What a Fool Believes

If news-mongers were disposed to report fairly, they might mention that pedophilia among Catholic priests is not a “worldwide crisis” for Catholics but a rare perversion that affects fewer than one out of every hundred priests. I’d be surprised to find a lower incidence of sexual predation among news-editors, reporters, and others employed by the mass media. Journalists wonder aloud how anybody can call hinself a Catholic with this epidemic of pedophilia that’s been going around. I wonder aloud how anybody can call himself a journalist with all the needless misery that arrogant profession has inflicted. 

I may not be alone in the opinion that the motive behind the universal repudiation of the Catholic clergy by the news media is to mount a personal attack on the Pope, who has publicly criticized the USA, its leaders and the rich capitalists that exploit the world’s hapless populace. Among the boundless assets of the rich are the very mass media that warn us incessantly against socialists and other disseminators of suspect political messages. People like the Pope. And British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is accused by his country’s mass media of anti-Semitism because of his support for Palestinian rights. And Senator Bernard Sanders, who claims to be an actual socialist.

We have no way of knowing whether the news media’s onslaught of attacks on designated enemies like the Pope gets any traction among the people who are forced to consume this crap as news. The  last big public opinion poll they gave us had Trump losing the 2016 election in a landslide, so we shouldn’t place much faith in the media’s opinions of our opinions.

Maybe we shouldn’t place much faith in anything they tell us to believe. The way they have things rigged, they don’t tell you much about what’s actually happening in the world, but they tell you plenty about what you should think of what’s happening in the world. NPR actually brags about its listeners’ facility in discussions of public affairs when they gather socially. If you hear a rude utterance about Putin or Assad at a cocktail party, somebody’s probably been listening to “Morning Edition.”

I’ve made a list of some of the things we’re supposed to believe about current events and conditions. If you don’t believe all of these things, you’re probably a Russian bot or some sort of troll.

First and foremost among beliefs is the identity of enemies. We don’t get to choose our enemies, who are sold to us by our mass media. Putin, for example, is an assassin. Everyone knows the evidence against him is compelling. Nobody’s seen any of it, of course, because it’s top secret, but every single person involved in intelligence wll tell you that the evidence is there. Ask the Washington Post. You can trust them. They warned us about the nuclear weapons our designated enemy didn’t have in a country we destroyed.

Here’s what Putin does, just to make us look bad. He circulates stories about bad things happening in the USA, like police officers shooting dark-skinned kids, and famous rich guys raping beautiful girls, and belching power plants polluting the air and water. It’s not that these things aren’t happening, but Putin’s got no business talking about them. Does he?

Another thing you should believe is that rich people–what The New Yorker calls the “donor class”–are just like us. They want what’s best for the grandkids just like you do. It’s true that every move they make is calculated to make them richer today than they were yesterday, but that’s only natural. It’s what you would do if you had unlimited resources, right? Use them to accumulate more? I mean, really, is there such a thing as enough?

You should believe that people in foreign countries want to undermine our cherished democratic processes. Our cherished Democratic “Superdelegates.” Our cherished gerrymandered congressional districts. Our cherished for-profit criminal justice system. If Kim Jong Un ever gets his hands on our voter software, we should believe, our elections could be tainted. Not to worry about George Soros, however, or Rupert Murdoch or the Koch brothers, who have 30 million dollars to spend on the 2018 elections.

You should believe that three skyscrapers fell down in New York City because two of them got hit with airplanes. And the reason the airplanes were there in the first place was that the Air Force couldn’t find their way to New York in time to intercept them. They only had about an hour to find the rascally Arabs you’re supposed to believe were flying the airliners.

You should believe that Arabs are bad. They’re dirty. They don’t take good care of their kids. They don’t like you or people like you. Never mind that they maintain peaceful relations with other peoples, are  notoriously tolerant of strangers, and are generally considered courteous to a fault. You know what they look like–dark–and how they dress–everybody alike.  Do the math.

You should believe that soldiers are heroes. Yes, they wear body armor. Yes, they kill by remote control. Yes, some of them rape local women. But they’re there–on every continent on hundreds of bases throughout the world–to protect your freedom and especially the freedom of international capitalists to exploit human and natural resources anywhere they please. Thank them for their service. They really love that.

You should believe that the CIA, NSA and FBI have cleaned up their act. When they say Russia’s dangerous you should believe them. They always told the truth before. right? Afghanistan’s much improved as a result of CIA involvement. And NSA’s got the goods on just about everybody, giving our government the means to blackmail any person on earth. And that’s a good thing. For  us. Ask a New York Times reporter.

You should believe that the state of US culture–music, art, theater, literature–is sound and that the stream of rubbish assaulting you from every direction is actually worth reading, looking at or listening to. What passes for music, what is tagged as poetry, what audiences must tolerate as “drama” may seem  uniformly trashy and trite, but it’s what NPR calls American culture.

You should believe that it’s your own fault if you’re dissatisfied with the way things are. Yes, suicides are on the rise. Yes, alcoholism is spreading. Yes, ordinary white people are becoming junkies. But that’s because of personal weakness, not because of anything we Americans are doing. Believe this: We’re the best generation of the best people on earth. Right? Right.

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