I remember having a discussion with a friend of mine. I was trying to explain to him how Santa Claus was not real. I told him it was impossible for a man to deliver all those presents in one night and had proof that his parents had bought him those Charismas presents. He did not want to hear it, sticking his fingers in his ears he closed his eyes and started repeating; “I’m not listening!”
I was ten and he was six. A reaction like that would look pretty silly as an adult, but the way some people rally against the media and the internet, it isn’t far off. Sure, there is a lot of miss information out there and the truth is our news today is much less true journalism and much more reality television. With that said however, the idea some people have of tuning out news altogether, to me at least, is much more sinister than just avoiding trashy programming.
I like watching programs about slavery times and the period of Jim Crow. For me, I like to see how people reacted in both historically accurate recounts of those times and the social commentary in faction during that time period. A friend once asked me why I watched that stuff all the time, why do I read blogs from people who are clearly racist and hateful. My answer was, I read and I watch so I can learn and understand from all angles. I believe it gives me a better perspective and increases my knowledge on the subject.
Recently the trend for some is to scream at the top of their lungs that the media is bad. There are some out there that would have you tune out to it all. The television is bias, the internet is full of lies and evil, and the books are written by socialists. Pretty much they are asking you to either get all your information from them, because they are the only ones who are telling the truth, or that you remain ignorant and allow others to tell you what you need to know.
As far as I am concerned this is another form of book burning. If you can convince someone that everything they read, watch and listen to is bad, then that will severely limit their sources to educate themselves. What you will be left with is a large portion of American’s who when you try to explain why what they heard from their one source is wrong, they will put their fingers in their ears, closes their eyes and say; “I’m not listening!”
Everyone knows knowledge is power; it is why it was once illegal to teach the slaves. In the past many communities would shun anyone who tried to educate the people and science was nothing but the devils lies. This kept the people closed minded and out of touch which allowed their message to be the only one heard.
There are people out there today who still believe Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks. There are people who believe President Obama was not born in America and if you try to educate them and show them proof they have, to them, the perfect defense. “The mass media is full of lies!”
I believe my life has been enriched because I spent a lot of time with different cultures. I learned from different people with different beliefs and ideas. Even when reading the blog of a self-professed racist I can learn something that can be useful. If nothing else, I am exposing myself to different views, which I believe, is an excellent way to educate one’s self.
Unfortunately, with all the progress we have made with technology and the ability to access information and education in seconds, there are some who are turning away because they believe the information out there is false and detrimental to them.
Perhaps life is easier that way. Often it is simpler to not explain your beliefs to others. What you think is right, is right, and no one can tell you otherwise. Just like many of our parents use to say; it is because I said so, or, that is just the way it is.
That is not good enough for me. Yes, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. There is bias on the television and lies on the radio, but for me to close myself off because of those truths would be detrimental to what I want in life, to learn, to explore and to understand. I refuse to turn off and turn out. I will listen even if I do not agree because I may still learn something. The worst question is the one that is not asked and the best answers are useless if there is no one to hear them.