Why is the mainstream media – at least partially – to blame for the current lack of policy discourse on health care?
A train of thought that includes: Big Lies. What is a Meme? And how can they be at War? What does this have to do with current events? And does this provide evidence of a vast right-wingnut conspiracy?
First – as to the evidence of a vast right-wing-nut conspiracy, I don’t think there is one – at least one involving implantation of memes, but I will provide a tongue-in-cheek suggestion at the end of this post that might be of interest to any conspiracy nuts!
Background information: I’ve seen 3 videos this week that combined together in my mind to recall a science fiction book I once read – with a storyline that might be worth recalling. I’m going to present the videos not as I first viewed them, but as they contributed to my thought process:
Video 1: Brief excerpt of a town hall with Bernie Sanders Barney Frank (can you say – “Proofread – ALWAYS Proofread?”) on 8/18/09 – wherein Bernie Barney verbally slaps down a nutter – and in an entertaining way. Bernie’s Barney’s question to the nutter: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” was the initial trigger for my train of thought:
This caused my first vague recollections of a story about meme wars. The recollection was VERY vague (at this point, I hadn’t even remembered “meme wars.” My mind cogitated a bit, then a twitter from @maddow led me to her show’s homepage – and the following video where the Party of No – and specifically the GOP’s actions in the Health Care debate are quite successfully satirized with a skit about ordering pizza!
Drat! I thought I could embed the relevant video right here, but I’ve just spent at least 30 minutes trying – without success!
Oh well, back to the more mundane way of getting you to the video: just click: Rachel Maddow Show Excerpt and you’ll see the video.
The pizza video got me wondering how anybody could come to such a simple mindset – and then I remembered ANOTHER Rachel Maddow Show Excerpt addressing the different “fact space” that way too many Republicans seem to currently inhabit.
What I couldn’t then comprehend is how it’s possible for people to believe things that are demonstrably not true. I’m not talking religious faith here – I honor and respect the right of anyone to have faith in the higher power of their own choosing. But showing a religiously faithful loyalty to a set of provably wrong political facts?
A bit more cogitating – and the phrase “meme wars” finally popped into my head! A very quick bit of Goggling brought me to 2 WikiPedia Entries:
One True – wherein a bit of background on the “Meme War” is included as part of the entry and
Meme – where the whole idea of a meme is better explained – at least if you haven’t read the books referenced in the One True WikiPedia page linked above.
I still needed one more cognitive link to get to my conclusion — The Big Lie. I haven’t linked to anything to explain the Big Lie, because the links I was able to find didn’t come anywhere close to my current understanding! So here’s my definition:
Big Lie – a demonstrably false assertion that is repeated so often and so prominently, without equally well distributed debunking, that many people come to believe in it’s truth – and this belief persists despite later definitive refutation.
Some examples? “Saddam Hussein was intimately involved with 9/11.” “We found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” – “Healthy Forests Act” I could go on, but I suspect anyone who reads me can easily fill in 8-10 more from recent American political discourse.
The current big lies revolve around health care. They gain traction because a significant proportion of our population gets their information solely from the “Right Wing Scream Machine” (aka Echo Chamber) wherein there is no refutation of the Big Lies being promulgated. So why don’t these people seek a broader source of news? Here’s my last “Aha!” moment:
The failure of the mainstream media (MSM) to do their job post 9/11 and refute the Big Lies that the Bush administration and the right wing media were pushing acclimatized these people to believing the right wing scream machine. Consequently, these people now only pay attention to the scream machine. So convinced are they that what they hear is true that they are constitutionally incapable of recognizing the objective truth, no matter how much it is shoved into their faces.
The specific failure of the MSM lies in not investigating, or at least not reporting on, the big lies presented between 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq war. I firmly believe that, had the MSM done their job (instead of taking administration talking points as gospel,) the big lies of the Right Wing Scream Machine wouldn’t have sunk into the collective consciousness of many Americans.
At least not without brain implants and the One True software!