Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Media Censorship and the Obvious Alternatives

Lately I've been surfing for alternative news. Not because I'm a whack-a-doodle, but more because I've essentially completed the internet. I've reached the last page and I'm starting over. I'm a newsy, always have been. I start everyday with coffee and BBC, CBC, CNN, CTV, whatever. As long as it fills my desperate need to be informed about my ever changing world, I tune in and read absolutely everything, even the comments. But lately I've been bored, so I end up looking for off-the-grid stuff. Alternative news that isn't published in the mainstream. 

Some of it's entertaining and makes you shake your head, like this guy...
Or disturbing to the masses and makes you wonder why you hadn't heard the story. Like this... Of course some just scare the hell out of you even though you can be a clear minded logical person, like this...

Take these stories with a grain of salt. I'm not endorsing them, but what they did do was make me hungry for information. Once you read one of these off-beat articles you begin to scan the rest of the page to see what other "news" is linked. Some of them are on the money, like the story of the girls killed by the police. Why isn't this in the headlines on CNN? Last year police in the US killed over 1,000 people. (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/data-shows-1000-people-killed-cops-2014/) Yet CNN chooses to post stories of celebrities doing stupid things, football, parodies and the like. This morning, among the news you would expect to see on the landing page are 15 stories about anything related to football. Think about that for a minute. 15 stories on football from the number one news site in America. Nothing about cops killing unarmed people. So I go elsewhere for news. I hate football.

Facebook feeds news. That's wonderful, but not. Facebook news is directly tied to your content. Your location, page likes, things you've commented on, etc. The algorithm used to feed you news depends on your interests, and in theory that's great, but you end up with crap. Of the ten news tidbits on my feed today, five are related to celebrities. Yesterday at least that many were - you guessed it - football. I hate football. Did I say that already? Sorry. If the algorithm is so accurate why am I getting that junk? 

There's one thing about getting your news from FB that does work, people find and post interesting stories they've come across. Most times these stories are worth the read especially if your friend posting it has like views. But there's this problem, 90% of anyone's friends are in the same general area you are. So again, they have the same problem in that the focus is too narrow. It's the 10% I rely on to find out things I can't get where I am.

Then of course, there's the wingnuts who post things you just have to shake your head at. Right wing, left wing, conspiracy theories, or just plain dumb. These guys are worth checking out, there's no shortage of them out there, but you really have to go into these sites with your brain turned on. Pick through the obvious garbage and you'll find interesting tidbits here and there. Yesterday I spent time on a FB page called The Anti-Media. They claim to be a grassroots revolutionary media site. Yup, uh, wait, nope. They're wingnuts true through. They are truthers, claiming 9-11 was a hoax, they're anarchists, anti-government free-roving hippies. So what! They have some good stories every now and then, like this one... Read it carefully and you see the point - the CIA lied for years about the dangers of waterboarding and other torture methods used since 9-11. Again, read carefully using at least a portion of your brain, there's still garbage in there that needs to be picked through. But this story was never in any mainstream media that I saw, and it was well worth the read in the sense that it ties into mainstream concerns.

I also follow Anonymous. The hacker group with it's own agenda for what they say is the betterment of free speech in the world. I like their take on justice, or what they feel should be justice. I don't necessarily buy into the stories posted on the site but they have good intentions. Case in point, Anonymous shut down ISIS' twitter accounts, took a ton of radical websites offline, and declared war on the KKK, taking down their online presence. This was in response to the klan's activities following the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown. The klan reportedly was heading to Ferguson to take part in the protests but with their own agenda - incitement. Whether you believe them or not, nobody has the right to incite hatred against anyone else. Anonymous may not have been right to do that, and yes, they break the law, but they act in a manner that is pro-moral, pro-speech. I'm going to get ribbed for that opinion. 

Then there's the just plain stupid. 

You have to read this junk for the sheer enjoyment of it. Idiotic news that makes you laugh. It's a nice digression from the mundane everyday war, killing, famine, pestilence stuff. Things like this... Or, this idiot...

There's a nasty world out the window. Our computers have become the new window to that world. We are infused with things each day that scare us or make us think. I prefer the latter. I prefer to read into what people are shovelling down my gullet, calling it news, and pick the items I want to know about, and that ain't football, thanks CNN. (NFL?) I've taken some ribbing lately because of my views, and I don't mind that, it starts good debates. What I do mind however, is people telling me what to think instead of encouraging me to use the brain God gave me. We all have opinions, that's what makes us free people. ISIS, nazis, bolsheviks, and the North Korean government subscribed to the idea that people should only think in terms of the government line. We're better than that. But are we really free to think? Or are we only thinking about what is being fed to us through the mainstream? I've seen many articles in alternative sources that theorize that the large news corporations are controlled by the government. Well, yup, it's called censorship, and it's always been there. But now with the advent of social media the censorship doesn't work all that well, and that's good for us. It's given us freedoms we didn't know we had. Embrace that. Make the world a better place by using it, just do it with a few brain cells.


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