Monday, March 25, 2019

Beware of Movements - and Committees

The clickbait news media is more than happy to use press releases as news articles. Sadly, they show a marked lack of interest in researching these press releases.

Recently, former US Army Private Bradley Manning was incarcerated in Virginia for refusing to testify before a grand jury.  I'm not sure what the brouhaha is all about.   Manning refuses to testify on the grounds that he/she already gave this testimony to Congress.  If this is the case, then why not testify again? It seems kind of silly or perhaps an attention-getting device.

But like pavlovian dogs, the press eats this shit up. People will click on the articles because they support Manning or because they despise Manning.  I probably fall into the latter category as I think this whole transgender thing is overblown and disclosing secrets of the US Government when you swore an oath not to disclose them, seems to me not an act of heroism, but of cowardice.  One of the biggest mistakes of the Obama Administration was pardoning Manning.

But all that being said, who is putting up all these press releases that the news media is latching onto? I tried to research this online and I kept hitting a brick wall. There's something that calls itself the "Committee to Support Chelsea Manning" or something called "Chelsea Resists!" The news media blandly refers to these organizations as "Manning's supporters" but doesn't go into any details as to whether they have names, or how many of them there are.   Not even a name of the spokesman or spokesperson is mentioned.

One thing's for sure, they've saturated social media and nearly every type of website, blog, or whatever, to pitch for money for legal defense fees.  But for all I know, this could be one person with a computer, or five people, or five thousand, or five million. It's hard to tell. The organization doesn't seem to have any structure with named leaders, and doesn't seem to be a 503c nonprofit or whatever.

I noted before we have a organization on our own Island here called the "Coalition to Hate Jekyll Island."  They gathered together - all five of them - in somebody's living room, and issue press releases and pronouncements about how evil the authority that governs our island is, and how everything's going to hell in a handbasket.  One wonders why, if they hate it so much, why don't they just leave? They really need to visit some other resort islands on the coast of Georgia, or Florida, or the Carolinas to appreciate how lucky they are.

But when you release a press release on the letterhead of the "Coalition to Hate Jekyll Island" it sounds like a grassroots organization that has the support of most of the residents here.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Granted, there are few hardcore people just want to hate for the sake of hating.  Most people have no opinion one way or the other, or are easily swayed by these haters - until you set them straight.  But the majority of people are quite content with the way things are going, because, quite frankly, things aren't going that badly.

And I think the same thing is going on here with this "Chelsea Resists!" nonsense.  The supporters which are obliquely referred to by the press are probably not a legion or army of people, or  transgender people, or whatever, but rather a few of his/her close friends.

And like I said, I think the whole thing is a publicity stunt to raise Manning's profile in order to probably make money in some way, perhaps selling a book or going on talk shows or whatever. Because let's face it, we all forgot about Manning long ago.  And I'm sure Manning is enjoying nailing himself/herself to the cross and playing the martyr - starring in her own one-man show.  On Broadway!

Sadly, the news media seems to strangely lack any curiosity as to who these so-called supporters are, and what the extent of the support is.  Rather, they barf up the same news releases verbatim in one outlet after another. And I know this because after searching on Google for ten minutes, I see the press releases from her organization on their website and then see them repeated verbatim in newspapers such as the Post, the Times, and even on Fox News.

I'm not taking a piss on Manning here - well not too much of one, anyway.  What really irks me is the media, and how they seem to have an utter lack of curiosity these days. It is laziness generated by staff cuts. They don't have the time and energy to truly investigate things and, let's face it, investigative reports just don't generate the clicks. But a flashy press release just printed verbatim generates a lot of clicks both by lovers and haters so why bother doing anything else?  I mean, this is free content, we're talking here.  Just post it and profit!

The moral here is, for you the reader, is to be very skeptical of these sort of things. When you read an article in the newspaper, ask yourself the tough questions such as to who the people are in the article - the old Who/What/Where/When/Why/How stuff that the press seems to have forgotten about. When you see these things over and over again about "Manning's supporters" and it doesn't say who the hell they are, and when you Google it online you can't even find anybody with their name on this so-called committee, you have to wonder what's really going on.

And what's really going on is a tempest in a teapot.