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Thursday, November 12, 2020

About Media and Influence and America or "Banana Republic"?

 -Author June Stepansky

We are fortunate to live in a country and at a time when we have almost unlimited access to information — political, social and personal through many TV and radio outlets, through newspapers and through the internet. What many of us don’t always take the time to realize is that all of these outlets are businesses who have owners and motives and agendas of their own which do not always reflect truth. These businesses also have advertisers who ultimately have their own agenda which can compromise the objectivity of reporting what is true.

How then can we decide that the source of our information is truthful and reliable? We probably can’t, unless we know who owns the outlet and understand their motives. The other way to seek the truth is to get our information from as many different sources with diverse opinions as possible and then sift through all the different opinions and make an informed judgment .

This may seem like too much of an effort for most of us. Is it really important that we do this? It is one of the most important things that we will ever do . If we don’t make the effort to be thoroughly informed, unscrupulous individuals will be able to bend us through emotional or intellectual manipulation to become their puppets for carrying out their ideals. That is how countries ultimately lose their freedom.

It is all the more important now because the current world trend in so many countries including our own is toward limiting challenging ideas and trying to demean and control our media. We must value all of our media and fight for the freedom of all the press to write and speak whatever they feel is their truth even if we don’t agree with them and even when we are concerned about what they say. That is what makes a democracy strong. If any individual or group attacks the freedom to express our ideas no matter how distasteful those ideas may be, then we must suspect that these people and groups want to ultimately enslave us and limit our freedom. No one, of course, must be able to advocate violence, but beyond that one limitation, in a free society we must allow all diverse opinions. No matter how difficult that is.

It will take the awareness of all of us that there will always be unscrupulous individuals who will try to manipulate our thinking, if we allow them to do it. A truly informed electorate is the one way that we will always be able to know the truth of any given situation and the only way that we will continue to retain our precious freedom of thought and action in a continuing free society.

June Stepansky is a published writer and poet who has been writing books and articles about happiness, self-improvment, social and political issues--

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