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The Media Lies and Concepts in Discrimination of Information

You know hell is about to freeze over when I start posting quotes from Geraldo Rivera, someone I am almost consistently on opposite sides of political positions from.  Why is his quote relevant, here?  Because there is a wide-reaching attempt by those in the big media outlets and platforms to push agendas on all of us.  I deal with it every single day at work either from coworkers believing something that isn't true, to the average citizen being completely brainwashed of their own rights and how they are applied to their every day lives, all the way to what we see on the television or hear on the radio.  I wanted to put a quick post together covering a few obvious things you can do.

I like Dennis Prager and his University type youtube channel, I even reposted some of his videos here.  They are mostly correct and usually more accurate than things that media outlets like CNN or MSNBC push out.  However, they are still pushing an agenda, and when you really understand some of the concepts you start to see it a little bit more clearly.  If you look at the above screenshot you'll probably see what amounts to a harmless post at first sight.  Except if you read my Sunday Evening Thoughts from a few days ago covering the bus situation in Philadelphia then you'll see that not only did whoever made this post get it wrong, but they got it wrong on purpose to specifically draw a very clear reaction from their followers.

Some things you should consistently do when seeing info on social media or television media:

Always judge a statement by critically analyzing the person who is making it.  I always look up the other works, statements, posts or opinions a person has made in the past to see if their statement can be trusted at face value, or if they are pushing an agenda and are completely open with their agenda.  If the person starts off by obfuscating their agenda then they cannot be trusted at face value.  This, however, does not mean their information is false, it just means you have to do more digging before you believe what they have presented.  If you do this enough, you will learn who the people are who have agendas and those who tell the truth as they see it most often.  Build this list in your head, quickly discriminating through information is a skillset in, and of, itself.

Always judge a person by the company they keep.  If a person is always around people who are pushing a specific type of narrative, agenda or concept, think critically before accepting their position because while it may be presented as unbias or lacking agenda, that may not be the case.  When a person surrounds themselves with people who all believe something very similar you have to judge that person by the company they keep because their opinions may not be of their own but a "group think" type of situation.  This is especially dangerous because "group think" will immediately cause a bunch of otherwise intelligent people to jump off a cliff after each other in some cases.

Always be critical and objective in your concepts.  Catching yourself when you are considering an idea and pushing through your own filter is extremely important.  It is very easy to be "based" or disregarding others' views for your own personal filter of a particular situation, but you have to combat that as much as possible.  If a concept, situation or topic is serious enough which requires your time and effort, sit down and make a for/against chart for each side.  If you cannot argue both sides of an idea you do not understand that idea well enough, even if you do not believe one of the sides.  You have to do as much as you can to stay logically consistent in your thoughts and actions.  It is perfectly acceptable to not have an opinion on a subject until you educate yourself.  Saying "I don't know" or not saying anything at all much more ethically acceptable than making something up, or worse yet, taking a position you do not believe because you feel as though you must take a side.

Be The Tenth Man - while the movie World War Z didn't follow the book, which was vastly better.  One of the things the movie got correct in terms of learning points is "The Tenth Man Principle" or "Tenth Man Rule" which was easily summed up in the above video.  "Following the recommendation of the Agranat Commission in 1973-1974, Military Intelligence established a Control Unit that was expected to play this role of the devil’s advocate. Its responsibility was to produce a range of explanations and assessments of events that avoided relying on a single concept, as happened in 1973. Brooks puts it a bit more dramatically: if ten people are in a room, and nine agree on how to interpret and respond to a situation, the tenth man must disagree. His duty is to find the best possible argument for why the decision of the group is flawed." (link to source)  This particular rule, or principle, isn't always used properly applied and when it is there is a high rate of attrition from its application, because it requires a high level of critical thinking, and ability to properly articulate yourself, as well as, the requirement to accept criticism.  This is also applicable to a variety of concepts and situations, not just media bias, and while it has its place you should understand that it is often difficult to apply without doing research, having experience or understanding the topic at hand intimately.

When you are around people who all share the same opinion, almost unquestioningly, if you hear the same type of arguments about a specific topic consistently, you should go out of your way to be the devil's advocate.  Do not do this just to live a counter-culture existence, but do so specifically when you understand a topic, or concept, which others may not.  If you did your research about a topic, if you went out of your way to read and learn everything you could for a good while, then when you hear a collective of people misunderstand, or worse yet intentionally push an agenda contrary with the truth/facts or your personal experience, it is your ethical responsibility to go against the grain.  Beyond that, when you hear consistently similar arguments about a subject or topic you should go out of your way to find a counter-argument to those positions or statements.  This is because you need to see, for yourself, if those positions are true or false.  This is extremely important because collective thinking, or mob-thinking, or as it is dubbed in various internet-based communities "a circle jerk" is not something you ever want to be a part of.  Whenever you hear a popularly accepted idea or concept, look into it.  What are the arguments against it? Who is making the arguments for or against that topic? What is their background?  Do they stand to make money, gain followers or gain clout by pushing this particular idea or concept?  While some of those things may not disqualify their statements, and while two things can be true at the same time, you still have to discriminate the context properly.  Never allow yourself to be swept down the river, or led off a cliff because you did not think critically or objectively, and just went along to get along.