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No matter what your political persuasion is, you have to admire the
power of the news media. They can and do control what you think about
and what you don’t think about.

Consider the recent news event when a 6-year-old boy shot and killed
a 6-year-old classmate in a government school. As a result of the way
this shocking story was covered, most Americans ended up focusing upon
the need for new gun laws, even though it is obvious that the real
problem was that the little boy was living unsupervised in the squalor
of a crack house surrounded by dysfunctional adults.

This tragedy has very little, if anything, to do with the presence or
absence of gun laws, although our ambulance-chasing president and an
enabling press have effectively misled us to think otherwise.

The story the media might have told but did not is that the
overriding cause of juvenile crime and violence is out of wedlock
births, which are, to be charitable, the unintended consequence of
liberal welfare policies. Rather than focus us upon the societal rot
eating away at our families, we were misdirected. We debated trigger
locks, as though mechanical contrivances could save us from ourselves.

A point to be made is that if, perchance, the media were to focus
upon and highlight extraordinary stories about how women have saved
themselves from rape and worse by having a gun with which to defend
themselves, it would make a big difference in the way guns are
perceived. Can there be any doubt that a drumbeat of stories featuring
guns as indispensable instruments for defending lives, family and
treasures would cause a significant shift in attitudes toward gun
ownership?

There are over 20,000 murders per year in the United States. It is
becoming more and more common for the media, in the interest of making a
point and advancing an agenda, to make causes celebres of a select few
victims of murder. It would be so easy to choose a different set of
victims to make a different point, and advance an opposing agenda.

Increasingly, we are inclined to respond only to what we see. The
American masses are not inclined to believe anything of importance has
actually happened anywhere, anytime unless someone has taken a picture
of it.

We were enthusiastic about dropping bombs in Serbia and Kosovo
because we saw pictures of hungry, sick and weeping refugees. For one
reason or another, the television cameras did not make it to Rwanda,
where hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were hacked to
death by machetes in an ethnic conflict — and America gave no sign of
caring.

I and others are convinced that if the television moguls, who are not
adverse to showing any other form of perversion, violence and mayhem,
could find it in their conscience to show a partial-birth abortion in
all its horrid detail, a law forbidding it would be passed and signed
within weeks. While the excuse is given that there is a need to protect
the public’s delicate sensitivities, I suspect what is being protected
is the liberal Democratic agenda and the profits of the abortion
industry.

As reported, opinion polls tell us we want politicians to keep our
tax overpayments because we believe they can spend the money better than
we can; and polls tell us that most of us think that liberal Democrats,
the very people who have ruined public education and sold out to
educational unions, can do the best job of reforming it. I really don’t
believe this is what a majority of Americans think, but if it is, it’s
time to move to Puerto Rico and vote against statehood.

Although these polls are presented to us as news, I am thoroughly
convinced that many of them are carefully aimed at shaping public
opinion rather than measuring it. Those who manipulate us with polls
understand that most of us are very uncertain on what to think and feel
about various issues. This is to say that polls service the “herd
instinct.” People are looking for what a majority of other people are
thinking and saying so they can comfortably situate themselves in the
middle of the herd and run with it — over a cliff if that is where the
stampede takes them.

As we survey the American landscape and contemplate the many ways in
which our nation has drifted “off course,” perhaps we should give more
attention to the role that the media, in particular, the television
media, have played in illuminating wrong paths and misdirecting our
attention.

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