Not long ago, I published two blogs in succession about the NSA here. I got an email from a reader suggesting I’d wasted my time. People would believe what they wanted to believe and all I did was expose myself. I replied that it didn’t matter because I was phasing this blog out anyway. I said that because I hadn’t received any other feedback, positive or negative, and felt like I was wasting my time, too. Now I’ve changed my tune.
In true blogger style, I’ll outline the reasons for my change of heart in list form:
- I got something off my chest that needed to be gotten off my chest.
- I did something I believe in doing: speaking the truth as one sees it without regarding the possible consequences.
- Last time I looked at Google Analytics, those two articles were my third and fourth most-read posts.
- Alternative news, blogging and social media, I believe, have been responsible for the U.S. and its allies to back down or at least slow down on their push for war in Syria.
“Oh, I’m a nobody,” I told myself. “I don’t have enough readers to make blogging about things that matter make a difference.” Wrong. I get a lot of valuable information from a little [dot]wordpress blog that doesn’t have stratospheric numbers of followers. If I pass what they write on to others, the information spreads. Although we won’t get the credit for it, we’re part of the process of sharing and that’s the important thing.
“Oh, my blog is about writing, not social issues,” I told myself. “I have no business writing about those things here.” Wrong again. Writing about the important issues on an unrelated blog is an ideal way to spread a message to a wider audience. Otherwise, you’re just preaching to the converted.
As I write this, David Cameron has been shut down by his own party on the issue of whether or not to “intervene” in (i.e. invade) Syria. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, has rightfully claimed “America [has been] Totally Discredited” thanks to a “foolish President Obama and moronic Secretary of State Kerry” who “have handed the United States government its worst diplomatic defeat in history”. In Cameron’s case, the last time a PM was defeated in an issue over war versus peace was in 1782. In Obama’s case, he’s now in a far worse position than Bush was when he managed to put together a rag-tag “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq under false pretenses. Obama no longer has a single ally and is considering committing a(nother) war crime, but without anyone’s backing, including the U.N.
It seems clear to me that so-called alternative news outlets, bloggers and social media are responsible for turning the tide. The much-derided “sheeple” of the United States and other countries have been seeking the truth, probably to their leaders’ surprise. Not finding it on the mainstream news, the people have given the upstart alternative news sources a go. What have they found? — facts and solid evidence instead of empty rhetoric.
Speaking of evidence, evidence backs me up on this. Guess which news outlet gets more viewings on YouTube than any other? It’s RT, which recently passed the 3 billion (as in 3,000,000,000) mark. I watch RT every day on TV here. Larry King recently started a fascinating talk show on the channel, but my favorite is Abby Martin and her show, Breaking the Set.
Abby Martin is an artist and social activist turned TV presenter and she does her job brilliantly. She’s only been on RT for one season so far, but her daily segments are already some of the channel’s most popular. It’s no wonder. A combination of confidence and humility, anger and empathy, she knows how to dress the part of a mainstream TV presenter without losing her artistic edge. Most importantly, she speaks her opinion, but backs it up with facts and evidence. When she is opinionated without having facts to support her, she doesn’t hesitate to say so, either. That’s a welcome change from some alternative news outlets, who get carried away with speculation and thus lose some of their credibility. It doesn’t hurt, either, that she gets some very influential guest speakers on her show, like Governor Howard Dean and Naom Chomsky.
Now for the question: “Won’t it hurt your freelance writing career if you post blogs like this and potential clients see them?” I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to write for Monsanto, a PayDay loan company or a lot of other exploitative companies anyway. I like writing for small to medium sized ethical companies and am pleased when I see that my content makes a difference to their sales.
I’m certainly not a radical. In fact, you can blame my public-school-in-America past for many of my views. Yes, I was brainwashed into believing America was the greatest country in history, but was given some strong moral reasons for that belief, such as:
- Americans stood for individual liberties such as freedom of speech.
- Laws were in place that prevented monopolies from taking over.
- Small businesses were the heart of the economy.
- Presidents swore to uphold the Constitution.
- Wars were fought against dictators, not for economic or imperialistic reasons.
- People had a right to a fair defense and had to be convicted of a crime before they were sentenced, much less executed.
I’m no longer sure all of those things were true even then, but those values and others were instilled in me by my government via the education system and the news. I think a lot of Americans still share those views.
It doesn’t matter, though. We live in dicey times and I think we all have an obligation to speak out about important matters, regardless of the cost. We should look for the truth rather than accept what’s told to us. With the internet for our source material, there’s really no excuse not to find it. As writers, we should know how to do research and how to sniff out lies and half-truths when we run across them. As bloggers, we should be aware that even playing a small part is better than playing no part at all.
So, what should you blog about? Why not the truth? It’s a small niche. Who knows? You might come to dominate it.
The second season of Breaking the Set starts September 3rd. In the meantime, here’s an episode from last season: