Community January 25, 2018

The Pavlov Press

News hounds, barking dogs salivate for the next tweet to be tossed their broken news bowls. Then they add a little network water and feed it to us on TV, in print, for your app and after your nap.

Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov is famous for his discovery that dogs salivate on the basis of conditioning and will salivate even when only the stimulus is there and there is no real dog food. Much like today’s cable news shows, we the viewers, salivate when Rachael, Shawn, Chuck, Tucker, Wolf and the Rev come on. It’s a dog’s life watching the news.

What Pavlov said over 100 years ago is true today. His challenge for the babbling Pavlov press and we, the Pavlov viewers remains: Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.

You know as well as I do that we can feed on this stuff all day long. Same stuff, just different bowls. It matters not if you are sitting at home, riding the subway, finishing a project in the garage, doing the laundry, sitting on the beach. Dogs, unlike cats, can’t get enough food. They will eat everything you put in front of them. (Cats are particular and eat intermittently, when the mood suits them.) But dogs are good for ratings.

This will be a recurring theme FreeAmericanNews: lazy electronic press, waving Broken News banners for the same story all day long, the same content all day long, with the same colors and the same conclusions. At least the print news doesn’t play with Broken News banners.

For starters you think the electronic media could develop a color code for their news: yellow for slow down and look both ways, green for everything is looking good, blue for the sky is falling, and red for head to Canada. But no. Best news invention: the off button and ESPN.

1 Comment

  • May 28, 2018

    Great piece! So true. Thank you. And on the flip side, Putin knew he could count on the press. Remember when Trump said, “I think you will be rewarded mightily by the press” when referring to his plea to Russia in the summer of 2016 to leak hacked emails. And Putin knew he had salivating participants in the press, that he would count on to dump the emails or host the bots to “hack our minds” (Malcolm Vance used the phrase). Our minds hacked, the disease of division spread like wildfire. Trump is a symptom of the disease of division in our public discourse and private agony, but not the cause. What comes after Pavlovian training? How do we decondition? Your news site is an important step out of division. Change our thinking, change our world.

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