I continue to be astonished at how readily ordinary people accept what they see on TV as a proxy for reality. In fact, TV "news" is merely a sub-branch of the entertainment industry and as such creates endless sensationalist content in order to grab eyeballs. Thus the "news" is a combination of distortion (the "regular" news outlets) and outright fabrication (propaganda outlets like Fox). If people were less inclined to gawp empty-headed at their screens they'd be less easily duped. As a trivial example, I was in Paris at the end of 2018 during the "riots." I simultaneously watched reality and the distorted news coverage while standing on the Champs Elysee. The TV coverage was showing an enormous fire blazing in the center of the road, nearly obscuring the arc de triomphe. It looked like something out of Apocalypse Now. The reality: the fire was near the gutter and never reached more than 1m in height. "Creative" camera angle (the cameraman lying on his stomach in order to increase the apparent size of the flames and reduce the size of the arc de triomphe) created a wholly fabricated illusion. And in Paris, just as in Portland, brainless thugs in uniform were only too eager to impose "law and order" by firing stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets at unarmed and almost entirely peaceful protesters. The few anarchists who always show up for the party could easily have been separated from the crowd and detained, but instead... attacking citizens en mass and largely at random seems to be the preferred option for our modern-day jackboots, presumably intending to intimidate us and keep us as nice little sheep safely locked away in our homes.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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