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February 14, 2019


Professor Kennedy in her blog yesterday quotes a study which found that only 51% of those polled believed in democracy, that older Americans were more likely to believe in fake news than millennials, and that a substantial minority did not believe the Nazis killed six million Jews in Germany. She thinks the media has not done a good job in telling it like it is and that journalists could and should reform their practices in such connection. My response, slightly edited, was as follows.

It is the media itself which educates citizens since the powers that be seem disinterested in providing civic education to schoolchildren, and with print and electronic means owned by corporations primarily interested in advertising revenues it’s just a matter of choosing the best propaganda line to fatten bottom lines and hence we have Foxes, MSNBCs, Breitbarts and their ilk in relentless pursuit of Nielsens and circulation numbers.

The backroom press owners and publishers) (Murdochs et al.) who are slashing newsroom personnel to make more profit have little interest in history, democracy or any other reminder of the past such as year guideposts (1776-Declaration of Independence; 1789-French Revolution; 1619-first introduction of black slaves into the then colonies etc.), and why? Because they don’t sell; they do nothing for Nielsens or circulation; they don’t make money, all of which tells me that we need much greater public investments in NPR and curricular reform other than for reading, writing and arithmetic in our educational system. STEM emphasis while necessary is a capitalist thing; we clearly need to teach more why along with how in the system.

Those who would throw our democracy under the bus should look at the alternatives provided by history, alternatives such as life under a Stalin, a Hitler, a Genghis Khan – bloodthirsty dictators who thought no more of their subjects than as mere means of expanding their own powers, situations we see at work today in our own country with a wannabe dictator whose current preoccupation with a fantasy wall has taken all of the oxygen out of other real and pressing problems (e.g., Putin, Kim, global economic slowdown, fractured alliances, domestic wage inequality etc.).

We the people are entitled to a political and economic system that treats real problems in a real world for real people; we cannot afford the waste of our time and resources in the pursuit of fantasies. To do: Defend democracy (or what is left of it) vigorously and relentlessly against all enemies both foreign or domestic.      GERALD       E

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