TV- entertainment promotes non-democratic feelings

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Sun May 12 2002 - 15:43:39 BST

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    Subject: TV- entertainment promotes non-democratic feelings
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    Hi Kenneth.

    I came upon this in the New York Times, which seemed appropriate to the
    general tone of the discussion.

    May 12, 2002
    Global Village Idiocy

     JAKARTA, Indonesia During a dinner with Indonesian journalists in
    Jakarta, I was taken aback when Dini Djalal, a reporter for The Far Eastern
    Economic Review, suddenly launched into a blistering criticism of the Fox
    News Channel and Bill O'Reilly. "They say [on Fox], `We report, you decide,'
    but it's biased they decide before us," she said. "They say there is no
    spin, but I get dizzy looking at it. I also get upset when they invite on
    Muslims and just insult them."
    Why didn't she just not watch Fox when she came to America, I wondered? No,
    no, no, explained Ms. Djalal: The Fox Channel is now part of her Jakarta
    cable package. The conservative Bill O'Reilly is in her face every night.
    On my way to Jakarta I stopped in Dubai, where I watched the Arab News
    Network at 2 a.m. ANN broadcasts from Europe, outside the control of any
    Arab government, but is seen all over the Middle East. It was running what
    I'd call the "greatest hits" from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: nonstop
    film of Israelis hitting, beating, dragging, clubbing and shooting
    Palestinians. I would like to say the footage was out of context, but there
    was no context. There were no words. It was just pictures and martial music
    designed to inflame passions.
    An Indonesian working for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, who had just visited
    the Islamic fundamentalist stronghold of Jogjakarta, told me this story:
    "For the first time I saw signs on the streets there saying things like,
    `The only solution to the Arab-Israel conflict is jihad if you are true
    Muslim, register yourself to be a volunteer.' I heard people saying, `We
    have to do something, otherwise the Christians or Jewish will kill us.' When
    we talked to people to find out where [they got these ideas], they said from
    the Internet. They took for granted that anything they learned from the
    Internet is true. They believed in a Jewish conspiracy and that 4,000 Jews
    were warned not to come to work at the World Trade Center [on Sept. 11]. It
    was on the Internet."
    What's frightening him, he added, is that there is an insidious digital
    divide in Jogjakarta: "Internet users are only 5 percent of the population
    but these 5 percent spread rumors to everyone else. They say, `He got it
    from the Internet.' They think it's the Bible."
    If there's one thing I learned from this trip to Israel, Jordan, Dubai and
    Indonesia, it's this: thanks to the Internet and satellite TV, the world is
    being wired together technologically, but not socially, politically or
    culturally. We are now seeing and hearing one another faster and better, but
    with no corresponding improvement in our ability to learn from, or
    understand, one another. So integration, at this stage, is producing more
    anger than anything else. As the writer George Packer recently noted in The
    Times Magazine, "In some ways, global satellite TV and Internet access have
    actually made the world a less understanding, less tolerant place."
    At its best, the Internet can educate more people faster than any media tool
    we've ever had. At its worst, it can make people dumber faster than any
    media tool we've ever had. The lie that 4,000 Jews were warned not to go
    into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 was spread entirely over the
    Internet and is now thoroughly believed in the Muslim world. Because the
    Internet has an aura of "technology" surrounding it, the uneducated believe
    information from it even more. They don't realize that the Internet, at its
    ugliest, is just an open sewer: an electronic conduit for untreated,
    unfiltered information.
    Worse, just when you might have thought you were all alone with your extreme
    views, the Internet puts you together with a community of people from around
    the world who hate all the things and people you do. And you can scrap the
    BBC and just get your news from those Web sites that reinforce your own
    A couple of years ago, two Filipino college graduates spread the "I Love
    You" virus over the Internet, causing billion of dollars in damage to
    computers and software. But at least that virus was curable with the right
    software. There is another virus going around today, though, that's much
    more serious. I call it the "I Hate You" virus. It's spread on the Internet
    and by satellite TV. It infects people's minds with the most vile ideas, and
    it can't be combated by just downloading a software program. It can be
    reversed only with education, exchanges, diplomacy and human interaction
    stuff you have to upload the old-fashioned way, one on one. Let's hope it's
    not too late.
    Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company | Permissions | Privacy Policy

    > Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 22:16:28 +0200
    > From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    > Subject: TV- entertainment promotes non-democratic feelings
    > This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
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    > Vincent, this is the promised article, just a translation. Further info =
    > about
    > the analyse I have not.=20
    > The connection between watching entertainmentprograms and the =
    > cultivation
    > of uncertainty- feelings, is mush clearer than previously supposed.
    > This is the conclusion of an investigation done by VUB- docent M. =
    > Hooghe.
    > Suprisingly is that not so mush the newsprograms are the cause for those
    > uncertainty feelings.
    > " We could conclude that watching easy entertainment programs for a long
    > time, points to a tendency to seclude oneself from the ( hostile and =
    > dange-
    > rous) outside world, and thus to search for an easy form of relaxation/ =
    > diver-
    > sion/ relief."=20
    > The outside world is perceived ( more and more) as a strange and =
    > threatening
    > environment, which must be avoided. According to Hooghe has the tendency
    > to put everything under a jolly/ pleasant/ funny/ amusing spell =
    > important
    > political and cultural consequenties.=20
    > What for me raises the question, to what programs were the Dutch =
    > watching
    > for the last ten years that a guy like Fortuyn could get so mush support =
    > !?
    > And by the way, Vincent, to some people, the media is one of the causes
    > he was mudered. The media made of Fortuyn someone he really wasn 't....
    > Hope you enjoy this,
    > Regards,
    > Kenneth

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