prevailing view of the vast majority of the media is global.
Almost all of the media in America delivers information to us with a globalist slant. To many in the media, America is not exceptional and its culture and history are no more significant and special than any other.
We should remind ourselves that most of the information we received is delivered with a globalist worldview.
These are five media rules for conservatives. The application of these rules is both a science and an art.
Author: Donald Teel