Mar 09 2023

Thoughts on Social Media, News and The Press

Published by at 12:37 pm under Thoughts

I have given up on social media quite a while ago and deleted the accounts that I could delete, the rest I “retired” one way or the other. I never was active on Facebook, Twitter or any other big social network, so I’m mostly talking about some (mainstream) discussion forums; and by that I mean forums that are quite popular in Germany.

The reason is simple: People believe what they want to believe and objectively measurable and quantifiable facts have become completely irrelevant. People no longer want to discuss, they justs want to hate everything and everybody and the Internet has become the most toxic communication tool on our planet. It’s utterly useless to engage in a thread on the Internet.

Since the Ukraine war started, something else has become extremely obvious: Journalism, as it was meant to be, no longer exists. Journalism was designed to be the fourth force in a democracy that is supposed to keep the other three forces legislature, judiciary and executive in check. This is no longer the case, simply because journalism is don’t its job anymore: It’s become a propaganda tool that only publishes what is supposed to be the mainstream opinion.

Germany has always had a problem with that: In the 1980s, over 80% of the printed press were owned by one single person, Axel Springer. So it is easy to imagine that none of those publications would dare to print something that did not sit well with their owner. Already in the 1980s the reported news was very one-sided in Germany – and even back then it never really reflected what people were saying in conversations or “in the streets”. One could always feel that there was agenda, but back in those years we all just shrugged it off.

What has changed since the war in the Ukraine war is more alarming: We are openly and bluntly being lied to and opinions that do not agree with the governmental direction are being discredeted or “cancelled” as it is called these days. When you read news reports published in other countries – including the United States, Australia or even Great Britain – you read different news and facts and reports than those that are being published in Germany. You will also find some very different analytical reports from military officials than you will hear in Germany – especially when you listen to what certain active, still in duty Austrian and US-American Colonels and Generals have to say. When you compare all those sources, the war obviously is not going as it is being depicted by the German government or by the mainstream German press. The reason is obvious, of course: The facts do not fit in he official agenda and the official narrative, so the facts are either ignored or, well, faked. And that, in a functioning democracy with a functioning press, just should not happen.

But journalists have not been doing what their job is for a very long time. There are a few actual journalists left in our country, and one of them put it quite nicely: “When one party says the sun is shining and another says it is raining, then you do not just quote both of them. You look outside the window and check the weather yourself.” This, however, is not being done anymore. You only read phrases like “according to…” or “…as sources claimed…” and other similar expressions. The press, in general, is not fact-checking their own publications anymore – which would be their responsibility. By just printing what they are being told, they have become an instrument of political agendas and thus, propaganda and mass manipulation. And that is one of the greatest threats to democracy and freedom that we are currently facing.

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