July 28, 2013
Mainstream Media Committing Murder
Looking around me and seeing people’s reaction to what they hear and see on mainstream media makes me remember a movie I watched when I was in high school. The movie revolved around a small town rock band who hit it big to later discover their record company was infiltrating subconscious messages in their music to get their audience to buy certain products. The movie portrays consumerism at its best. Of course, in the movie, good defeats evil at the end and everybody wakes up from their daze and the brainwashing stops. Don’t forget victimising the bad guy in the last few minutes of the movie to make audience feel sorry for him, sort of a Tom and Jerry reference when adults start feeling sorry for Tom rather than Jerry.
The cynicism surrounding this teen movie is not to be underestimated as years later I see myself living this situation with the exception of a few variables changing. Instead of a rock band we have a few charismatic, good looking prominent figures in society. Instead of a record label we have governments, billionaires who have investments in the country and outsiders who have their eye on a bigger prize of which no one else is aware of. And of course, your high scale equipment, microphones, cameras and amplifiers, aka Mainstream Media.
The danger in mainstream media’s grasp of the masses’ minds lies in the fact that we still look at the media as having one cause, reporting the truth. We find ourselves believing literally anything we see or hear on TV or read in a newspaper. People would argue and say, “Come on now! Don’t underestimate our intelligence, we can’t be easily fooled, we are EDUCATED” and I would agree with that. But the problem is that what we hear on the news is never going to be so direct to the extent that people doubt the reality of what is being aired. Let’s take the following scenario as an example.
Source A : A brutal gang raided the house and kidnapped a child from his mother’s arms.
Source B : Heroes used their professional tactics to enter the house and return the kidnapped child to his parents who were impatiently waiting outside for their beloved’s return.
In both sources, the story is being reported, but the public opinion regarding this story will be determined by which side of the story suits their belief system. If I don’t want to believe that they were a brutal gang I would definitely go to source B to get my news.
This is very similar to what is happening in our society today. The public opinion is being forcefully skewed to believe one side’s version of the story rather than the other in order to meet that side’s agenda and goals. Since it is in our human nature to refuse being proved wrong as we see it as weakness, we will always go to that source that tells us what we want to hear. The world news tailored to my preference.
The danger in this situation is that it is now over passing the economical conspiracy of making us want to be so engrossed in the process of making money in order to be able to afford a lifestyle that is advertised to guarantee happiness for us. It has unfortunately reached a point where the Arab people are cheering for each other’s demise because we still do not know how to disagree in a civilised way without insulting and belittling the opposing side. We are falling prey to Mainstream Media terrorism. People are being subjected to a form of terrorism that cannot be fought with weapons. They are being forced to believe in one side of the story as the other side is being censored. I believe many people are fully aware that this has been taking place for quite a while now. However; what needs to be addressed now is the fact that this form of terrorism is not limited to TV and Newspapers. We actually reached a stage where we, the people, are pawns in this twisted game. We hear a story from a friend who heard it from his cousin’s barber who lives in another city who in turn heard it from his brother’s teacher as he was passing by a coffee shop and we start spreading it as if we have seen it with our own eyes.
A massacre can take place in a country against people who have a different political belief and you will switch on your TV (The channels you are allowed to watch since the channels showing the opposing side have been cut off) to see series and movies being aired as if nothing has happened. Not so shocking based on the history of these channels. But when the public does not show a strong reaction towards this massacre, this is what makes one person wonder about our fate as human beings who have been given reason to use it. The same people who sang songs of glory for their country and pinned their massive flags on their balconies as they believed they are demonstrating against terrorism are now silence when terrorism takes place. However; a story of clashes between Morsi supporters and protestors in Alexandria leading to ten people’s unfortunate death is highlighted and repeated every 30 minutes on TV. Which is commendable as it is the media’s job to report everything, but where are the news stories about the fatal attacks on Morsi supporters in Cairo at Rabaa Square that lead to the death of an estimated number of 150 people , most killed by live ammunition ? Is the goal here to twist the truth or to completely blind the public from this massacre? Most importantly, why is the public opinion savagely accepting this massacre and justifying it? Because mainstream media has been feeding people one definition of terrorism only and that definition of terrorism is biased and full of discrimination based on your political belief, religion and even attire.
When every caricature revolving around terrorism, a topic that I see no humour in, has men dressed in traditional Islamic wear then what message is this sending? There are no angels and devils in this scenario; every side has its honourable members who want what is best for the country, and other members who are in it for their own interest. But what mainstream media has successfully managed to do is to highlight the worst of one side and bring out the best of the other… Over and over again until people see themselves regurgitating the same views they are forced to believe in through the domination of mainstream media. You would see an interview with an extreme man of religion, posing to be a representative of Islam when he does not portray Islam in any way, being repeated all over the media. In the interview, the questions answered by this man serve one purpose and one purpose only; to pollute the image of anything Islam related. Instead of people, who claim to know the basics of religion such as peace and compassion, laughing it off and saying, “what a character” they believe that this ill representation of Islam in politics is the ONLY one out there? The media loves men like that , ones who make their job easier by convincing people that anyone related to anything Islamist is a backwards, uneducated , brainwashed and violent person. These are the examples of Islamists that have been plastered all over Egyptian Mainstream media for the past couple of years. This lead to today’s cold reaction towards the massacre committed, the public are actually convinced that every man and woman today protesting in Rabaa are copies of the twisted extremist posers who have been introduced in the media as “islamists.”
The double standards people are living today are honestly mind boggling. Less than two years ago people were protesting in Tahrir square against the brutality and use of excessive force from the military and police. Today , there are people literally dancing in the streets for the military , and I swear it takes me so much self restraint to not Imagine those people chanting “ Kill, Kill, Kill “ while they celebrate. Media sources that were exposed during the 25th Jan revolution for being so unprofessional are now celebrated because they started the war against the elected parliament and president since day one. The current situation reminds me of Voltaire’s famous saying, “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” That is what mainstream media has created today, trumpets sounding while murder is taking place.
Underestimating the power of mainstream media has to stop immediately. It is leading us all towards war and more bloodshed. When we find ourselves accepting our brother’s murder because he belongs to an opposing political group ,this is when we need to stop and trace back our steps to see how our mentality got to this stage , who is benefitting from this situation and what can be done to salvage what’s left of our sense of humanity.