I came across this article at the Times, written by Jennifer Egan – Pulizter prize winning author on “Why we need writers more than ever, our democracy depends on it.”
If it weren’t for the press, who would keep us abreast in a world fuel injected with fake news and social media propaganda? It’s the press who keeps check on issues and people who are making the news for reasons both bad and good. It’s the reporters and journalists who speak out on what’s wrong, calling out leaders who aren’t doing their jobs, calling out propaganda in the mainstream social media used to sway and spin and stir up shit. Propaganda was Hitler’s initial method for instigating his extermination plan. Now we have social media to assist as a huge method to capture headlines – both fake and real.
Egan states in her article, “A mediasphere designed for spectacle can’t be expected to fix the oversimplification it creates. We need writers for that, and we need them badly. Literature, like democracy, is built of a plurality of ideas.” She continues to speak on how every form of literacy creates a perception for the reader, which helps to instill empathy and explains how writers throughout the ages have had the ability to help overthrow repressive regimes.
“Literature is an antidote to the blunt distortions—good vs. evil, us vs. them—that are so easily exploited by those who would manipulate us.”
How many times have we seen on the news journalists around the globe risking their lives to report on some of the atrocities going on around the world and getting jailed or even killed for reporting a truth? And the reason for these crimes against journalists is merely because those authoritarian governments or people holding power feel threatened when publicly exposed. Writers, reporters, journalists write to keep the wrongs in the forefront for the public to watch and listen to, giving the public the chance to judge for themselves so as not to be lured and eluded by untruths.
Writers need to be writing to exploit injustices and to preserve democracy. When free speech is compromised, so is democracy. When did a party difference of right or left begin to replace right and wrong? Why does a simple tweet of calling something a hoax make it so just because a leader thinks he can cancel out facts by standing on the highest soapbox and shouting out the loudest. This does not make it so. And this does not negate all the fact finding the journalists and their inside sources who put their lives on the line for every day do to educate the public.
From my vantage point, as one who follows world politics closely, it appears like the world is in a battle with mankind. Greed is the number one reason for much of the state of the world. Big money corporations taking over for much of the world’s political climate because of the kickbacks they receive in return, a system of money going to money, the rich getting richer and the little guys paying for most of their sins through their own pockets. Who is there left to defend us middle class and low income earners? It’s the writers and reporters who keep us abreast of these issues, among many others. No, they can’t solve the world’s problems, but they certainly can shine lights on these issues to give us fair and truthful information, leaving us the readers, to discern on our own the reported discoveries.
The old adage, “You can lead a horse to water . . .” often occurs when facts are offered up but many sheeples prefer to follow the masses, not doing their own homework on the state of their environments, societies and even their countries. If you’re on social media a lot like I am, you can read all the messaging from good vs. evil. There are people calling out injustices and others pushing them. And if we aren’t well informed on truthful facts, it’s so easy to get caught up in the world of fakes news and ill intentions. The era we are living in now globally is an era of uncertain times for sure. And uncovering the truth for every situation being exploited into the mediaverse are the gifts we receive from journalists around the world who are often sacrificing their own safety while getting to the heart of each matter.
Personally, I feel as though God is shaking his head at what man has done to his world. He watches with salty tears, but doesn’t interfere in our choices because we all have free will. But all the greed, anger, and propaganda floating around and shoved done our throats now seems to be at the breaking point of the proverbial camel’s back. I can’t help but think God has done it before; he’s wiped out the earth and started over with Noah’s Ark, only this time I don’t believe there’s an Ark to save us. By abusing mankind, our brethren, and our planet, it feels as though the Ark isn’t coming and if we don’t change course on these issues of injustice, we’ll be left behind to swim that creek with no paddles.
In the era in which we’re now living, changes happen swiftly – and most are not for the better. It’s too easy to fall prey to fake news because it’s manipulated to do just that. Those who may not have time to watch TV news, pick up an old fashioned newspaper, subscribe to an online factual newspaper, and those who listen strictly to propaganda news stations with distorted facts to sooth the wrong-doers, social media paid and sponsored ads created to target the uneducated are all rampant and attract those who easily fall prey to fake news. It’s up to each of us to pay a little more attention to what is going on in the world around us. It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms we’ve come to enjoy and expect. But when red flags are presented we should all be caring about reinforcing everything good that seems to be vanishing in our world like, courtesy, kindness, and compassion, and the very core of our freedoms.
Writers should be writing, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to write about world politics if that’s not our strong point. But writing books, articles, essays, and short stories are a great way to create empathy for the reader. Words that make people feel something, words that invigorate people to open up their emotions, words to invoke compassion, can all create new discoveries for a reader – no matter the subject content. Reading is education in a host of realms. It’s us as writers who can contribute to educating others, whether it’s to keep people factually informed, or to create an atmosphere with story to invoke thought or awaken hearts with compassion.
This short video is part of the Times article where journalists speak up for freedom of the press, and tributes to those journalists jailed and killed for speaking the truth. They are resilient and relentless to continue to report the truth.