This article is part four of a five-part series on how we can make a peaceful transition into a peaceful world.
For the purposes of this discussion, I am using this definition.
A peaceful world is one where each person is free to experience life and liberty without depriving another person of these attributes.
Life and liberty includes accurate information systems. The barrier to this is censored media and educational systems.
My name is Matthew C. Cox and I am a newsoholic.
As a kid, I woke up every morning to the news report from WHEE AM in Martinsville, Virginia. Mom always started the day by listening to the news.
We spent dinner time watching the TV News from Channel 7 in Roanoke. Thirty minutes of local news followed by thirty minutes of Walter Cronkite.
I came home from school to the daily local afternoon Martinsville Bulletin. For a while, we received The Roanoke Times in the morning.
At the time, I often felt like I wasn’t getting the entire story. I assumed printing deadlines and limited access to information were responsible for gumming up the works.
My high school government teacher had several copies of the daily newspaper delivered to the classroom and reading the paper was part of our class assignments. She encouraged us to look for the story behind the story
My college history professor did the same thing with our textbook. He lectured on what was painfully obvious, even though the book didn’t say it.
These two instructors provided my first clues that media and education were censored.
When I started working radio, I thought I would finally have access to news insiders and get to report breaking stories. I was surprised when I discovered the first station where I worked used the local paper for their news reporting.
The next station had an Associated Press news feed. I loved being the first to know something.
However, even with access to all of this information, I still felt like something was missing.
What I didn’t understand then, that I understand now, is that mainstream media (MSM) and public education approaches information with a specific agenda. This agenda is controlled by those who write and distribute the news to MSM and textbook companies.
To see an example of how this works with MSM, take a look at this short video put together by Conan O’Brien. The fun starts at the 1:23 mark.
This blatant control of information has spurred Alternative Media and alternative methods of education. These websites, individuals, and news agencies are willing to think for themselves. They offer a different perspective on information and they often report stories MSM won’t touch.
Each alternative source, unlike MSM, blatantly admits it has an agenda. It may be religious. It may be liberal. It may be conservative. It may be conspiratorial.
In each case, it fills in the emptiness left behind by MSM.
Today, I can feed my addiction with twenty-four hour news stations and the internet. I am inundated with information, often reported as it happens, and beamed onto the television on my office wall. If I can’t find it there, I can find it through a link on my Twitter feed.
In spite of this abundance of information, every time I hear a story, I know I’m only getting part of it.
Therefore, to be truly informed, I must get the story from numerous sources. This includes MSM, Alternative Media, spiritual teachers, and insiders.
In addition, I must understand that news agencies gain ratings and advertising dollars by creating conflict. This duality drama drives a significant part of their efforts. Often, they fill their time by reporting a story and then, getting people to argue about it. This emotional intensity creates attachments and attention, while distracting from the true story.
I believe a peaceful world will allow for the reporting of the full story. It will include openness and honesty. It will let us see the man behind the curtain and realize he is no longer necessary.
Until then, what is the peaceful response?
- Recognize that every news source has an agenda. (Yes, this includes me. Mine is World Peace.)
- Identify the agenda of certain reporters and, when gathering information, get it from several reporters with different agendas.
- Trust your gut. If something about the story doesn’t feel accurate, it probably isn’t. Look deeper until you find the story behind the story.
- If a response is necessary, respond slowly and carefully, with the understanding that you probably don’t yet have all the information you need to respond intelligently.
I’ll conclude this series tomorrow by considering how our approach to relationships demonstrates our willingness to live in a peaceful world.