Trust The News Media?
Sometime in early March of 1983 as I was enjoying a relaxed Sunday afternoon with some friends, I was asked an odd question: Was I aware of what the Israelis had found under the city of Sidon during their invasion of Lebanon the previous June? Encouraged by my blank shrug, my friend (who’s uncle sells oil-drilling equipment in the Mid-East) proceeded to tell me a bizarre tale about miles of tunnels filled with enough equipment for a million-man army. The tale continued to explain how these tunnels had been secretly stocked by Soviet submarines.
I have a great deal of respect for the man, and I really wanted to believe him, but in the face of known facts, a rational individual just doesn’t go around picking and choosing what he wants to believe. There were several obvious problems with this whole thing:
1. It would have seemed in the Israeli interest to tell the world about these tunnels, and therefore certainly the news media would have known and printed the story.
2. This would have completely reversed the whole attitude towards the action in that it would have taken it out of the context of the Jews drastically overreacting to a border nuisance, and inserted survival as the motive or the invasion.
3. There were only about 20,000 militants who called themselves Palestinians at the time, so who would all the other stuff be for? (Of the 20,000 “PLO” fewer than half were actually from Palestine).
4. If these things were true, the ramifications would be a lot more than I felt I could handle on a lazy Sunday afternoon – for instance:
a. Why would such a story be suppressed?
b. How could it have been suppressed?
c. What else have I been led to believe or not to believe?
d. What would be the effect of American naivety on word affairs?
I nodded, smiled, changed the subject, and started thinking. The news media had mentioned that they had discovered a stash of weapons left behind, but if the PLO had been shooting back with real bullets, then obviously there would have been a gun or two left around. But was this an understatement? and if so, when does an understatement become a lie? In any case, I figured that the least I could do was see if I could learn any more about the subject from other sources – later. I may have been a little apathetic, but who cares?
I knew an individual at work who was into a lot of right-wing stuff, and figured that if there were interesting fire drills to be had, he would probably be aware of them. His response was “Sure, I knew all about it last September.” When he said his source was some periodicals he subscribed to, I asked if he could bring me some back issues containing information about the tunnels. The frustrating thing about the articles in the magazines he provided was that they were so matter-of fact. They were written as if “of course you already know all of this, but here are a few more interesting details.”
A Puerto Rican I knew also knew all about it – he never pays attention to American news media, but gets his information from foreign newspapers and short-wave broadcasts.
My wife noticed a book titled “Magog 82 Cancelled”, which was written specifically about these findings, and the American media non-response.
By this time I was very upset. I’d asked for it, and I’d gotten it, and I was complaining to my friends about it. Most of them really wanted to believe me, but based upon the facts… But anyway they could tell that I really believed it and would let me know if they heard anything else on the subject.
Shortly thereafter one such friend met an Israeli who had been a part of the occupation army, and had actually entered the caverns. By the time I had a chance to enjoy a cup of coffee with him I had been forced to conclude that something is terribly wrong with our “free” press.
He said that I would not believe the amount of equipment that had been stockpiled. There were field pieces, medicine, small-arms, documentation, blankets, etc., etc.” He said that it took two weeks of continuous day and night truck convoys to carry the contents of the tunnels back to Israel.
When I asked him what they did with all the equipment, he explained that they had given it back to the Soviets!
He enjoyed my astonishment for a couple minutes as he leaned back and lit a cigarette. Finally he smiled and added “through the hands of Afghani guerillas.” You gotta love that Jewish humor! Had Russia actually been driven out of Afghanistan by an arsenal they had prepared for the elimination of Israel?
This keeps getting worse: Now I find that Israel is somehow doing business with countries that refuse to recognize that they even exist! It took at least ten years for another piece of the puzzle to surface. The movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” staring Tom Hanks was based upon this action. An American politician brokered a deal where the U.S. delivered this Soviet equipment to Afganistan. They then used this equipment the Soviets had stashed for the elimination of Israel, to drive Russia out of their territory – all without leaving American fingerprints.
Although the estimates of the actual amount of equipment from these sources varied, the key facts remained consistent:
· There were literally miles of tunnels.
· There was many times the amount of equipment required to supply the already well-equipped PLO.
· It was soviet equipment.
· Israeli intelligence had been aware of this build-up, and it had been the true objective of their invasion of Lebanon.
· They had preempted a full-scale Russian-backed invasion of Israel by less than two months, saving untold thousands of lives.
· The American news media had suppressed the story (although Israel had freely shown all of this to major news correspondents from all over the world).
There were countless interesting details surrounding each of these consistent findings, but each of these basic facts carries its own body of ramifications.
By this time my interest had acquired a momentum of its own, and I began to ponder strategies for gathering information on who was trying to do what with our nation’s news media. Everybody has their boogey man, and with information as significant as this, I could not afford to go rattling off down some radical trail that was not meticulously paved with rational research.
I came up with a method of analyzing media presentations which I would like to share with you for three reasons:
1. You will not be subject to my personal bias.
2. Although I obtained enough data to indicate some definite trends, I did not carry it far enough to clearly prove anything (without the weight of my research into the Lebanon thing.
3. Some of you won’t believe me until you try it yourself and have no option.
What I came up with is based upon three premises:
1. There are many times more stories available than the media has room or time to relate to the public, and therefore the guidelines provided to the editorial staff would directly affect what gets printed and what gets ignored.
2. The manner in which a story is presented, along with which details get included, can have a tremendous effect on how truth is perceived.
3. The attitudes of the publisher are presented, overtly or covertly, within the editorial section of the publication.
This third point is a weak one. Although I personally analyzed such editorials, I suspect that an analysis of articles on the first page or two of each section of a publication would produce more accurate results.
I began by setting up a simple data collection form for analyzing editorials. The form contained a series of blanks in which the subject of each editorial could b entered (In 20 letters or less) Associated with each subject was a blank for a number from 1 through 9, which would indicate the attitude towards that particular subject, as present in the editorial. The numbers represented the level of favorability toward the subject, with 1 being the maximum negative, 5 appearing neutral, and 9 being maximum favor.
I was a little suspect of numbers that came out neutral, because in such cases the editorial had either said nothing at all, the subliminal message had been too subtle for me to discern, or my personal biases had affected my understanding. I was also a little leery of numbers at either extreme, because of the possibility that the letter or editorial had been published to invoke an opposite reaction. For instance, I have read letters published that I knew were contrary to the position of the paper. Such letters were always extreme, often hysterical, and tended to present a caricature of a nitwit rather than a credible point of view. But at least the paper had done its duty by “objectively” presenting an opposing viewpoint.
I reasoned that after entering the data from several editions of a particular publication, one could begin to determine what subjects they were interested in, and how they felt about them. By counting the occurrences of each subject, and averaging the attitude numbers associated with each subject, you would be able to develop an interest and bias profile for the publication analyzed. There are a number of things you could do with such a technique:
1. You could compensate for the biases as you read.
2. If you did this on publications from across the country you would be able to determine if major newspapers were locally or nationally controlled by observing whether or not they had the same set of biases.
3. By analyzing the intended effect of their political, social, religious, and international viewpoints, you might be able to answer such questions as: What are their objectives? And what type of group or individual would benefit if the world believed what they say?
When data does not come out the way you expect it to, you have some reassurance that the technique itself is truly objective. Such was the case in the results I obtained. I had examined the editorials from major newspapers from all over the country, which were available at a local library. I used publications from the same month, so that I could accurately compare the reporting of the same subjects among the various newspapers. Twelve major newspapers and hundreds of editorials were represented in my data.
One interesting finding was that local stories seemed fairly evenly balanced, while national news, and especially international news, reflected a fairly uniform bias across a broad spectrum of subjects. A logical explanation would be that truth in reporting was directly proportional to the possibility that the facts could be independently verified by the readership.
I can no longer believe that, as one frustrating friend smugly put it: “Of course we know that the papers are biased, but I am smart enough to see through it.” No amount of brilliance can reach a proper conclusion if it is provided with partial or inaccurate data, and we are being very effectively shielded from accurate data. Knowledge is the foundation of motivation, and of effective response once motivated. We are being mis-motivated and misled in our responses through the deceptive use of incomplete – and in some cases fraudulent – information.
You don’t have to take my word for these things. The information is still abundantly available, but you will not find it delivered to your doorstep. In fact, unless you are willing to go look for it, the major media will continue to supply you with you own opinions.
“Who is doing this?”, and “what are they trying to accomplish?” are two very important questions, but even these are not as relevant as “What am I being herded into?”, and “what can I do about it?” The answers to the first three of these questions may be found by locating and utilizing other sources of news, and this in itself is the first step in “doing something about it.”
The major media has made a mockery of valid sources of news, because for one thing they are sources of news, and secondly, they tend to be incompatible with the social and political trends they are trying to impose. So ironically, the major media can tell you where to look for news. From my own investigations for instance, I find they don’t like Christianity – especially fundamental types. They do like the IRS (strange). They do not like Israel or conservative politicians, and they support “planned parenthood” . Furthermore, they reinterpret any live presidential speech so we can understand things the way they would like us to. After all, learning or thinking on your own can be hazardous to your apathy.