So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The Ferguson news bubble
I don't really know what's going on in Ferguson . . . and most likely you don't either.
Without even realizing it most people get their news from outlets that cater to their biases. “Reliable” news sources are those that cater to people's existing political slant. How many Liberals do you know who also tune into Conservative news outlets or the other way around? Darn few, I bet. News caters to many demographic slices: age group, income, education, region, religion -you name it, there's a news outlet with that slant. Impartial news, always fragile, is even rarer these days.
So what's the deal with Ferguson? What can be trusted? Even life video streams of the same event can give different impressions depending on what's in the frame.
I look for certain red flags. A big one is the arrest and harassment of news reporters. That's a sure sign the people in charge want to twist the narrative. I'm always a little freaked when police use military equipment and tactics. That's not the actions of a community safety service but of an invading army. Of course, with the National Guard called out, it's now definitely a military action. Violence across racial/class lines always has the potential for exploding into something larger. All the outsiders flocking to the troubled area with their axes to grind only makes things worse. These events often start out as one thing and grow into something else.
The tensions have been growing for years. I've a good friend of mine with connections to the area. For years I've been hearing about how unsafe the whole St. Louis area is. People are wary of other people, but also don't trust the police. Personal safety always seemed to be a hot topic -not a sign of a good place to be. As a person who travels a lot, I've a mental list of such places.
An astute news consumer can get close to the truth, but it takes work. It also takes pouring through reports from outlets that may make one uncomfortable. To be honest, I'm not doing the work myself. My main concerns are about what this all means. Is it the start of greater National unrest? What are the greater trends? Mainly though, what I'm going to do is give the whole area a wide berth.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.