Best of the Web lately

“When the facade of Its for the children! is stripped away, child support is all about removing fathers from the lives of their children.”  A shocking statement, but Dalrock provides convincing arguments.

“The only way to preserve the independent integrity of the family is to raise it above the state, where it belongs.”  See how A. M. connects this to monarchy and the American founding.

Youth ministry undermines fathers (as well as being a monumental failure at keeping teens in the Church).  The Elusive Wapiti has convinced me.

Edward Feser on one of my favorite movies:  Vertigo.

How about some journalism-bashing?  The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect:  whenever we know enough about a subject to judge, we always find newspapers to be seriously inaccurate and unreliable, so why do we trust them when we read about subjects when we can’t judge their accuracy?

10 Responses

  1. why do we trust them when we read about subjects when we can’t judge their accuracy?

    I’m not sure what the alternative is supposed to be. Did London maybe not burn recently? Should I reserve judgement until I fly there myself to make sure?

  2. Omission or distortion of the truth is not the same thing as a complete fabrication. I have no trouble believing that London burned, but I’m not so sure that it happened the way I’ve been told or for the reasons that have been given.

  3. This is pretty much my opinion too. The only thing I believe from the media is that there were riots in London. I expect the media to conceal or distort everything else. They won’t even answer a simple question like who was rioting. “Youths” we are always told whenever there’s a riot, as if large-scale violence isn’t always carried out by young adults. One can imagine the BBC describing the Battle of the Bulge: “Youths continued to clash on the continent today.” True, but uninformative. Then there came the hints about a “community” that felt offended by the death of a gangster in a shootout and about “racial tensions” in that part of London. I suspect this points to the main issue, although I can’t be sure. Anyhow, I would be in a pretty sorry state if my world view depended very much on either the media’s spin or my attempts to tease the truth out.

  4. Without the news, few could take the time to keep up with current events by pouring over official reports and scholarly studies of everything. However, the filter the media applies to reality is so distorting and so manipulative that I don’t think what it gives is worth it. We may have to just reconcile ourselves to being largely ignorant of current events. We should concentrate on more important knowledge: history, science, philosophy, religion. It’s funny the way people assume that a necessary and sufficient condition for being “well informed” is that he follows all the medias latest reports of hooliganism. Knowing about Newtonian mechanics, the Bible, Confucian ethics, etc are all optional, but the New York Times is supposed to be essential. I admit that knowledge of ephemeral affairs is crucial for the functioning of a democracy, but this is just one more reason why democracy is a bad idea. To vote, the citizen must know about current affairs, so he goes to the media and becomes its mental slave. Thus democracy must lead to the dictatorship of newspapermen.

  5. For some time now I’ve largely stopped paying close attention to current events, or at least the media’s reporting of them, and am surprisingly still able most often to carry on intelligible conversations with people, even when the subject turns to these very events. Many times, I’ll simply say that I hadn’t heard what happened, and will have to ask someone in the conversation to fill me in briefly, and everything is fine (at least I think so – ha ha). I run into more trouble, however, when election times come, and I’m asked whom I would vote for and why.

  6. I should say that I don’t avoid the media because of some high-mindedness on my part, or because I’m very principled. I think I am simply predisposed against the mainstream media. After taking in too much of it, my mind feels the equivalent of the feeling in my stomach after eating a bag of double-stuff Oreos. I just don’t desire it, so I avoid it.

  7. There are going to be scholarly studies of the London Riots which don’t depend on the news media? How would one even decide to study them? My eyes distort reality pretty badly. I have eyeglasses for that. Similarly, the Hubble’s mirror distorts reality pretty badly, and it has “eyeglasses” for that. With an understanding of the distortion (which you get, as you say, from getting “outside” the modern mindset via a number of possible paths), you can learn a lot about the world via the news media. I’m pretty sure London just burned in riots started and largely carried out by its imported, ethnic minority population. You seem sure about it, too. That being said, I think I’ve read the NY Times (the physical paper, more or less completely) about three times in my life. That particular publication is not a news source. It is an organ for propagating the current propaganda line of our elite.

    The claims about democracy are just wrong. It is painfully clear that most voters are utterly clueless and do not, in fact, consume much news. The “well-informed” ones know a few of their side’s slogans but virtually nothing about current events or the world. It’s also a strange position for a Catholic traditionalist. Before the printing press, the usual source of news for the general public was their parish priest. Evidently, the Church thought telling people what was going on had some value, even in the absence of democracy.

    What I would like to see, media-wise, is a rejuvenation of the Diocesan newspaper (after, of course, some considerable improvement in the guys with the mitres, including an understanding that enforcing an editorial line is a good thing). It seems clear that newspapers are going to be money-losing propositions, going forward. That means that they are going to be run by people willing to lose money, either as vanity presses or as advocacy for a particular side. Our side should have a large, high-quality entry in this game, and it would be entirely straightforward to get one.

  8. Bill,

    You have some good points regarding how we look at what the news media report. Their reports can be useful to us if we are wise to the distortions they are likely to include in their reports.

    But aren’t you making the assumption that the news media have no distortion in what they are choosing to report, leaving aside whether they distort whatever event on which they do choose to report? For instance, with all of the news about honor killings, FGM, rape, etc. we hear occurring in Muslim countries, one gets the impression that bad things only happen to women there, while the men have it quite comfortably. I have no “proof” otherwise, because I haven’t really heard any reports to the contrary. Is it really so, however? Perhaps, but something tells me there is distortion involved which is almost impossible to detect by putting any reliance on the media.

    I suspect we are left with such quandaries quite frequently in regard to the MSM.

  9. buckyinky,

    Yes, I wasn’t thinking about that when I wrote. I agree with you that creating un-events is an important function of the media.

  10. We gave up the 24 news habit a few years ago and have much more time for family, readying, and studying, and spend the money on better things. It happened all of a sudden. When I realized that almost all of the news amounted to long distance gawking, I ceased at once to crave it. The TV watching went with it. The thought of watching TV now disgusts me and my family doesn’t even give it a second thought. Anything important is relayed to us instantly by our friends and family via phones, email, &c. Our life and minds are less affected by the popular chaos and our children are more mature.

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