What You Can Do About Ignorance and Hate

Yesterday I happened to pick up a copy of the Tampa Bay Times. In it, I read a story (definitely a “story” and not an “article”) about something I know a lot about.

This story was filled with ignorant opinions and ideas which made it obvious to anyone who had any knowledge of the subject that the person writing it did no research whatsoever and was simply yapping out of their nether parts.

And every day I see more and more of this by the media.

Man reading a newspaper
Photo by Patrick Marioné/Flickr

Back when I studied writing and journalism, it was drilled into us that one was required to search out the answers to these six questions which constitute the Holy Grail of journalism:

· Who did it?

· What was done?

· When did it happen?

· Where did it happen?

· Why did it happen?

· How was it done?

We learned that if you kept your articles to these six points, you would come up with a pretty good piece that would be factual unless someone had actively lied to you in the research process. Simple, right?

But right now, the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of journalism is either not being taught or intentionally not being followed.

When you look at the systematic vilification that occurred then and the systematic vilification that we see today of certain groups—most notably religions—the parallels are obvious.

Stories containing ignorant statements that can be easily proven wrong turn the entire article into a farce.

And although everyone loves a good laugh, the damage these pieces do when widely disseminated and believed is so severe it can destroy an entire civilization.

Back in the days just after World War I, a campaign was put in place to vilify a sector of the population in Germany.

The campaign was based on eugenics, the idea that one’s body is who and what one is and that those unlucky enough to be born in damaged bodies or as members of “inferior races” were to be destroyed “for the good of all mankind.”

And based on that idea, an entire machine was set up to implement it. A huge part of that machine was the propaganda arm of the Nazi party run by Paul Joseph Goebbels.

This machine of lies and evil turned an entire populace against itself. First the “insane” were targeted and they were declared insane by paid psychiatrists who prostituted themselves and declared their victims such because they had disagreed with someone in power.

Then the “mentally retarded” were targeted and eliminated as they were “inferior.” And then the machine focused its deadly glare on the Jews.

Polish Jews and police
Polish Jews captured by German police in 1943.

Fast forward a few years, and over six million Jews had been systematically murdered in the most cold-blooded manner possible. Families, lives and nations were destroyed.

Those who were forced to take part in this bloodbath by being drafted into the German army now see the faces of those so brutally murdered on the inside of their eyelids every night before they go to sleep.

And that more than anything destroys a person.

When you look at the systematic vilification that occurred then and the systematic vilification that we see today of certain groups—most notably religions—the parallels are obvious.

And we do not have to look far to find the ultimate goal of their hate. After all it almost “worked” then.

So what do we do to avoid becoming those who close our eyes to the lies and injustice and later close them at night seeing the faces of those we helped betray and destroy?

We apply the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of journalism.

If you don’t see these points in an article, know that there is data left out. If these points do not jive with what you know, or with common sense, know that you are being lied to.

And most of all, know that the end product of hate—if left unchecked—is destruction of anyone and everyone, just like in World War II. Hate knows no differentiation, even if it pretends it does.

We do not have to hate each other, we do not have to fight, we do not have to natter and criticize and we do not have to be as desperately unhappy as so many of us are when filled with disgust for our fellow man.

So let’s apply this to the news today:

Who is behind the media today that is so intent on creating chaos and upset and manipulating people through hate? The media talking points from station to station are virtually identical. Who is giving them these marching orders?

What are the results of their actions? Conflict, rioting, and innocent people being targeted and harassed, abused and murdered.

When and how did all this conflict begin? Conflict starts somewhere. It is easy to see that the riots and upsets started right after a series of talking points were issued and pushed by media outlets.

Where are they getting their information?

Apparently the media outlets are all getting it from the same source. The message is the same from station to station.

Why are they doing it? What is their REAL purpose behind this? Because (newsflash) it is not to simply deliver the news.

Conjuring up hate and lies serves only one purpose: manipulation of the ignorant to carry out heinous acts that the manipulator wants done but is too cowardly to do himself.

We are all under attack and we need to realize it. We are barraged daily by lies, ignorant opinions and hate.

Only by fully understanding the real purpose of these alarming stories and insisting that we decide ourselves that we will love or hate who we please, will we take away the only weapon that they continue to use against us.

We can shun those who are too lazy and ignorant to do their jobs and who fall back on creating hate for their daily bread.

And we can call out those who do not use the most basic and simple journalistic standards in reporting.

We do not have to hate each other, we do not have to fight, we do not have to natter and criticize and we do not have to be as desperately unhappy as so many of us are when filled with disgust for our fellow man.

WE create the narrative. WE create and decide what is and is not news. And these phony “journalists” who just won’t get it will end up on the trash heap of history, unmourned.

Author

Take Action

COMBAT HATE SPEECH
& DISINFORMATION

If you have encountered hate speech and disinformation online, in the media, or in any public venue, take action by reporting it here.

PROMOTE
FREEDOM OF RELIGION

Urge adoption of the Charter on Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief. Make your voice heard.

ABOLISH DISCRIMINATION
OF ANY KIND

The first step in fighting intolerance and discrimination is raising awareness. Report discrimination of any kind to STAND here

Sign Up for Updates