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

Jacob Appelbaum at Aaron Swartz Day 2015

"...the rest of the world rarely appears in the American media. Indeed, it is virtually impossible in most American cities, even though often more than a hundred TV channels are fed into living rooms, to get any kind of regular flow of international news. It is a shocking fact that one can be better informed on the state of the world while sitting in a hotel room in Africa than in a hotel room anywhere in America. From extensive personal experience, I can make this claim confidently. For all practical purposes, America could well be on a different planet, so cut off are Americans from flows of information about events outside America." Kishore Mahbubani: Beyond the Age of Innocence. pg 167

"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.

The truth has become partisan and that has caused polarization and political dysfunction.

  • Media including 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.

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

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

    The right is prone to election-rigging, gerrymandering, and in every way undermining democracy. It is surprisingly successful in keeping real issues from reaching the public, Presidential debates and excludes candidates from other than the two parties that do, in fact, control the debates.

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

  • For millenia, religions were the story tellers. When most were illiterate, the clergy 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 can do nothing about it. They are susceptible and too often willingly accept authoritarianism, and ideologues are always ready to exploit them.

    Although we learn over time, religion refuses to acknowledge new information. That is particularly damaging in our assessment of risk, for example of climate change or family planning .

    It is religious authoritarianism that excuses the denial of science.

To suppresses information that does not serve its ideology, it is necessarily authoritarian

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 education and render their culture backwards.

Marx was right about class warfare and religion, the opiate of the people. The cold war was only 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 (propaganda)


Public Knowledge

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto



Fox News





BUNK: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. By Kevin Young.

WORLD WITHOUT MIND, The Existential Threat of Big Tech: Franklin Foer Cass Sunstein

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