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The Media Is Not On Our Side

lumberjacksA number of years ago, in Fredericton, NB, a group of lumberjacks and woods workers came together in front of their government buildings to protest the way they were being portrayed in children’s history books. The real history of the lumberjacks was one of physical peril, maiming, and death. Still, schools taught kids that these workers were “happy”, that they had good, decent, and safe jobs as laborers working in the clean, “fresh air”. This, the lumberjacks argued, was an ugly, immoral lie. And it was meant to keep the government from accepting responsibility for their part in an ugly, immoral history story.

What those lumberjacks understood - and the reason for their protest - was that what kids learn is the basis for a society’s future beliefs, doctrines, and therein, practices. Belief shapes action. And if kids grow up learning mistruths, they’ll propagate further mistruths. It’s a vicious cycle that can’t be stopped - and it always favours the opinions, wants and needs of the people creating the mistruths. In short: the people who own, fund, source and disseminate our news stories.

Fast-forward to today:

Kids sit in front of their computers, iPads, TVs - or at the dinner table with their parents, who themselves sit in front of the TV, newspapers, magazines - and gobble up lie after lie that’s shoved down their throats by big business-owned mainstream media. So we end up with a complacent society that has all but zero access to the real facts.

What we desperately need now are alternative voices, voices that give a different side of the lumberjacks’ story. We need unions to speak the workers’ truths; we need church groups to stand up and speak about morality; we need bloggers to share their grass roots experience; we need ‘anything but’ the Globe and Mail, CBC and other mainstream news media.

But first and foremost - we need to realize that mainstream media is not on our side...and this is the story we need to teach our kids.

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