Avoid News Designed to Make You Afraid – Do Activism With Friends

Jonathan Lindgren wrote on FB about avoiding TV because it makes  us upset and full of cortisol,  “Someone else’s comment, and part of why I don’t watch TV: On April 18, 1930 the BBC Evening News reported, “There is no news today,” and shifted to piano music. By the late 1950s, Douglas Edwards and John Cameron Swayze were reporting the day’s news in a 15 minute broadcast. Even at the height of the Cold War, that was usually sufficient to cover the day’s important events. Then came the shift to 30 minute network broadcasts, and later the advent of cable news and social media, with the 24/7 news cycle. Generally speaking, while the importance of the day’s events has receded in consequence (the Great Depression, World War 2, or the Cold War compared to, say, the takeover of Ukraine, police brutality, or the Paris Accords) the time spent in “news” coverage has grown exponentially. The result is a population awash in alarmism, fluff, and advocacy disguised as fact. It takes a toll psychologically.”

This made me write the following, in part because I just rewatched the Redford movie   “All the President’s Men” about impeaching Nixon because he was using all of the government intelligence agencies  plus special”dirty tricks” ex-intelligence  operatives to  spy on, harass, burglarize,   and destabilize   his opponents: Muskie, Democrats, Ellsberg,  Black Panthers, anti-war protesters, and  African-American, Native American and Latino community organizers.  In the case of minority groups.  the government intelligence services and police even  murdered their opponents.

Sometimes even some newspaper stuff is alarmist. -“When it bleeds , it leads” is a phrase applied to the media, so media devotes more coverage to violence. Also, powerful institutions try to make us become afraid, so that we will support militarism, racism, classism, more prisons, more police, more spying, more military contracts, more oil development, etc. The media, the FBI, the intelligence agencies all hype or manufacture instances of “terrorism” in order to get more money and power.
Also district attorneys, prosecutors, and attorney generals hype and pursue cases to get publicity so they can run for higher office. Or they prosecute their political opponents, such as the native americans at Standing Rock, the Stop Keystone XL protestors, etc.  Here is an article about how we need to decrease the power of prosecutors and increase the power of public defenders in order to reduce the number of poor people imprisoned.  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/10/how-we-misunderstand-mass-incarceration. Way too often prosecutors, judges,  and police convict some powerless innocent person in order to look good for election to higher office and to get more money for their departments.  

Solutions- .  A recent letter to the editor by Rishi Raj says that Tolstoy gave advice:   to talk in person with people  with other views and to  doing things with your hands such as gardening, sewing, or a craft.    Link: www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_31111403/rishi-raj-make-connection

Also- protect civil rights and the Bill of Rights by supporting the relevant groups: Center for Constitutional Rights,   the ACLU, and some newspapers and magazines protect  our Bill of Rights (https://ccrjustice.org, aclu.org)  our Bill of Rights; , https://www.innocenceproject.org/ wins freedom for those wrongly convicted, AFSC  fights for less military spending and more funding for justice.(https://www.afsc.org),  The Center for Environment, Health, and Justice  works to protect lower income neighborhoods from toxic pollution (chej.org), Orion magazine talks about revering the spirit of nature and the local knowledge of place, and Yes magazine (www.yesmagazine.org) writes about organizing,   natives, the rights of nature,  the new economy, social justice, and peace.

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