Why I think Mainstream Media is Living in a Past

Over the past few weeks I had an opportunity to visit a number of European countries. I enjoyed the trip, I feel rested and enriched by all the historic sites I’ve visited. I also feel sad.

Sitting in s hotel room in Spain, I turn TV on to news, and I see CNN, MSNBC, BBC, ABC, NBC….

Moving to a hotel in France, I turn TV on to news, and I see CNN, MSNBC, BBC, ABC, NBC….

Next stop, in a hotel in Italy, I turn TV on to news, and I see CNN, MSNBC, BBC, ABC, NBC….

Media integrity

Media integrity

You see the pattern, right? I feel sad because I’ve come to realise that no matter where you are in a world, you are very limited on a number of independent mainstream sources that are available to you when it comes to keeping up with the news and current affairs.
The number of genuine sources can really be counted on fingers of one hand. And most of the other ones are really just a repeat of each other.
It also made me realise that our mainstream media can be to blame for flaming the fire between the old Cold War enemies the West and the Russia.
The problem is that the Western media picked up where they left off some 25 years ago, and keep using the old recipe of blaming the Russia for all the evil in the world. What they fail to understand, is that the world has changed.

Back in a 70’s and 80’s, Western media could dish out as much dirt on Russians as it wanted. 95% of Russian population didn’t have access to this sort of “news”, and therefore didn’t care. Today things are different. Thanks to the advance of internet, every Russian is fully aware of all the filth that they’ve been smeared with, courtesy of CNN and other letters of alphabet claiming to be News providers.

Time for change

Time for change

It is now a good time for the mainstream media to stop and re-evaluate its position and its relevance. It is time to change, time to act. Because if you really think that Russians are so evil and dangerous, why would you poke the bear? You might well end up with a broken back….

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Yo, Bitch! Did you hear Bill Maher using the N-word?

As you might’ve heard, comedian Bill Maher used the N-word during his HBO show. While talking to Senator Sasse, he came out with the “I’m a house nigger”. Comedians are known to push boundaries, but sometimes they just push it too far, they try too hard. We just have to think few days back to a completely distasteful photoshoot coming from Kathy Griffin.

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Given the nature of conversation at the time, Bill’s remark actually made sense – during the times of slavery, the “house nigger” was a common term to describe slaves working in and around the house, as opposed to the ones working out in the field. However, Bill is not a history professor lecturing in college on a subject of slavery. He is a comedian, and could’ve gotten his point across without offending anyone.

Having said that, I can’t put the blame entirely at Bill’s feet. Just look at movies that come out of Hollywood, at music videos, at the way people talk to each other in real life and on Social Media… The N-word is such a common thing, that one can be forgiven for thinking that’s it is an acceptable, everyday word. We often hear black people calling each other the N-word. Guys – it’s either offensive or it isn’t. If it is, STOP USING IT! Just because you use it yourselves doesn’t make it any less offensive. Lead by example, show to the rest of the world that using the racial slur is NOT OK.

While we are on a subject of respect, what is it with girls addressing each other as “bitches“? When did it become the norm?

Princess

Princess

Is it all a byproduct of “equality”? I’m pretty sure that your grandfathers would’ve gotten in a fist-fight if someone called your grandma a “bitch”. Once again, you want to be respected by men, start by respecting yourselves.

You can address each other by your real name, by a nickname, you can call each other Girlfriend, or Подруга, or Mate, or Paisano, or Homie….

just don’t call each other Bitch.

The Lone Wolf Myth, or Why There is no Such Thing as Self-Radicalization

After the Orlando shooting, the American establishment has, once again, came out with the now familiar line of “the perpetrator appeared to be a “self-radicalized” sympathiser.

The problem with this statement is that it is misleading and extremely damaging to the success of our fight against global terror.

Over the past few years, we’ve been getting more and more terrorist acts in USA, Australia, Europe and everywhere else, where the attacker was after-the-fact portrayed as “self-radicalized”.

It would’ve been right, if we were talking about 1 or 2 incidents. But when it stops being an isolated event and starts resembling an avalanche of attacks, it is time to stop, take it all in, and finally call a spade a spade.

terror at Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

We have a much bigger issue here. Each of these so-called Lone Wolves has spoken to at least one ‘handler” or “recruiter”; visited at least one website promoting radical Islam. Once we accept this, we will realise that the numbers are starting to add up. It’s not only few dozens of individuals who performed actual attacks. It’s now also at least a few dozens of their handlers, plus hundreds of people involved in running all those hat-spewing websites, plus high level operatives coordinating the flow of poisonous ideas and information.

All of a sudden, it looks less like a couple of single, not connected to each other events, and begins to look very much like a well-coordinated attack against the Western civilisation and our way of life.

London lone wolf attack

London lone wolf attack

One of the ways to limit “lone-wolf” activism is to restrict access to the propaganda both online and locally. If a site is known to spew hatred, we should shut it down if it’s based in your given country. If the site is located in a different country, blacklist it, stop it from being accessible locally. Let the freedom of information and expression warriors scream and protest all they want. If it’s not an online site, but a local radical Islam activist who’s poisoning minds and recruiting terrorists, put handcuffs on him and hide him in a dark cell for a long time… forever would be a good idea. If he’s happen to be a dual national, even better – send him back to the country that created him.

What we need, is a change in the way we deal with this threat. We need to change the way law enforcement acts on these matters. We need to get more serious on a government level about monitoring enemy’s on-line activity. And make no mistake – we are talking about a real enemy here. An enemy who is dedicated to destroying us.

Life Without Internet in 21st century? Surely Not!

The other day I overheard a conversation between two young people, both in their 20th. The girl was trying to understand the concept of Facebook, and the guy was trying (without much success) to explain it to her.

You've Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

I immediately felt the need to bud in on their conversation, and started asking questions of my own. It turns out, that the girl not only has no idea about Facebook, she also doesn’t own a mobile phone, and she doesn’t have an internet connection at home either. I must’ve had a stupid expression on my face, when on my question “How do you pay your bills?” she answered “At the Post Office”.

I must point out here, that the girl is NOT some sort of backwards person, unable to grasp the technology. She is a lovely girl, competent in her job, uses computer and internet at work, knows how to use them, so it’s a matter of personal choice not succumbing to the extra pressure of being on-line and available at all times.

I kept coming back to this conversation for the rest of the day, and I become curious as to how many other people are out there, that do not have internet?

Apparently, quite a lot. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2013 there was 12,397,000 internet subscribers, of which, amazingly, over 200,000 were still on Dial-Up connections.  It appears that we are not as technologically advanced as I’ve always thought. Australia is only ranked 25th in a world by internet penetration, having 82.3% of its population on-line.

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

Some users are still stuck with a snail pace of Dial-Up

The list of countries and their internet penetration makes for a very interesting read – there are some surprises there.

First, Falkland Islands are ranked Number 1, which must piss Iceland off big time, as that little bit of rock  in South Atlantic is pushing the little bit of rock in a North Atlantic into the Second spot. Our cousins from across the Tasman Sea are doing real good, managing to secure a spot in the top 10. But the biggest surprise for me was Nigeria – I was sure that with the millions of e-mails from millions of relatives of the dead people, all promising me the guaranteed way to get reach, Nigeria would be high up on the list. But no – it only comes at a lowly 128th spot. Those poor scammers must be working overtime, to be able to contact so many unsuspecting winners  🙂

 

 

 

Social Dis-service

Yesterday my wife volunteered to help her mother and make few calls to some government departments – Social Security, Human Services, Aged Care….

Pension and Aged Services

Pension and Aged Services

It wasn’t anything complicated – she wasn’t asking government agency to divulge any secrets, or assign Member of Parliament size pension to a regular Australian, or anything like that.

All she wanted, was to have some information brochures and application forms to be mailed out to us. Simple, right?

Well, it might be simple for someone who doesn’t understand the complexity of the bureaucratic machine, but after listening to my wife, I now realize how complicated and self-important those departments are.

For starters, before she even had a chance to talk to anyone, she had to endure some horrible hold music, with a total “hold” time of close to 2 hours. Next, she was transferred from one department to another, person to the next. Each time the story had to be repeated, names and other details provided and an oath given, just in case….

At one point of this process, she got told that the material we requested is not being printed any more, and everything is available on line. When asked if he can e-mail us the documents, the bureaucrat on another end replied that it’s not their process to e-mail documents. Fair enough we thought, how about a link to where the document is on their web-site? Apparently, link isn’t available, and we have to search for it.

What I found even more amusing (amusing because I wasn’t the one who had to listen to this rubbish), was the fact that apparently, there were some changes in rules and legislation affecting aged care. These changes came into effect on July 1st, 2014. All this was happening on July the 8th and guess what – new documentation wasn’t available ANYWHERE – not in printed form, not on-line not etched on cave walls.

If I was just as incompetent at my job, I would’ve been fired years ago, but I guess there is a benefit in being a government employee.

Auctioning Off Virginity

A couple of day ago, as I was driving home, I had a radio on, listening to a program almost entirely dedicated to a decision by a young woman to auction off her virginity.

So who is she? In her own words, she is a 27 year old sensually stunning, highly educated, and charismatic American woman. Well, she would say it, wouldn’t she? I mean, she has to present herself in a best light possible in order to achieve maximum result during the auction. It was mentioned on a show that she expects to fetch over $400,000.

Virginity Auction

Virginity Auction

Listening to this show got a whole bunch of thoughts stirring in my head.

First, why would anyone pay over $33,000 an hour to have sex with a woman with absolutely NO experience? Even high-end escorts in Cannes during Cannes Film Festival can only hope to earn about $40,000 a night, and for them it’s an event they wait for all year.

Second, what sort of a sad person would be so eager to engage in an act of “defloration” as to part with close to half a million dollars? I would say someone very desperate and I suspect with a major problems hidden somewhere in his childhood.

But it also got me thinking about something else…..

Regardless of her motives, she lives in a country where she actually can exercise the right to do with her body anything she wants, as long as she is not breaking any laws. The worst thing that can happen to her is some unknown to her blogger will compare her to a prostitute – no real harm done there J

To take it even further, she is lucky enough to live in a country where she is able to “save” herself till the ripe age of 27, and not being married off before she even reached her teenage years, the way it’s done in a lot of Middle Eastern countries.

Freedom of thought

Freedom of thought

I guess the conclusion I’m drawing from this is that regardless of this girl’s motives, regardless of how much (if any) money she will make out of this, there is one thing that becomes very clear.

This one thing is more important than a thousand virgins, worth more than any amount of money. This one thing is freedom. Freedom to do what we want, freedom to express ourselves in a thousand different ways. Freedom for a 27 year old girl. Freedom for a pathetic old man who wants to part with four hundred thousand dollars. Freedom for each and every one of us to discuss it and make our own decisions.

Celebrity Gossip Vs News

To be fair, the title of this blog might be a bit misleading. It’s not really celeb gossip VS news. Today, celebrity gossip IS the news.

Just think about it…..

Dennis Rodman making headlines

Dennis Rodman making headlines

Dennis Rodman travels to North Korea to bring birthday presents to his mate, dictator Kim Jong Un. Is it a gossip, or a news item? Or a fusion of both? What about AFL legend Doug Hawkins standing for Palmer party in a last election? Or U2’s front man Bono speaking about Mandela. Gossip? News? Search Google News for “Schapelle Corby” and the top result is about the bidding war for her first post-jail interview. Does anyone really give a shit?

Do we really care what celebrities think or say? (the two are not necessarily the same) What’s even more important, when did it become acceptable to substitute facts of political, economic or cultural news with titbits of celebrity gossip disguised as news?

So what have we got here….Rodman is breaking the United States law that forbids the flow of luxury items into North Korea. Hawkins? He was, without a doubt, an extremely talented sportsman and a bit of a court jester on The Footy Show, but that doesn’t make him even remotely qualified to enter politics. Bono – hardly a person inspiring respect. He is known for his “efforts” to eliminate poverty in Africa; however some experts say that what he does is actually causing more damage than good. Also, Bono – the citizen of Ireland, is not the most popular Irish son, all because he chooses not to pay his taxes in Ireland.

Schapelle Corby - alleged drug smuggler

Schapelle Corby – alleged drug smuggler

Schapelle? An alleged drug smuggler who somehow managed to attain status of quasi celebrity.

So why are we being forced to accept these celebrity gossip – turn – celebrity-flavoured news?

 

The answer is two-fold. First, it is much easier for local news crews to regurgitate already substandard overseas news than to report it’s own. Second, and probably more important, is the fact that the news business is a money making venture. This makes it impossible to report the news objectively.