Chicken Little is famous for racing around screaming “We’re all gonna die,” because “The sky is falling.” Because a leaf fell on her.
She has nothing on modern media outlets, writers and the twittersphere.
Last week, while working on projects in Colorado, my various news apps were swamped with a whole bunch of stories about how a Chinese Long March 5B rocket, 20-24 tons, 90-100 feet long (stories varied) that would be falling back to earth. In an uncontrolled manner, which would result in hundreds (or thousands) of deaths when it struck an unnamed city or village. A huge number of stories appeared in various media. Some were incredibly badly written – as if someone with a grade school knowledge as English as a second language was writing these. And someone with virtually no understanding of atmospheric reentry or other aspects of aeronautics.
As the week went on, the alarmist rhetoric got worse – as did the English: poor wording, incredibly bad grammar, and poor writing in general. I’ve seen second graders write better. The attacks were not just against the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) and the Communist Party of China, but seemed to condemn any spacefaring nation. The goal seemed to be to whipping up fear and even hatred of space flight. (If you really want to, go to these two sites to see what I mean: Source A. Source B (Newsbreak).
It was not just this strange semi-illiterate media, of course: the mainstream media
Where would it hit? In the Mediterranean, wiping out some island? In equatorial Africa, taking out a major city? The stories went wild. We’re all gonna die. If not this time, the next time, or the time after that. Unless the gods intervened and the first-stage of the Chinese rocket hit a nuclear reactor or nuclear weapons plant – or some big chemical factory. Then millions could die! Run! Scream!
As it turns out, the Long March 5B first stage crashed into the Indian Ocean about 2000 hours Mountain Time on Saturday. Apparently hitting nothing and nobody. It reentered over the Med and Arabia, and may or may not have partially broken up. But the fear is still being encouraged.
Yahoo News has a story revealing what happened, while STILL beating the drums of fearmongering alarm: the story is still headlined by the original scary video. Other stories continue to push that meme.
Mainstream media, even when it was just the Press, has ALWAYS based its success (profitability) on fearmongering. This is NOT a new thing – it is a standard feature and an essential part of their parasitical existence. We have been hit very hard this past sixteen months by this nonsense: scare people to get them to watch and listen to your ‘casts and buy your paper and magazine, and therefore read the ads which brings in most of their revenue and therefore their profits.
Don’t get me wrong: it is possible for people – many people – to be killed by an object falling from orbit. Just as we could be killed by something falling from the sky (blue ice anyone?). And indeed, just as we can get killed by something falling from a dozen feet up: a falling tool or chunk of masonry. Or from a large branch falling from a tree or a big rock off a cliff. It is a fact of life. To allow such fear and panic to control our lives is the entire point of the Chicken Little fable.
The incredibly poor English and writing is relatively new. Reporters, editors, and publishers once prided themselves on their excellent use of the English language. Now, we see and hear the results of deteriorating public schools AND even the “elite” universities which produce the journalists, newsreaders, and other staff.
All of this is made worse by other elements. Although most Americans claim to distrust the media, they still tune in or log in by the millions. They read and hear the agitprop put out by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, CNN, etc. And clearly too many people believe at least SOME of the garbage being spewed out. And in turn buy, sell, vote, and argue in ways that reflect reality less and less. And as products of the same sub-standard schools as the media types, they have little reasoning ability to see through it. Much less understand the definitions and meanings and use of basic English and logic.
These things are the antithesis of a free society. These things damage our own lives through destroying the knowledge which is essential to our personal liberty. Perhaps the worst part? Creating MORE fear that government takes advantage of in so many ways. Not just needless fears and claims that ramp up fear, but the poor “professionalism” of those who write the stories.
And the subtle lessons taught and reinforced. If the benevolent, successful, progressive, and technocratic government of the Communist Party of China can do something so dangerous and threatening to people? Why, the evil private businesses like SpaceX and Blue Origins and their competitors cannot be expected to do anything but kill MORE people in their lust for profits, They MUST be controlled – or even taken over – by the glorious, compassionate, highly efficient and always right FedGov. No?
Just something to think about.