Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Fake News

As the Crazy Grandfather in Chief rails against what he calls "fake news" the real news is out there in the streets reporting and covering the pandemic and now the protests over the murder of George Floyd.  But they always have been and many have died covering events across the globe, have been jailed, seriously injured and assaulted both sexually and physically just for doing their job.

I was watching Seth Myers and he had on Michael Che the co-head writer for SNL as a guest. Michael has been personally affected by Covid with his Grandmother dying as a result of the disease and has two brothers, one retired and one currently a member of the NYPD.  He generously donated to pay a months rent for all the tenants in his Grandmother's building when Covid struck and led to the lockdown and in turn for many put their tenancy at risk.   What surprised me was during the course of the conversation he discussed his first trip ever out of the country to Egypt in 2011, the year that marks the middle of The Arab Spring, which was in regards to oppressive regimes; A parallel he now realizes is not lost.  What, however, was shocking is that he had no knowledge of it at the time.  He went as invited and they expressed great pleasure as he was the only one who accepted the invite. What is even more distressing is that while it enabled him an opportunity to learn first hand from those on the ground about this event it also demonstrated to me how ignorant and uniformed Americans are.   Here is a member of a infamous show that skewers the news and the world and yet he was oblivious to it.  Wow just wow.   Again even fame and money show that when you are ignorant you are in bliss, what a fucking cocoon that must be.

Speaking of cocoons, what is Oprah saying about this? Samuel L. Jackson? Denzel Washington? I am not hearing their voices while Corporate America has not ended its never ending PSA style supportive captions to show that Black Lives Matter, in the same way they were here for us during the pandemic.  Good to know and once I get a job with a check I will be right there to buy whatever is left after the looting.

But as Journalists from near and far are covering the protests they seem to not be exempt from arrest, tear gassing, rubber bullets and other means of crowd control the Police are using to dispel them.  These are not all bloggers and vloggers with supposed credentials they are real card carrying members of the Press be they freelance or otherwise, photo journalists to press from news and television are finding themselves targets.  Gosh that the President's daily mantra that they are "fake" would not have anything to do with that right?

I thrive on news to the best and worst of it and frankly we are seeing it again at its worst. They endlessly prattled on with often unfounded studies about Covid and fueled that hysteria and in turn have played tag with Trump and his ilk to our detriment with the absurd propaganda nightly press conferences and simply neglected other events non-covid related.   Then we have the Cuomo Brothers playing who Mom likes best on national cable news frequently further blurring the lines. And lastly we have Fox doing its best to become the state news by parroting the President if not actually suggesting ideas and plans for him to enact.  Again the lines are blurred and at this point I do understand why many simply tune out.  However, I can read, I have critical thinking skills and there is news that is local, essential, and plays a role in building knowledge about one's own community and their leaders. From an informed populace it forces transparency in Government and enables us as their constituents to make decisions regarding upcoming elections and voting on ordinances etc.   But hey that would require well reading, knowledge and information that at times contradicts, elevates and yes even confirms our views.   Is that on a 3x5 card or can I check Facebook?  We already know that Facebook is a perpetuator in the fake news department and their own CEO monetizes that for his own benefit to the point that even that well paid elite staged a virtual strike.  Nothing will come of that but again little does when dealing with a stubborn white man child.

And again the same thing with regards to Mr. Floyd what happened was horrific but it does not change the fact that last year in 2019, 1004 individuals died at the hands of law enforcement.  What is even more distressing in the last five years since Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri it has averaged to three a day.

Just let that sit on you for a moment.  How do I know this? I read. I read three newspapers, flip through two more and listen to NPR and BBC radio.  I subscribe to The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, and often buy other magazines.  Wow do I have a life? Well sort of but this pandemic and house arrest gives me the time to do so.  I pay for all of them either through subscriptions or donations. What do you read?

Here is what I have learned reading the Washington Post about the last five years when it comes to death by the hands of the Police.

What have you learned?

Here is what I have learned about Journalists covering hot zones including America right now.

And there are endless stories about Journalists who have died, been imprisoned, raped and beaten down their jobs.   More than 1,000 journalists have been killed worldwide since 1992 — and thousands more have been attacked, kidnapped or imprisoned. It’s not just war correspondents at risk. Recent attack victims include journalists covering the Ebola epidemic in Africa and cartoonists at a French newspaper that pokes fun at political subjects. Even Wikipedia has a list of Journalists killed in the line of duty.  Wow where do we use that phrase? Oh right Police and Military.

How many of you even experienced risk be it actual as in beaten by anyone? Arrested? Tried in Court? Had Police stop you? Have Police called on you?  Been raped, assaulted and abused by anyone in the system from medical care, to the justice system to the educational one?  Been afraid walking into a workplace? Been shelter in place for a assumed shooter?

I have.

I am white, educated, have means thankfully from part luck and opportunity, and am a boring hetero but very unmarried woman.  Tell me how I am privileged?

We know no ones narrative until we know them. We make sweeping projections, inferences and assumptions based on the extrinsic factors that we observe, from gender, to color to, demeanor, to their politics, to where they are from.  It is the power of Journalists who tell those stories to wake us up out of bubble of ignorance so what happened to me doesn't mean it has to happen to you in order for you to feel, to know, to demand change and more importantly follow through on that.  Grassroots is just that crawling up from the grass on up to demand change and have a way of ensuring that it remains in place for those who follow after don't have to do what we did in order for it to be so.  I am out of this game as not one person ever helped me when I needed it.  I know first hand what it is to be afraid, to be alone and to be a victim of others and in turn turn to those I would have believed would be there to help me. Guess what they don't regardless of who you are.  They care about their own and when you are not of the tribe you are open game.  Get over being a victim and be the victorious. I wish you all well on this effort but I am Switzerland and I am out of this game. But the game is still on.  Good luck and the best way to win is to read the news that is fit to print it is not fake and it may be hard but nothing ever good came easy.

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