It would appear that the news is always breaking, but what if it is already broken—irretrievably? When something like the Boston Marathon bombing or the ricin mailings occur, our first impulse is to turn on the television and wait on the edge of our seats while we are fed a steady stream of speculation, suppositions, and outright lies.
As I have said on a number of occasions, I don’t watch television news at all, mainly because I don’t trust it. At some point between my childhood and today, the news organizations have been taken over by large corporations who have an interest in making people believe what they want them to believe.
If you want a balanced picture of what is happening, you don’t automatically turn to your favorite news outlet: You try several different media—and not always just from the United States—and compare. You might find that the BBC and Aljazeera have a better handle on things—not in the sense of being more up to date, but being more skeptical of the way that news stories are spoon fed to the media.
Take the Boston Marathon bombings. Here are just some of the false trails the news media followed:
- The Boston Police said the Tsarnaev brothers were heavily armed. Yeah, with weapons of mass cuisine, e.g., pressure cookers. Oh, and one pistol.
- When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was trapped in the boat, the report came that he was firing at officers. Yet he was unarmed when the police finally stormed the boat.
- Reports said that the brothers held up a Seven-Eleven Convenience Store and shot an MIT officer who intervened. They did not, in fact, rob a Seven-Eleven, and the facts are still not known as to how the MIT officer got involved.
- Details about the carjacking are incredibly fuzzy, although a number of different alternatives have been floated in the news.
For more information about news miscues regarding the Tsarnaev’s bombing, check out this story from Salon.Com.
It is sad that Americans don’t know when they are being manipulated by the news media. To me, the media have some responsibility to find out the truth, not just provide a plausible cover for people to believe.