Ted Turner is blasted by the media for suggesting a one child policy to the U.N.’s Cancun, Mexico climate-change audience. His policy would bring the world population down very slowly and probably taking far more than a hundred years to return to the 1925 population level of two billion even if it were implemented, which it can’t be because it outrages so many media pundits. This one child policy would cause little pain to most people and would only inconvenience those desiring a large family, like the Octomom,who had a litter of eight illegitimate babies at one throw added to her preexisting batch of six. (Oh, the suffering she would endure if she couldn’t have fourteen kids.)
Even an intelligent and successful media mogul like Ted Turner can’t get a reasonable hearing at a UN sponsored conference about the obvious collision of resource depletion and population explosion. It is beyond all expectation that an ordinary person, such as myself, could ever hope to gain a fair public hearing. Only people who own media can express their opinions and even they, like Ted Turner, have trouble with the population issue. The popular media is much worse than the UN for discussing ideas and even it isn’t open to reasonable arguments about something conceived of as a fixed human right, as is personal control of birth. That subject will never have a fair hearing in a public forum because it is too intellectual. Perhaps this is a proper subject to avoid because, next to survival of the individual himself, reproduction is at the core of all living things.
Another reason the media can’t distribute good information is because it is for selling stuff and that requires some stretching of the truth. Selling stuff is its only purpose for the owners of media, not the providing of entertainment and certainly not the distribution of useful information. Here in America sixteen minutes of every hour of broadcast TV is allocated to selling its sponsors’ stuff via advertising, and thus we live in a forty-four minute world. As if that wasn’t bad enough, any potential logical content must be broken up into bite sized morsels which the stupidest person watching can easily comprehend.
Then come the late night comics who are at least nominally intelligent and expect their audience to be so too, but they are so driven by the need to maintain their audience ratings that they rarely pursue the logic of any argument and only find the most weird aspects of any idea to exploit for a series of quick laughs. Even the President of the United States wasn’t immune to this nonsense when being interviewed by Jon Stewart.
Just last week America’s most popular TV news comic, measured by his salary, Jon Stewart, made a fool of himself when he interviewed President Obama. He constantly interrupted Obama with shallow almost incoherent commentary while trying to appear to be a smart-ass who was smarter than the President. His actual understanding of the facts prohibited him from saying anything of value, and the whole show was a shallow disaster for both of them and a waste of time for everyone in the audience. Stewart’s show is followed by another TV comic-maniac, Steven Colbert, but at least Colbert understands the subjects he is pillorying and does his bits with consistent grace, brilliance and understanding. He is a double plus plus over-the-top king’s fool, but at least he seems to understand what he is doing and what he is talking about.
Stewart, on the other hand, is a genuine common people’s fool. For a second illustration, also last week, of his stupid behavior, he had a clip of the president of Shell Oil talking very logically about climate change and the Earth’s atmosphere being a huge heat-engine for pumping heat back into space. Jon clearly didn’t understand what had been said in the clip, even though he had prepared remarks, but he lambasted away with personal insults aimed at this intelligent man actually explaining something important to understand. This was concerning global warming which requires understanding of some basic concepts about the flow of energy. Anyway, Stewart earned his salary making a very smart person seem stupid because he made it appear that the audience shouldn’t waste their time listening to what was being said. What his stupid audience obviously wanted, and he was supplying, was the opportunity to belittle people more intelligent than them by making intelligence seem stupid. The cheers of his studio audience and no doubt silent cheers of millions of viewers came with every insult to reason and responsibility.
A reasoned argument can not be presented to a common audience by a comic who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and the best that can be done to inform the public in that situation is what Colbert does. So, the media promotes stupidity in their audience and —
As the we become dumber we are more likely to stumble into the abyss.