Saturday, 28 January 2017

Mars Bars

A return to the original "Mars" font I remember from when I was a kid! 
My girlfriend returned from a trip to Hong Kong last week and brought me back a present: five or six Mars bars. I've loved Mars bars ever since I was a kid, but they are not sold in Taiwan presumably because they are deemed too sweet for Taiwanese tastes. As such it has been many, many years since I last had a Mars bar and so I was delighted that she brought me back a bunch of them. I put them straight in my refrigerator intending to keep them for a while, but in the end I ate them all within a few days. There is an interesting question as to why they aren't imported into Taiwan and whether it could be made worthwhile to do so, but that is not what I want to write about.

My point is that this anecdote is not only true, but I trust, entirely believable. There is nothing particularly controversial about it of course, but in addition nobody has any reason to question my sincerity or to suspect that I may have made a mistake and that these were somehow "fake" Mars bars. And that absence of doubt and suspicion among readers is necessary for anyone to tell a believable account of a factual event (the lack of controversy over something so trivial as a Mars bar also helps of course).

These conditions no longer hold for much of the media, not only in the U.S. but across much of the developed world. This has happened not so much because governments have co-opted the media, but because so-called "journalists" have abandoned the underlying principles of journalism in order to join in with their favoured causes and become advocates and activists. When a journalist openly boasts and states his pride in backing a certain political cause, irrespective of its merits, he necessarily smudges and blots his own credibility to report on that cause. In the mind of the reader, there is always the question of whether what the reporter is saying is true, and of what may be true and relevant but which the reporter is not saying. It may be a suspicion of dishonesty, or it may be a suspicion of error - or both. What is he keeping from us? What questions has he failed to consider and failed to ask? Are we being told the whole story, or is it just more "fake news" brewed up in order to further the reporter's own favoured political causes?

Without a credible media, public oversight of governments and politicians is hobbled. This was especially obvious during Barack Obama's presidency by virtue of what the media failed to report (e.g. the "fast and furious" scandal of illegal firearms sales to Mexican crime cartels), but it may be an even greater problem during Donald Trump's presidency. This is because we have already seen that so-called "journalists" in the media are not only systematically biased against alternative, non-Leftist views and against Mr Trump in particular, but they are prepared to publish lies about him (that whole Russian prostitute "golden shower" nonsense), and cannot therefore be trusted not to do so again. The problem has two aspects; one is that their sincerity as "journalists", i.e. their honesty and motives are already compromised, and the second is that their standards of accuracy have also been compromised; nobody trusts them to take care not to make mistakes. Together these two problems mean that if Mr Trump's government actually does commit some really awful atrocity, then we won't know about it because nobody trusts "journalists" to be journalists.

Frankly, I wouldn't even trust them if they said Mars bars were finally going to be sold in Taiwan. They'd probably find a way to render the story a talking point about obesity.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mike,the same for me, Mars was one of my favorite chocolate bars! My God..I always forget that, it seems so far away..By the way, You asked me about the parks, in Taipei they are very clean, I think people are very careful now..but in the hills, they contiue to throw away their filthy old furnitures or refrigerator, newspapers..etc ..
    There are young people and old people, I think the old people practice taichi very early in the morning .
    Happy new year to you and your girlfriend!


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