Artificial Perceptions

October 29, 2009

Media Kept The Holocaust On The Downlow

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 12:38 am

With everything I have been seeing and reading about the Holocaust lately, I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. I decided that I wanted to learn more, to get a better understanding of the facts. This led me to googling up some interesting new facts that I think will surprise quite a few people. Of all of the facts I found, here are the ones that stuck out the most:

 

* Holocaust news was consistently relegated to the Times’ back pages. Of the 1,186 articles that the Times published during 1939-1945 about Europe’s Jews, only 26 (about two percent) of them appeared on the front page, and even those articles “obscured the fact that most of the victims were Jews.”

* The Times only rarely published editorials about the annihilation of Europe’s Jews, and only once ran a lead editorial about the Nazi genocide.

 

* When the Nazi death camps were liberated, the Times’ coverage downplayed the fact that the victims and survivors were overwhelmingly Jews.

 

 

One common denominator? The New York Times. During World War Two, the New York Times publisher was Arthur Sulzberger, an assimilated Jew of German descent. He apparently feared that he would “be engaging in special pleading” and decided to downplay the news of the Holocaust. The New York Times, especially at that point in time, is one of the most influential sources of media in the United States. Thus, the rest of the then current media followed suit and didn’t have any grand reports of the Holocaust. It’s just another example of how easily the media can twist and skew all of the news we receive, and sometimes don’t receive. It’s astounding to me though that something like this could have happened with something as large as the Holocaust, it’s really just despicable.

 

More Facts!

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October 14, 2009

Memory of the Camps

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 11:23 pm

I recently watched a World War II documentary directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The focus of the documentary was Nazi concentration camps and their liberation at the end of the war. It was filmed by a film crew and assembled as it was actually happening. The sights in the film are completely horrifying and left me feeling like I had milk curdling in my stomach.

Obviously this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard of the horrors of the six million plus Jewish people killed in the Holocaust, but this was the first time I’ve had the discomfort of sitting through an hours worth of terrifying image after terrifying image. I always understood how terrible the Holocaust was, obviously, since it was attempted genocide, but this was the first time I was able to grasp the full disgusting manner in which the events took place.

It was not enough to see the images, but Hitchcock’s haunting tone of narration took the documentary to a whole new level. The low tone of his voice combined with his lack of emotion really set a terrifying stage. Even more so, the documentaries lack of music, and in certain spots narration, made the daunting black and white images that much more effective.

I felt as though I was there, like I was on the sidelines watching the events take place first hand from the crowd. That overwhelming feeling was so intense and brutal that I couldn’t shake it. All day I felt that curdling feeling in my stomach. The film was eye opening, to say the least.

There really isn’t any profound connection to the media in this post, just the profound effect the film had on me. The documentary itself is a piece of media, and one that will forever have an impact on me. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have actually been there. To see these events second hand as part of a film on a screen was terrifying enough, and if you get a chance, I recommend watching Hitchcock’s documentary, “Memory of the Camps”.

Watch the documentary here, on Google video:

Memory of the Camps

The Ghosts May Disagree

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 11:20 pm

“Webster’s defines strong as having great physical power, as having moral or intellectual power, as striking or superior of its kind. But with all due respect to Webster, there’s strong, and then there’s Army strong.”

This quote is taken from this Army recruiting ad that has been seen on TV and online…

However, the character Jones from the play entitled The Ghosts May Laugh, has quite the opposite opinion…

“A lie, the lie! A lie we have been told ever since we were born. A lie we were told in school, in church, by our parents, by the newspapers. All day, every day…That even if you die here there will be something afterwards. But that’s not true. It’s just what your all hiding behind. You see there’s nothing special about us. Nothing that makes us better than the animals around us…”

Clearly, according to Jones, there’s strong, and that’s it.

The Army recruiting ad is one of the most powerful ads out there. It makes almost any normal person feeling small, insignificant, cowardly, or even ill equipped for life. The commercial is provides a plethora of images showing off the newest technology the Army has to kill its enemies, shows the soldiers using it, and how important and strong they are. The technology looks so perfect, new, and tempting. Altogether, it’s an exhausting two and a half minutes. Jones would arguably disagree with the entire commercial, especially with the technology shown.

“…we use that slight gain in understanding and awareness to think up new ways to kill each other, or to order other people to kill because we’ve all bought the lie that there is something we can go to after all of this – because we’re special, we’re chosen.”

Both the Army and Marines have a strong hold on the media as a means of recruitment. They use this as a median to convince people, usually kids coming in to their own, that they are insignificant and there’s only one way to become a real person: To Be Army Strong.

The Ghosts May Laugh – Stuart D. Lee via Secondary Worlds

September 24, 2009

Social Media In Danger

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 5:55 pm

Recently, the Pentagon has decided that their policy on social media needed some revision… that is, if they HAD a policy on social media. On Tuesday, September 22, NPR did  an interview with Price Floyd, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and it seems the future of social media is looking bleak for anyone involved in the military.

“The U.S. commander in Iraq is on Facebook, the president’s top military adviser is on YouTube and Twitter. But the pentagon is considering a ban for almost all other U.S. troops. Guests discuss the questions of security, resources and censorship when it comes to social media and the military.”

I kind of sway back and forth on this issue, after all, it is extremely sensitive. The military is only trying to look out for its best interests here, while at the same time, shutting down milblogs and censoring social media when it comes to the military would be censoring speech. I’m not sure, but I think there is a document somewhere that refers to our right of free speech… I may be mistaken. Please, note the sarcasm in the last sentence, it is key to understanding my point. But I digress, milblogging.com, otherwise known as the worlds largest index of military blogs, recently reported on this story with a transcript of the interview with Price Floyd. He explained the current lack of policy on social media and the current course of action.

“During the show, Rebecca Roberts the host, asked Mr. FLOYD what is the current Pentagon policy on social media?

Mr. Floyd responded:

It currently doesn’t exist. Right now, there is no policy on working with or in social networking sites or media. It’s currently under review. It’s on course to be finished within about two weeks, or at the end of the month, it’s supposed to be done, presented to the leadership and a decision made. And that decision is supposed to be pushed out to all the combatant commands and all the people in the Defense Department soon after.”

So as you can see, milbloggers need to hurry up and release all sensitive military information and secrets ASAP, because their times of ruining military operations is almost at an end. For anyone out there that needs any tips, The Pentagon Channel’s “For the New Guy” broadcasts military news to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and recently put together a top ten list of stupid things people do in social media. They go on to explain why these things are stupid and why doing these things if you’re in the military is not a good idea. Here is that list:

10 Posting an inappropriate or stupid picture on facebook.

9 Posting info that gives bad guys a chance to do bad things.

8 Posting photos to the web that should only be shared privately and NOT WITH THE WHOLE “frickin” WORLD.

7 Tweeting extremely personal  or private information.

6 Posting an embarrassing video.

5 Blogging about THINGS you don’t know.

4 Endorsing a product or company.

3 Posting personal comments, feelings, or conversations.

2 Posting any info that compromises military people or operations.

1 Posting SOMETHING AND REGRETTING IT.

After reading this list, it has become abundantly clear to me that all of us need some lessons on how to utilize the social media. The government needs to stay out of the personal lives of not just citizens, but soldiers as well. If restrictions on milblogging or social networking for the men and women of the armed forces are put in place, it really will be an outrage. It would be one thing if the policy lists the obvious warnings of military secrets, etc, but that’s all it should say. This is public social networking we are talking about here, you would think one of the worlds largest and most equipped governments would know how to monitor and keep a lock on anything deemed dangerous to the armed forces.

NPR: Will The Military Friend Facebook Anytime Soon?

Milblogging: Price Floyd Pentagon Policy On Social Media

Milblogging: Top Ten List of Stupid Things Done in Social Media

September 16, 2009

Tongue Like A Rudder

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 10:20 pm

Via the Merrian-Webster Online Dictionary:

Rudder

1 : an underwater blade that is positioned at the stern of a boat or ship and controlled by its helm and that when turned causes the vessel’s head to turn in the same direction

The same can be said about words. Influential figures in history have used their words to steer a whole country in one direction or another. Hitler stirred up German nationalism and uprising for World War II while simultaneously Winston Churchill inspired a whole country of Englishmen to stand up and fight for their beloved England. These are just two examples of when words were extremely important and influential to the world’s history. Their tongues, like rudders, steered countries in a new direction, War. The media works exactly the same way.

Rupert Brooke wrote poems to inspire people in the same way. His eloquent words telling of the heroism of his fellow countrymen can make even some of the most anti-war citizens feel a strong sense of pride and nationalism. This is accomplished with poems of vivid imagery that set your mind to see glorified death for the righteous cause of keeping your country safe. Never is this more prominent than in Brooke’s poem, “The Soldier”.

If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

I don’t know about you, but that poem makes me even proud to be English… and I’m not. The way the words are presented so carefully and the poem is constructed to make death less frightening makes it all too easy to buy in to the product. It is the same way Billy Mays made me believe Mighty Putty could seal someone up after heart surgery! Obviously I’m joking, but I think you get the point.

That is just how important the media is in influencing people, or even a country. Everyday the news reports from what we can only hope is an unbiased fashion, but let’s face it, this isn’t a perfect world, unicorns don’t exist, and Elvis has (probably) left the building. It’s unfortunate that we should have to be skeptical of the news we’re reported or the information we are fed, but we do.

September 10, 2009

Media

Filed under: Uncategorized — giordimainaj @ 3:22 pm

Since the dawn of America, from that moment when we started progressing as a country, we have always had some sort of media presence. As motion pictures began and automobiles started lining the streets, through the roaring twenties and beyond, the media seems to always carry us forward into the future. It is not all sugar sweet, however. The mass media is, for the large part, ungoverned and biased. This means they can pick and choose what stories they present, and even worse, how they present them. Throughout the course of modern wars the media has been there to report very little truth and, for the most part, large sums of opinion.

A large example of this bias and deception was almost all of the early news coverage of the war in Vietnam. Obviously, we all know at least the minor details of the outcome of that war, and it was definitely not good. However, the media would have begged to differ during the early stages of the war. Every single day, news stations from around the country were reporting falsified death tallies. These tallies would heavily favor the United States, when in reality, they absolutely did not. Along with these false reports were countless numbers pictures that went unexplained and remained misunderstood. It was a treacherous war and the American public deserved to know what was going on when it was actually going on.

Through the use of milblogs and reports from news sources, such as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, etc, I plan to investigate and compare the credited, biased, media against the stories from the soldiers themselves. In the technological world that we live in, it has become very possible for a college student, such as myself, to gather very incredible personal accounts from the field as well as have several major news sources at my fingertips. I hope to discover wether our news coverage is more fair and balanced than I think, or if believing the news is a thing of the past.

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