Fake News

The big news of fake news is fading as we have come to accept that we really have no idea what is going on, at least when it comes to national and international issues.

I try to focus on what an authority has admitted or proclaimed, rather than on an accusation from someone else. For instance, Hillary Clinton said that if she is in charge she would ignore ideology and utilize practicality in policy decisions. I heard this on the radio but never found the quote on paper or online. Find a way to explain how the ends justifying the means has proven to be beneficial long term.

The idea that mainstream media is more reliable than alternative sources may be comfortable but it still reeks of uncertainty.

There are many times through history that mainstream reports have been proven wrong. Some reports we hear of past events are dismissed as “revisionist history.” But the beauty of a second look is that it can reveal the truth as well as distortions.

One instance of a lazy media simply reading a press release with no vetting of the facts is when The New York Times reported August 5, 1964, “President Johnson has ordered retaliatory attacks against gunboats and ‘certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam’ after renewed attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.” Vietnamese gunboats never attacked a U.S. Destroyer. Poor reporting by so-called respected media cost almost 60,000 American, and millions of Vietnamese lives. Public opinion favored a war based on lies.

The initial report in the New York Times about the famous My Lai massacre of March 16, 1968 stated, “American troops caught a North Vietnamese force… killing 128 enemy soldiers in daylong fighting.” It was not until November 20, 1969 that we learned that 507 women, children, and old men had been gunned down along other unspeakable acts. (There were heroes on the scene, by the way. Among them was Hugh Thompson, who saw the carnage from a helicopter and landed to stand in front of surviving villagers, daring “C” Company to take him out as well.)

Just think, it was twenty months that the lies in the New York Times were taken to be truth.

I found a shocking admission in a New York Times editorial of May 26, 2004. There is a long list of stories presented as gospel that were later debunked. I’ve got to praise The Times for admitting this.

The Times admitted that much of their reporting leading up to and during the invasion of Iraq, “depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors, and exiles bent on “regime change” in Iraq.”

Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.”

So the chaos, death, and ongoing destruction in the Middle East can be blamed, to a large extent, on a media who copies and pastes press releases before it investigates the facts. The Times doesn’t have an exclusive here. William Randolph Hearst is well known to have fabricated news to his own and his cronies benefit many years ago.

The important lesson here to is have our government restrained from such impulsive action through constitutional process instead of having Congress, in a way as lazy as the media, pass their responsibility off to an executive branch that is not even close to prepared for such important decisions. A debate in Congress among representatives who will have to look in the eyes of constituents as history unfolds could possibly insulate us from a media that has proven itself incapable of enabling a fully informed electorate.

It’s Rightly Called Stealing

In an unsigned editorial I read these words: “Public education is a guaranteed right to any child in the U.S., paid for by the American taxpayer.”

I could go on about adhering to the Constitution or the evils of socialism, but then readers would cease thinking. My opposition to a right to an education is based on what is best for the children and the common good of the country. A right to an education must take away the rights of others unless that right to an education falls from above, like Mr. Bean.

A right that depends on removing another right can hardly be called a right. It is more rightly called stealing. But the precedent has been set. The collective is now on the hook for any so-called right that can be dreamed up. Politics is easier money than productive work. The fact that the cost of this loot is nearly invisible does not make it go away.

Every activity we engage in has a point where we must decide whether it is worth it or not. As the collective is tapped to fund the growing number of rights, our pool of wealth is depleted and what was once affordable, becomes out of reach. It is easy to see this in our daily lives.

In addition to the shrinking pool of wealth available for education, there is the lack of a vetting process involving the direct interests of parents and children. In a system that supplies a right enforced by the state, the needs of the kids are mostly guessed at and generalized.

An education system that requires willing buyers and sellers requires a product worth buying. That would be the basis of a good education as opposed to a system where retaining jobs in the education establishment is the goal. I don’t doubt that teachers in public education have the best interest of the kids at heart, but the market is the best tool for determining where the teacher resource is delegated.

Life is full of compromises. In a small community like ours it would be ridiculous to have a school for each family’s needs. But who cares most for the children? If the school isn’t fulfilling the needs of a student but needed the tuition to make a profit, there would be incentive for the school and parents to make adjustments for those special needs or wants.

With the technology we have today, teachers would more easily make those adjustments without one-size-fits-all standards and funding.

Statistics do show that many countries with a declared right to an education are outperforming the United States. What is not seen is how this country would perform with an education system based totally on free choice of funding and attendance. The indoctrination process called education has made us complacent in the face of corporate control and endless war.

If enforcement of rights that also remove rights worked so well, why not simply enforce a right to an intact and loving family? That would do more good than a right to indoctrination, er, education.