Consider the Source: Exploring William Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”

image is provided by the watchers.

What makes a source credible?

When we consider the source, the places we seek out for information about the world around us, can we, in all confidence, consider those sources to be completely factual?

Do we actively seek out sources that compliment our personal vendettas and political agendas?

Are we really being fair to sources that do not serve our personal interests?

Are we as American citizens being fair and active readers/ listeners in the media?

Do we have the right to dismiss something that is not in our personal interest?

I turn to William Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” for answers.

Consider what Shirer says here:

“Section 14 of the Press Law ordered editors ‘to keep out of the newspapers anything which in any manner is misleading to the public, mixes selfish aims with community aims, tends to weaken the strength  of the German Reich, outwardly or inwardly, the common will of the German people, the defense of Germany, its culture and economy…or offends the honor and dignity of Germany.’ ”

Imagine the German public at this time, picking up a newspaper or turning on the radio and being fed national propaganda 24/7? Thank God for William Shirer and his exposure into such restrictions of freedom.

I parallel the time in which Shirer is writing this piece, under a regime that sought to censor the arts under a political and racial context, to President Trump’s constant attack against the media for protest against his administration.

Consider Facebook, a platform I am confident that many of us have visited at one point or another, if not still do.

We scroll and scroll, click on a headline that rings a dramatic and conclusive effect, otherwise known as “click bait,” put on our thickly rimmed activist glasses on and regurgitate this information forward: in classrooms, on phone calls, at work (if you are so bold), on paper, online, etc.

We are customizing our own news experience.

We feed ourselves on this steady diet of self pleasing politics that over time has indented such an impression that we have, I believe, misled ourselves from considering the source. And to this effect contributes to the polarization many of us have been expressing.

Far left liberals are quick to dismiss Fox News, just as far right conservatives are quick to dismiss The New York Times.But now more than ever as journalists are fearing for their press freedom we should not quickly discredit a news source because it does not feed our political appetites. As long as the source is told as objectively as possible and presenting the facts we need to be more open and forgiving.

In the end yes, freedom of speech is our right and we can express our views however we see fit. But we cannot continue to point fingers at each other from opposing sides and discredit journalists for information that does not feed our personal agenda, that is exactly what the Third Reich sought to do with its media in the 1930s-40s, only then the consequences were a lot more dire.

Section 14 of the Third Reich weeded out such oppositions to their authority, and to that effect people became blinded, and small minded to the atrocities that were happening all over Europe.

To the same effect as how the Third Reich sought to feed national propaganda to its German citizens, we are on our way to repeating history here in America.




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