Media Conspiracy Theories are Overrated

Q. I believe Western media is controlled by:

a) The Jews

b) The Illuminati

c) The Rich Elite

d) All of the above

e) The media corporations are essentially businesses whose commodity is pandering to people’s prejudices. There’s no conspiracy, just a bunch of companies that know how to make money off the ignorant masses.

I had initially written a post about the so-called media conspiracy, in light of the media circus over the Boston bombers. Then the French embassy bombing in Tripoli happened, so I tried to tie that in, and it basically ended up being an incoherent rant about nothing in particular.

Complaining about a secret media ploy to undo the Middle East is a favorite pastime talking point here. We bask in the comfort of knowing that the failings of our region is the fault of ‘the West’, and not any inequity on our own part.

Of course I’m not saying there isn’t a bias in the media. And I’m not saying it’s not a deliberate bias, either. But I do not believe the entire media empire of the West is focused on undermining our region, religion or culture. We’re doing a fantastic job of that on our own.

Let’s be honest. No one would watch a breaking news segment if the headline was, “Small bomb set off at marathon, many saved due to everyone’s help, but still some deaths and injured. We won’t make any assumptions on who did it until we get all the facts, like responsible adults”.

Now compare that to, “MUSLIM TERRORISTS ALMOST FOR SURE SET OFF A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN AMERICA, LOTS OF BLOOD AND FEAR AND RUNNING, LOOK OUT!!”

(Btw, Dzohar Tsarnaev is actually being accused of using a WMD)

But it’s not a well planned vendetta against Muslims (I believe). Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves, a Muslim being accused of a terrorist attack is very believable. It’s easy to stick it to our religious group. There are ‘Muslims’ who have done unspeakably horrible things in the name of our religion, and while their acts couldn’t be further from what our religion preaches, the media isn’t looking for accuracy. It took a religious group that could be featured prominently, and used them to capture their audiences’ attention for a prolonged period of time, when news is going through a dry spell.

It doesn’t matter that there’s no such thing as ‘Islamic terrorism’, it doesn’t matter that a lot of the terrorists are angry over the wars in the Middle East and Asia. People get killed, and the brown men with the beards are to blame. No complex thinking, no unnecessary logic. Action, reaction, direct your anger here. I like this news station, they make everything simple and easy to understand.

We can see the repercussions of all this on social media sites. There are the sympathizers, who just absorb all the news. There’s the angry responders  who need to tell everyone how absolutely disgusted they are. There’s the angry responders to the angry responders, who are equally disgusted by how the latter group don’t use rational thinking and wait for the facts before laying blame. Then there are the people who are angry because everyone else is and they want to fit in.

I’m normally a fan of social media and how it connects everyone, but after seeing the catastrophes during the news story over the Boston bombing, I’m almost convinced that World War III will be fought over social media. They’ll call it the Facebook Wars, and future generations will look back at us who had an amazing technological miracle like the internet and used to it to call each other assholes in a variety of languages. And cat pictures, of course. Mustn’t forget those.

Confession: I wrote that last paragraph first, and just built this entire post around it. Interesting how things work out.

I still stand by my beliefs though. I don’t think there’s a secret society, pulling the strings of the rest of the world. I don’t believe the media is trying to get everyone to hate Muslims. I think we still just have a long way to go in adapting to our new, globally connected societies.

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