Like many people, I attended school, K-12, and four years in college. I then spent two years in graduate school. For all the lessons I was taught and all the reading I’ve done – thousands of books – added to all the historical movies, TV shows, and documentaries that I’ve watched, I never once was told that the barbarians who invaded Rome were, indeed, justified.
The Real Barbarians
The Romans were the ones who acted like barbarians to their captors and to the slaves that they made out of them. This ‘personal’ revelation came to me as a result of watching a TV series. On the History Channel’s eight-part series, The Barbarians, for the first time, I learned how the barbarian uprisings over a 700-year period eventually spelled the death of Rome.
Nine different leaders were highlighted in this series, and each of their assaults on Roman territory seemed justified. These leaders did not know one another, and decades or even hundreds of years passed between the emergence of each.
How is it that in all the schooling that we receive, when we learn about the Egyptian Empire, Greek civilization, the Roman Empire, and so on, we’re hardly exposed to their excesses, particularly in a way that registers?
The people that Rome considered barbarians were treated unmercifully. Roman soldiers and Roman citizens regarded them as little more than cattle. The ‘barbarians’ had every right to rebel. They had every right to free themselves from their captors, kill them if they could, and seek whatever peace they might find in this world.
The Official Story
I surmise that with all history, the ‘official story’ belongs to those in power. So, over the course of two millennia, the Roman view of these uprisings prevailed in the history books, and eventually the movies, videos, and A/V presentations that are readily available today.
It makes me wonder: What historical viewpoint of today will prevail? Who will control the narrative of what will be written in history books? At this time, in our society, unfortunately, the ‘mainstream media’ are the gatekeepers. Starting with the New York Times, the Washington Post owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon, across hundreds of other newspapers throughout the country, and joined by ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC, a handful of ‘elites’ control the contemporary narrative.
The elite media machine has spent four years decrying every activity, behavior, and utterance of Donald Trump. Like him or loathe him, when 92% of stories about an individual are negative, one might query, how slanted is today’s media?
No Objectivity, All Viewpoint
CNN and MSNBC cannot broadcast for longer than 90 to 120 seconds without a fresh bashing. Time it for yourself. As Laura Logan, a former reporter for CBS’s 60 Minutes, quipped, if you don’t like the president’s style, then report 50% on that and 50% on his achievements.
When are you reporting 92% negative, and presumably 8% neutral or positive, what kind of service are you offering to the populace? Actually, none. You’re advocating a viewpoint and only a parallax viewpoint. The “mainstream media” are quite successful as advocates because many elites simply are never exposed to any other point of view.
Recent revelations about “the newspaper of record,” The New York Times, reveal that the paper has moved so far to the left that the attempted pretense of objectivity is gone. Are even the liberal/progressive founders rolling over in their graves?
Bari Weiss, a departing editor, commented months back that the Times serves as an advocate for predetermined political positions. It does not seek to report on news, it seeks to shape news – daily, consistently, thoroughly, so as to leave no doubt as to what readers ought to know and to believe. Worse, she mentioned “Twitter has become its ultimate editor.”
Steeped in What We ‘Know’
The broad mass of news and information consumers dwell behind the information “Iron Curtain” and won’t bother to look further. Even the “fact-checkers” are hopelessly biased. As such, the media machine gets to unceasingly spew its propaganda. The irony is that news consumers are only a few clicks away from alternative and more objective news and views.
So, it seems we’re going to have to wait several years, if not a couple of decades, to discover the truth about what’s actually occurring now. It’s a shame because we have the capabilities today to generate objective news more effectively than at any other time in history.