Don’t have news? Manufacture your own.

I’m a little behind on both of these “stories” as really they were news last week, though I think they will continue to be issues for a few months, unfortunately.

So, the stories in question:

I know these aren’t links to the original “stories” but they should get you caught up to what I am talking about. So, onward.

Let’s start with the “issue” of building a mosque near ground zero. First of all, why is this an issue? Second of all, why in the hell is this even an issue? To say that it makes me almost foam at the mouth is putting it lightly. The audacity of anyone manufacturing such a psuedo-controversy absolutely drives me up the wall. It’s offensive, hateful and downright disgusting.

How can the same people that claim that September 11th was an attack on our freedom make such a blatant attack on the religious freedoms of others?

Anyone parroting claims that this is “offensive” to the victims is downright silly and blind. Saying a mosque shouldn’t be built near ground zero because the terrorists were of the Islamic faith is like saying you shouldn’t build a church in Pensacola because it might offend the victims of the abortion clinic that was bombed by Christians “as a gift to Jesus.” The logic is irrational. The actions of one small group of fundamentalists do not dictate an entire religion nor do they give anyone an excuse to spread ignorant hate.

Even worse is the logic some are using to defend this “protest.”

This is a direct quote from my local paper’s editorial section:

“Those who support building a mosque near Ground Zero should try building a church near mecca.”

My head slammed into the table so hard I probably left a small crater. I guess we should mirror our religious freedoms off of Saudi Arabia?

But, alas. All of this is irrelevant discussion… because they don’t want to even build a mosque. They want to build a Muslim community center, sort of like a YMCA. Sure, a small center akin to a mosque will exist for praying, but that’s it. Who has the authority to prevent anyone from praying to whom they please? Certainly not a group of bigots who claim to be patriotic as they stomp on the very fabric the country was built on.

Let’s be serious here — strip joints are closer to this “holy ground” than this “mosque” will be. We all know that the only reason this is an issue to begin with is because Americans (specifically Christian ones) are afraid of Muslims. End the issue there and let it die. Of course though, fake controversy brews unstoppable traffic and attention, so the show will go on.

The second story follows another non-issue. According to a few Texas representatives a plot is currently in motion by terrorists to bring pregnant women into the country and then have babies who would become US citizens. The children would then be raised outside of America and trained as terrorists. Eventually they would return to the United States to bomb us or otherwise attack us.

Now, if you frequent conspiracy theories and believe that Rube Goldberg machines are the best way to accomplish just about anything, then perhaps this seems quite plausible.

For the rest of us though, it isn’t. Luckily Anderson Cooper is one of those “sound of mind” people that believe evidence is, you know, necessary for this sort of thing. Alas, none was provided. Still, according to these representatives we should be overtaken by terror.

There is one glaring hole in this whole theory though… it’s pointless. Why would terrorists bother waiting 15-20 years for a terrorist-kid to mature enough to be trained and used against us? They’ve had no problems getting people past our borders before and they’ve also had no problem convincing current American citizens to join their fight.

But alas, election time is coming and NATIONAL SECURITY is a pretty huge flag to wave when you need to pick up votes. Not to mention certain networks enjoy running stories like this.

Always be on the look-out for manufactured stories that are passed off as critical bits of information. Chances are if the words “panic” or “fear” are involved… it might be suspicious.

(Also linking this because it seems funny and relevant.)

6 thoughts on “Don’t have news? Manufacture your own.

  1. I have hope that people won’t be sheep forever. That’s a hope that is sort of at odds with the history of our species, but history has never experienced the rapid transmission of information that this linked-in internet age encourages, either.

    The state of our media strikes me as a sad one. They seem so focused on generating revenue that accuracy and honor just gets sort of pushed to the wayside. They’re fighting so hard for a piece of a reader’s/watcher’s notoriously shrinking attention span (and therefore for a potential piece of their wallet) that they have to come up with all sorts of buzzwords and shocking turns of phrase and unbelievable headlines in an effort to hook them. They don’t even seem to care if it’s negative attention — ANY attention is potential for revenue, and negative attention can sometimes be the best kind of free advertising. Since the media itself is part of the reason for that shortening attention span in the first place, it just creates this vortex of crap, spiraling down into some unknowable abyss of propaganda and misinformation. Hell, I even bet most people have already stopped reading this response, if they bothered reading it at all, and I’m just two very short paragraphs in.

    More than that, the media actively spins things so often and so shamelessly that it’s hard to pick out what’s real and worth caring about. We’re so numbed by seeing this crap everywhere, all the time, that it becomes difficult to generate real outrage at issues that deserve outrage (if they’re even reported in a way that allows for such in the first place). What will years and years of being exposed to that create?

    It’s basically the reason that I don’t watch TV anymore, or read most newspapers. I pick through the occasional online news source from time to time just to be kept up to date on what’s occuring in our evolving history (as much of it as we’re allowed to know, anyway), but I find news media (well, most media, honestly) so arrogant, false, and hungry for my wallet that I’ve chosen to almost totally cut off my exposure to it. I mean, I find the Daily Show to offer more well-rounded reporting than most “real” news sources, and it’s entertainment television. That just shouldn’t be.

    Here’s hoping our future teachers imbue their students with enough critical thinking skills to be able to sort through the dross.

    As an aside, this really reminds me of a discussion we had not too long ago about liberal political views. In particular, our shared irritation when people look down on high-level educators because of their tendency to lean toward such views. I think the consensus we came to needs to be stated again, so it can live on the internet forever and hopefully have impact on someone who sees it. The reason most college professors (and their ilk) tend to have liberal political views is -precisely because- they are educated people. There’s no grand conspiracy at play. They learn about things outside their little life bubble and in turn better understand themselves, different situations and differing points of view. This tends to make them a bit more open-minded, which usually means that they attract to liberal political ideas more readily.

    Arghahrhaghr. I should start a blog about media and politics, but I’m afraid it would take time away from my artistic pursuits. Rather than making beautiful things, I would be spending all my time typing in all caps and yelling at the monitor, and that doesn’t help anyone. Neither does painting mandalas, granted, but at least I don’t taste bile in my throat when I’m finished with one.

  2. I think you’re taking over my own blog! :p

    With that said, I’m totally okay with your long-winded comments.

  3. I wouldn’t start a blog of your own on politics. You’d find too quickly you’d get too angry and begin titling every article “I Give Up”. I began writing a long-winded comment on this, but then quickly found myself getting too angry. In short:

    The bad news is that unless you’re some sort of secret agent who can bring down the establishment ala Tomorrow Never Dies, there is nothing that can be done, legally, and most of the solutions create hosts of their own problems (e.g. state-controlled media. Yeah).

    On the bright side: there’s what The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart does, which is actively teaching viewers how to digest news, with the short attention span and neediness for entertainment that makes people susceptible to manipulation by media outlets in the first place being satisfied by the comedy. I mean, there’s still the problem of the short attention span and the neediness, but small steps. One of a handful of shows on television that says “c*ck” is teaching our generation critical thinking skills.

    I guess this is my “moment of zen”:

  4. As this story’s gone on my opinion’s swayed kind of. At first I was outraged, then I thought it over. I mean part of it feels like they were kind of doing this on purpose TO stir up controversy, but they have every right to build it. But I think what it boils down to me is “tolerance”. Most religions preach tolerance… except for other religions. The Muslims in this case are pushing for the Christians to tolerate something they don’t believe. Yet both religions refuse to tolerate homosexuality. For many people tolerance is a one way street and I think people need to realize the difference of what they believe is right (for instance I personally think homosexuality is wrong) and what is legally right (homosexuals legally have the right marry even if I personally think it’s wrong so I will never support a ban on gay marriage).

  5. “To be fair, we’ve been building ground zeros right next to mosques in Iraq since March 2003.”

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