Breaking News

Don’t Put Your Trust in the News—Ever!

Don’t Put Your Trust in the News—Ever!

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.

Two Wild & Crazy Guys from Dagestan

Not Understanding American Culture Can Be Dangerous

Not Understanding American Culture Can Be Deadly

You may recall those two Wild & Crazy guys from Czechoslovakia, the brothers Yortuk and Georg Festrunk, on Saturday Night Live. As they shimmied across the stage in search of “foxes, ” they displayed an exquisite misunderstanding what the United States was all about. In the case of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, the result was comedy. In the case of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, two Chechen brothers from Dagestan, the result was death and disorder.

In the years to come, one of the greatest dangers to America will be the failure of immigrants from cultures vastly different from our own to adapt to the prevailing culture of the U.S. Even the mother returned to Russia, leaving several arrest warrants for shoplifting in her wake. The streets of America are not paved with gold. They are fraught with dangers not understood by people who have been influenced by our popular culture without understanding the particular demons that we in the States have to contend with in our daily lives.

After the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, my parents took in two sets of refugees. The first was a mother and son who thought that, now they were in America, everything would be golden. That ended badly when Feddike, the son, was sent to a juvenile correctional facility. Next was Lászlo, a young man in his twenties, who also quickly fell afoul of the law—whereupon my mother and father resolved not to take in any more refugees from the Mother Country.

I do not mean to imply that immigration is bad, but that American culture sends misleading vibes to the rest of the world. People who are not thoughtful and who think that just being on American soil is the solution to all their problems are more likely to go astray. No, they must be ready to roll up their sleeves and start working long and hard toward their goals.

The Tsarnaev brothers should be an object lesson to American officials that they have to probe more deeply than mere external circumstances when opening the doors of the henhouse to potential predators.