Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spam And The News Cycle

An interesting spam comment came in on a very minor "Vehicle Alert" post of mine from more than a year ago.  The comment started out telling me that "this post could have been written much better," probably a technique to get my attention, and then swung into a plug for his own blog, which evidently is devoted to teaching people special exercises designed to increase jump height.  Pretty obscure stuff, but he's flogging it.

American news these days has about the same value as spam.  CNN, for instance, has been mercilessly flogging bits of minutia about the Boston bombing for weeks now.  If I hear Anderson Cooper say "Misha, which is Russian for Michael" one more time I think I'll start screaming.  Just another indication that the main line news providers are essentially useless.

If you are looking for actual news, it can be disturbingly difficult to find.  During this couple of weeks bombing news cycle I have seen a total of one article about congress' passing of the very invasive "cyber security" bill.  That one affects our rights to read things on the 'Net without incriminating ourselves.  Easy to think that it might not affect you personally, but the chilling effect reaches us all.  The post War on Terror erosion of our hard won rights is a real problem, but it is largely an invisible problem. 

There's finally one congressman who is trying to free the Post Office from the disastrous legislation that mandated the pre-funding of all retirement and other entitlement amounts that will become due in the next seventy-five years.  This legislation is the only reason that the Post Office is racking up deficits and quickly going bankrupt.  It was a back-door attempt by congress ("Republicans") to allow the privatization of the Post Office.  Most people don't know about the original bill or the congressman's recent efforts, how could they?  It's not in the news.

These news providers would tell you that they closely track the kind of news that people want and if people want bombing news for weeks on end they are bound to provide it, you know, as a service to the community.  Other news providers are so biased by an ideology that their entire presentation is propagandistic and useless.  There are a few that actually present solid news in a relatively neutral manner, but they are condemned as having a "Liberal bias."  I'm thinking of Slate and Salon for news, and Think Progress and Crooks and Liars for politics, to mention a few.

Don't even get me started about the Huffington Post, which was pretty good for a few years there.  Now they seem to be concentrating on Kim Kardashian, cute animals and "side-boob."  The Raw Story and the Daily Beast are better, but not by much.

Twitter?  I'm not a follower, but it seems to offer only the illusion of information.  A total fact-checking nightmare.  "White House bombed; Obama injured," followed later, if you're particularly attentive and kind of lucky, by "oh, excuse me."

Real news is worth finding, and it's out there.  Finding it is a lot of work, but it's worth the effort. 


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