This is a guest post. Chris Spann (Spann to his friends) is a social media yuppy with too much rage and not enough friends. When he's not working for the man in the day, he's complaining bitterly about the media (amongst other things) over at Spann's Blog.
As you may (but probably don't) know, I run a blog. In that blog, amongst other things, I blog about the media, and bitch about all the things that guys like Anton, Tabloidwatch, UponNothing/Angry Mob and 5CC do as well - In fact, it was a post on this here site (Well, the old blogspot one, to be precise) that inspired me to start my own little outpost on the media fuckfield. You see, before reading Anton's post on the Jan Moir shitstorm from last year, I didn't realise just how poor the papers in this country could (quite regularly) be. I knew they twisted stories to fit their agendas, sure; but until reading the afore mentioned sites, I never realised just how big a group of lying, two-faced, sadistic bastards they could be, who would damn anyone with a moment's notice and if they could make the matter in question push their readers respective rage buttons (which were usually issues inflated by the papers themselves), then all the better.
I then realised with some horror that these blogs were being updated multiple times in a day, by men with jobs and who weren't doing this for money or for any sort of other tangible gain, but who could still rustle up a better journalistic enquiry than the people paid to spume this shit into people's homes via the internet and the printed press; a tiny voice screaming against the sea of lies and spin that are the papers who write this dreck, well aware that they are not likely to be held responsible for their words because they're so heavily involved in the organisation that's supposed to keep them in check. I don't claim to be as loud a part of that voice (I don't blog often enough, or have as many readers, just to name two reasons), but around November last year I decided to start shouting back as well. In that time, I watched the Daily Mail shit itself into a frenzy over the election, desperately slating anyone who looked like they stood even an outside chance of succeeding (Culminating in a fucking atrocious attack on Nick Clegg over an article he wrote years ago), the Star continue to simply make shit up in order to have something to stick on their front page, and a whole catalog of other events that have made me despair for humanity - and almost pity the people who read those words and took them at face value - After all, "the papers aren't allowed to lie", as somebody told me once.
Anyway, I was chatting to a friend recently, who mentioned that he'd recently read one of my posts, and said that he wished that he had both the time and the inclination to run a blog like the ones mentioned, but felt that he wouldn't be able to contribute in a meaningful way without simply resorting to posting "OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT?" over and over again until his fingers were worn to dust and the tears of blood had soaked into the floorboards of his house, and this got me thinking: You don't need to write about this shit to contribute. The fact that you're here now reading this means that you're contributing. If you've ever questioned something you've read in the news, you're contributing. The fact is, if you have a mind inquisitive enough to simply say "wait a second, this doesn't seem right", or an instinct sharp enough to see that what's written on the page in front of you might not neccesarily be black and white (so to speak), you are adding to a group of voices that's rallying against the bollocks pushed down our throat daily.
If you hear people in work discussing immigration, or broken Britain, or welfare culture, and you stand up to them and attempt to explain that what they've seen online might not neccesarily be true, you're helping again. Even if you don't succeed in changing their minds (As Politics, like religion, is a pointless argument; it's simply two people who know they're right trying to convince the other that they're wrong), by simply trying, you've done your bit. Just because you don't have the ego to think that other people would be interested in reading a thousand words of yours on a subject, or you don't have the time to check whether a story is missing out important facts that might alter it, do not think you're not part of the resistance (And I'm well aware of how wanky that sounds), because the fact that if you at least want to do those things, you're one more person who hasn't slipped into the trap of simply salivating with rage every time the racism bell is rang in the papers like one of Pavlov's dogs eager to stick your snout into another platter of meaningless guff with a bias so lopsided that it could shift the world on it's axis.
There's a line in a song by the band Flobots (Who you should definitely check out) that says "There is a war going on for your mind. If you are thinking, you are winning", and I believe that this is entirely the case. I'm not saying the media is always wrong; I'm just saying that you should always check out a story further before you commit to being worked up into a spittle-flecked frenzy about it, and by simply being here and reading any of the blogs mentioned, you're helping us take a step closer to the time where offices won't be full of talk about "Hey, they're making a game about Raoul Moat", or "Fucking Muslims, stealing our toilets", and frankly the sooner we get there, the better.
The media is a powerful part of society, and unfortunately we're not yet at the stage where the part of society that can see past them is big enough to be able to truly make a difference, but do not think that if you're not writing about it you're not making a difference. At the end of the day, the words written by us bloggers probably reach a few thousand people at best, while the papers and their online equivalents are seen by millions of eyes every day, so the people writing these blogs are probably making no greater a contribution than you are by simply seeing around the lies and trying to help people see the truth behind the churnalism. We're already in a position where a staggering proportion of society's thoughts are controlled by the media, and by not being part of that, YOU ARE HELPING.
Now, it's 4am and I'm out of my tree on energy drinks; it's time for bed.