Let’s think about fishing. Not for sport, but as an educational activity. Educational, although usually fishing is getting outside on the water, surrounded by wind and big sky, yet there’s more here …
The educational benefits of fishing are many; number one lesson is to actually look around at what is surrounding us. Number two lesson is less of a cliché :
the supreme importance of “baits”. And what, you may ask, is educational about bait?
This isn’t about fishing so there’s nothing here about bait for pickerel or bass. The topic here is the use of baits everywhere, “baiting” as a tool for achieving almost any goal, not just to nab a fresh fish.
Turn to the “News” — your newspaper or news site for current events. What is happening around us, shaping the world in which we live, affecting our jobs, family lives, our kids and elders, everything that affects us, that’s the News. And it’s not only the weather report.
You and I are rarely subjects, but always targets, of the News; there are many baits being used to hook us, to grab and flood our attention. “The News” colours much of our daily thinking and talking about what’s going on in the world. The News influences how we vote, how we agree or not with political parties and politicians; what we learn from the News also shapes how we deal with others, set our goals and expectations of others.
In a capsule, in one gulp, we can be captured, hooked, snagged and brought up to any surface. So the big lesson from fishing is that we should pay careful attention to which bait(s) are being used to get us to swallow whichever hook is being thrown at us on whichever media we’re using.
Just being aware that our News-media is a gigantic trawling effort is the first step. And noticing that so much, so many different things — from the people interviewed to the slant with which the news reports were written — are forms of bait to capture our agreement or our dissent. So many issues and decisions are facing us with so much money and power at stake that baiting their message is of the highest priority for officialdom.
The second lesson covers the nature of baiting; which baits are best at winning our assent or angering us about policies, opinions, actions and events. Why are they using such bait?
The 3% and the corporate shakers of our society have a full tackle-box. Since the news media are trolling for us, for humans, they have perfected one magnificent bait most humans can rarely resist — our emotions. We bite every time! How many mothers crying, appeals to patriotism, scare-reminders of old dictators, etc. do we need? Ask yourself why sobbing mothers or destroyed baby-carriages are so often parts of a newscast.
Are these news? Yet still we bite, every time … unless we have our eye on the bait.