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DAVIDSON: The Anxiety of Electronic Addiction

It’s so true!

Jeff Davidson

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*Originally published November 2020* For the past month, much of the nation has been glued to the TV screen, computer screen, and cellphone screen, caught up in the elections. Apart from elections, as a society, our exposure to the media has increased several hundred percent within a few decades, and while worldwide media coverage provides many benefits, it also has quite a few side effects.

As we spend more and more hours tuned to electronic media, we are exposed to tens of thousands of messages and images. Similarly to too much food at one sitting, too much data at once isn’t easily ingested.

The average person spends more than eight solid years watching electronically how other people supposedly live. Forty years ago three major television networks dominated television – ABC, NBC and CBS. Today, well, you know the story… In fact, there are now 500+ full-power independent television stations.

Some-THING, Speak to Me

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We have become an anxious society that uses electronics to not feel alone, to evade confronting why we can’t seem to get what we want, or to avoid better use of the hours we say we so earnestly want.

As each breakthrough in communication and entertainment technology is introduced, it is accompanied by predictions of doom for its predecessors. Television was supposed to have finished radio. VCRs and then DVDs and DVRs were supposed to have finished off movie theaters. It hasn’t happened yet.

We retain, embrace, and offer rapt attention to all forms of media, and to the devices that transmit them to us. Our cultural and electronic addiction to the mass media not only inverts our perception of available time, but also diminishes our attention spans. Television and radio news features grow shorter and shorter to match the fragmented, decreasing attention spans of viewers.

Try this: For the next minute, stare at your watch. Or, if that’s too boring, think about something pleasurable you’re going to do today. Your perception of the length of a minute will differ vastly from using that minute to listen to the news or read a page from a magazine. Warning: The exercise you were going to undertake for a full minute may have just failed.

Our culture is so committed to motion and to information intake that you may be unable to make yourself stare at your watch or simply contemplate for one minute, even when the thought is of something pleasurable!

The Rise of Sensationalism

More than 100 years ago, William Randolph Hearst used sensationalism to heighten the most mundane of stories in order to sell more papers. For example, if one of his reporters turned in a story about a dog that got a foot stuck in a sewer grate, Hearst would have the headline changed to read, “CANINE TRAPPED IN TUNNEL OF DEATH.”

Today, to capture an over-stimulated, distracted population, television and other news media relies more and more on sensationalism. It’s now ingrained in the nature of broadcasting, and it’s hazardous to your breathing space. With a planet of more than five billion people, the various forms of media are easily furnished with an endless supply of turmoil for mass transmission. At any given moment, somebody is fomenting revolution somewhere. Such turmoil is packaged daily for the evening news.

We are lured with images of crashes, hostages, and natural disasters. We offer our time and rapt attention to each new hostility, scandal or disaster. Far more people die annually from choking on food than in plane crashes or by guns, but crashes and shootings make for great footage, and play into people’s fears.

According to a 2015 study from The Economist, your chance of dying from a domestic, commercial airplane mishap actually is one in 5,400,000. So, you only need to be concerned if you fly 100 times per year, for thousands of years.

Unless it directly affects you or your community, give up offering any attention whatsoever to news coverage of spectacular crashes, train wrecks, etc. If you’re concerned about reducing the incidence of violent death, learn the Heimlich maneuver or CPR. But please, stop being enthralled by spectacular media coverage of non-imperative events and sensationalized trivia.

Take Control

You can’t afford to pay homage to everyone else’s 15 minutes of fame. Tomorrow morning when getting ready for work, rather than switching on the radio or TV, quietly envision how you would like your day to be. Include everything that’s important to you – the commute, entering your building or your office, sitting down at your desk, handling tasks, and taking breaks.

Envision interacting with others, going to lunch, conducting or attending meetings, using the phone, finishing up projects, and walking out in the evening. With this exercise alone, you’ll begin to feel a greater sense of control in aspects of your job that you may have considered uncontrollable.

Entertainment

DirecTV Removes Conservative News Network in Blow to Free Speech

The move is just the latest incident in which conservative bandwidth has been arbitrarily limited, and it certainly won’t be the last. 

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In our nation, we’ve long held the belief that the diversity of opinion is a tool for sharpening our abilities and ingenuity.  The freedom to speak as you want is the best way to keep the evil among us from snatching up the entirety of the American Dream for themselves, and it levels the playing field among the masses.

That it why the latest move from DirecTV is so egregious.

The largest satellite provider in the United States said late Friday it will drop One America News, a move that could financially cripple the rightwing TV network known for fueling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.

The announcement by DirecTV, which is 70% owned by AT&T, comes three months after a Reuters investigation revealed that OAN’s founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives nearly all of its revenue from DirecTV.

The sudden change comes after years of cooperation.

DirecTV, with approximately 15 million subscribers, is by far OAN’s largest carrier. According to testimony by OAN’s accountant reviewed by Reuters, DirecTV provided 90% of the conservative network’s revenue.

“We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement.

The OAN-DirecTV contract is set to expire in the next several months. DirecTV began airing OAN in April 2017, a deal that began shortly after OAN and AT&T settled a lawsuit over alleged oral promises during negotiations.

The move is just the latest incident in which conservative bandwidth has been arbitrarily limited, and it certainly won’t be the last.

In our nation, we’ve long held the belief that the diversity of opinion is a tool for sharpening our abilities and ingenuity.  The freedom to speak as you want is the best way to keep the evil among us from snatching up the entirety of the American Dream for themselves, and it levels the playing field among the masses. That it why the latest move from DirecTV is so egregious. The largest satellite provider in the United States said late Friday it will drop One America News, a move that could financially cripple the rightwing TV network known for fueling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. The announcement by DirecTV, which is 70% owned by AT&T, comes three months after a Reuters investigation revealed that OAN’s founder testified that AT&T inspired him to create the network. Court testimony also showed that OAN receives nearly all of its revenue from DirecTV. The sudden change comes after years of cooperation. DirecTV, with approximately 15 million subscribers, is by far OAN’s largest carrier. According to testimony by OAN’s accountant reviewed by Reuters, DirecTV provided 90% of the conservative network’s revenue. “We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires,” DirecTV said in a statement. The OAN-DirecTV contract is set to expire in the next several months. DirecTV began airing OAN in April 2017, a deal that began shortly after OAN and AT&T settled a lawsuit over alleged oral promises during negotiations. The move is just the latest incident in which conservative bandwidth has been arbitrarily limited, and it certainly won’t be the last.

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News

My Pillow CEO Blackballed by Banking Institutions Over ‘Reputation Risk’

The left is taking their war on conservatism to absurd new lengths.

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As the 2022 midterm election remains just over the horizon, casting an already dark cloud over the coming months, there has been a concerted effort among those on the left side of the aisle to exploit the events of January 6th, 2021 for political gain.  And, as Democrats continue to fear for the worst in 2022, they are casting an ever wider net.

The tactic is essentially spray and pray:  Throw subpoenas and accusations all over the place, and then beg the heavens above that something sticks.

This is making life very difficult for those who are, or were once, associated with Donald Trump.  This includes the CEO of the My Pillow corporation, Mike Lindell.

During a Friday episode of right-wing political strategist Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, Lindell claimed that Heartland Financial and Minnesota Bank and Trust are attempting to “de-bank” him over concerns that they could face fallout related to having him as a client. During the podcast, Bannon and Lindell played an audio recording that they said was a call with a bank official.

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“Just because of our organization saying, ‘Well, why are we connected with somebody that could be in the news.’ And, not that the FBI is even sniffing and looking, but what if somebody came in and said, ‘You know what, we are gonna subpoena all his account records…and then also we make the news,'” the person in the recording said. “So it’s more of a reputation risk.”

Lindell went on to tell Bannon that the financial institutions want him to shutter his accounts within 30 days. But the pro-Trump businessman insisted that he is refusing to comply.

“I said, ‘I am not being part of this. I’m not leaving. So you’re going to have to throw me out of your bank,'” he said. During the segment, Bannon put the phone numbers and contact information of top officials at the institutions onscreen—urging supporters to call and complain.

And, finally…

“Where does it end everybody? Where does it end?” Lindell asked, suggesting that he is being persecuted for his controversial activism. He contended that the banks’ decision was related to his refusal to comply with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 pro-Trump attack against the U.S. Capitol.

As the January 6th committee grows bolder and brasher, we should perhaps expect more examples of such political discrimination to make headlines.

As the 2022 midterm election remains just over the horizon, casting an already dark cloud over the coming months, there has been a concerted effort among those on the left side of the aisle to exploit the events of January 6th, 2021 for political gain.  And, as Democrats continue to fear for the worst in 2022, they are casting an ever wider net. The tactic is essentially spray and pray:  Throw subpoenas and accusations all over the place, and then beg the heavens above that something sticks. This is making life very difficult for those who are, or were once, associated with Donald Trump.  This includes the CEO of the My Pillow corporation, Mike Lindell. During a Friday episode of right-wing political strategist Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, Lindell claimed that Heartland Financial and Minnesota Bank and Trust are attempting to “de-bank” him over concerns that they could face fallout related to having him as a client. During the podcast, Bannon and Lindell played an audio recording that they said was a call with a bank official. “Just because of our organization saying, ‘Well, why are we connected with somebody that could be in the news.’ And, not that the FBI is even sniffing and looking, but what if somebody came in and said, ‘You know what, we are gonna subpoena all his account records…and then also we make the news,'” the person in the recording said. “So it’s more of a reputation risk.” Lindell went on to tell Bannon that the financial institutions want him to shutter his accounts within 30 days. But the pro-Trump businessman insisted that he is refusing to comply. “I said, ‘I am not being part of this. I’m not leaving. So you’re going to have to throw me out of your bank,'” he said. During the…

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