Internet Publishing And Fake News

All the current talk around ‘fake news’ has alarming implications for us all – we might just be on the verge of an Orwellian type crack down on free speech and political discussion – the stakes are high!

George Orwell could never have imagined the peril of our times
George Orwell could never have imagined the peril of our times

Fake News Is B.S

Any student of journalism, media or modern culture is familiar with the concept of ‘Bias’. The idea that a news collection, and syndication business can be totally objective is completely absurd in the light of reality. You might recall a song written by Bob Dylan, not one of his better ones, where he says ‘You gotta serve somebody’ – this about sums up the whole circus.

Even taking a completely candid, impartial look at the industry of mass media it is abundantly clear that each group is owned, operated and managed by specific people of a particular political complexion – it is inevitable.

‘News’ is not just about reporting basic events as they occur, although this can certainly be a part of it, but always we are being given an interpretation of events, and the positioning of these reports, the provided contexts and unspoken narratives, then create the actual message we are expected to respond to. This can be a complex study, and if you are not used to being analytical it can be tricky.

If we are to be fully aware of how we respond, if we have any pretense at being discerning about forming our opinions, then we must be very careful about what we we base our ideas on! The monopoly of information which the mainstream media once completely held sway over is no longer the case. We can either choose to ignore this and become irrelevant ourselves, or participate!

Mainstream News Threatened

When a major commercial News entity is threatened it is of course obvious that they would seek to discredit what they see as the source of this threat – in this case it is the proliferation of Internet-based News & Current Affairs, a proportion of which is always click-bait aggregation style sites which have little to offer other than lots of advertising and sometimes blatantly untrue reports BUT, there are a lot of groups which simply disagree with the mainstream accounts. It is up to us as consumers to verify our sources, not the commercial News companies who are acting as censors. they seek to have these alternative media shut down (of course!). They directly challenge their authority, often having way more views and holding stronger online positions. 

If you check the Internet positions of these sites compared to the mainstream outlets like ‘CNN’ they are way ahead – people are sick of being manipulated and treated like sheep. Alternatives are always welcomed to the arena of News, at least by us the great public of the world who want to form our opinions on the best information available. It is deeply concerning that political factions and commercial interests are taking it on themselves to tell us what is ‘good for us’, Obama (The Democrats), CNN, MSN, The New York Times, BBC they are all bleating about ‘Fake News’ and it is transparent! 

Very obviously we are not referring to basic reporting of what occurs out there in the world – if an earthquake or Volcano eruption takes place, for example, that is plainly a physical manifestation which can be reported; something either happens or it does not. The kind of ‘news’ these people are suggesting is the interpretation of what personalities get up to, why did Hillary Clinton say ‘We came we saw, he died’ – and what does this signify in terms of what took place in Libya? What are the real reasons for government actions, what is taking place that we are not informed about? These are the critical elements of the argument!

So ‘News’ is not simply about accuracy of reporting, it is the essential nature of how events and occurrences, actions, plans, covert projects, motivations of political actors all combine to produce real outcomes in our lives. It is in fact a complex issue. Not one of veracity alone, but do we tolerate true freedom of speech or are we going to allow powerful groups in our society to call the shots and determine what we have access to? Because this is what they are suggesting covertly, that we shut down various groups online – appalling!

All food for thought! We are living through very interesting times, and the internet once again is the dynamic medium for a lot of change and opportunities for increased freedoms – also the fulcrum by which we might be further controlled and enslaved, our thinking and opinions forged by central agencies. No thanks!

 

eCigarettes & The Establishment

eCigs have been with us for about 10 years now, but there is a lot of opposition from public health officials. Doctors all over the world are starting to understand that ‘vaping’ is infinitely less toxic than Tobacco.

ecigs
Cigarettes Used to Be Promoted By Doctors

Tobacco Used To Be Actively Promoted

Smoking Tobacco used to be a very popular activity, depending on how old you are you might be aware of this, because of course there has been a worldwide public health campaign to get people to stop smoking over the past 20 years. The success of this health push to get people to be more aware of the health outcomes for Tobacco smoking has been very successful, but it was not very long ago that medical doctors were employed by large Tobacco companies to advertise and promote smoking – think about this for a minute, qualified medical doctors actually telling people to smoke a particular brand of cigarette because they are ‘good for you’. Just like this one, which is an actual advert as seen on television and cinemas in 1950:

This advert is not unusual, and it was among many others featuring desirable occupations like ‘Aircraft Liner Pilots’, “Cowboy Ranchmen’, ‘Policemen’ and many others. Smoking was promoted, and encouraged at every level of society.

And of course the result was that smoking cigarettes was extremely common – in 1955 56.9% of males & 28.4% of females smoked cigarettes, reducing to 20.5% males & 15.3% females in 2013 – this is in America. Other western countries had a similar experience.

This reduction is a direct result of the intensive public education and anti-smoking message  promoted by public health authorities. We are all now aware of the very real link between Tobacco smoking and diseases such as lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema and heart disease, among many others. Of course not everyone who smokes Tobacco develops these illnesses, it is a matter of genetic and physical loading – some people are more susceptible than others to the harmful chemicals; we all know of people who live to a ripe old age who smoked also.

The eCig Is Born

But it is commonly understood that Tobacco is not very good for you, and lots of people want to quit-but it can be very hard once you get started smoking, it is a pleasant way to pass the time, and the flavor of Tobacco is also attractive to many who like to smoke. Me included. I have smoked since I was about 15. Nicotine addiction is a very real condition, the body craves its daily dosing.

In 2003 in Beijing China, a 52 year old pharmacist  Hon Lik develops the means to produce a harmless (mostly) vapor from a mixture of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol & liquid nicotine with some flavorings; he was seeking an alternative to his own cigarette habit, plus his father passed away as a result of developing lung cancer.

This early version of his personal vaporizer quickly caught on and developments of this ‘electronic cigarette’ gained momentum. The E-Cig was born. Now you would think that public health authorities would welcome this new alternative which offers Tobacco addicts a way to enjoy smoking that is definitely much less harmful to themselves and those around them. But no. all kinds of rumors began to circulate about the ‘hidden dangers’ & toxic nature of the eLiquids being used in these new devices.

Now it is fair to say that there have been some examples of unscrupulous manufacturers of eLiquid (the juice that is vaporized) putting out toxic products; these are very definitely in the minority. This tended to happen in the early days of eCig development when the market was less aware; these days the industry has matured quickly and the quality of both the devices and the eLiquids has vastly improved.

Dr Michael Mosely is a well known television medical journalist in the U.K and he produced a special study on eCigarettes – this short section is a crucial bit of that documentary which you can see in its entirety if you wish on YouTube, but this section reveals that eCigs are actually pretty damned good, and they offer Tobacco smokers a genuine alternative which can help them to stop smoking Tobacco, and even continue to enjoy the act of smoking without significant health dangers to themselves, or those around them who might passively inhale this vapor:

Public Health Opposition

So what is it about eCigs that public health authorities object to, when it is obvious that they are genuinely a good development? Well if you have been actively involved with getting people to stop smoking, and you have developed an entire narrative and attitude of anti-smoking and then people begin actually what looks like ‘smoking’ all over again you will naturally feel resentful! So it is because ‘Vaping’ looks so much like ‘smoking’  that the powerful public health officials and doctors object.

But this is ridiculous, vaping is not smoking and it is nobodies business if I like to vape; it has been proven time and again that there is no toxic result, and there is not even any nicotine in the exhaled vapor. So we need to examine this somewhat puritanical approach by the health authorities; Dr Michael Mosely’s documentary has helped to spread the word, and reinforce the health benefits of taking up vaping as an alternative to smoking Tobacco.

As a smoker myself I began looking at eCigarettes in 2009, I responded to one of those adverts you see in newspapers, online and in magazines where you send off a coupon for a free trial. The package arrived and I opened it up- you get 2 fully working look-a-like cigarette devices and a supply of cartridges containing eLiquid, I got the 12mg dose and I liked it! I could see this helping me to quit and I have been using eCigs ever since. My breathing has improved and my sense of taste is now back to normal; I am lucky in that smoking did not do much damage to me, but I’m grateful for eCigarettes and I promote them to all my friends who smoke.

I have moved on from these look-a-like models, but many people stick with them, they are convenient and give you the feel of smoking a cigarette when you finish eating your dinner, or for those relaxing moments with a newspaper on a Sunday morning after a cooked breakfast (I love bacon, egg & fried mushrooms!). So yes, eCigs helped me give away the Tobacco and I continue to enjoy the act of ‘Vaping’. Don’t be put off by all these alarmist propaganda posts you see on Facebook about ‘toxic dangers’ – mainly put out by people who do not know what they are talking about, or who have an interest in suppressing electronic cigarettes. Dr Michael Mosely is no shill, he has no interest in this industry other than as a medical doctor.