Tagvalues

Staying Neutral in Face of Impending Fascism

Anand is, like his peers, a decent journalists and will report on facts and be fair to both sides. But this concern for fairness has often led to him and his peer equating false equivalence with being fair or as he calls it, neutral. Max Weber’s value-free judgement often has molded these views that you ought to let your personal values not color your work. In this case, journalists often treat Trump’s crazy ramblings that can best be described as raving bigotry and rampant racism as just another view from the right. That has let most journalist to slot Hillary Clinton’s views as the other side without even acknowledging that Trump’s views are so far removed from normal discourse that it wouldn’t be tolerated in the public sphere.

Liberal Media Staying Neutral

As I’ve always said, calling it “liberal media” has been the conservatives’ masterstroke. By terming anything that the media says as ‘liberal media bias’, they sow doubt into the self-introspecting minds of professionals who are unnecessarily trying to stay value-free. It makes them couch every issue into the two-sides argument leading to false equivalence. Trump calls Mexicans rapists but hey, Clinton had a private email server. Trump encourages anti-semitisms leading to online witch hunts but hey, Clinton had a private email server.

I wonder what broke the camel’s back when journalists like Anand were committed to adhere to “norms of neutrality” when Trump was maligning Hispanics, blacks, Jews, and women for the past year. Did the “norms of neutrality” compel them to equate blatant bigotry and sexism so they would be told that they’re doing their job by people least qualified to do so?

But maybe better late than never, lets see if you can call Trump out on the blatantly false statistics he quotes as soon as he quotes them. Do not let him proceed to his next talking point unless he admits that the claim was false. If need be, let him throw a tantrum and walk out of the interview. You can tell your advertising supervisor that you may just get more eyeballs on that interview. Let’s see if he is willing to forgo ‘free airtime’ walking out on every interview.

All it takes is to not stay neutral on obvious falsehoods. I’m sure that will make your journalism professor will be proud instead of the drivel you shovel every day.

Religious Brainwashing

Couple of days back I shared Atanu’s story on religious crackers on this blog. Since then, Atanu known to call a spade a spade has been calling out on a particular commenter’s inane arguments (see comments for an example of some fine online spanking). While I believe religion to be the bane of modern civilization, I also believe that monotheist religions as a subset of all religions, as Atanu eruditely points out, are particularly harmful. I’m a recovering Hindu and an almost-atheist so any stories pertaining to inanity of religion and references to their implementation in brainwashing the gullible populace are particularly interesting in reinforcing my new found (lack of) faith.

According to this article in Slate, religious indoctrination in Saudi Arabia (where else?) reveals the true nature of monotheist religions that I believe separates them from other religions:

In a multiple-choice question that appears in a recent edition of a Saudi fourth-grade textbook, Monotheism and Jurisprudence, in a section that attempts to teach children to distinguish “true” from “false” belief in god:

Q. Is belief true in the following instances:
a) A man prays but hates those who are virtuous.
b) A man professes that there is no deity other than God but loves the unbelievers.
c) A man worships God alone, loves the believers, and hates the unbelievers.

The correct answer, of course, is c).

The problem with monotheist religions is not that they ask you to believe their god but go further and ask you to hate or damn those who choose not to believe. Simply, my god/religion strongest! I’m sure there are plenty of people from monotheist religions who don’t believe in this extremist view but then in a sense they are not adhering to their religion’s diktats and even might be guilty of blasphemy. You may offer hazaar justifications that most of your religious adherents do not believe in the belief that ‘my way or the highway’ or as Bush put it succinctly, either you are with us or against us but at the end of the day, the extremists who tout this viewpoint find justification from no other place but their holy books.

Now I won’t lecture you on changing your religion or the way it attempts to brainwash your innocent children. Heck, if you don’t try to convince me of the so-called superiority of your religion and let me live my atheist life in peace, its fine by me. I won’t hold your religion against you if you don’t hold my lack of faith in it against me. Change for a religion must come from within and will only work when the moderates update their views with the changing times. If moderates remain silent they let the extremists dictate the agenda and in effect the way their religion is perceived. I will not ask you to criticize your religious extremists each time they decide to act crazy but remember, they are maligning your religion that is, the one thing you portend molding your value and hold so dear. I could couldn’t care less.

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