There are two people I have come to fear over the years; party delegates/voters and the media. I have come to realize over the years how the power of these can’t be ruled out in our affairs, especially with elections. Party delegates/voters, on one hand, can give you all the promises (as much as you promise them, too) yet vote you out. The media, on the other hand, can make you a villain or hero… when it wants to.
Donald Trump’s win threw the whole world in shock. He was not a good candidate, you thought. He was a racist who taunted Africans at the least opportunity, you had read and heard. I know. But… what if I told you some (or most) of what you heard were not true? What if you got to know that most of the bad things you read about him were just made up by fake news sites for reasons no one can tell. Would that change your mind about him now?
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe. What if I told you he has no idea whatsoever of most (if not all) of the outrageous quotes on social media attributed to him? Would you change your perception about him if you got to know that the [Western] media oftentimes make up news about him to make him unpopular?
What you read, listen to, watch or hear has such an influence on your mind. It majorly influences your belief system. A chunk of the information we consume, especially in this age, is through the media. And… that’s why you should fear it! What if you have been made to hate what/who you were supposed to love? What if you have been fed with lies about people so much that you didn’t even care to listen to the truth about them anymore?
Before you form your thoughts about somebody, cross-check your information. Even though it is such a hard thing to sieve the truth from the lies lately, try as much as you can not to believe everything you hear. Lies thrive on gullibility. Fabrications become the truth when we become so gullible to believe anything.
We are living in times when the media just got broader and more inclusive. Anyone anywhere can just make news and before they butt an eyelid, it has gone viral. As to whether it is satire, their opinion or the truth, no one cares much. It would amaze you, for instance, that most of the things you have heard or read about our own serpent-turning Bishop Obinim were only made up. Yes. Some of them are just satire-turned-true stories. Thanks to social media and lazy journalists who wouldn’t ascertain the truth before lifting such news as serious ones.
Mind you, the media tells you who to hate and who to love. Truth today is subjective. It oftentimes depends on who is saying/writing it. If there’s anything you may want to believe, check first, cross-check, re-check and check again the truth and facts of the matter! You may be hating whom you ought to love… and loving whom you ought to hate. Fear the media!
Things have even gotten creepier in this election season. Half-truths are being churned out day in and out for power sake. Be careful what you believe. Be on your guard as to what you pay heed to. For all you know, you may be feeding on carefully-concocted, totally-tabulated lies. Everything is possible when power is at stake. People will pay their way through everything; even making news to malign others. They call it propaganda and guess what… that’s what someone is paid to do! This thing they call politics.
If you have no fear for anything, at least, have an iota of fear for today’s media. They can propel you to the top and drag you to the mud. They can sing “Hosanna” of you today and scream “Crucify him!” tomorrow. The same media. Fear it!
With the advent of social media, things are gradually getting out of hands. Half-truths and half-lies. Rumors become satire and satire sooner or later becomes serious news. In a world where rumors can easily be mistaken for facts, before you believe, think and rethink. I can only imagine how many grudges we have held in our hearts against others when we have no idea the media just set them up.
Gossiping was a sin… until social media came. It has even become more worrying when a chunk of us don’t care to verify information we read. And… it’s even worse when most of won’t read beyond a headline. A headline is enough for us to conclude what a story may mean. Little wonder many of us have imprisoned others in our hearts just because we failed to read beyond a headline.
A polished lie is still a lie. No matter how well a lie puts on make-up, it doesn’t make it the truth.
Don’t doubt everything. Don’t believe everything either. In between us and the world at large is the media pushing the knobs of love and hatred; lies and truth. Before you go cursing your opponent in this election season because of a news item you read or heard, confirm its veracity. Before you go slapping another man for what you read about him, take time to know the truth. Election violence begins with gullible minds. Don’t let your gullibility cost you.
Peace concerts and songs are of little use when we can’t afford to read beyond headlines in this season. Peace messages are of no importance when we peddle lies about others without cross-checking the facts. At least, if you didn’t start the lies, you can break the chain by not sharing it.
The media will determine the next person you may ever love or hate. And… who’s the media? It’s you and me. It’s man. Fear man!
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), a writing company based in Accra. Get interactive with him on his Facebook page, Kobina Ansah.