Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unacknowledged Censorship in Arizona about Jared Loughner

For better or worse the people with the violent rhetoric arent being censored in the Mass Media; however the academics with rational solutions that actually work are; and few people seem to have noticed it.

(This was first posted on Open Salon January 20, 2011; since then the way the media covers these stories hasn’t improved. This will be followed up soon by reposts of the School shooting in Ohio last February; the shooting in Aurora in July and a new post about the two recent shootings in Oregon and Connecticut.)

Generally speaking there are two groups speaking loud and clear in the media who don’t address the most important issues; and at least one other group that receives virtually no attention but they do know how to address the problem and dramatically reduce violence; however they are being ignored in the Mass Media.

The groups that are receiving attention fall into the usual categories as described by the media, the right wing conservatives and the left wing liberals. The left claim that the rhetoric is a major contributing factor and it should be toned down or censored. Most of them aren’t calling for complete censorship as far as I can tell but they are asking for more civility. The right wing are accusing the left of trying to completely censor them even though that isn’t what they’re doing; and in at least a few cases they are calling for censorship of the left, often saying the left shouldn’t make claims without evidence. Neither one of these high profile groups are addressing the vast majority of research available from the academic community that has studied this subject. This research actually does demonstrate some of the “evidence” that some of these people are asking for.

A relatively small sample of the researchers that have actually studied the subject include James Garbarino,Ellen deLara, Philip J. Greven, Dan Kindlon, Michael Thompson, Alice Miller, Joanne Scaglione, Arrica Rose Scaglione, Murray Straus, Barbara Coloroso, Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Lonnie Athens and many more. They are all in agreement on some of the most important issues contributing to violence; yet the Mass Media rarely if ever gives them more than a token amount of attention. One of the biggest contributing causes to violence in our country and elsewhere is the way children are raised and educated. If they are abused as a child they are much more likely to become violent as an adult and commit murder or other acts of violence. They’re also much more likely to comply with authoritarians as well which may be why many people in power may not want to address the issue. At times it appears as if the Mass Media is trying to prove these people are wrong about the most important issues if they address it at all or they act as if their opinions are no more true than the opinions of those that haven’t done anything to research the subject or have based their conclusions on their prejudices. This is blatantly false although I don’t expect everyone to agree without checking the work first. These researchers have done much more than the political and media community to research the subject and they have kept track of their work as they go along. They subject it to peer review and they don’t ignore inconvenient facts when it doesn’t suit their purpose. Or at least they don’t do these things much, they are human and probably make some mistakes. However their track record is much better than those with access to the Bully Pulpit. The politicians and many media people decide what they’re trying to accomplish then they decide what beliefs will advance that goal regardless of the truth then they present those beliefs as facts and conduct research to prove these beliefs are true. This isn’t research it is indoctrination. This leads to a society that bases most of its decisions on false facts that are designed to advance the goals of the most powerful.

The same goes for many other academics in other fields that have accurate knowledge that contradicts the best interest of the corporations. This includes media critics who don’t have the opportunity to reach more than a small percentage of the public including Ben Bagdikian and Robert McChesney, who research the history of the Mass Media; as well as Barbara Coloroso and James Garbarino who address the way the media influences children. These people have little if any opportunity to get their message across and in the rare occasions that they are mentioned in the Mass Media they are often demonized. McChesney was mentioned on at least a couple occasions by Glen Beck who described him as a Communist or some kind of fanatic; in this case it may be just as well since the people that Beck advocates for are fanatics and most reasonable people can see that. In another example James Garbarino was criticized by an advocate for the Mass Media in a more rational way; however she still took Garbarino out of context and made false claims that he was calling for censorship. What Garbarino was actually doing was reporting accurately on the damage done by the Mass Media in a manner that had scientific back up. The truth of the matter is that Garbarino and others were the ones being censored; I suspect the vast majority of the public outside the academic community doesn't even know who most of these researchers are.

If the Mass media was reformed and we could give a fair opportunity to the public and the academic world to get their messages across to the country and the world then many of societies biggest problems can be addressed in a much more effective and less corrupt manner.

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