Something like that happened in Spain recently. Except in this case, my guess is that most folks are dutifully obeying the special-effects talking head.
Not everybody, though.
An excerpt from someone else's blog:
"What the Pope really said in Spain"There's quite a bit more to that post: I recommend reading it.
Deacon for Life (November 11, 2010)
"From the screeching headlines and sour press reports, you would think Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Spain was a colossal flop. What else could you call a visit from an 83-year-old cleric who spent two straight days ranting against gays and abortion amid swarms of angry protesters? And we all know that's what happened, because the mainstream media told us so.
"Never mind that little in the transcripts or live television coverage of the papal visit supported that storyline. Or that those anti-pope protests trumpeted as the trip's most newsworthy event were more minuscule than massive. The gay rights activists who staged a "kiss-in" against Benedict in Barcelona numbered about 200. The pilgrims who gathered to cheer him numbered a quarter million.
"Let's not dwell on numbers. What matters are words, and according to the Associated Press, Benedict devoted his to 'attacking' and 'blasting' Spain's lax abortion and marriage laws.
"Not explicitly, of course. Yet astute observers could detect the angry, political subtext of his Sunday homily in Barcelona's newly consecrated Basilica of the Holy Family. The AP spared readers all that papal mumbo jumbo about the beauty of faith and family and cut to the chase, saying Benedict 'railed against same-sex marriage and divorce' and 'criticized policies allowing for abortions.'..."
Being a little more charitable - maybe - I think what we're seeing is partly the result of people in a very insular subculture being forced to encounter a situation which they neither understand nor like. It's the sort of thing you might expect if an expert on the subject of French flutes of the Baroque period were assigned to covering the world heavyweight championship for Sports illustrated.
Information gatekeepers are the people in a society who determine what others are allowed to see and hear. In America, until quite recently, information gatekeepers were people like:
- Entertainment media
- Education system
- Print media
No 'vast conspiracy' involved: just a matter of folks who have a particular worldview being able to decide what 'the Masses' should hear. For our own good, of course.
I've discussed information gatekeepers and some aspects of insularity in another blog:
- "What is an Information Gatekeeper?"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (August 14, 2009)
- "The New York Times, Insularity, and Assumptions"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (October 21, 2008)
The information gatekeepers may not even be aware that they're filtering out ideas they don't like. Think about it: when everyone you know agrees on some point, it's quite easy to assume that it's not only true, but indisputable. When all the books you've read, written by folks you know or folks they know, also agree? Well, it's 'obvious,' then, that anyone with an ounce of intelligence must agree on that point. (April 1, 2010)
Back in the 'good old days,' someone with ideas that didn't sit well with the folks who ran publishing houses and studios could communicate with others who were within earshot - and that was about it.
The Internet changed all that. Some guy living in a small town in central Minnesota can write - and publish his thoughts about events. I don't have to hope that an editor, or a review board, or some executive will like what I say - and have room for it in the next issue. Provided, of course, that a roommate from Harvard or a golfing buddy doesn't come along with something he or she wants published.
Cynical? Maybe. But I'm glad that we've still got an Internet where folks are allowed to speak their minds - even if someone in the dominant culture doesn't like it.
- "St. Mary MacKillop and Another News SNAFU"
(October 19, 2010)
- "Stem Cell Research in the News: My Take"
(August 23, 2010)
- "Science, Faith, and Auto Mechanics"
(August 19, 2010)
- "Pedophile Priests! - or - My Mind is Made Up, Don't Confuse Me With the Facts"
(April 11, 2010)
- "Cultural Chaos, Divisiveness, and CNN"
(April 1, 2010)
- " 'Pope blasts capitalism' - but Keep Reading"
(July 17, 2009)