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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dyman & Associates Risk Management Projects: Information, Disinformation and the Credibility Crisis

A large percentage of the American population no longer trusts mainstream news outlets either on television or in print. A June 2013 Gallup poll indicates nearly 4 out of 5 Americans among younger generations from age 21-64 cannot trust the major news networks, not when the likes of NBC and MSNBC are owned by General Electric, Comcast and possibly Time Warner in this age of super-mergers. Both the circulation and very survival of America’s news print organizations have shriveled or dried up completely.

Amongst the nation’s largest cities, few traditional newspapers are still left today. Even the perennial powerhouse dailies like the New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times have gravely suffered, and in an attempt to keep up with the changing times, years ago moved to the internet as their mainstay means of surviving the computer age. Time Magazine and Newsweek similarly have been forced to downsize with Newsweek permanently suspending its print circulation. In recent years’ Time Magazine in print has been reduced in size to a mere skimpy little shadow of what it once was.

To a significant portion of Americans, all the mainstream news corporations have been rendered state propaganda and disinformation tools for the US government. Indeed their embedded (alias “in-bed”) news reporting has become a cynical joke amongst the populace. Entertainment fluff and filler space have come to obscure and replace real news and real issues that vitally affect the well being, safety and concerns of the American public. The controlling powers behind mainstream media outlets have made a concerted effort to keep American citizens the last to know especially when it comes to world events and developments.

According that that same Gallup poll from last year, this growing distrust that Americans have towards mainstream news is only exceeded by their distrust towards big business, HMO’s and US Congress. Even last month’s Gallup poll shows President Obama’s approval rating dipping to an all time low of just 39% with the majority of Americans now disapproving of his job performance. This negative, across-the-boards view reflects both a generalized discontent and disconnect with today’s status quo power structure. And as a result, a mass exodus of US citizens have switched viewing their world through the known distorted lens of traditional news coverage to that of the world wide web, currently celebrating its quarter century anniversary this week.

Hence, in recent years a growing number of people have been turning to online sources as their primary means for news information and current world events. Despite unlimited numbers to choose from of websites portending to depict accurate coverage of domestic and international events, in today’s world the notion of objective, unbiased news coverage becomes highly suspect. Thus, an informed public must be extremely discerning when it comes to believing what is the truth and what are the lies based on propagandist manipulation. Ultimately individuals will naturally gravitate toward whatever sources of news best fit their particular biases and beliefs based on their world paradigm. So one’s sense of reality and truth about the world becomes both highly elusive and subjective, if not impossible to tease out and grasp.

To compound this already perplexing, complex problem, the systematic dumbing-down of America has produced a mounting population that all too frequently gullibly accepts either the spoon-fed deception and lies of mainstream media or often equally biased non-mainstream news outlets. For decades now Americans have been conditioned to no longer think critically and discriminately to sort out facts from fiction.

Creative questioning, exploring curiosity or daring to challenge authority is entirely absent from the current US public education system bent on homogenized conformity and socialization toward robotic compliance. And as a consequence, too many Americans blindly accept as gospel truth anything they read, that is if they still read at all, naively assuming it would not be fit to print on the internet, in books, magazines or newspapers or seen on TV, if it were not all true.

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