JunkScience.com asks questions and challenges assumptions on matters of scientific inquiry that impact public opinion and political policy making.
Pretentions of establishment funded and designated “experts” are evaluated with a skeptical eye.
Clarice Feldman at American Thinker provides a commentary on the current culture in the frame of the Duck Dynasty dust up and the A and E announcement of retreat. Her commentary is pertinent to an understanding of the Zeitgeist and how language and attitudes can take us down the road to tyranny.
A & E’s statement of surrender remains, however, a testament to the continuing cluelessness of media executives:
“After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson Family. We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.”
Just One Minute poster “Ignatz” nailed the point:
“Unity, tolerance and acceptance”–
Could you get any more Orwellian?
Unity = unity of thought.
Tolerance = intolerance of a lack of unity of thought.
Acceptance = rejection of anyone who refuses to unify their thoughts with the collective.
Indoctrination by the chattering class can promote these Orwellian goals, and that is why web sites like Junk Science exist–to ask a question, to object to “consensus” that is not established by proper inquiry and evidence, to promote intellectual freedom.
Certainly agit prop is most evident in some politically important areas, but by intimidation and derision, the sneering and snarky can suppress and censor skeptics or critics. No one is allowed to challenge the canon of the ruling class, but the ruling class can arbitrarily impose a canon–and can discard any questions or challenges with an epithet–usually conjuring up some derisive name calling, even vilification and character assassination will do. The left is so power and influence hungry that they leave scorched earth in their political culture wars wake, no opposition is tolerated. When the Media provides confirmation, affirmation, support and censors the opposition, the battle is too often on very favorable rules for the left and the elites.
Discussing a work by Virginia Postrel on this technological and cultural phenomenon, the Speculist observes:
Everybody has access to a lot more information than they used to. Ray Kurzweil points out that today an African kid with a smart phone has access to more information than was available to the President of the United States 20 years ago. The fact that I have thousands of instant movies to choose from on Netflix and Amazon is a quality-of-life improvement for me. The fact that that kid can access Khan academy and tens of thousands of other learning resources that didn’t use to exist is a much bigger deal.
How many of us are availing ourselves of this and how many are simply opening their homes to an endless stream of pabulum and propaganda?
The example used was a fluffy feature but there are organizations with close ties to TV producers who regularly provide the copy newsreaders parrot without editing to people sitting on their comfy couches with their heads turned off.
I used to marvel at the AP health, consumer and environmental propaganda which seemed to me simply an echo of handouts from interested “non-profits”, particularly scarifying around the groups’ fundraising time. I suspect that organizations like Fenton Communications and Glover Park Group tossed this stuff over the transoms with some candy bars to content-starved 20-year-olds in the AP offices looking for something to send out between Starbucks assignations.
Fenton does more than just promote the organizations it represents in traditional ways. Through its connections with the American Communications Foundation it can feed content straight to CBS radio (and into your heads as you weave through traffic).
Its methods are now being utilized by others. Glover Park is quite frank about its approach:
Old lines between public and private sector, journalist and civilian, outside agitator and inside power broker are blurring.
GPG was built to help organizations navigate this shifting landscape. We combine substantive understanding of complex issues with disciplined execution of crisp influence campaigns that shape the way critical audiences view our clients and their goals. In a fast-changing world where the stakes have never been higher, nothing less will do.
The short version of this approach description is — we cultivate buddies in the media and get your stuff on air and in the press as news which influences public opinion in your favor. (end of Feldman comments)
Our local “conservative talk” (that means Rush, Hedgecock and Glen Beck) radio station in my Texas small city, is owned by some people from San Antonio, and a few years ago they went from a Texas news source to CBS, and the hour and half hour reports are full of CBS political and nannie lefty agit prop and “health” or public policy junk science. A scary world of propaganda and lies.
I am reminded of a scene in 1984when Winston returned to the antique shop and the proprietor talked to him about what he used to be able to sell.
Will we be well “informed” but misinformed and ignorant, not wise, in a new age of digital retrieval and searching that gives us access to gigabytes of info “revised” by political correctness censors? Recall that revising history was Winston’s job in the 1984 dystopia.
When Wiki was accused of and admitted bias, they tried openly to improve–but can they self correct without challenges and objections and criticism, when unchallenged ideology prevents objectivity on politically hot button subjects? Now most conservative and skeptic people are leery of WIKI, Snopes, Internet political propaganda and the Main Stream Media, for good reasons.
My analysis of chattering class and particularly media bias was confirmed and supplemented by a new book by Jim Kuypers, Assoc. Prof of Communications at Virginia Tech, Partisan Journalism, A history of Media bias in the United States. The bias of the media doesn’t even require that they coordinate their slant or spin because the journalist community already knows how to communicate their political viewpoint, how to set up the subjects, the theme, how to “frame” the news, and then pile on the spin by selection of narratives and “expert” comment, not to mention their own comments and choice adn use of labels and descriptors.
How many times do they start off introducing a commentary by a conservative with some derogatory or preconceived biased choice of adjective or label? Call a conservative an oil company or tobacco radical or strident shill right up front. Use derogation in describing the opposition. Attack and sneer. Saul Alinsky stuff, easy work for even the illiterate junior reporter aspiring to be a name.
Clarice, as a former Federal Prosecutor and very smart lady, provides valuable commentary every Sunday at American Thinker and this dust up over Duck Dynasty shows that an A and E political correctness culture underlies a troublesome tendency to statist collectivism.
JunkScience founder Milloy is like the antique shop owner in 1984 maybe Orwell and he certainly makes sense and does research that is valuable to the community of independent thinkers.
He warns about the dangers of group think and the threat of statist tyranny when it controls intellectual inquiry. He pursues truth in science and policy making and asserts there is truth and reliable ways to find it.
I salute Milloy at the end of a very difficult year. His recent publication of an in depth assessment of California small particle air pollution is just one example of a long career of debunking terrible and destructive intellectual and scientific fraud.
He be the Junk Man. Aristotle and Francis Bacon would be proud to know him. Empiricism is better off that he was born.