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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

Basically News isn't News Anymore

Wish they would have done the Daily Show
I think most of us, who do research on the Internet and look for hints and trails in the news sources for leads into deeper areas to mine with research, understand that there is a lot of nonsense out there on the web. For example, anything coming out of the mouths of the latest Americans for Prosperity blurb, or Breitbart.com or CounterPunch.com needs to be read as 'fiction' with perhaps a smidgen of truth. Seriously, I've even caught Breitbart.com blatantly lying about quotes people have said (those people shocked to discover Breitbart proclaimed they talked to them at all.)



Politifact, one of the sources I use for checking the validity of things I hear out on the Internet, has been doing some serious checking of the main stream news services. The results were interesting enough to begin a full project. Apparently what prompted the guys and gals of Politifact to do this was a segment Jon Stewart did on the Daily Show.
Fox News is terrible for unbiased reporting. I think everyone who has seen the show a few times realizes that they are definitely pro-Republican and also spend a great deal of air time for pushing particular agendas -- which is basically acceptable and even expected. Everyone has a bias. We all have our beliefs and our desires. We all have areas we "want to be the truth". This is one of the first lessons we learn when studying or researching History. But their websites are also very biased and I have recently discovered they are actively censored to project a focused agenda as well.

When we juxtapose this behavior to the Politifact finding of  61 percent of the claims fact-checked on Fox News have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire -- indications of intentional misinformation begin to suggest active propaganda. Which is disturbing. If such an accusation were given toward my blog .. well, it's a blog and it would not be the first blog on the web to be a source of propaganda. But Fox News? Off handedly we accuse them with the banter suggesting in fun -- a certain level of public deception, and it is unfortunately a common thing to use such serious words (propaganda) so flippantly -- but as a serious charge?

prop·a·gan·da
ˌpräpəˈɡandə/
noun
  1. 1.
    derogatory information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
    "he was charged with distributing enemy propaganda"
  2. 2.
    a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.
Bet you didn't know that about the Catholic Church committee though. Another interesting factoid is that a group of baboons is called a Congress. 

That is a serious charge to make against a News entity that 39% of the population is using as a primary news source.

Here are some other interesting points that Politifact came up with.
  • 45 percent of the claims made on NBC and MSNBC rate Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire;
  • 38 percent of the claims made on CBS rate Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire;
  • 36 percent of the claims made on ABC rate Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire;
  • 22 percent of the claims made on CNN rate Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire. 
  • 61 percent of the claims fact-checked on Fox News have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire

For the record, [quote from report] 82 percent of the claims we've checked from Rush Limbaugh have been rated Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.

What is very unfortunate, for the nation as a whole, is that sources like Rush Limbaugh, -- who are so over the top  and so grievous in the amount of blatant falsehoods given to their listeners -- are only believed to be dishonest by 38% of those who have heard of the show. Thankfully, only 8% of the population admit to getting their news from Rush, and only 12% said they Trusted Rush.

Fox News is another story however. Politifact finds, of the statements they checked, 61% are false or warped enough to be misleading. Which is not so good when 39% say they get their news from Fox, and 44% agreed that they can trust Fox to give them accurate information. That is a heart breaking amount of disinformed Americans.

More than ever, it is now a time to check sources and limit the weight of credibility we have previously awarded as endorsement, without hesitation. Some of these sources have gone far from the expected bias and into the realms of treating their listeners as "the enemy", engaging in a war against us with weapons just as damaging as any missile or bullet. After all, if that is the information we are using to make decisions on about war, what is the real difference? How do you feel about Obama, for example? And what facts are those feelings based on? And where did you get that information?