Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Manipulation of the media is self serving behavior and a pattern for those not interested in furthering community education but causing community dissention.

Like most of us I have strong beliefs: a passionate interest, views on favorite subjects, and convictions on several. My passion may be different from yours, but I have a love for…

• The natural world, horticulture, environmental laws, the sciences, and the human element in it all;
• The written and spoken word, journalism, communication, human interaction by expressed thought; and
• Community and the larger world, human history, progress, and understanding.

You’ll see the common theme is the relationship of fellow man to his surroundings and fellow human beings. Naturally I've studied these subjects. Yet events in my own community are a mystery as I find humans can be an inflexible member of their surroundings and attempt to shape it to their plans rather than reverse. Of course in a healthy frame of mind this innovative behavior would be called ‘progress’ but in a self centered frame of mind it becomes ‘abuse’.

Where this human pattern becomes a concern is when strong individuals impact their community in such a way that thousands of unsuspecting members of that community are affected (often adversely) by the decisions of a few. This is happening to our community of Sunland Tujunga.

If I descend into specifics which are infuriating enough, I will set players up for criticism which has never improved a thing. Further, I’ve done no justice to the second item on the list and will have violated my principles by spreading gossip. But if I speak to the larger spirit of human awareness I still fail, for those who are guilty of misdeeds think I must mean someone else and those who are blameless wonder if I mean them…

So I employ an old psychological principle and address the behavior, and hope we all reconsider our own.

Manipulation of the media is self serving behavior and a pattern for those not interested in furthering community education but causing community dissention while drawing undeserved media coverage to themselves. I know of no less than six media outlets that have been manipulated and coerced to print the “news” in our community of Sunland Tujunga including the City Council website, two local newspapers, three blogs (including my own) and an on-line forum. The countless articles, posts, comments, and more were the product of deliberate dissemination of misleading information presented to the media.

Some people will never be newsworthy except by discord. They tell the press “something is going to happen” then insure it. Furthering their own views at the expense of others, they deny debate and are willing to sacrifice their own valuable and worthy contribution to the same muck they throw at their opponents. Community meetings are not a stage, even the best performance is not reality.

There has got to be a way to bring errant community meetings under control. Self control is an obvious but somehow unattainable answer.The FBCSP meeting even ended early last night (they had the room for an hour but adjourned forcefully at 30 minutes). And the agenda included a document called "Ground Rules" (which are the same things you learned in kindergarten). Demands for mediators revealed a need for outside control of an internal problem. The demands for the removal of one should cause all to be dismissed. There are no longer any 'good guys' or 'bad guys'. The community deserves better than this... the gentleman from Sun Valley said it best: "Why can't you all just be nice to each other?"

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