A teacher made the comment in class that if your parents have glasses, then you will probably end up having to get glasses, too.

One of her students yelled out, “Oh no! My mom has glasses!” Then she paused and added, “Oh wait … I’m adopted!”

That little girl came to her own conclusions, and that’s the advice award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson gives. After working for CBS for over two decades, she resigned because she wasn’t able to relay all the facts to the public. Her advice is to think outside the box (media), and she gives a fitting illustration.

“If a man from Mars came and sampled information on the internet and the news, we might appear violent, polarized and racist. But if he were to travel, minus that information, he’d see the vast majority relating in harmony, day in and day out.”

She credits some of the difference in impressions to the manipulative nature of the news we receive. “I’ve researched on the industry that works on behalf of various paid interests to control information within the box (media).” She says this is done with the help of social media, lobby groups, politicians, news reporters and even comedians.

She describes their tactics as effective “by portraying extremes as the norm and labeling certain views as unacceptable”.

Ms Attkinsson nails it when she says, “They may seek to intimidate you into silence by making you believe your views aren’t fit for public consumption,” and goes on to say the media controversialize those who present facts or opinions that are not otherwise heard.

The key to their control, according to this experienced journalist, is spending billions to convince us to accept as truth the reality they have constructed. However studies show that a large majority of people are exhausted from political viewpoints that are polar opposites. Even more so, the majority of people are frustrated because they lack a voice and aren’t well represented. These same studies show 80 percent of people of all ages and races, consider political correctness to be a problem.

Ms Attkinsson offers this advice, “It’s critical to not make our decisions and form our opinions solely upon the artificial reality that powerful interests attempt to create.”
This is what motivates me to keep on writing, because I don’t believe the extremes are the new normal. In fact I’m discovering that many of the views of an ordinary Canadian like myself are shared by more people than I ever imagined.

The reason we’re seeing protests like the recent ones in Drayton Valley, Grande Prairie, and even here in Kindersley, is because ordinary working men and women have not been given a voice. And it’s the voices of ordinary Canadians that need to be heard.

I hope 2019 is a year when ordinary working Canadians help each other address problems, and aren’t bullied into silence by “the box”. May 2019 be a year when we use wisdom and discernment as we think and live outside of the box.

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Joan Janzen
Joan Janzen resides in Kindersley where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, working as a graphic artist, reading, and of course writing. She likes to compare her column 'Check It Out' to crafting a cake. Sweetness of humor and buttery flavor combine with otherwise hard to swallow zucchini-like information, resulting in a flavorful and fulfilling sensation.