(This Rant was initially posted to this web site in July 2015 (pls read the concluding final paragraph.)
Several creditable studies have found that in controlled environments, plants exposed to several hours of classical music a day fared conspicuously better than plants exposed to Heavy Metal music.
Recently another study took a close, close look at plant leaves when hit by soft sounds. There was a gentle, microscopic fluttering of the leaves, in complete harmony with the music. When enough empirical data had been gathered on the plants reaction to mellifluous sound waves, the noise was changed to the sounds of a bag of potato chips being opened… and the leaves mimicked that sound to the points that scientists could replicate the exact likeness of the noise just from the motion of the leaves.
I believe in there exist the primal man in all of us. Square one. That we all have conspicuous trappings of culture and bearing but we are motivated in our lives more by our inter-selves – the primal man - than most imagine. Environment and location and chance and randomness kick in obviously to determine a life course… but the engine driving the human train is a motor deep in a person’s soul… as primal as the morrow of his bones.
We are wired to be basically happy or smart or healthy or fast or loving or pugnacious.
That’s what I believe. And this internal predisposition doesn’t change from generation to generation. People back when everyone thought the world was flat were just as disposed to answering to their inter-self as you and I.
That said, I believe part of primal man instincts are to keep to tribal groups and to accept the social mores of these groups, however they are perceived. I think accepted social behavior can restrain primal impulses.
Brings me to an event a couple of months ago in Brisbane, Australia, where we visited with the Berwicks on a cruise of the South Pacific. We strolled through the city center enjoying the weather and the nice people and a Irish magician and the city orchestra, when we decided to stop at place called “Jimmy’s” to eat a seafood lunch. I went across the street after we were seated and picked up the week-end editions of three newspapers.
The first was the Week-end Australian. Wider but about as long as a regular US newspaper, this newspaper was pretty straight forward with a lot of gov’t and finance stories… but there was something about the writing style that was clearly different from US news stories. The style was more conversational, more human. Articles didn’t always seem to look at both side of any issue, as much as to say the issue at hand had this and that characteristic. The articles were decidedly non-judgmental… although now for sure the editorials were.
The lead story on the front page was “Benched from Fair Work: Lawler goes into battle for his union “mate” And it told a “story” about his guy and what he was doing for his longtime associate. Well written… it was for all intents and purposes a story. No harsh words or polls or comments by people on the street. Then beneath that was the story about a “Pilot forced to weather cloudy service” ‘bout an Australian way the hell and gone out on Lord Howe Island who had worked for 50 or so years helping planes land on a small airfield in crazy weather. Good story. But also on the front page of the Week-end Australian was some hard news on terrorism and the Prime Minister’s office… but what resonates about that front page, was good literature about Australian everyday life… well not everyday life so much as good literature about human events. Banter at the top advertising what was inside the paper included a teaser “Double Fault Rosewall-backed stockbroker thought to insolvent for 12 months” and “Homefront: Debunking the affordability crisis” and finally “Help us fight homeliness.”
This was the paper I had kept for myself letting Walt and CJ and Brenda tear apart the other two. My meal was served but I was still reading.
The newspaper was a feast for a story teller’s ol’ eyes. Good writing. And so wonderfully different from curt, biting US journalism fare which always, to my mind, exceeded its brief by adding what the newspaper thought the incident “meant” relative to its positions on the issue. Don’t care what it was, just the use of the adjectives chosen reported the story along biased line. And the stories US newspapers considered newsworthy, were greatly different – harsher – from what the Week-end Australian carried. I marveled at this mother lode of good reading I got for less than 3 bucks.
Brenda finally called me back to reality and I put the paper aside, but I took it, and the two reconstituted other papers and read them all in our cabin on our cruise ship by time we got to Bali.
The second paper I got to was The Sydney Morning Herald that had a byline of… Independent Always. Heavy, NY Post size, it had 68 pages, full of good stuff. Maybe Week-End Australian stories were a little more serious, but this Morning Herald had article after article about life its ownself that were captivating. And written like short stories, not the edgy, biases US news fare. No stupid man on the street comments, no unidentified sources as I remember… and I don’t care where I’d open that newspaper there was always good, well-integrated reading. Even on things like street crime and domestic violence, it was sometime like a neighbor telling another neighbor what had happened.
And… and… it came in newspaper format, and I liked getting some printing ink on my fingers and handling the sometime awkward turning of big pages. What I’d do, laying in the berth, was to turn a page back on itself and then fold it, so the newspaper was about book size, and read every article. Food, the arts, sports, interesting people and events. I think the yard stick the editors must have used to choose the articles they ran was… Is it interesting? And are the articles written in an easy to read style? Can a reader get lost in the copy? Well when it comes to sports, Cricket and rugby and Australian rules football and the like, most American can’t make heads or tails of what’s goin’ on. And at the time the NBA finals were goin’ on in the states and Australian players on the court got more mention than LaBron… there was a story on every time the native-Australian Matthew Dellavedova touched the ball for the Cavs.
But other than sports, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” is almost like “God Bless America.” Wholesome and uplifting.
And then I read the last newspaper we had bought that day in Brisbane, the pop-news Courier Mail… which appropriately had a picture of the Dalai Lama on the front page. Also the same size as the NY Post, this newspaper was 96 pages big… full of good reading. Little short stories on current events, sometimes with twists, sometime with something to pull at the heart. Sudako and the crossword puzzle and other stuff and trivia here and there like eye candy.
Here are some facts about the newspapers of Australia… a country of 23 million.
Herald Sun 515,500
Daily Telegraph 374,395
Sydney Morning H. 207,013
West Australian 203,304
Now note I only read the Courier Mail, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian. But all the newspaper circulation taken together is 1.8 million. That’s pretty good readership.
Not surprising, either… because they put out a damn fine product.
Now let’s take a look at the players and makers in the US news industry. Here’s what Don Feder said last month:
“In 1995, social scientists Stanley Rothman and Amy Black did a survey of the most influential editors and reporters in America, designated “The Media Elite.” Their work was replicated in later studies. Among the findings:
• 91% of the media elite voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 – an election in which he won only 43% of the popular vote.
• 77% identified as Democrats, versus 5% who considered themselves Republicans.
• A staggering 97% believed in a right to abortion, a belief strongly held by 86%. By comparison, according to a 2014 Gallup Poll, the American people are just about evenly divided on the issue – 47% pro-abortion to 46% pro-life.
• As long as 20 years ago, 73% of the media elite believed homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.
These aren’t just personal opinions. They shape the way news is managed and manipulated every day in a thousand ways.
The media have spent years unabashedly crusading for homosexual marriage – giving a megaphone to one side and gagging the other. And now they find, miraculously, that public opinion has shifted here.
While the media tilt decidedly left on economic issues and defense/foreign policy, on social issues, they’re off the charts.
Pew Research did a study of 500 news stories on same-sex “marriage,” published between March 18 and May 12 of this year, and found that stories supporting the fraud outnumbered those in opposition by a 5-to-1 margin. Viewed another way, the study showed that of these stories, 47% focused on support for marriage deconstruction, 44% were considered neutral, and 9% emphasized opposition.
Pew adds: “The news media focus on support (for mock marriage) held true whether the stories were reported news articles or opinion pieces, and was also the case across nearly all media sectors studied. All three of the major cable networks, for instance, had more stories with significantly more supportive statements than opposing, including FOX News.”
Reflecting its entrenched bias, the week of the Supreme Court decision, headlines in The New York Times were euphoric (discarding even the fig leaf of objectivity), including: “Jubilant Marchers at Gay Pride Parades Celebrate Supreme Court Ruling” (who would have thought?), “With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality” – subhead: “The dramatic shift in public opinion (which the media worked assiduously to create), and now the nation’s laws, on same-sex marriage has left evangelical Protestants in an uncomfortable position” (i.e. get with the program you Christian troglodytes, or else) and “Next Fight for Gay Rights: Bias in Jobs and Housing.” And after that will come transgender rights (including unisex bathrooms), abolition of age of consent laws, group marriage, banning discriminatory terminology (there’s a bill in the California Legislature to eliminate “husband” and “wife” on state documents) and “sex-change” surgery for 15-year-olds – all of which the media will enthusiastically embrace in the name of a spurious equality.
With steadily declining circulation (who wants to pay to be lectured by smug leftwing nannies?), The New York Times influences public opinion indirectly. The Grey Lady isn’t read by Middle America. Plumbers and waitresses don’t rush out to buy it every day. Its influence is felt among politicians of both parties and business elites.
Most importantly, it provides direction to the rest of the media, telling them which stories are worthy of their attention and how to cover them. It also tells them which details are relevant and which can conveniently be ignored. In the wake of the SCOTUS decision, did any mainstream media outlet even allude to the fact that the Supreme Court nullified tens of millions of votes – that 31 states adopted constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, most by landslide majorities?
The media wrecking ball was in full swing in a July 5 story in The Houston Chronicle, headlined, “In resistance to same-sex marriage, echoes of 1967. Religious objections? Segregationists had those too.”
Here is a smear with ominous portents. By comparing advocates of marriage as understood for the past three thousand years to die-hard segregationists opposed to what was called miscegenation, the media is turning a perfectly respectable intellectual position into bigotry. (By the way, the Bible says that God created them man and woman, not black and white.)
It also reveals the next targets of the Sexual Revolution: churches which refuse to buckle under. They’ll be scrutinized, ostracized, hauled before human rights commissions and have their tax-exempt status threatened. After all, why should taxpayers subsidize hatred?
Regardless of the issue, the ideology is the same. If you want to know what they’re thinking over at The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, et al., check out the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Americans are increasingly skeptical of the media. In a poll released a few days ago, only 24% said they believe journalists “try to be objective.” In another survey, journalists ranked lower on trust than every professional group save corporate executives and lawyers. And yet – repeated often enough – their lies are believed.
The mainstream media have never been more powerful. Not only do they control every major outlet from print to broadcast, they even dominate Internet news sites and the blogosphere. There is nothing on the right that comes close to competing with the Huffington Post, MoveOn.org and Mother Jones, which also influence the old media.
Talk-TV is also monopolized by the left. After calling Americans cowards on 9-11, Bill Mahr got dumped by ABC but almost immediately picked up by HBO (anti-Americanism must be rewarded). Al Sharpton, host of an MSNBC talk show, stoked the fires of rage that led to the death of a rabbinical student during the Crown Heights riots and the deaths of seven employees of Freddie’s Fashion Mart.
Last week, on his Daily Show, Jon Stewart asked a Democratic Senator if Republicans “have mental problems,” while over at Hardball, Chris Matthews (he of the tingly leg) was telling us that Hillary Clinton is “more of a conservative.” She could almost be mistaken for Ronald Reagan.
The news media is the most powerful force working for the destruction of America – more than Hollywood, the public education establishment, academia, organized labor and leftist interest groups. It is ubiquitous and relentless. It has such tunnel vision that it can’t even see its own bias.
Whatever else they’re talking about as we go into 2016 – taxes, immigration, life, gun owners’ rights, the family, terrorism – conservatives must have a unified message on the Fourth Estate: The media lies. The media distorts. The media manipulates. If you’re a middle-class, patriotic, God-fearing American, the media is your enemy.”
You read all that? Something, isn’t it?
US newspapers compare poorly with Australia’s powerfully good stuff?
Here are the numbers on the major US newspapers. These numbers are current as of July 2015, but they get lower every day.
Newspaper daily copies
Wall Street Journal 2,378,827
New York Times 1,865,318
USA Today 1,674,306
Los Angeles Times 653,868
New York Daily News 516,165
New York Post 500,521
Washington Post 474,767
Chicago Sun-Times 470,548
Denver Post 416,676
Chicago Tribune 414,930
So bottom line is this. I believe in primal man. Who is who he is… though he is influenced by his environment, his smarts and chance… and by tribal standards and opinions.
Like Feder said above, the US tribe is influence by the media.
Just like good noise makes plants grow up to be strong and healthy, harsh sounds make them crabby.
Good news – good vibes – from Australian
Newspapers helps create for that country a sense of hardy good will.
While the shit we are fed by the US media helps create in all of us a sense of despair. Our flowers droop.
In looking down the road on this subject…. compare the US newspaper’s falling number above to the following figures, current as of end July 2015:
Netflix subscribers – 65,600,000
active acc’ts on twitter - 252,000,000
facebook - 1,230,000,000
(That’s 1.23 billion with a “B.” NY Times falling circulation is 1.86 million with a “M.” That’s more than a billion less than facebook.)
internet addresses – 3,170,000,000
Makes you sorta think Trump has a chance. I mean he is Mr. facebook in that he probably gets more “likes” than all the others combined.