We Can Change!

WeCanChange.US

We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!

News, Information, Entertainment and Distraction

The U.S. was established to be a place and people, governed by a representative government, freely elected by its people, based on common laws, principles and human rights, that apply to all, and exceed all other powers and purposes.  Its people have rights and responsibilities to make government comply, including the right to rebellion established in our Declaration of Independence.  Are we doing that?

News

 

A very important, less formal, 4th branch of U.S. government is a system of fair and honest reporting of news and information, so citizens understand what is happening in the country, government and world, so we can knowledgably and responsibly participate in public conversations about what is happening, and decide what to do about it, if anything.  We can’t do our jobs as citizens without good information.  Freedom of the Press was considered important enough to call out in the Constitution’s 1st Amendment, as an essential human right to be protected by government.  Here’s where people in the U.S. get news.

 

In 2017, in an average week in the U.S., of people ages 12 and older, less than 1% saw cable TV news,[1] 2% saw national TV network news,[2] 1-2% saw local TV news,[3] 6% got magazines with news content (7% of the top 100 magazines by distribution had significant news pieces),[4] 11% heard public radio,[5] 11% got a daily and 13% a Sunday newspaper, 4% visited a top 50 newspaper website in a single month, with average time on site of 2.5 minutes,[6] 90% heard broadcast radio news, 53% online radio news, and 17% a podcast,[7]  93% of adults got at least some news online, and 35 online news outlets had at least 10 million, an average of 20 million visits per month.[8] 68% said they got news on social media, 20% often, 27% sometimes, 43% on Facebook, 21% on YouTube, and 12% on Twitter, although 57% said that social media news is largely inaccurate.[9] 

During the day, people who got news online got it from:  news organization websites or apps - 36%, social media - 35%, search engines - 20%, news org email/text/alert - 15%, family or friend email - 7%, other - 9%, and, of those, we only remembered where the news came from 56% of the time.[10]

So, relatively small percentages of us get our news from TV, newspapers, magazines or public radio.  Most of us get most of our news from listening to the radio, or we get it online, in some mix of reputable sources and social media, only remembering where we get it online a little more than half the time. 

62% of people in the U.S. believe news we get on TV, radio and in newspapers is true, 80% of news on social media is biased, and 44% of news reporting and 64% of news on social media are inaccurate.  We’re upset about it.  80% say we’re angered or bothered by seeing biased information, and even more so about seeing inaccurate information.  We just don’t agree about which news outlets are biased.[11]  82% trust local news orgs (60% only somewhat), 76% trust national news orgs (59% only somewhat), 77% news from family, friends and acquaintances (63% somewhat), 34% social media (30% somewhat). 

 

Turning it over, only 22% of us “trust a lot” information we get from local news organizations, and 18% information from national news organizations, either online or offline, and 14% from friends and family.  74% say news organizations tend to favor one side or the other in political news.[12]

So, many get most of our news information online, often unsure where, and don’t trust it or most news.  We can’t do our jobs holding government responsible if we don’t get good news information, or trust it.

74% of people in the U.S are not able to correctly identify 5 factual statements as factual statements; 65% are unable to identify 5 opinion statements as opinions.[13]  So, we can’t tell facts from opinions.  2/3 of younger and 4/5 of older people in the U.S. can’t distinguish facts from opinions, part of many problems with public news and media literacy and critical thinking not addressed by public education, and many news outlets are increasingly opinionated.[14]  Is that why 60% of us would prefer the news to only present facts, without interpretations?[15]  We aren’t as sophisticated as the media influencing us?

We can’t do our job holding government accountable if we’re not educated well enough to process information critically, discern if government is doing its job appropriately and know if our fundamental human rights are being upheld.  We’re not educated well enough to do that if half of high school grads are not college or career ready;[16] 1 of 4 who start high school don’t finish;[17] a third of 8th graders are proficient in math & reading;[18] 32 million (14% of) adults can’t read; 21% read below 5th grade level;[19] and 45% of 18-26-year-old current or former college students can’t pass a global geography literacy test. 

How can modern society function when:  216 million (82% of) U.S. people are scientifically illiterate;[20] half of U.S. adults don’t know Earth takes a year to orbit the sun;[21] 25% think the Sun orbits Earth;[22] and only 38% of our U.S. adult citizens are able to pass the U.S. citizenship test, with a grade of 60%?[23]  Are our news and media educating us to fill in those gaps?  Where is effort to educate ignorant adults?

An undereducated, increasingly uncaring, stressed and/or distracted public, with little time to focus on public news and information, isn’t showing up for and demanding quality information from competent independent journalists, so the quantity and quality of that information degrade.  Many of us no longer really read, or read in depth and critically.  42% of college grads read zero books after graduation.[24]   We watch commercial TV, movies and Internet videos.  We read if we can and must, often at relatively immature levels, a reflection of public education failure for many.  Newspaper, magazine and journal circulations have generally decreased, especially for intelligent, educated content and readers.[25] 

The U.S. news and information reporting system is compromised, corrupted by wealth and power via concentration of media ownership and control.  In 1983, 50 companies controlled 90% of all U.S. media; in 2011, 6 companies run by 232 media executives did.[26]  It’s difficult to track and assess.  Media ownership is a complex tangle of rapidly changing corporate ownership and trades, like knowing who is holding what cards at a poker table, when games are changing, people are trying to hide their cards, new people sit at the table and others leave, and new cards are shuffled and dealt continuously.[27] [28]

In 2017, the FCC eased media ownership rules, allowing companies to own higher media concentrations, like:  up to 39% of all U.S. TV households, and 6 of 10 local TV, newspaper and radio “media voices”.[29]  As of 2019, major consolidations further increasing media company control concentrations include:  Time Warner/AT&T; Sprint/T-Mobile; Disney/Fox; Comcast/Sky;[30] and maybe CBS and Viacom?[31]  Different companies can have the same major owners.  15 billionaires own most U.S. news media,[32] giving them extraordinary ability to influence what we know and think about.  The owners are able to influence news and information reporting, turning many news channels into propaganda mechanisms.  This is a fundamental threat to functional democracy and government in the U.S., because people do not get fair and factual information on which to base our government interactions and thoughts.[33] 

News and information sharing by these companies is compromised, because the mix of entertainment and news media they own are normally managed by the same criteria:  how many viewers they attract, which determines how many commercial programming advertisers they can attract, and what they can charge for advertisements, to drive profitability for business owners.  Most news outlets make money, not primarily from news consumers, but from advertisers.  What they sell is advertiser access to people, and opportunities to influence us, opportunities for “programming” us to think and do as they want.

Challenges arising from commercial, for-profit media, include:  media censoring itself, to not alienate advertisers or upset owners; telling popular, rather than important stories, so viewer counts are high; and giving viewers stories that advertisers and owners want shared to promote business or political agendas, not necessarily what’s important for us to know to supervise our government and society.[34] 

Corporate management stifles, censors or edits news and information content to conform to powerful advertiser expectations and/or owner biases or political or business agendas.  Try an experiment:  switch channels between major TV news broadcasts at the same time and see whether you see the same stories being reported in the same ways at the same times![35]  (See Endnote)[36] Eerie, right?   Corporate owners make media present the same biased “must run” stories.[37]  Business propagandizes that there’s a leftist bias to U.S. news; yet, business owns the news outlets?[38] (Endnote)

 

News can be truthful, valuable and important, but be suppressed by business management, because it doesn’t produce as many eyeballs as drivel.  If drivel sells, drivel is offered, even if it offers less value to society and stifles important information sharing functions.  Dumbed down public demand drives drivel.

U.S. media serves elite interests and undermines democracy, by portraying the world in ways that shape public perspectives, to generate acceptance of U.S. domestic and foreign policy and business dogma, and make it hard for the public to have access to the information necessary to challenge elite interests.  It operates less through censorship than a public relations process that selects and rewards those who see the world in a way that is friendly and unchallenging to those elite interests.  The facts and framings of that process usually don’t have to be censored, because they are mostly not perceived to exist.[39] [40]

Some say, news and other media are focused on content appealing to audiences targeted by advertisers, sidelining issues not affecting target audiences; limiting critical or controversial content interfering with audience “buying moods”; using selective and biased information sources; “spinning” stories to create desired reactions; presenting opinions to shape perceptions and spoon feed desired audience opinions; framing stories to fit any controversies within desired beliefs, rather than as in conflict with them; basing stories on official sources without presentation of opposing views; attacking individuals rather than their facts and views; proliferating content generated by corporate sponsors, owners and interests; and not pursuing facts or information suppressed or obscured by government or powerful interests.[41] 

Limited headlines and pervasive use of “sound-bites” diminish the breadth, depth and context of news.  Many stories are chosen to produce anxiety and fear, promote beliefs on conflict, violence and crime, and beliefs about our own superiority and righteousness, ignoring or suppressing good news stories, reasons for conflict, violence and crime, and our own wrongful actions and behaviors.  Some say.[42]

Some say, we hear of repressions by officially designated “rogue” governments outside of the U.S., but information about brutal murder and torture committed by U.S.-sponsored forces, and other crimes by the U.S. national security and surveillance state, are denied public presentation, often suppressed with consistency that would be labeled “totalitarian” if it happened in other countries.[43] 

Over decades, the CIA engaged in drug trafficking in Italy, France, Corsica, Indochina, Afghanistan, Central and South America and the U.S., sometimes objects of extended congressional investigations, but we rarely heard about it in the corporate news.  Or, if it did come out, like when a courageous reporter documented CIA-Contra crack cocaine shipments flooding U.S. inner cities and creating an epidemic doing great harm to our own African American urban communities, major media assaulted it, to discredit the stories and the story-breakers, attacking their characters and witnesses.[44] [45]

As propagandists, mainstream media often tries to set our perceptions of subjects with positive labels, like “stability,” “firm leadership,” “strong defense,” and “healthy economy,” which create support by association, because they sound good.  Negative labels like “leftist guerrillas,” “Islamic terrorists,” “conspiracy theories,” “inner-city gangs” and “civil disturbances” create negative beliefs and feelings, because they sound bad.  Columnists, commentators and talk-show hosts, crowding new channels while claiming to be shut out of them, disparagingly label the press itself as “the liberal media”.  Some labels we are never exposed to are “class power,” “class struggle,” and “U.S. imperialism.” [46]  Some say.

A common misleading label used is “reform,” which really means efforts to undo valuable improvements achieved by decades of popular struggle.  Ending family assistance programs is called “welfare reform.” “IMF reforms” puts a positive spin on economic forces impoverishing other nations, dismantling their public economies, creating huge worker layoffs, letting corporate investors take their resources cheap, drastically cutting their public services programs, and dramatically increasing their unemployment and human suffering, none of which are mentioned.[47]

Media presents a need for “Social Security reform,” meaning privatizing and eventually eliminating a popular program that works well, as if it’s a given need, without cause for debate, because it’s in danger of bankruptcy (in decades) or hurts the national deficit, which are not true, because it’s funded and managed apart from other government accounts.[48]  Social Security provides retirement pensions, funded like a 401(k), survivors’ insurance (up to age 18) to children in families that lose a breadwinner, and disability insurance to help to those of pre-retirement age who become seriously injured or ill.[49]  Most of us are happy with it?  Most have no other retirement savings.[50]  Why assume it’s broken?

“Free market” is a cherished label, evoking images of economic abundance and democratic goodness, while giving no airtime to how free-market policies, in reality, often undermine local producer markets, provide public subsidies to very profitable multinational corporations, gut public sector services, and create even greater income and wealth inequality gaps, which are already enormous and harmful.  Anyone who resists free-market “reforms” is “hardline” or “a hardliner,” an ill-willed resister of good. 

Media frequently accepts as given the very policy positions that need critical examination.  Whenever the White House requests increased military spending, press presentations focus on how much more spending is needed, what weaponry is old, how much danger we fear we are in?  No media exposure is given to the fact that most of our discretionary federal spending already goes to the military, how that compares to other nations, or to competing social needs and programs, or how we use our military.[51]

Who reports that the U.S. already funds its military more than the world’s 10 next biggest militaries, combined,[52] has ten times the number of foreign military bases as the rest of the world, all combined, has a military that’s the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in the whole world, but is exempted in all international climate agreements, operates its military in 150+ countries, is at war in 7 countries now, with no authorization needed, has a military financially accountable to nobody, and is the #1 country most of the rest of the world is most afraid of for its safety and well-being?[53]

Press just passes along labels fabricated by officialdom, like our “global leadership,” “national security,” “free markets,” and “globalization,” as assumed goods, when they really mean “Power to the Powerful.”

Political elections are covered like sporting events, focusing on who will run, who gets nominated, what are their game statistics, like money raised and spent, who cheers for whom?  The real issues and policy proposals get little attention, and 3rd party candidates are blatantly ignored, if not blatantly smeared.[54]

Labor strike stories focus not on substance of grievances, like pay and benefit loss, management refusal to negotiate, or safety, that drive people to reluctantly resort to the undesirable extreme of striking, or on why and how they organize their struggle, but on stuff like how many days the strike has lasted, inconvenience and cost to public and economy, and how negotiations threaten to break down.[55]

Some say, media pundits often talk of a “big picture,” but rarely link events to larger social issues.  Instead, they give us the small picture, like demonstrations against international free-trade agreements as contests between rowdy protestors and safety-oriented police, with little reference to real problems, like sovereignty and unaccountable corporate power, causing protestors to make efforts to protest.[56]

Complying with “good journalism” standards, the press gives free airspace to competing sides of issues?  In fact, both sides rarely get equal space, and there are rarely only two perspectives on anything.[57]  This is arbitrarily applied.  Press often give similar airspace to pro- and anti-climate change narratives, while 97% of informed scientists agree on global warming theories and consequences, and 3% don’t. 

The U.S. “criminal justice” system locking up citizens at 5.5 times the rate of the rest of the world gets presentations from politicians who are “tough on crime” and from politicians who are “soft on crime.”  What about perspectives from outside the U.S. on how they see that criminal justice system, perspectives of families ruined by that system, or perspectives of prisoners abused by that system?

Government is supposed to provide fair access to different news dissemination channels.  Yet, in his first two years in office, the current President gave 42 interviews to one news channel that supports him, and to which he’s provided a revolving door between jobs in his administration and the news network, but only 10 to the other 3 other main TV networks combined, and 0 to the main cable news network.[58]  He limits White House press briefings, like none in 94 days,[59] and attacks news agencies often.[60] 

Confronted with an unexpectedly dissident response, media hosts quickly change subjects, break for a commercial, or inject an identifying announcement: “We are talking with…”  to avoid going any further into a forbidden topic, no matter how much the unexpected response might seem to need follow-up.[16]  

Some say, the most effective propaganda relies on framing, rather than falsehood, shaping truth rather than lying, using emphasis and other accompaniments to create desired impressions, without resorting to explicit advocacy or departing too far from appearance of objectivity.  Framing is achieved with news packaging, its exposure amounts, placement (front page or buried, lead story or last), presentation tone (sympathetic or slighting), headlines and photographs, and accompanying visual and auditory effects.[62]

Newscasters use themselves as accompaniments, cultivating smooth deliveries to convey an impression of detachment, placing them above the issues.  Presenters and writers affect knowing, serious tones to create authoritative credibility, and auras of certainty, or provide “authoritative ignorance” with dumb truisms like “How will this situation end?  Only time will tell.”, presented as if deep penetrating truths. “Unless this big strike is settled soon, its two sides will be in for a long and bitter struggle.” No joke?[63]   

Many things are reported, but few are explained.  Little is said about how the social order is organized, and for what purposes.  Instead, we’re left to see the world as a scatter of events and personalities, driven by circumstance, confused intentions, random events, and ambitions, rarely by class interests.  Passive voice and impersonal subject are rhetorical constructs for this kind of evasion.  We read or hear “fighting broke out in the area,” or “many were killed in the struggle,” or "famine is on the increase.”  Does that mean such events just randomly happen, like natural weather?  "Our economy is in a slump" says little to nothing about the incessant conflict of capital against labor, imbalances between productivity and earnings, or patently corrupt things, like gross frauds creating the Great Recession.[64]

According to the media, stuff just happens, like “globalization,” a label the press presents as a natural and inevitable development.  Globalization is a deliberate contrivance of multinational interests, to undermine democratic sovereignty throughout the world.  International “free trade” agreements set up international trade councils, elected by no one, accountable to no one, operating in secrecy, without conflict of interest restrictions, with power in signing nations to overrule most labor, consumer and environmental laws, and public services and regulations.  They ever-increasingly concentrate politico-economic power in hands of an international investor class, a global coup d'etat divesting peoples of the world of protective democratic input.  Where’s discussion of that?[65]  Nothing to see here, move along!

The media doesn’t explore why things happen the way they do.  Social problems are rarely linked to social or politico-economic forces that create them.  That teaches us to limit our own critical thinking?  

Imagine if the news, instead of just reporting there is social unrest in a country: 1) reported exploitative labor conditions in the country are supported by their government and military; 2) that government and military are fully supported by the U.S. military and state; 3) asked why successive U.S. administrations do this all over the world; and 4) asked if it’s all consistent with a dedicated effort to create global free-market corporate capitalism, judged by which kinds of countries are helped and which are attacked?[66]

These influences are sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious.  Many citizens continue to believe in fair and independent journalism, and to trust news reporting.  But, much of news isn’t fair and independent.  Independent journalism is the U.S. is significantly dampened and corrupted, and it’s become confusing and hard for citizens to determine what’s really going on.  News reporting is less independent reporting of verified facts, which we can use to try to determine the truth, and more confusing, loud, combative opinion airing, based on partisanship, special-interests, paid opinions, indoctrination and ideology. 

Many news agencies report what they’re told by government, without critical thinking or independent verification, as in the recitation of lies and deceptions that led the U.S. into its illegal and immoral most recent war in Iraq, a fear generated war of protecting people in the U.S. against a nation and people that had done no person in the U.S. harm, and did not have the capacity to do the U.S. harm.[67]  A man in a wheelchair lit himself on fire outside the Whitehouse in extreme protest.  The Press dutifully reported the President is OK, and the man must be mentally ill, but it said absolutely nothing about why someone would do something so horrible, what he was protesting, or comparing it to similar events.[68]

News media in our “democratic capitalism” fails society, but is a skillfully evasive success for its owners.  We often hear the press “got it wrong” or “dropped the ball” on a story.  Actually, media does what it’s really there to do very well.  Many media people have a carefully trained incapacity for the whole truth.  Their job isn’t to inform, but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse, but dilute and mute it.  Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying much, while meaning little, offering many calories with few nutrients.  When we understand this, we move from a complaint about the press's sloppy performance, to a radical analysis of how the media maintain the dominant paradigm, with much craft and craftiness.  All things some say.[69]

Many in the U.S. are under the impression that we have a very free and high-quality independent press.  In 2018, U.S. press ranked 45th in the world for press freedom, after Romania.[70]  Its journalists' abilities to report are increasingly weakened by attacks, arrests, border stops, device searches, whistleblower prosecutions[71] and public information access limits.[72]  Huge and growing amounts of government information is classified or unavailable to the press or public, like 78 million government decisions to classify information in 2014, though experts deemed 50% - 90% safe to release.[73]  Many journalists were arrested in the U.S. in 2018, 5 killed, making the U.S. a top 5 country for journalist deaths.[74] [75] 

Even U.S. public radio and TV are not 100% public funded, making them hustle for additional money, which, for news, is 13% from individual donors, 70% foundation sponsors, and 17% from corporate ads, which at least threatens to compromise their independence and integrity.[76]  They are also under varying degrees of influence and control from their public funding sources and management.

In short, news in the U.S. is a colossal mess.  People aren’t listening to it much, perhaps for good reason, but we’re also not getting information we need to do our jobs keeping government and society in check.  Our critical 4th branch of government, the free press, is instead a corporate owned money-making and propaganda machine, far more sophisticated than most of the population, and far better funded. 

Distrust of media is sewn, not only in fair criticism of its genuine corruption, but also to discredit any news in opposition to the views of those in power.  Accusations of “fake news” are sometimes true and sometimes false, but all function to confuse citizens and make it harder to determine true facts.  That creates an environment where it is easier to manipulate the public with PR, marketing and propaganda.  People in the U.S. now think fake news is a bigger problem than climate change, racism or terrorism.[77]

Fake and biased news propaganda are allowed wide proliferation as “news” via social media, like Russia and others using Facebook[78] and Twitter[79] [80] as designed to spread fake news affecting elections.[81]  That weakens credibility of all news, increasingly alleged to be fake.  Government allows attacks on verified information provided by the public press.  Government lets Facebook, now the U.S.’ largest news organization, do little to validate quality, sources or accuracy of news information on its U.S. and global network.[82] [83] Propaganda channels for all!  Even fake people.  Q1 2018, Facebook removed 583 million fake users, of 2 billion active users worldwide, and it gets $34 in revenue per daily “free” user.[84]

The news system is corrupt and abused.  In spite of that, not because of it, individual journalists and independent people manage to uncover and share quality information with those who seek it out.  Everything here is just a reorganization and representation of their good and greatly appreciated work!  Yay, to people rooting out and sharing valuable factual information for all!  That is absolutely essential.

Other Information

 

Where else do we get information to manage our society, lives and governments?  From governments?  What information have you ever personally received from the Federal Government, other than what’s needed to send it tax returns and payments, for information it requests from you, like in the Census, or mandated election materials?  Notices of postal rate changes.  Anything else?

Have you ever received an organized, comprehensible accounting of how much money the Federal Government receives and what it spends that on, as required by Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution?  Have you ever received proactive notification of any law passed by the U.S. government, or assistance in understanding what that means, other than for your tax returns?  There are stacks and stacks of books, full of laws, codes and regulations, in legal libraries, passed and modified constantly, rarely eliminated, and ignorance of those laws is not an admissible legal defense in any cases of violation of any of them.  Does the government teach us about them, even in school?[85]  How does someone who graduated high school barely able to read, know how society works?  How do citizens know how to be citizens?

Try to find and understand current U.S. Federal Government revenues and expenses!  Go to the website of the U.S. National Archives Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government.[86]  Type current U.S. budget in the Find field; get 116,000 documents in response, 5,000 from the last year, 465 from the last 30 days.  In dozens of pages of results there’s no budget.  Enter "current u.s. budget", "2018 u.s. budget", or "2018 federal budget", no results;  "Federal budget" 2018, 56 results, none the U.S. budget; official budget of the united states of america 2018, 618 results, none in a dozen pages is the U.S. budget; final budget of the "united states of america" 2018, 86 results; none is the budget.  Fail.

You could go to the U.S. Data.gov[87] website, which has 246,194 datasets, to look for information on the U.S. government, but there is no category for browsing information on government, to learn what information there is on our government itself, and searching the site for any government related terms gets thousands of results, mostly irrelevant, rendering the site virtually useless for a layperson.  Fail.

You could go to the USA.gov[88] website, which has some random organization of random information, to look for information on the U.S. government, but if you search it for terms related to government you get thousands of results, mostly irrelevant.  That renders the site virtually useless for a layperson looking for data about the U.S. government itself, unless you luck out on guessing from separate lists for each letter of the alphabet which of all the many dozens of government departments or agencies may address whatever you want to know, and can then laboriously navigate their individual websites, which are inconsistently organized, containing inconsistent information.  Fail.

You could try Regulations.gov,[8] 9but that’s rules for others to follow, not information about our government itself, randomly unorganized and, again, with overwhelming volumes of content.  Fail.

Ooh, the Library of Congress, 162 million books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources![90]  A search for U.S. Federal Budget 2018 turns up nothing related to the U.S. budget.  Rats.

How about Govinfo?[91]  Nothing on an approved U.S. budget, only the President’s budget request.  There is an apparently random selection of 164 document collections organized by topic, including things like recent Presidents’ public papers and JFK assassination documents.  Fail.

 

Catalog of Government Publications (CGP)?[92]  Same chaos for a U.S. financial report or budget.

Maybe the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website?[93]  There is nothing identifiable as an accurate final budget for the U.S. government, among hundreds of responses in the existing documents index.  There is no way to know how long an FOIA request will take to fulfill, whether it will require paying a fee, or if you can receive the information electronically.  It estimates 58 to 304 days for a response to an FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.[94]   In 2017, the government’s 400-plus FOIA offices spread out across 116 agencies, received a record 800,000 FOIA requests.[95]   Is that working?

FOIA requests can take more than 20 years to get a response.  Simple requests take an average 42 days.  Many are refused or unanswered.[96]  An FOIA website request for a U.S. financial report or final budget submitted on the FOIA website gets a response that the information is not available from that system, and a new request needs to be sent to the Office of Management and Budget, under the U.S. President, not Congress, which authorizes the spending.[97]  No response.  Fail.

You can try Internet search engines.  Searching u.s. federal government statistics gets 236 million replies, u.s. federal budget 2018, 288 million, too many to realistically work with.  Search engines cull through everything anybody anywhere posts online, producing a boggling volume of replies to most any query.  However, it works better than government sites, and, eventually, you can find the President’s budget, but then, maybe, you learn it’s only a proposal.  That’s what Congress received as a request, cobbled together from hundreds of separate agency and department budget requests, which are out there, but irrelevant, because the President may have changed them in his budget proposal, or Congress might. 

Then, there are various versions of budget resolutions, separate ones by each house of Congress, their drafts of what to actually fund, maybe the same, maybe more, maybe less than the President requested.  But that’s not it, because there are two separate final versions, one for each house. 

Then, there are versions of compromises attempting to reconcile the two, finally reaching a version which is voted on by both houses, and eventually approved.  Whew!

Oh, but that’s not it, because that is then carved out into 12 separate pieces, assigned to 12 separate committees, which each draft various versions of appropriation bills, eventually arriving at final versions of 12 different appropriations bills.  But those are not it, because the President has not signed them, separately, and he can veto each one individually.  If he vetoes any, there is no approved budget.  If he signs all, there is no single intelligible document of what the budget is?[98]  At each step along the way, there are hundreds of documents by all kinds of special interests and advocates making noise about issues associated with various versions of budget element drafts and their possible esoteric implications. 

At no point, among these hundreds of documents, is there a presentation of the government budget intelligible to laypeople?  With the explicit purpose of obfuscating and making unintelligible to the public what money our government receives and spends, it would be hard to create a more effective design?

 

For 131 years, from 1878 until 2012, the U.S. published The Statistical Abstract of the United States, the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States, designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to other statistical publications and sources both in print and on the Web.[99]  It gave the people one organized place to look for statistical information.  Cool!  Oh, but it doesn’t do that anymore, and it left no instructions for how people would get that information any more.  Oh, but it seems there is something out there that does that now.  Oh, but it’s been privatized,[100] and you have to pay for it.

The government produces thousands of reports in a year, overwhelming volumes, yet the information is largely unintelligible, because it is overwhelming.  There is so much information, it becomes almost useless, because it is so difficult to find the information you actually need or want.  And, when you do find it, it is in the form of some report or universe of reports, with hundreds of pages of technical blather almost impossible to wade through while maintaining sanity, rendering the information unintelligible.

It isn’t just government.  We produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day on Earth.  A quintillion is a one with 18 zeroes.  Daily, we produce 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 bytes, text character equivalents.[101]  Some 60 zettabytes of information are created annually, globally,[102] 60 sextillion bytes, or 60 billion terabytes of data.  That’s 60 with 21 zeroes, or 60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.  This amount of data can be represented as a string of text 78,914,141,382,575,800 miles long, long enough to go around the Earth at the equator 3.2 trillion times.[103]  We are drowning in information and entertainment choices.

The U.S. has experienced a massive proliferation of media choices, which is both helpful and harmful.  Hundreds of channels are offered on T.V. broadcast, cable and satellite networks.  Astounding volumes of content are available via the public Internet, including show series, documentaries, movies and user-generated material through companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix and YouTube.  Hundreds of broadcast, satellite and Internet radio stations are available.  There is ridiculously far more content available on the public Internet than anyone could ever access, and there is a vast “Darknet” of 40 times more content than is accessible by search engines on the public Internet, that includes illegal activity.[104] 

This proliferation of media choices dilutes public attention across all media, creating needed competition and choice, but also decreasing the likelihood of people accessing the same or any given media source or information.  There are many alternatives to any information or entertainment choice.  Only a small fraction of available media is educational or designed to help develop and improve people.  Our awarenesses are increasingly diluted across this universe of media choices.  We think we are better able to communicate than ever, but we’re increasingly separated on different communication channels.

 

The affordability and availability of computing and network devices and the Internet has empowered people in incredible ways, making it possible for individuals or small groups to create, publish, distribute, share and interact with all kinds of content:  blogs, papers, videos, Tweets, Facebook, photo editing, Wikis, audio, music…  That is wonderful, but it has created an incredible noise level in people’s lives.  The available content is overwhelming in volume and variety.  Nobody can possibly be exposed to it all. 

There are 4.2 billion Internet users, half of people, and 1.7 billion websites in the world. 

Some context in how we’re distracting ourselves:

 

Numbers per user are generally far higher than calculated for U.S. users, because U.S. users do far higher volumes of most of this than people in many other places in the world.  We are distracting and confusing and removing ourselves with these extraordinary volumes of online activities.  We are also abandoning privacy as a human right and value.

  • In 2017, 60% of financial transactions worldwide were digital.

  • Only 9% of people in U.S. reported not buying something because of data privacy concerns.

  • The last data protection laws passed in U.S. were in 1974, versus 2018 for Europe.[105]

 

By the time we reach age 65 in the U.S., we’re exposed to 2 million TV commercials.[106]  In the 1970s, people in the U.S. were exposed to 500 ads a day.  Today, it’s 5,000 a day,[107] [108] [109]  1.8 million a year.  We watch 15 minutes of ads per hour of broadcast and cable television channel viewing, 1 of 4 minutes, 40 ads on a typical news webpage, 15 on a typical non-commercial website, 36 ads a day if we Facebook, and 4.6 billion video ads per month on the top 10 online platforms.[110]  We’re drowning in marketing, advertisement, and selling noise, which dulls us, distracts us, causes us to put up shields between us, makes us cynical, creates feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, and contributes enormously to media-related problems of alienation and withdrawal from civic and social engagement.[111]  Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

Media Addiction and Attention Deficits

 

We are divided and overwhelmed by this enormous volume of information and media choices, and it is doing many of us harm, creating problems with media addiction, abilities to pay attention, think clearly and critically, be present with life, family and friends, get work done, organize our lives, and be happy.  Our interactions with devices, systems, media, information and entertainments is rewiring our brains.

96% of U.S. households have televisions,[112]  75% of the people in the U.S. have networked computers, half have tablet computers, and 95% carry a cellphone, 80% a smartphone that’s almost always on.[113]  These empowering tools can provide enormous benefits, like, abilities to communicate with each other, find information when and where we need it, make financial transactions, navigate through the world, learn new things, translate languages, and be entertained. 

They are merely tools, though.  Many of us relate to them in unhealthy ways.  A hammer is just a tool.  We don’t check our hammers compulsively, or sleep with them.  We pull them out when we need them.  Many of us can’t stop checking our electronic devices.  61% of teens admit addiction to the Internet,[114]  and to increased loneliness and depression associated with that.[115]  An average person in the U.S. unlocked their cellphone 73 times a day in 2018.[116]  If we sleep 8 hours, that means we’re compulsively unlocking our phones every 13 minutes in the rest of the day, leaving less and less time for other things.

Floods of information overstimulate and overload us, triggering threat impulses that shut down higher brain regions associated with empathy, engaging threat-seeking functions, and triggering releases of dopamine, an addictive brain chemical pleasure reward, when we release information and switch focus.  Attentions increasingly flit from one thing to another.[117]  We think or pretend we’re more efficient and capable as we “multi-task,” trying to do many things at once.  Really, we’re less efficient and capable.[118]

Those are precisely the mechanics of addiction.  That’s what lab rats do, pressing levers to get food pellets in addiction experiments.  We push cellphone and computer buttons and get dopamine rewards. 

With games and other entertainments, the dopamine rewards can be even bigger and more frequent.  64% of the U.S. population are gamers.  The gaming industry earned $80 billion (7% of FADS) in 2017,[119] twice as much as global movie box office revenues.[120]  28% of games sold in the U.S. are shooter games, which reward people for killing with guns.  The U.S. has 1 in 25 people in the world, but 1 in 5 mobile phone video game sessions, with 72% of U.S. mobile phone users playing games on our phones. [121]

Information overload costs the U.S. economy $1 trillion (86% of FADS; 5% of U.S. GDP) per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation.  A fourth of an average information worker’s day is used looking for information and being interrupted.  It takes about 25 minutes to get back into productive flow after an interruption. [122]  28% of an information worker’s day is spent on email.[123]  That leaves these workers, arguably those best able to gather information on news and government, unlikely to seek such information, because they are burned out on information gathering?

 

People are interrupted often, day and night, with email, text messages, Facebook messages, phone calls, Tweets, Instagram photos and hundreds of other applications we check and receive messages from.  These media and interrupt driven conditions create distracted human beings, increasingly unable to pay attention, even when we want or try to.[124]  Many of us have a hard time relaxing at any time, and exist in states of anxiety, because we know at any moment we may be interrupted by electronic devices.

Media addictions and attention deficit problems are becoming epidemic, with some studies indicating human brains are being rewired, so we’re no longer capable of focused attention and concentration.[125]  In the U.K., members of parliament have said that social media addiction should be declared a disease, harming health and well-being.[126]  We can be addicted to electronic gaming, checking email, television, news, the Internet, YouTube...  In 2016, 6.1 million (10% of) children aged 2-17 years living in the U.S. had been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 62% being drugged for it.[127]

Without the ability to focus attention and concentrate, we effectively lose the ability to be analytical, critical, thoughtful, and participate as an informed and thinking member of a representative democracy.  That damages our abilities to do intellectual thinking, absolutely critical skills in the knowledge, information and innovation economies of the 21st century, where many of the best opportunities are.  This all makes it hard for us to come up with solutions to our many wicked problems, and do something about them, except as business solutions people are paid to think about at work.

 

Public education systems, often focused on regurgitating content, rewarding students for accurately aping back “the right answers,” rather than developing independent critical thinking and analytical skills, don’t prepare citizens well to be able to discern credible from incredible and discreditable information.  So, people become confused and misled by all kinds of false information.

Entertainment frequently presents an imagined “good life,” where people are wealthy, free and do what they want, or dark fantasies of anxiety, fear, anger, pursuit, danger, retribution, ugliness, crime, killing, war and other such stories.  Doing so, entertainment creates or perpetuates unrealistic beliefs or expectations about reality, fear and other negative emotions and energies, and harmful behaviors.

People increasingly seek and find distraction through media in the U.S.  Screen time consumes an average of 11 hours per day for a person in the U.S.,[128] more than the third of the day spent sleeping, theoretically, or the more than a third of the day spent working, on average.  We are not present in our lives, families or heads, because our attention is too consumed by media distractions. 

 

Look around you on the streets, in public spaces, on public transportation, anywhere, and notice how we’re lost in our devices, not present, randomly dispersed across the ether!  That defies common sense.  It contributes to problems in our lives, families, communities, workplaces, and society, because we are too distracted and media drugged to participate in them fully.  We’re lost in abstraction and distraction.

Need for Change

 

The U.S. emerged from a popular revolution by its people, rebelling against government control and exploitation, basing its organization and society on sweeping ideas and ideals of broad human rights, applying equally to all, with representative democratic government chosen and overseen by its people, using high quality information provided by a Free Press, basically a 4th branch of government.

That independent press has now been compromised in a variety of ways, including:  extreme media ownership concentrations, which limit choice and enable information controls; information sources owned by businesspeople focused on financial wealth and power, who optimize operations to cater to those trying to exercise influence over others, via advertisement and propaganda; ignorance, apathy and lack of education, critical thinking and responsibility in the public, increasingly not insisting on, showing up for or getting information needed to hold government and society accountable; increasing proliferation of false information, casting doubt on all information and making it hard to know what’s going on; and increasing government restrictions and attacks on journalism and information sharing.

We are increasingly distracted, dispersed and disconnected across an overwhelming proliferation of information and media choices, which is taking us away from the real worlds we live in, our families, relationships, communities and society.  That is rewiring our brains and making us increasingly unable to pay attention and do sustained thinking, addicting us to virtual stimuli that make us feel worse overall.  Meanwhile, our many wicked problems are getting worse; we’re less knowledgeably aware of that; we’re less able to respond to that; and we’re spiraling down into mental problems, harms and despair.

It doesn’t make sense that we are doing this to ourselves.  Let’s change!  Turn it off and detox from it!  Don’t turn it on again without clear purpose!  Go outside, get exercise and have fun with real people!  Take quiet time!  Be in nature!  Get healthy and whole!  Break the habits and addictions!  Wake up!

 

Put limits on electronic communications and entertainments!  Do only one thing at a time and do it well!  Check electronic communications at clearly defined times of the day, and turn them off at other times!  Take time without electronic devices before going to bed!  Make time to be present with loved ones! 

Get out in nature and the real world with real people in living communities!  Turn electronic devices on only when you really need them for a clear and useful purpose and keep them turned off otherwise!  Limit text and other forms of electronic messaging!  Call and talk instead!  Slow down!  Breathe deeply!  Understand that almost any real-world experience is more valuable than almost any virtual experience!

Learn to seek facts and information, not opinions, and be able to analyze and evaluate them critically!  Turn off commercial televisions and radios!   Seek out information you are interested in proactively!  Avoid real or electronic environments with advertisements, marketing and selling, whenever possible!  Support high quality independent journalism!  Take time every day to learn something that’s valuable!  Figure out trusted ways to get informed about what is going on in the world around us, and do it! 

Share good information with others and talk about it!  Be skeptical!  Try to understand the big picture!  Why are things the way they are?  How could they be different?  How are they different elsewhere? 

Figure out what you can do yourself to make things better in your life and society!  Do it, in good faith!  Share what you’re doing with others, and why!  It’s hard to root out corruption outside ourselves if we are corrupted inside ourselves.  Let’s root out and release corruption inside ourselves!  We can change!

 

Chapter Input

 

Contribute information, articles, comments, suggestions, ideas and discussion on this News, Information, Entertainment and Distraction chapter.  

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Endnotes

 

[1] “Cable News Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, July 25, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/cable-news/

[2] “Network News Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, July 25, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/network-news/

[3] “Local TV News Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, July 12, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/local-tv-news/

[4] 2017 U.S. Annual Subscriptions of Time, O, Us Weekly, Money, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, U.S. News and World Report, WebMD, and The New Yorker, those on the list of Top 100 U.S. Magazines by Subscriptions, Source:  PSA Research, https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrCwOL9.49c2zoAPq8PxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMHZ0NG9yBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM3BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1552968830/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.psaresearch.com%2fimages%2fTOPMAGAZINES.pdf/RK=2/RS=obVW0e0nUIYy4nJ9dRnJEGluKu4-

[5] " Public Broadcasting Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, June 6, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/public-broadcasting/

[6] “Newspapers Fact Sheet” Pew Research Center, June 13, 2019, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/newspapers/

[7] “Audio and Podcasting Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, July 12, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/audio-and-podcasting/

[8] “Digital News Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, June 6, 2019, http://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/digital-news/

[9] “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018: Most Americans continue to get news on social media, even though many have concerns about its accuracy”, Katerina Eva Matsa and Elisa Shearer, September 10, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/2018/09/10/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2018/

[10] “How Americans Encounter, Recall and Act Upon Digital News: When following links, online news consumers could recall the name of the news outlet 56% of the time, Amy Mitchell, Elisa Shearer, Jeffrey Gottfried, Kristine Lu, Pew Research Center, February 9, 2017, http://www.journalism.org/2017/02/09/how-americans-encounter-recall-and-act-upon-digital-news/

[11] “These are the most and least biased news outlets in the US, according to Americans”, Eliza Relman, Business Insider, June 21, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/most-and-least-biased-news-outlets-in-america-2018-6

[21] “The Modern News Consumer:  2. Trust and Accuracy”, Amy Mitchell, Elisa Shearer, Jeffrey Gottfried, Michael Barthel, Pews Research Center, July 7, 2016, http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/07/trust-and-accuracy/

[13] “Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News: The politically aware, digitally savvy and those more trusting of the news media fare better; Republicans and Democrats both influenced by political appeal of statements”, Amy Mitchell, Jeffrey Gottfriend, Michael Barthel and Nami Sumida, Pew Research Center, June 18, 2018, http://www.journalism.org/2018/06/18/distinguishing-between-factual-and-opinion-statements-in-the-news/

[14] “Is it Fact or Opinion? Better Ask a Young Adult: No matter the political appeal of a statement, younger adults are more apt at distinguishing between a fact and an opinion.”, Claire Hansen, U.S. News and World Report, October 23, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2018-10-23/younger-americans-better-at-telling-fact-from-opinion

[15] “Majority of U.S. adults think news media should not add interpretation to the facts”, Michael Barthel, Jeffrey Gottfried, Pew Research Center, November 18, 2016, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/18/news-media-interpretation-vs-facts/

[16] “Most colleges enroll students who aren’t prepared for higher education”, Sarah Butrymowicz, The Hechinger Report, January 30, 2017, PBS Newshour, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/colleges-enroll-students-arent-prepared-higher-education/

[17] “Partnering for Education Reform”, Home U.S. Department of Education, Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary Tony Miller at the Church of God in Christ's International AIM Convention in Houston, Texas, July 7, 2011, https://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/partnering-education-reform

[18] “K-12 FACTS, Updated February 2016, Center for Education Reform, https://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

[19] “The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn’t Changed In 10 Years”, 09/06/2013, Updated Dec 12, 2014, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html

[20] “216 Million Americans Are Scientifically Illiterate (Part I)”, David Ewing Duncan, MIT Technology Review, February 21, 2007, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/407346/216-million-americans-are-scientifically-illiterate-part-i/

[21] “Ignorance Does Not Lead to Election Bliss:  Perhaps the country’s political state owes itself to the failures of its education system”, Jonathan R. Cole, November 8, 2016, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/11/ignorance-does-not-lead-to-election-bliss/506894/

[22] “The surprising number of American adults who think chocolate milk comes from brown cows’, Caitlin Dewey, June 15, 2017, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/15/seven-percent-of-americans-think-chocolate-milk-comes-from-brown-cows-and-thats-not-even-the-scary-part/?utm_term=.9df5d96724a1

[23] “American idiots: 38 percent fail citizenship test, Newsweek finds”, Alexandra Petri, March 22, 2011, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/american-idiots-38-percent-fail-citizenship-test-newsweek-finds/2011/03/03/ABuHNKDB_blog.html?utm_term=.913d5204eb11

[24] “Reading Statistics”, Statistic Brain Research Institute, https://www.statisticbrain.com/reading-statistics/

[25] “Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall”, Michael Barthel, June 1, 2017, Pew Research Center, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/01/circulation-and-revenue-fall-for-newspaper-industry/

[26] “These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America”, Ashley Lutz, June 14, 2012, Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

[27] “Chart: These 6 Companies Control Much of U.S. Media”, Nicolas Rapp and Aric Jenkins, Fortune, July 24, 2018, http://fortune.com/longform/media-company-ownership-consolidation/

[28] “Who Owns the Media”, Free Press, 2018, https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrCmmQu7qBciEYAk1APxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--/RV=2/RE=1554079406/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.freepress.net%2fsites%2fdefault%2ffiles%2f2018-03%2fWho%2520Owns%2520the%2520Media_2018%2520Data.xlsx/RK=2/RS=iEqQJBNITm0EqZej5eBcvtJo53Y-

[29] “FCC Broadcast Ownership Rules”, U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Accessed March 20, 2019, https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/fccs-review-broadcast-ownership-rules

[30] “Wall Street is expecting a two-year pause in big media and telecom deals after a crazy 2018”, Alex Sherman, CNBC, Updated December 10, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/09/wall-street-expects-two-year-pause-in-big-media-and-telecom-ma.html

[31] “Viacom Can Only Go So Far on Its Own”, Tara Lachapelle, Bloomberg, February 5, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-05/viacom-earnings-cbs-merger-is-necessary-next-step

[32] “These 15 Billionaires Own America's News Media Companies, Kate Vinton, Forbes, June 1, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/06/01/these-15-billionaires-own-americas-news-media-companies/#5dc93fe3660a

[33] “Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good For Our Democracy: The media has become controlled by a handful of corporations thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.”, Michael Corcoran, Bill Moyers .com, March 30, 2016, https://billmoyers.com/story/twenty-years-of-media-consolidation-has-not-been-good-for-our-democracy/

[34] See Project Censored for some examples, https://www.projectcensored.org/

[35] “Sinclair's Soldiers in Trump's War on Media”, Deadspin, Published on April 2, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fHfgU8oMSo

[36] “Sinclair's Soldiers in Trump's War on Media”, Deadspin, YouTube, April 2, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fHfgU8oMSo

[37] “Sinclair Made Dozens of Local News Anchors Recite the Same Script”, Jacey Fortin and Jonah Engel Bromwich, The New York Times, April 2, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/business/media/sinclair-news-anchors-script.html

[38] “Noam Chomsky - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine”, Al Jazeera English, Published on Mar 2, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34LGPIXvU5M&feature=youtu.be

[39] “Too polemical or too critical? Chomsky on the study of the news media and US foreign policy”, Article  in  Review of International Studies · September 2003, DOI: 10.1017/S0260210503005539, Eric Herring, University of Bristol, Piers Robinson, The University of Sheffield, file:///C:/Users/James'/Downloads/Too_polemical_or_too_critical_Chomsky_on_the_study.pdf

[40] “The Liberal Embrace of War: American interventionists learned a lesson from Iraq: pre-empt the debate. Now everyone is for regime change”, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, May 16, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/venezuela-united-states-war-trump-836344/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=exacttarget&utm_campaign=RollingStone_Daily&utm_content=150952_05-16-2019_the-liberal-embrace-of-war&utm_term=3648513

[41] “Too polemical or too critical? Chomsky on the study of the news media and US foreign policy”, Article  in  Review of International Studies · September 2003, DOI: 10.1017/S0260210503005539, Eric Herring, University of Bristol, Piers Robinson, The University of Sheffield, file:///C:/Users/James'/Downloads/Too_polemical_or_too_critical_Chomsky_on_the_study.pdf

[42] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[43] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[44] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[45] “The CIA, the drug dealers, and the tragedy of Gary Webb:  In 1996, journalist Gary Webb began looking into links between Nicaragua's drug-running Contra rebels and the CIA. As a recent film shows, what he found killed him”, Alex Hannaford, The Telegraph, March 21, 2015, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/11485819/kill-messenger-gary-webb-true-story.html

[46] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[47] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[48] “Ronald Reagan: "Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.", Ronald Reagan, WeAreSocialSecurity

Published on Nov 5, 2012, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihUoRD4pYzI

[49] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[50] See the chapter on Taxes and Debt

[51] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[52] “The only chart you need to see to know that the US spends more on its military than the next 11 countries combined”, Mark Abadi, Business Insider, May 3, 2016, https://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-spending-dwarfs-rest-of-world-2016-5

[53] See the chapter on Empire and Its Agents

[54] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[55] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[56] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[57] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[58] “The Making of the Fox News White House: Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda?”, Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, March 11, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house

[59] “Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s White House press secretary, is stepping down”, Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-sarah-sanders-resign-press-secretary-20190613-story.html

[60] “The Demise of the White House: Press Briefing Under Trump, Karen Yourish, Jasmine C. Lee, The New York Times, January 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/22/us/politics/white-house-press-briefing.html

[61] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[62] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[63] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[64] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[65] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[66] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[67] “16 Years Later, How the Press That Sold the Iraq War Got Away With It: In an excerpt from his new book Hate Inc., Matt Taibbi looks back at how the media built new lies to cover their early ones”, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, March 22, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/iraq-war-media-fail-matt-taibbi-812230/

[68] “Man who set self on fire outside White House not believed to be threat to President” Caroline Kelly and Jeremy Diamond, CNN, April 13, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/12/politics/white-house-fire/index.html

[69] “Monopoly Media Manipulation, Michael Parenti, May 2001, http://www.michaelparenti.org/MonopolyMedia.html

[70] “2018 World Press Freedom Index”, Reporters Without Borders for Freedom of Information, https://rsf.org/en/ranking

[71] “Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited: The second indictment of the Wikileaks co-founder seems designed to force the British to deny extradition. If not, it’s madness”, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, May 30, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/wikileaks-julian-assange-extradited-taibbi-842292/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=exacttarget&utm_campaign=RollingStone_Daily&utm_content=153182_05-30-2019_julian-assange-must-never-be-extrad&utm_term=3648513

[72] U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, https://pressfreedomtracker.us/

[73] “The Government Is Classifying Too Many Documents: That overuse has wide-reaching consequences for our government—and for us as citizens”, Elizabeth Goitein, The Nation, July 7, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/the-government-is-classifying-too-many-documents/

[74] “2018 has been a dangerous and deadly year for journalists”, Emily Rauhala, The Washington Post, December 4, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/12/04/was-dangerous-deadly-year-journalists/?utm_term=.dfd028ea8df3

[75] “In a violent year for journalists, United States among the deadliest countries for first time”, Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, Updated December 19, 2018, https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/19/us/us-deadliest-countries-journalists-reporters-without-borders/index.html

[76] “Public Broadcasting Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, June 6, 2018, https://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/public-broadcasting/

[77] “Some Real News About Fake News: It’s not just making people believe false things—a new study suggests it’s also making them less likely to consume or accept information.”, David A. Graham, The Atlantic, June 7, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/fake-news-republicans-democrats/591211/

[78] “The year in press freedom: Attacks, arrests, and more”, Camille Fassett, Columbia Journalism Review, December 19, 2018, https://www.cjr.org/analysis/us-press-freedom-tracker-2018.php

[79] “Influence of fake news in Twitter during the 2016 US presidential election”, Alexandre Bovet & Hernán A. Makse, Nature Communications, volume 10, Article number: 7 (2019), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07761-2

[80] “Internet Research Agency Twitter Activity Predicted 2016 U.S. Election Polls”, Damian J. Ruck, Natalie Manaeva Rice, Joshua Borycz and R. Alexander Bentley, University of Tennessee, July 1, 2019, https://firstmonday.org/article/view/10107/8049

[81] “Trump may owe his 2016 victory to ‘fake news,’ new study suggests”, Richard Gunther, Erik C. Nisbet, Paul Beck, The Conversation, February 15, 2018, https://theconversation.com/trump-may-owe-his-2016-victory-to-fake-news-new-study-suggests-91538

[82] “'The Facebook Dilemma' review: 'Frontline' doc examines the dark side of sharing”, Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, October 26, 2018, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-ent-facebook-dilemma-frontline-rev-1029-story.html

[83] For a sense of scale, Facebook deleted 3 billion fake accounts in a six-month period.  “Facebook: Another three billion fake profiles culled”, BBC, May 23, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48380504

[84] “Internet Trends 2018”, Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins, https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018/

[85] See the chapter on Legal

[86] “U.S. National Archives Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government, Accessed March 21, 2019, https://www.federalregister.gov/

[87] https://www.data.gov/

[88] https://www.usa.gov/

[89] https://www.regulations.gov/

[90] Library of Congress, https://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/ui/en_US/htdocs/help/index.html

[91] https://www.govinfo.gov/

[92] https://catalog.gpo.gov/F

[93] https://www.foia.gov/search.html

[94] “Check Status of FOIA Request”, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/freedom-information-and-privacy-act-foia/foia-request-status-check-average-processing-times/check-status-foia-request

[95] “FOIA request volume in FY 18 ‘well on-pace’ to break new records”, Jory Heckman, Federal News Network, March 12, 2019, https://federalnewsnetwork.com/agency-oversight/2019/03/foia-request-volume-in-fy-18-well-on-pace-to-break-new-records/

[96] Feds stiff-arm taxpayers' requests for information”, Jeff Mordock, The Washington Times, January 2, 2018, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/2/foia-requests-drawn-out-decades/

[97] Response received March 23, 2019

[98] “Budget of the U.S. Government”, USA.gov, Accessed March 21, 2019, https://www.usa.gov/budget

[9] 9“Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012”, United States Census Bureau, August 2011, https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2011/compendia/statab/131ed.html  

[100] ProQuest, https://www.proquest.com/en

[101] “Information Overload: Three Steps To Get Your Message Heard”, Esther Bonardi, Forbes, July 2, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/07/02/information-overload-three-steps-to-get-your-message-heard/#44ade9321696

[102] “Internet Trends 2018”, Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins, https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018/

[103] 60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000*0.083333333/12/5,280/24,901, Character width from https://www.translatorscafe.com/unit-converter/en/typography/5-7/

[104] “The Dark Side of the Internet”, Nick Routley, Visual Capitalist, July 8, 2017, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/dark-web/

More Endnotes:  (Text continues after Endnotes)

[105] “Internet Trends 2018”, Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins, https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018/

[106] “Fantastic Advertising Industry Statistics”, April 19, 2014, Brandon Gaille, https://brandongaille.com/advertising-industry-statistics/

[107] “How Many Ads Do You See Each Day?”, GradSchools.com, accessed March 9, 2019, https://www.gradschools.com/programs/marketing-advertising/how-many-ads-do-you-see-each-day

[108] “Cutting Through Advertising Clutter”, Caitlin Johnson, CBS, September 17, 2006, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cutting-through-advertising-clutter/

[109] “Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad”, Louise Story, The New York Times, January 15, 2007, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html

[110] “How Many Ads Do You See Each Day?”, GradSchools.com, accessed March 9, 2019, https://www.gradschools.com/programs/marketing-advertising/how-many-ads-do-you-see-each-day

[111] See the chapter on Marketing, Advertising, Selling and PR

[112] “Nielsen Estimates 119.9 Million TV Homes in the U.S. for the 2018-2019 TV Season,” Nielsen, September 7, 2018, https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/nielsen-estimates-119-9-million-tv-homes-in-the-us-for-the-2018-19-season.html

[113] “Mobile Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, February 5, 2018, https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/

[114] “The Psychology of Multitasking and Information Overload”, Brandon Gaille, November 21, 2013, https://brandongaille.com/the-psychology-multitasking-and-information-overload/

[115] “Limiting social media use reduced loneliness and depression in new experiment” Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch, November 9, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/09/limiting-social-media-use-reduced-loneliness-and-depression-in-new-experiment/

[116] “Smartphones revolutionize our lives—but at what cost?: The computer in our hands can do astonishing things, but new studies show just how dramatically they’re distracting us.”, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, National Geographic, January 25, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/smartphones-revolutionize-our-lives-but-at-what-cost/

[117] “The Psychology of Multitasking and Information Overload”, Brandon Gaille, November 21, 2013, https://brandongaille.com/the-psychology-multitasking-and-information-overload/

[118] “Smartphones revolutionize our lives—but at what cost?: The computer in our hands can do astonishing things, but new studies show just how dramatically they’re distracting us.”, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, National Geographic, January 25, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/smartphones-revolutionize-our-lives-but-at-what-cost/

[119] “2019 Video Game Industry Statistics, Trends & Data”, WePC, May 2018, https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/

[120] “Global box office revenue from 2005 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/271856/global-box-office-revenue/

[121] “2019 Video Game Industry Statistics, Trends & Data”, WePC, May 2018, https://www.wepc.com/news/video-game-statistics/

[122] “Information Overload: What is it doing to your employees?”, Catherine Eberlein Pfister, Renaissance Executive Forums, March 3, 2017, https://www.executiveforums.com/single-post/2017/03/03/Information-Overload-What-is-it-doing-to-your-employees

[123] “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies”, Michael Chui, James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Charles Roxburgh, Hugo Sarrazin, Geoffrey Sands, and Magdalena Westergren, July 2012, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/the-social-economy

[124] “How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds:  Research suggests that as the brain grows dependent on phone technology, the intellect weakens”, Nicholas Carr, October 6, 2017, Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-smartphones-hijack-our-minds-1507307811

[125] “Smartphones may be changing the way we think”, Laura Sanders, March 17, 2017, Science News, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/smartphones-may-be-changing-way-we-think

[126] “Social media addiction should be seen as a disease, MPs say: UK report suggests sites such as Facebook and Instagram could be harming mental health”, Jim Waterson, March 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/mar/18/social-media-addiction-should-be-seen-as-disease-mps-say

[127] “National Prevalence of ADHD and Treatment: New statistics for children and adolescents, 2016”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/features/national-prevalence-adhd-and-treatment.html

[128] “Time Flies:  U.S. Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting with Media, Nielsen, July 31, 2018, https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/time-flies-us-adults-now-spend-nearly-half-a-day-interacting-with-media.print.html

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