Friday, June 13, 2008

Bullshit (At Least That is How I See It)

I was simply going to post a response in this thread over at home base but I’ve decided that it merits its own discussion.

Turkana’s premise is that this primary season has taught her that the blogosphere is unfair:

“We all have our biases. We can only try to be honest, and to be as sure as is possible of our sources. But too many bloggers and too many commenters have no interest in fairness. Coming to realize that has been one of the great disappointments of the past six months. And this is a subject about which I will not stop writing.”

Over the last several years of reading [left-leaning] blogs, I have yet to find a post that includes a perspective from the right so that the post can be “fair” to George W. Bush. In fact, this pseudo “fairness” is one of the problems with the corporate media. In their attempt to appear fair, they insist on including an “opposing viewpoint” even where an opposing viewpoint is not necessary.

There are times when reporting demands that only one view be represented, when that view is on the side of truth and justice, law and order, reality and non-reality. When the reporting is on torture what the viewer or reader need know is the truth about what our government is doing - we do not need to know that some right wing tool advocates torture. This supposed fairness mucks up the reality that torture is wrong and that we absolutely do not support torture in the United States of America. Torture is against US law and International Law. Torture is against everything that this Country has ever stood for. However, in the myth of “fairness” on the teevee, the pundit shows do not do strait reporting and instead offer up some asshole who argues in favor of torture.

I am certain that the pundit shows could find some asshole to argue in favor of white supremacy, child molestation, rape and the skinning of puppies. In the theory of fairness put forth by Turkana – this would be necessary, but this avoids the real fairness that we need concern ourselves with; true morality and actual justice.

What Turkana does in her post is to turn upside down the premise of the original article: that ‘bloggers have more freedom to report the truth because they are not dependent on building relationships with their subjects in order to have access to them for reporting purposes.’ She completely ignores what the article is about and instead posts her own [new] view of the Internets based on her feelings. This is why the post is bullshit – not because she does not have a right to feel the way that she does, but because she posts it as fact instead of the subjective feeling that it is:

“Because this primary season saw the collapse of credibility of some major bloggers, as they repeated or invented lies, and engaged in blatant smear campaigns. In many ways, the blogs are now as unreliable as is the corporate media. It's not only a problem when corporate media reporters get too close to their subjects, it's a problem when bloggers get too caught up in their passions, and become mere petty propagandists.”

To “prove” that this is feeling, let’s take one of the supposed Lies and Smears from the primary campaign.

Bill Clinton was making a racist comment when he said, after the South Carolina Primary, that ‘Jesse Jackson won the primary too and Barack Obama’s win was no different.’

Reporting that this was racist or not racist was subjective reporting. Either way was a lie or propaganda. True, unbiased reporting would have reported the quote only and left it up to the reader to determine if there was anything untoward about it. Because there was no memo from the campaign to explain the intent behind what was said, to blog either Yes it was racist or No it was not racist are both unfair reporting.

But that is what blogs do – blogs interpret the multitude of information out there. That is why there are Left Wing and Right Wing blogs; they write on the information from a Left or Right point of view.

To paraphrase something that I heard David Sirota say,

‘The Internet allows people to reality shop. There is no longer any way to have an argument with someone because people are working off of a totally different set of facts.

I have long argued that I can find enough documentation to argue both sides of any argument. We all can. This simple truth necessitates that we all have the intellectual and emotional honesty to realize that when we read, we are reading through our own particular lens of reality. If this primary season has taught us anything other than it is our own reality that has changed our minds about bloggers who we once trusted, that it is somehow something outside of ourselves, that we bear no personal responsibility for how we see things, then we are in deep trouble.

A whole lot forms our outlook on life, there are as many facets as to how we perceive and relate to reality as there are molecules and atoms in the Universe. Hopefully we can take the knowledge gained from this primary season and realize that we don’t need to find more people who see reality exactly as we do but instead we need to have more compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings.

That is why I call bullshit on the piece over at home base, because it supposes that there is a superior and an inferior way of seeing things. That there is something wrong with the people who do not see it the way that ‘I’ do, rather than the more ‘reality based’ supposition that if ‘I’ have a problem with ‘you’ [especially one that did not exist before, when we saw things the same way] that there might just be something wrong with ‘me.’

(But, that is just my subjective feeling about it; me calling it bullshit does not mean that it factually is bullshit.)

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