A Case for Live Viewing
In the peace of my own home, I have the choice to do, view, watch, enjoy, etc., anything I want. You can’t stop me, I can’t stop you. With consideration of the wrought political environment the United States finds itself in, I find myself more and more watching news, listening to news podcasts, and watching videos of our leaders speaking. Please do not mistake my obsession with being aware of the surrounding events with the idea that I find these forms of media enjoyable — my late father simply instilled in me the idea to ‘be aware of your surroundings’. Most times, I have to force myself to watch or listen, cringing at the daily representation of the media’s ideas. I have sat through hours of impeachment trials, witnesses, and dozens of other forms of speeches — exponentially more than the zero attention I used to pay. Despite the lengthy and often interruption-filled speeches, regardless of the impossible to hear questions the reporters ask, I still listen and I still watch. I want to know what’s going on and, I find that increasingly difficult to achieve each day.
There isn’t a single place in this country it feels safe to talk politics anymore. Even amongst people who agree with you or the family you love — politics are taboo. Why is that though? Why can’t we talk to anyone about what is going on in our country? What happened that even people who agree, can’t agree on anything?
If there were one place I could put my finger down and point to the location of the problem, it’s in the form of the media we consume. By consuming media the way we do, we leave ourselves vulnerable to misinformation, opinion, and inaccessible facts. I can’t tell you if the Iowa Caucus was hacked or if somebody had bad intentions. I didn’t think anything happened, until members of the media started to mention it. In hours, names were trending of people who are now subject to a new conspiracy theory because the app they used was from Shadow Inc. and somehow, through some crazy six degrees of separation, Hillary and Obama are involved. Reports are coming out the election was rigged and thus people must lose faith!
Like any moment when technology is introduced to an old idea, some kinks will need working out. We are expecting higher voter turnout than any year in the past — can you believe there won’t be delays? It didn’t instill confidence but, I’m not jumping to the conspiracy theories because, objectively, they hold no basis in fact.
If it weren’t bad enough to enjoy depressing information from the news, our friends and family throw it in our faces every possible moment. Funny memes meant to be ironic or to show support of some party or belief divide us even further. The problem, though, is we hear this information from unverifiable sources. We are in a time when, ‘if I don’t see it, it’s not real’ is the modus operandi. If I can’t see the curve on the Earth, it’s flat. If I can’t see a study showing Vaccines DON’T cause Autism, I won’t believe they don’t. If it’s cold, how could global warming possibly exist?
Now, I’m no scientist but I’d be willing to say: I trust scientists. They have facts, they use data, and they use a method to figure out truth. A scientist will write articles, cite their sources, give you the data if you want; all in the name of ensuring you believe the truth they figured out. Our media doesn’t do that. The media doesn’t always tell you where information comes from, they don’t play every clip, they don’t show the opposing arguments. That said, how can you trust them? How can you trust anything they say?
The only way then, is to see it with your own eyes. We can’t all be there, we can’t attend every rally or political event but, almost everything is recorded. You don’t get the feel of the environment, the anger of the people, the passion of the members but, you do get what actually happened when you watch a live-recorded video.
A live video, either recorded for later viewing or viewed at that moment, shows you the details that will get cut. A live will show you that this member wasn’t paying attention (even if your news station doesn’t want to advertise that), it can give you a feel of the bigger picture of the message, and it can give you the information you can’t possibly get in three or four minute clips.
Take, for example, the impeachment trial. If you were to sit there and watch the whole thing live, you would get a different feel for both arguments. On the left, a group of men and women argue for their beliefs that the world deserves what is Right and Just — offering facts and analyses of information and timelines. On the right, a group of men and women argue for their beliefs that the law has different rules than we are seeing. To watch each individual senator or counsel-member speak, you get a different idea of what is being argued about.
Watching the media’s clips, well you’ll see left-leaners saying Adam Schiff destroyed Republicans arguments and you’ll see right-leaners saying the White House Counsel has dismantled the Democrat argument. Watching to learn your own opinion from a live video, you can find your own truth and then, you can be more aware of the methods your news sources use to mislead you.
I’m not saying you need to blindly trust the media but, they aren’t lying to you like people want you to believe. They, like every company in the world, are playing an economic game. The news needs viewers, so they give them what sells to the people who watch. You can’t change that so;, do your own analysis from live video and judge how much people are lying to you.
The warning I would offer is: use caution. Don’t sit there and think that because it’s our president speaking that the facts are, without doubt, true. Simple fact-checks can reveal simple ideas. For example, Ivanka Trump wasn’t responsible for creating 15 million jobs — more than the Obama did during the entirety of his presidency. I mean, as of October 2019, the number stands at 6 million for the Trump presidency since he took office. What does Ivanka do again?
“As a research tool, the internet is invaluable.”
— Noam Chomsky
Just because someone says it doesn’t make it true. Learn facts, gather statistics, and learn who will give them to you without their own opinion swaying the information (as little as possible at least).
If you don’t do any of this — fact checking, live viewing, media/pundit analysis — please either stay out or try harder. Blaming the media is an excuse not do the work on your own so you can go on feeling like the better human you are.