Jihad: More Than an Eight Second Ride

Viewpoints on the Global War on Terror from a Home on the Range.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"A Good Article"

Often on the internet boards and email lists, and in "real life" conversations, someone will pass along an article about the WoT (War on Terror) that they'll call "good" or "great".
I've noticed that usually when this happens the article they pass along will be fairly complimentary to the politics and viewpoints of the person applying the tag, and say things that support their ideas about the WoT or make them feel good in some fashion. Left wing or right wing, I'm seeing this happen all over the place - if the article is agreeable to, if not downright cozy and comfortable with, Reader A's political ideas and opinions when he or she passes it along to Readers B and C, it will be called a "good", "great" or "excellent" article.
Thats fine, everyone is entitled to their ideas and opinions and has a right to share them - But, all too often (especially on the internet boards) I see people confusing opinion articles (that "great" article) with strong intelligence.
The MSM (Main Stream Media for anyone not deep enough into the "blogosphere" to know that) writes and talks a lot about the WoT, but very rarely does any of it begin to approach valuable intelligence. The MSM, whether its Fox, MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, the BBC, or Al Jazeera (the latter two occasionally reporting something of value, not just repeating someone else - particularly Al Jazeera, being as close to the "action" as they are) are in the business of "InfoTainment" - entertaining people through information. Unfortunately real news, happenings and events that are actually valuable to know about, particularly open-source intel valuable, are not entertaining. They are often boring, or uncomfortable. And everyone who's ever tried to sell other people entertainment knows that if there is one thing it cannot be, that is uncomfortable.
Maybe a little, but only just a little - the dirty kinky fetish everyone can agree is "nasty" but no one can stop watching, little tingles of excitement radiationg through their mind. But truly uncomfortable? No. If it makes the viewer uncomfortable, they will change the channel. If it makes the reader uncomfortable, they will buy another newspaper.
The media is extremely rarely an intel source - and almost as rarely do they deliver real honesty in reporting. It always has a spin, right or left, because thats what keeps people watching, being comfortable with that is presented to them.
And thats one thing good intel is definately not; always comfortable. Facts are not political, and have no agenda, they simply are what they are and thats not something most people can swallow easily.
However, if you want any particularly "good" idea of what is actually going on, where we're winning, where we're losing, you cant be that way - comfort shouldnt be part of it. Just because something doesnt comfortably mesh with the ideology of your political party doesnt mean its wrong.

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