Every day on our televisions, in our newspapers and magazines, and on any number of social media sites; you can see and/or hear the constant spewing of political BS.  Every place you go for news, it is all about to get buried under a brown onslaught  of bullshit inflammatory headlines.

This constant feces storm of pointless news “filler” is a problem for anyone who wants to be an informed citizen.  To learn anything useful, you need to be able to sort through all of the garbage to find the actual information and insight.  So to help you identify some of the political “bullshit” please ignore the following:

 

Any news source that is decidedly biased either liberally or conservatively.  Anybody with a brain can figure this out within the first two minutes of watching these “hack” news programs.  Their goal is not to present both sides of an issue, but rather to present and further their political rhetoric.

Avoid any headline that contains words that promotes any sense of hatred, anger, mistrust, or danger to the other side of the political debate.

An example of this is a politician or other prominent person who goes on the defensive and states something inflammatory about the other side, usually by rephrasing their own party’s talking points, over and over.

Politics is often times like a playground disagreement that ends in a fight between two foes.  The media gathers around the arguing kids in a circle, chanting, “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”  In politics, of course, they don’t punch each other; they instead, use words like “blast.”

What does it mean to you?  It means a politician publicly disagreeing with the opposing party in a completely expected way that changes nothing about the political landscape or national policy whatsoever.  When they get tired of “blasts,” sometimes they’ll mix things up with “rips” or “lashes out at” or “unloads on,” but usually “blasts” is the go-to word.

These stories are, as you can see, are totally empty of any reasonable content.  But they are popular because they promote politics as a contest.  There’s a petty, tribal satisfaction in seeing a member of our side really put the other team in their place.  There’s a rush of outrage, adrenaline infused persona, when the other team says something mean about us.  So, instead of covering pending legislation or the impact it could have on your life, the news media covers the dick-measuring contest.

Any politician can get a crowd of microphones in front of him by “blasting” the president or a candidate or whoever else is a big target for blasting.  Then, the crowd of microphones will all rush off to whoever got blasted, and get them to blast back.  This will mean that the original blaster has now “drawn fire” and this artificial feud or battle between combatants is perpetuated.

Another thing to avoid in this “battle” is any news story that includes the phrase to deliver a “blow” to the other person.  All you are doing is focusing on the drama and not looking at the consequence of important policy changes.  It is about promoting or derailing the personal political careers of the politicians involved.

We all know about the huge fight over health care reform in America.  Whether you think it’s a good or a bad plan, you can’t deny that it’s unbelievably huge and it will impact almost every single human being living in the United States, either through their personal ability to get coverage, or their taxes, or changing health care costs, or changing rules to their existing coverage.  The affordable Care Act is part and parcel of the Barack Obama reality show and there is no reality involved.  But, it is also not a contest to be won or lost.  It’s about legislation that affects this country.  Also, news stories are ultimately about people and how those people’s lives are affected.   Again, we are not playing some game or contest.  What happens politically affects us all, and for some, more than others.

There’s an even bigger problem with this, it actually implies that the issue itself is completely unimportant because it seemingly only affects certain groups.  For example, if a regulation is changed by the EPA, it will be reported as a blow to the environmentalists instead of being reported as a blow to the people, who have to drink the water or breathe the air, or the taxpayers who have to fund the regulations, or the businesses that lose jobs over it. They specifically make it sound like the effects extend purely to some fringe special interest group and absolutely no one else.

Avoid news that point to any story that relates to politicians who accidentally misspoke.  We all do it so why make such a big deal out of something that we all realize was an error.  Case in point, when headlines contain the word “gaffe.”  The word just means “embarrassing mistake,” and I have never heard it used outside of the context of a meaningless, bullshit filler political news story.

You’re probably asking why routine slips of the tongue continually become news headlines when they have absolutely no impact at all on the candidates’ positions or platforms, or what they intend to do in office, or how capable they are of doing it, or anything else. The answer is that many people don’t follow politics in order to find out who to vote for as part of their duty as citizens living in a democracy. They follow it purely as a form of entertainment.  They’re like sports fans, rooting for their “team” to win.

And as you’re going to find out, virtually all political news coverage is written to appeal to those people.  They’re the most rabid “consumers” of news, and their traffic is the most reliable, so the news is tailored to appeal to them.

It even has a name…horse brace journalism, where the stories focus purely on the “sport” of politics rather than the consequences.   About half of the political news stories are about actual policy and the other half are these frivolous “who’s winning the game” stories.  In this game, your “team” scores a point each time the other team says something stupid.  It lets all of the supporters of your team mock and humiliate the supporters of the opposing team, and this happens nationwide.

Another slight variation of this is the so called stories of embarrassing yet totally inconsequential “scandals” about a candidate that involve nothing illegal or improper, but supposedly define the candidate as a person.  It’s that same old story of the fight on the playground, where someone loses.  But instead of taking their beating and walking away; they will use lies and exaggerations to make the other person; appear to be the bad person.

Another thing to avoid is stories that imply “stupidity” on actions of politicians as a means to discredit the entire political party or platform.

In every single group of human beings, you have a certain percentage of crazy shitheads.  My sister has devoted her live to saving homeless golden retrievers, and I’ll bet within that group, I can find a few crazy shitheads. Liberals, conservatives, or moderates: they all have their crazy shitheads that can be pointed out.  Thus, their existence proves nothing about the group as a whole.  It is always wrong to dismiss a political movement by simply pointing at their craziest shitheads.  A Sarah Palin or Ted Nugent does not represent the entire Republican Party and either does Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reed represent the total Democratic Party.

For instance, if some crazy shithead member of the Kansas state legislature refers to rape as a flat tire; that is not important national news.  The fact that this same Kansas legislature passed a rape law that is flawed and affects a lot of people in Kansas; that is news if you live in that state and you are a woman.

Even if you disagree and think that these people do have enough power that the stupid shit they say is more news worthy than the legislation that they pass, than politicians will continue to make laws without any concern for how these laws affect the lives of the people they are supposed to represent.

These stories exist purely so that supporters of the opposing “team” can get that cheap sugar rush of self-righteousness, and in the process completely turn off the part of their brain that might otherwise consider what anyone in that other party might have to say.

Finally, avoid news that asks questions that’s only intent is to put forth the idea of some bullshit story, when the accuser has no supporting substance behind the allegation.  They do this so that when and if they are challenged…they act innocent and state that they were only asking the question.  Also be careful of stories, in which words such as “may” or “might” or “rumored to” in the title. It accomplishes the same thing.

Watching political races can become overpowering.  That makes you an easy tool for manipulation, and every good politician and pundit knows how to push those buttons to make people march neatly in formation.  Or else you’ll start supporting the most bullshit legislation just because your guy is for it.  Or you’ll start knee-jerk rejecting anything the other “team” proposes.  Not because it’s bad for the country, but because you want to deny them a “win.”

It’s a poisonous way of thinking.  It will rot your ability to think critically about the subjects that really matter.  It’s bad for you, it’s bad for this country.  You have to be better and smarter than the person they think you are, or you will blindly knuckle under and become one of the masses…against the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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