Its easy to blame the media for the ignorance of the American people. Commercial media lies. Any serious intellectual understands this and there's no reason to belabor this point. It is, therefore, tempting to theorize that, if there were a way to somehow "take back the media", establish investigative journalism practices, and pry news organizations away from the controlling hands of corrupt corporations, we'd be left with a healthy, thriving democracy of intelligent, involved citizens.
But it occurs to me that commercial media also tells the truth on occasion. Why is it that the truth doesn't "stick" like the lies do?
Truth hurts. People don't want the truth. We want to be the center of our universe. We want validation. We want to feel good about ourselves. And we want to be perfect. For most people, anything that raises any self-doubt or guilt is to be ignored and ridiculed.
Advertisements tell us that we are center of the universe. Churches make us believe that God is concerned with each and every one of us and a Savior even died for us because we are so important. Religion compels people to change through the promise that, by changing, we will become more righteous, pure, and perfect. When we are convinced that a religion is the path to perfection, or perhaps owning a specific car is the same, we are unlikely to listen to any idea that takes us off that course.
No amount of hard-hitting, truthful journalism will validate anyone or make anyone feel perfect and accepted. We already have plenty of largely ignored non-commercial media that does a very good job. People don't listen because they don't want the guilt. They don't want to understand that their lifestyle directly impacts the misery of others.
What is needed is a sort of "religion of truth" that tells us that, only by living our lives in pursuit of truth...however raw and painful that truth is...we are perfect. Truth-seeking is, in truth, the closest thing I have to religion. Through truth-seeking, I can embrace my imperfection and at the same time see myself as more perfect.