Discrimination, the News and Billybumblers

I want to believe that the theory behind reporting "news" is to objectively present events. You can talk to any researcher and they will tell you that objectivity is subjective! Then there's the gatekeepers, the pressures of the media owners policies and politics, not to mention the artistic photographers and Adobe Photoshop installed on every computer along with the gender, age, race and religion of the reporter and editor impacting the presentation of 'news'.

When I taught a college Psychology course, I used an exercise that started with me whispering something in one student's ear, that student would whisper to the next one and so on until the last student. I'd ask that last student to repeat out loud what was whispered to him/her and look at student #1's face to witness the incredulity. It was always worth a good laugh because what came out the end was nowhere near the way it started. This goes along with the proven fact that two people standing next to each other witnessing the same event will report two very different things.

I suppose I just supplied a logical excuse for the media's slant on today's current events, the Iraq war in particular. The 'news' I get is filtered through many lenses.

I currently work to support families of deployed soldiers. Talking with wives and mothers and fathers of soldiers in Iraq, I hear what their soldiers tell them about what is going on in Iraq. One mother tells me that her son said that the Iraqi people are very kind, giving, welcoming, trustworthy people, and if we weren't over there fighting the insurgents creating hell there, the fight would come to US soil. More than a few family members have told me just about the same.

My point is that what I see on TV news, no matter what news channel, doesn't come close to what soldiers tell their families, who then tell me, is going on. What is on TV does not tell me what soldiers experience daily, or what life is like for the people who call Iraq home. Why not? I plead with the soldiers' families I talk with to stay away from watching the news. Listen to your soldier who is telling you that what is on the news is nothing like what is happening in Iraq.

What irks me the most about this whole thing is the media's obsession with the political discourse about the war in Iraq, which is even farther from what soldiers say is reality. Hence, I call them billybumblers - both the politicians and the media. I don't know if there is such a thing as a billybumbler or if it's just Stephen King's imagined creature in his Dark Tower series, but hey, the shoe fits. What? Do the politicians get their 'facts' from the media? Look at how many lives their decisions are impacting!

Repeat after me: What is on the news is nothing like what is really happening.

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