Congress Surreptitiously Undermines FOIA, Private Property Threatened by Border Wall, and More: (9/21/2017)

Jacob Appelbaum at Aaron Swartz Day 2015

"Americans are too broadly underinformed to digest nuggets of information that seem to contradict what they know of the world. Instead, news channels prefer to feed Americans a constant stream of simplified information, all of which fits what they already know. That way they don't have to devote more air time or newsprint space to explanations or further investigations... Politicians and the media have conspired to infantilize, to dumb down, the American public. At heart, politicians don't believe that Americans can handle complex truths, and the news media, especially television news, basically agrees." Tom Fenton
"In an information rich world, the wealth of information means a deaerth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention" Herbert Simon quoted in the Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

Stories are important because they shape belief.

  • For millenia, religions were the story tellers. When most were illiterate, the religious used paintings, sculptures, architecture, music, and authorities to tell the stories. The writing for Catholics was in Latin, which few read. The conservative clergy still strongly prefers the Latin mass. Religion is media.

    With the printing press and public education all that changed. Democracy arose as scriptures were translated and printed in commonly used languages.

    Powerful people ally themselves politically with religion, try to control it, assert that they talk to God, or even claim divinity. The right wing, because they are most religious, believe them. They are willing to think that their destiny is pre-ordained and that they have nothing to do with it. They are susceptible to authoritarianism, and ideologues are always ready to exploit them.

  • Most of our media is corporate, highly concentrated and it has an agenda: right-wing, Republican, that serves the wealthy.

    It marginalises people and voices that do not support its ideology. which is why it is strongly anti-immigrant, racist, sexist, and anti-intellectual.

    It is prone to election-rigging, gerrymandering, and in numerous ways undermining democracy. It is surprisingly successful in keeping real issues from reaching Presidential debates and excluding candidates from other than the two parties that do, in fact, control the debates.

    It sanitises history to remove embarrassing details and it suppresses the quest for evidence that might contradict its views. Research into climate change, gun usage, are routinely suppressed. It intrudes in higher education as well.

  • Fox News begat the alt-right and subsequently got Trump elected.

    A minority government of plutocrats, represented by Republicans, now rules in the U.S.

    Secrecy has grown to cloak much government activity.

    Universal surveillance suppresses free speech,.

    Reliable information is a prerequisite to democracy, the economy, education, and society.

It is necessarily authoritarian because it suppresses information that does not serve its ideology. ...

Some ideas are better than others, which is why academics are usually not 'conservative'. Scientists are overwhelmingly not religious.

Fundamentalists, generally Republicans, deny evolution, one of the pillars of deep history, and instead prefer 'creationism'. They deny strong evidence, visible to anyone, of human caused climate damage. Unwittingly they serve an upper class elite that is increasingly rendering them subservient. Their views set back their education and render their culture backwards.

Marx was right about religion, the opiate of the people, and also about class warfare. The cold war was one of many religious wars.

Technology has made digital media the source of most news. It can be created by anyone, but it can also produce fake news.


Public Knowledge

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto



Fox News





Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property: Krikorian and Kapczynski

The Book of Books, the Radical Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011, Melvyn Bragg