A Personal View – April 2014
Supposedly the internet has liberated mankind. It has allowed the dissemination of information and bypassed censorship imposed by the authorities. The posting of video clips exposing nefarious practices & indiscretions has become legendary.
What did it replace? As a medium of communication, the newspaper, had numerous failings, foremost amongst them were lack of immediacy and depth. What it had in its favour was well researched facts. This focus on accuracy was driven by necessity. It was liable to be sued for libel if it got its facts wrong.
How does the internet compare against the traditional information providers?
Like most people, the ability to obtain real-time information on for instance the Oscar Pistorius trial, is liberating. Without the filters applied by third parties, one can judge the facts for oneself.
When the Internet was conceived, I was under the impression that it would allow unfettered access. This would be a boon for the citizens of the world as censorship would be a thing of the past.
What do we have in practice? The Chinese government is the most egregious offender in this regard. Their Internet Police Force is reckoned to be in excess of two million. Their role is to monitor internet traffic; the offences include communicating with groups abroad, signing online petitions, and calling for reform and an end to corruption. The escalation of the government’s effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution, anti-corruption protests, and ethnic riots, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages.
Furthermore to stifle free speech, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which have been implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, companies, and other organizations making them part of the surveillance system.
In the West, the situation is vastly different. Largely the net is not monitored for critical comment but is checked for possible terrorist activity. This has spawned a vast blogging community each speaking their mind to whoever would be interested.
I am fully supportive of this activity as free speech is what keeps the powers-that-be in check & honest. These unpaid reporters cast the spotlights into all the interstitial spaces of society exposing corruption, sleaze & incompetence.
However one should have a higher degree of scepticism when surfing the web. This caveat applies firstly because there is not the same degree of verification of the facts that would apply with the more formal media. That is not to say that the formal media always gets everything correct, but there is a greater emphasis on doing so.
A well-known example of a factual error was in Churchill’s award winning book “The History of the Second World War” where his facts about an incident when the Nazi forces annexed Austria were publically denied by the participants themselves.
On the other hand, the web has potentially 6 billion authors, each of variable ability and often indifferent credentials. Caution is the byword but even I, in a moment of weakness, accept assertions made at face value without questioning the reliability of the author thereof.
The first case arose when I received email this week entitled British Justice. This is what it read:
In May 2010 Tohseef Shah spray- painted a British War Memorial with “Islam will dominate – Osama”. He was fined £50 & walked free from court.
In November 2010 Emdadur Choudhury burned a Poppy during the 2mins silence. He too was given a fine £50 and walked free from court.
Last week in a Portsmouth Court two men were sentenced to 6 months in prison for painting a Poppy on a mosque.
Pass this on, if you think it’s a disgrace
I read it, agreed that it was a disgrace and passed it on to my friends. In reality the two men who supposedly only painted a poppy on a mosque were guilty for a whole array of activities in that they also destroyed property of Muslims in the area. In fact, their sentence of 6 months was too lenient for the crime committed.
Why was this email circulated? It is obvious. The intention of the sender was obviously to cast British Justice as being biased against Christians & thereby generate animosity against Muslims.
Over a period of time, I have received many such emails and in innocence passed them on thereby reinforcing their inaccuracy.
From another viewpoint, errors made are immediately highlighted & corrected. An example last week was a distasteful tweet by FNB to a question enquiring about the whereabouts of Steve, the likeable idiot from a competing bank used in their advertising campaign.
FNB reacted quickly and apologised.
Then there is the category of blogs which are not necessarily untruthful or a lie but rather the result of an overactive imagination. In this section will fall all the conspiracy theories.
This is one that arrived today:
Rothschild Takes Down Malaysian Airliner MH370 to Gain Rights to a Semiconductor Patent – Getting Rid of Those Who Stood in His Way!
Here is what it states:
With the disappearance of those on Malaysian Airlines MH370 billionaire, Jacob Rothschild becomes the sole owner of an important semiconductor patent.
Coincidence? I think not! The mysteries surrounding Malaysian Airliner MH-370 continue to grow with each passing day and Mr. Rothschild is smack dab in the middle.
Illuminati member, Rothschild, is believed to have exploited the airliner to gain full Patent Rights of an incredible KL-03 micro-chip. The US technological company, Freescale Semiconductor, who shared its rights with Rothschild, had twenty senior members on board who had just launched a new electronic warfare gadget for military radar system’s the day before the plane went missing.
The Semiconductor Company develops microprocessors, sensors, and other technology including stand-alone semiconductors that perform dedicated computing functions.
But the questions that arise are why were there so many Freescale employees travelling together? What were their jobs? Their mission? And did they employees carry valuable cargo? With all the power our elite carry, why couldn’t they track down the missing plane?
Suddenly the Illuminati who supposed control the world are culpable in the person of Jacob Rothschild. This article bases its claim that Rothschild destroyed the plane so that he could obtain sole rights to the patent which makes the plane invisible.
What I would like to know is how Rothschild obtains ownership of these patents just because 20 of Freescale Semiconductor’s 23,000 employees are killed. Surely the patents are owned by the Company itself and even the deaths of all 23,000 employees would not impact upon Freescale’s patent rights. This fact is not explained.
Secondly the conspiracy theory is buttressed by the fact that because there were 20 Freescale employees on this flight that they were carrying this apparatus which made the plane mysteriously vanish.
I believe that the author has been watching too many Hollywood movies. Alternatively she has been smoking the wrong stuff.
What was even more amazing was that there were 117 responses to this blog as at this morning, 99% of which endorsed the conspiracy theory with many in fact embellishing on it.
All the loonies came out at once. Here is one of the responses:
They are preparing the public for their version of the future New World Order dictatorship, and this brazen attack on your children was a preview of the psychology and mentality surrounding this satanic New World Order agenda. This present world system is running out of time.
Ask yourselves, have you found the Lord Christ Jesus and accepted him into your lives?
The standard response when somebody queries a conspiracy is to claim that if it were not true that the author would have been sued for libel already.
The reality is that celebrities & politicians get slated all the time. If they had to litigate every time that somebody alleged that they were party to some indiscretion, they would be in court forever.
The better option is merely to ignore it and the story will rapidly wither on the vine.
A long-forgotten example which taught that the policy of “turning the other cheek” is preferable arose some 35 years in the UK. Some greenie-beanies in London started a campaign against McDonalds. Their grievance against the hamburger purveyor was that they were destroying the Amazon rain forests by producing polystyrene containers. McDonalds counter-attacked by pointing out that polystyrene is not produced from wood but the tree-huggers stuck to their guns.
Ultimately in a fit of pique, McDonalds took them to court for their slanderous assertion. In court McDonalds made a number of points; firstly that polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene, a liquid petrochemical. Secondly they retorted, if they were made out of wood like their paper bags, they would be made out of the cheapest wood source available which was pine. Amazon wood, they claimed, cost four times as much.
Naturally McDonalds won in straight sets but what was the outcome. There was a backlash against McDonalds for humiliating some misguided old souls who were doing nothing wrong.
It is safe to claim that the internet is like all other media. Unless one is aware of the quality of the source – don’t expect the newspaper Pravada to speak the truth – then be wary of its veracity.
Like in computers generally, the aphorism “garbage in, garbage out” applies equally in this case.