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Mon Feb 9, 2015, 06:11 PM

Blurring the Lines of News and Entertainment, Fact and Fiction

Mon Feb 09, 2015 at 10:50 AM PST
Blurring the Lines of News and Entertainment, Fact and Fiction
by AmBushed

Salon.com published an excellent article today, written by Steve Almond, titled "Our dangerous macho delusions: Brian Williams’ fraudulence — and our own". It is by far the best analysis I have read regarding the Williams saga because Almond actually goes to the heart of the problem by exploring the responsibility we, the people, bear.

...the national chorus of indignation over the vain, clumsy lies that Williams told is, in fact, a direct measure of our own neurotic impulses. Americans consume more violence—both real and imagined—than any other nation on earth. Yet as a population, we move about our daily lives with almost no threat of actual violence from enemies abroad.

Almond argues that Williams was not the only one to sell us a war as entertainment, yet now that the curtain has been lifted on Williams and his stories have been exposed as fraudulent, we are all shocked, shocked by the betrayal. Yet, we knew it all along; we knew the whole thing was one great, big lie. Not just the basis for war (although that as well), but also in the daily coverage - we were shown a war with no visible dead bodies, no combat footage, no coffins. There was no prime time news outlet questioning the wisdom of war, no real journalistic exploration of the actual cost - neither financial nor human - nor the problems we'd face in the aftermath. It was sold as just and moral; we were the liberators! It was entertainment.

To howl about how Brian Williams has a “credibility problem” because of his famous fibs is to miss the true nature of his fraudulence: that he and his team were happy to render the Iraq War as a form of entertainment, a righteous crusade in which badass high-tech G.I. Joes defend the holy Christian homeland by slaughtering and eventually civilizing Islamic savages.

I don’t mean to single Williams or NBC out. With a few notable exceptions, the television coverage of the war was carefully stage-managed by Department of Defense. We were shown approved footage of rolling tanks and magical bombs, and precious little in the way of dead bodies, American or Iraqi.

Almond comes to the heart of his argument in his conclusion:

But what happens when we define physical courage—in the absence of moral consideration—as our highest good is that we deplete our capacities for mercy. This, in turn, allows our leaders to peddle any invasion or torture program or drone strike, no matter how ill-conceived, no matter how destructive to other human beings, no matter how degrading to our basic sense of decency, as necessary to “the national interest.”

Does America’s civilian culture even understand what war is anymore? That it’s not just some proving ground for the masculine ego, but an experience by which thousands of human beings—many of them women and children—are systematically killed, maimed, traumatized, and displaced? Is Brian Williams really the only American confused on this point? Or is he just the most famous one?

Due to fair use, the quotes must remain limited, so I encourage everyone to follow the link. Almond's article is a must-read, and I think he is absolutely correct in his analysis, but I would venture to take it even further. The blurring of fact vs fiction and entertainment vs news has had a profound effect on our country. Science is rejected and "experts" with clear financial ties are given a stage to voice their fantasies unimpeded as if they were fact. Global warming, vaccinations, torture, death panels...the list is endless. One would expect Hollywood to blur the lines of truth with entertainment, they do it all the time. Still, at what point is it propaganda? That is the question that continues to swirl around the portrayal of Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood's film "American Sniper."

I don't have the answer. I have watched this phenomenon with horror for years now, and worried about the effects such blurring has on a society. There are websites, of course, that work toward combating the misinformation. Although, for every good website, there is a bad one peddling more lies. If any good were to come from Brian William's fall from grace, it would be for journalists to wake up and start doing their job, for news outlets to demand they do their job, and for Americans to insist on it. Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.


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Reply Blurring the Lines of News and Entertainment, Fact and Fiction (Original post)
FourScore Feb 2015 OP
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #1
FourScore Feb 2015 #2
TexasProgresive Feb 2015 #3
FourScore Feb 2015 #4

Response to FourScore (Original post)

Mon Feb 9, 2015, 06:20 PM

1. The best solution would be to not watch any cable newsnetworks.

They are all just tabloid yellow journals. It is the only way that they can sustain 24/7 365 days and nights. If one has to watch the news go to the regular network news especially in the evening, and that is suspect.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 9, 2015, 06:24 PM

2. I agree! In fact, I haven't watched the MSM for years.

But that's, unfortunately, where most people get their news.

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Response to FourScore (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 9, 2015, 06:32 PM

3. Yes unfortunate as it's not really news- just hyped up pablum for the masses.

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Response to FourScore (Original post)

Mon Feb 9, 2015, 07:50 PM

4. Aww! Someone gave me a Valentine!

Thank you! Whoever you are!!!!

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