Maia Popa, XI A
Media has become the most powerful entity on the planet – it has the power to influence events, people and entire societies. It can mould the minds of the people and can cause mass misinformation, which is bound to occur when people almost never check the sources from which they acquire their information. Nevertheless, most individuals do not realise the paramountcy of what happens behind the news reaching an audience.
In the past few decades, the term “fake news” has proliferated significantly, yet we continue to believe everything that we are offered on a silver platter. We consume everything we hear and see as if we are starving beings, so thirsty for information and beguiling rumours that we don’t check what reaches us and we swiftly grab anything we are served. By doing so, we not only hurt ourselves, but can be an indirect accomplice in hurting others as well.
Black Lives Matter
Take, for instance, the Black Lives Matter movement, which was initially created in 2013 but arose in May 2020 in response to George Floyd’s death and which is perhaps one of the most bewildering examples of how the media can hone and shape information to its own liking. George Floyd, a drug dealer with several reports of criminality (in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2019) was turned by the media into a martyr for a fake narrative connived by it. Suffocated on the ground by Derek Chauvin’s knee, a Minnesota police officer, Floyd soon became a hero in the eyes of the people and a catalyser for the people of colour community to fight for their rights. What can strain a heart more than watching an innocent man be forced on the ground, cry out “I can’t breathe!” and finally die under the knee of a white policeman?
This is what the media told us. What it didn’t tell us, conversely, is that it was Floyd who had asked to be put on the ground. It was before his neck was under Chauvin’s knee that he started attesting that he couldn’t breathe. And his family, who was trumpeted around the media for a long time after his death, had never even visited the place where Floyd lived, according to his roommates. In a video from Floyd’s 2019 arrest, he can be heard saying “I want my momma” while placidly being handled by the police, which was, for the media, the optimal opportunity to launch the victim narrative and gain the public’s compassion. After further research, however, the truth soon surfaced and it was discovered that Floyd was actually asking for his girlfriend, whom he often referred to as “momma”. Headlines such as “George Floyd Called For His Mama, We Need to Answer” arose, and thus gained a tremendous amount of attention from a statement which was twisted by the media. George Floyd died due to an exorbitant amount of drugs that were later found in his system. It still wasn’t right for Chauvin to suffocate him, since no one deserves to be placed in such undue circumstances while continuously stating that they are suffering, yet a hero shouldn’t have been born from a criminal who was far from a saint.
Nevertheless, the depth of this issue is greater than anyone could apprehend. According to Candace Owens, an author, political commentator and activist, the revolutions of the black communities and ubiquitous protests were merely a front for companies to become affluent from such havoc. More than 90$ million dollars were donated to the Black Lives Matter foundation in 2020 and 2021, yet large sums from it were dispersed into multifarious organisations, most of which unrelated to the BLM movement or even nonexistent. Thus, contrary to the media, the black community had nearly no financial gains from all of these funds, yet the people behind the receiving organisations suddenly could afford to purchase themselves million-dollar mansions and other luxuries. One organization in particular, namely “Living Through Giving”, which received 2.3 million dollars, was discovered as being fake and solely a means for money laundering.
Furthermore, another astounding fact is that most of these organisations train activists for protests. This entails that they provide bail for protestors when they get arrested, courses and training activities for them and they poison their minds with false information. Thus, many of the protestors the media might depict are trained activists, who travel from city to city to participate in protests and incite conflict. Isn’t that intriguing?
The Ukrainian War
Another instance when the media covered the truth is during the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia. While newspapers filled their front pages with headlines concerning the war, while we are swallowed by news which bring our focus to certain happenings in the world, the governments are given an opportunity to act without the public finding out.
According to CPA Canada, Bill Browder, a former Russia-based investment adviser who famously pushed the U.S. to adopt the Magnitsky Act allowing the country to freeze assets of human rights offenders, said, in a recent interview with NPR: “If you were to ask me why Putin is invading Ukraine, it’s because he has stolen so much money that he’s afraid of the Russian people rising up and he needed a distraction.”
Millions of people’s lives are put in grave danger, both in Russia and Ukraine, while the Russian government benefits from illicit gains from embezzlement. Albeit not confirmed, many think that most of the weapons used to attack Ukraine are funded by money coming from drug sales, weapon deals and tax evasion. After all, for many years Russia has been taking advantage of the gaps in the financial system while being covered by the media, which is ultimately controlled by governments. Real estate, virtual currencies, offshore tax havens – these are all ways of money laundering done by Russia over the course of the years.
Whether they were the BLM protests, the COVID-19 outbreak or the ongoing war in Ukraine, they all acted the part of marketing agencies and frauds which were covered by the media. The truth is, there is always an underlying meaning or a latent lie lurking under the surface of a twisted truth when it comes to media. We believe what the people in power want us to believe; thus, it is now more than ever important to analyse what we read online, what we see on the news and what we are told by other people.