Mind Shadows

1/19/10

Edward R. Murrow & The London Blitz



He reported live by CBS from England to America. His opening became famous. "This is London," he said in the bleak months of 1940 as wave after wave of luftwaffe bombers set fires with their incendiaries to the buildings below. Search lights lit gaggles of bombs falling through the sky as tracer bullets lit German motors and wings for RAF Spitfire pilots diving on the bombers.

The London Blitz began about four in the afternoon the 7th of September 1940, and as air raid sirens sounded, the first German bombers arrived to drop their bombs on London. Over 340 German bombers escorted by around 600 fighters dropped hundreds of incendiary bombs on the London docks. The raid lasted until 6:00 pm. A couple of hours later, the flames served as beacons for the second wave headed across the channel from France. This attack lasted until 4:30 in the morning. More than 430 people were killed, with 16,000 serious casualties. The Blitz rained death on Londoners for 57 nights in a row, sirens awakening them in the middle of the night, urging them to take shelter.

For Americans, Edward R. Murrow chronicled this horror, and he stood on London roof tops, describing the planes and bombs in the sky, the flames leaping up over London. In Ohio and Iowa, New York and California, families clustered around living room radios to hear him. He brought the war home and prepared Americans for their entry into it. He shaped public opinion and encouraged aid to Britain.

He began a sign-off that became a recent movie title. As the war from the skies raged, Londoners did not know if they would see one another in the morning. They said “So long and good luck.” Ending a live radio broadcast, Princess Elizabeth said to the Free World, “Good night and good luck to you all.” At the end of a 1940 broadcast, Murrow signed-off with Good night and good luck.” George Clooney’s movie adopted the phrase as its title, David Strathairn playing Edward R. Murrow.

In 1941, back in the USA after three years abroad, he was guest of honor at a dinner hosted by CBS at the Waldorf-Astoria, eleven hundred guests in attendance, millions more listening on the radio. Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent him a telegram. Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress, gave a speech in praise of him.

  • “ You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames. . . You laid the dead of London at our doors and we knew that the dead were our dead. . . were mankind's dead without rhetoric, without dramatics, without more emotion than needed be. . . you have destroyed the superstition that what is done beyond 3,000 miles of water is not really done at all.

    Murrow climbed down from the roof tops of London and into the bellies of RAF and American bombers, flying with crews over Germany. In one night bombing raid, on December 2, 1943, he flew in an Avro Lancaster with D for Dog, as its nose art. In his radio report, even today we feel his and the crew’s fear, see the German search light cones probing the sky, feel the bomber twisting and turning out of reach. You can listen his radio to report here.

    In his post war years, he became well-known for his character, integrity, and stance against ill-used power or influence. In a legendary 1954 broadcast he helped end the Red Scare and Red-baiting of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Once close friends with CBS boss William Paley, he fell out with the man, and took issue over Paley’s desire to improve profits at the expense of journalistic integrity. Paley’s successors, of course, have had their way with the media, so that today the public is entertained but rarely informed.

    Here is a live report by Edward R. Murrow from London in 1940.

    Contrasting what London was like then (audio), to what it is today (video), this link very poignantly provides a Murrow broadcast during the Blitz, and reminds us that all those 21st Century visitors don’t have a clue as to what 1940 Londoners had to endure.
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    2/16/09

    Everybody's Magazine and Its Times


    Everybody's Magazine and Its Times.

    In a world where the next eye-candy bauble is only a mouse-click away, this magazine gives us pause to think about a time when people in their busy lives actually set aside leisure time to read.

    I found an October 1912 copy of Everybody's Magazine in an antique shop and was struck by both similarities and huge differences between that time and this. The differences are reminiscent of the contrasts Peter Laslett made to far earlier times in The World We Have Lost. We are sleepwalkers unaware and indifferent to vast social changes that have gradually, almost imperceptibly, happened to generations. For now, though, an essay at comparison demands more space than I want to allow. For the moment I am content to present some pages and comment on them.

    After the cover, I have provided pages of advertisements. The ads are introduced at the opening pages and at the end. None interrupt articles or stories; the idea must have been that an advertiser feared annoying the reader with an intrusion of his product into reading material, and possibly alienating the reader from the product.

    Here is the cover. No pictures. Only words. The idea then was that the buyer need not be "grabbed" by an alluring babe or flashy celeb. People expected to find descriptive words not catchy graphics. Apparently Thomas W. Lawson wrote a sensational series a few years before--called "Frenzied Finance." In this issue's "The Remedy" Lawson argues that the stock market is merely a legalized casino and should be abolished. He writes it with a tone of high dudgeon. As people would say today, it is a kind of "I am fed up and am not going to take it anymore." His view of financial markets was widely shared by his readers. As I read it I was reminded of current popular disgust with Wall Street and high finance.

    The first series, "Frenzied Finance," appeared intermittently and lasted from July 1904 to February 1908. To promote it, Lawson spent $250,000 of his own money, a hunk of change back then. The money helped. Sales reached 750,000 by 1908.

    This ad for a Savage automatic pistol appears rather strange today. No weapons are now advertised in popular magazines. The population then was to a greater extent rural, and elsewhere shotguns and rifles are advertised. Clearly, fear of crime is not new. This ad is pitched to the lady of the house. Notice that she neither wounds nor kills the burglar, which would not be ladylike. She "tips" him.

    Notice the nicely dressed women getting out of the Baker Electric car below. Then as now: You too can buy social status if you just purchase our vehicle. So they want you to believe. The illustration shows that ladies can stand up in it before exiting, so they won't harm their lovely hats. No man is shown. The point is that a woman can drive herself and her friends to a place where a dog can romp. In an era before women had the right to vote, this is a tactical point for Baker Electrics. It speaks to feminine freedom.













    Some things don't change. One is Campbell Soup. The artwork for the children is different, but the design is basically the same, and kids are still used to promote the product.
















    He didn't buy the suit off the rack. His tailor made it. The Oswego product is not the suit, but the serge material that he chose. The tailor would make the man's suit from the serge manufactured by American Woolen Company.









    Des Moines, Iowa, was an up-and-coming town back then. Go West, young man, until you reach Des Moines. That didn't stop others from reaching the Pacific. In the classifieds, Los Angeles is advertised as the "fastest growing city in the West." You could buy a farm in L.A. with "rich loam soil, ideal for vegetables [and] fruit." Or you could plant peach and walnut trees. The reader is reminded that the property will "increase in value" as the "Panama Canal opens next year." By the 1960s Burt Bacarach would describe the area differently with his lyrics, "L.A. is a great big freeway."









    This fellow below looks rather dapper in his cap, suit coat, and tie. No biker jeans and leather jacket for him. The Harley was a young gentleman's way to get around. The manufacturer pushed comfort, not power, not speed, not macho. Harley-Davidson then competed with other American manufacturers, among them Indian and Excelsior-Henderson. 1912 was the year Harley introduced chain drives. Before, they had used belts. A 1912 Harley was recently auctioned at $100,000.





    Everybody's Magazine was founded in 1899. This was the era of muckraking, of deep investigative journalism that came about because of great social evils and atrocious robber barons. The editor, John O'Hara Cosgrave, intended the magazine to have popular appeal, but to include hard-hitting journalism while entertaining readers with many short stories. (With no TV or radio, people read.) Upton Sinclair was featured in it as well as Frank Norris--both muckrakers determined to reveal the evil side of an America that many feared was being taken over by Fat Cats.

    Before 1917, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw and G.K. Chesterton, wrote in Everybody's Magazine for a series titled "America's Neutrality as England Sees It." In 1917 neutrality was over, and the public was roused by a popular song, "Over There," with its patriotic "We won't be back till it's over over there." Young men were encouraged to enlist with another song, "Johnny Get Your Gun." The United States was in the war a little more than a year. Since 1914, Europe had lost an entire generation of young men to trench warfare and machine guns.

    After The War to End All Wars was over, so was Everybody's Magazine. Not suddenly, but gradually. The Jazz Age had begun, prosperity had come, and Americans wanted to enjoy themselves in speakeasies or make a wad in the stock market that Thomas Lawson had denounced in his articles on "Frenzied Finance" and "The Remedy." In December 1926, the magazine owners ended its charged political articles, and focused on entertaining short stories. It didn't work. Everybody's Magazine sold its last copy in March 1929.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    10/9/06

    Citizens & Frogs, Media & Government




    If you put a frog in a pan of hot water, it will jump out. If you put it in a pan of lukewarm water, then slowly turn up the heat it will boil to death.

    We are no different. In Shakespeare's Richard II, the tragic king observes that man's capacity for adjustment seems infinite. Infinite, yes. We are frogs, all of us. The only response is, Do we want to be?, and in that question lies our difference. We can jump out before the water boils.

    Not that we will. Only that we can.

    Where am I going with this? Here—In the last post, I noted that most media are ignoring the military build-up in the Middle East. The reason is obvious. It's called big business. The media are big business. For news anchors, the build-up story does not scream. People might flick the remote to the next channel. Besides, if war erupts, why that would be a real screamer, attracting many viewers. Never mind all that B.S. about the public interest, say the media. A buddy of media executives, former FCC Chairman Michael Powell said he did not know what the public interest is. He was not kidding.

    You and I are the public, and we know what it is. Our vital interest lies with knowing that massive military build-ups have occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. We are already like frogs, our troops in the scalding water of Iraq. Without public knowledge, without public debate, we may be plunged into a caldron. Mainstream news got us into Iraq because corporate profit margins rule out investigative journalism. Instead, the news anchors just parroted the White House buzz words. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Saddam Hussein linked to terrorists. Lies, all of them, we now know, but no thanks to the media's sense of public interest.

    There went more frogs into Iraq. In the Nineteenth Century soldiers were openly called cannon fodder by the power elite. Those in power did not understand what we now call Spin, or Propaganda. This explains why recent polls reveal that public trust in government is far lower than in 1981.

    The only way to stop being frogs is to understand what is happening to media in this country. Not only to understand it, but to make our voices heard before the water boils.

    Think about this.

  • Could a few media conglomerates overwhelm smaller competing voices? Voices that have news and information vital to the public interest? Quite obviously, they have. A 2004 report identified 6 media conglomerates that owned 94 percent of the media market; (1) Viacom-CBS-MTV; (2) Rupert Murdoch's Newscorpt (FoxTV, etc.) (3) GE-NBC-Universal-Vivendi; (4) Time-Warner-CNN-AOL; (5) Disney-ABC-ESPN; (6) Comcast. In 1981 there was great worry because ownership had shriveled to 15 conglomerates.

  • Be clear on this. The news media is not in bed with big business. The news media is big business. The State of the News Media 2004 report produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism in March found that most sectors of the news media have seen clear cutbacks in newsgathering resources. The number of newspaper newsroom staffers shrunk by 2,000 between 2000 and 2004, a drop of 4% overall. Some major online news sites saw much deeper cuts, such as MSNBC, which cut around a quarter of its staff between 2001 and 2003. Radio newsroom staffing declined by 57% from 1994 to 2001. After an up-tick in 1999, network staffing began to drop again in 2000. Since 1985 the number of network news correspondents has declined by 35 percent while the number of stories per reporter increased by 30 percent.

  • The 1996 Telecommunications Act further deregulated the Federal Communications Commission, paving the way for more take-overs. During the senate debate Senator John McCain said, "You will not see this story on any television or hear it on any radio broadcast." All together the 3 major network news shows aired a sum total of only 19 minutes of coverage of the Telecommunications Act, over the course of NINE MONTHS.

    Now, tell me that the media makes sure the public is well-informed.

  • These conglomerates are not answerable to the people although they use public air waves free of charge, tax free, thanks to the coziness between their lobbyists and Capitol Hill legislators, who need their campaign contributions. Soon only one voice will remain. Only one truth. Theirs.

    Oh, we will still have freedom of choice. We can select many different programs to watch. We have great variety in entertainment. Like a frog, we can sit contentedly while the water heats.

    But our understanding of our world, the way we see it, that is a different matter. It will be shaped by how big businesses want us to see it. There is a pattern to the way certain stories are covered, then dropped. The level of secrecy, of news distortion, or non-coverage has reached a historic low.

    Charles Lewis of the Center for Pubic Integrity was a producer for CBS Sixty Minutes until he concluded that the public simply never learned much of important news. Lewis has this to say of his own organization, Center for Public Integrity:
  • They don't investigate and report on the media because none of their findings would ever be reported by the media. They found that the most powerful special interest in Washington is the media. The National Association of Broadcasters has lobbyists. The public is entitled to seats in committee hearing rooms, but lobbyists hire place holders, poor people who stand in line holding their position, then slipping out when the lobbyist shows up as doors open for the hearing. The National Association of Broadcasters has nearly 300 paid lobbyists who give away tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. And they control whether a politician gets on the air all over America. Not only that but the Fairness Doctrine has been abolished. No more free time for politicians. They must pay, which accounts for one third of media news budget, and the huge rise in campaign expenses.

    That's power.

    How much power do we have? One thing is certain. Our power will be limited to that of a frog in heating water unless we make ourselves heard.
    ---------
    Source: Orwell Rolls in His Grave at Information Clearing House
  • Labels: ,

    10/7/06

    The Winds of War: A Military Build-Up Most Media Ignore



    I take this threat quite seriously and so have chosen to alert my readers, although it is off-topic for this blog. I hope that others take it as seriously as I do.

    It may or may not happen, and if it does, it will probably be months or even a year or two, but solid evidence is abundant that contingency war plans are being implemented with a military build-up, probably against Iran, perhaps Syria. Consider what follows, from Global Research. Notice what Sam Gardiner says below. I have watched and listened to Gardiner, an analyst on the Lehrer news hour as well as on the commercial main stream networks. He is very credible. These are only snips from a very long document.
    ----------------------------------
    The March to War: Naval build-up in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    October 1, 2006. Editor's note. We bring to the attention of our readers, this carefully documented review of the ongoing naval build-up and deployment of coalition forces in the Middle East.

    The article examines the geopolitics behind this military deployment and its relationship to "the Battle for Oil."

    The structure of military alliances is crucial to an understanding of these war preparations.

    The naval deployment is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean is broadly under the jurisdiction of NATO in liaison with Israel. Directed against Syria, it is conducted under the façade of a UN peace-keeping mission pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In this context, the war on Lebanon must be viewed as a stage of a the broader US sponsored military road-map.

    The naval armada in the Persian Gulf is largely under US command, with the participation of Canada.

    The naval buildup is coordinated with the planned air attacks. The planning of the aerial bombings of Iran started in mid-2004, pursuant to the formulation of CONPLAN 8022 in early 2004. In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.

    These war plans must be taken very seriously.

    The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war," which threatens the future of humanity.

    In the weeks ahead, it is essential that citizens' movements around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda.

    What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called "Homeland Security agenda" which has already defined the contours of a police State.

    It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.
    ------------------------------------------
    Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 1 October 2006. The probability of another war in the Middle East is high. Only time will tell if the horrors of further warfare is to fully materialize. Even then, the shape of a war is still undecided in terms of its outcome.

    If war is to be waged or not against Iran and Syria, there is still the undeniable build-up and development of measures that confirm a process of military deployment and preparation for war.

    The diplomatic forum also seems to be pointing to the possibility of war. The decisions being made, the preparations being taken, and the military maneuvers that are unfolding on the geo-strategic chessboard are projecting a prognosis and forecast towards the direction of mobilization for some form of conflict in the Middle East.

    In this context, people do not always realize that a war is never planned, executed or even anticipated in a matter of weeks. Military operations take months and even years to prepare. A classical example is Operation Overlord (popularly identified as “D-Day”) . . . but the preparations for the military operation took eighteen months, “officially,” to set the stage for the invasion of the French coast.

    With regard to Iraq, the “Downing Street memo” confirms that the decision to go to war in 2003 was decided in 2002 by the United States and Britain, and thus the preparations for war with Iraq were in reality started in 2002, a year before the invasion. The preparations for the invasion of Iraq took place at least a entire year to arrange.

    Time Magazine and the “Prepare to Deploy Order” of the Eisenhower Strike Group

    The latest U.S. reports provide details of preparations to go to war with Iran and Syria. Time magazine confirms that orders have been given for deployment of a submarine, a battleship, two minesweepers, and two mine-hunters in the Persian Gulf by October 2006. There are very few places in the world where minesweepers would be needed or used besides the Persian Gulf. There also very few places where anti-submarine drills are required , besides the Persian Gulf.

    Award-winning investigative reporter and journalist Dave Lindorff has written;

  • [Retired]Colonel Gardiner, who has taught military strategy at the National War College [of the United States], says that the [U.S. Navy] carrier deployment and a scheduled Persian Gulf arrival date of October 21 [2006] is “very important evidence” of war planning. He says, “I know that some naval forces have already received 'prepare to deploy orders’ [PTDOs], which have set the date for being ready to go as October 1 [2006]. Given that it would take about from October 2 to October 21 to get those forces to the [Persian]Gulf region, that looks about like the date” of any possible military action against Iran. (A PTDO means that all crews should be at their stations, and ships and planes should be ready to go, by a certain date—in this case, reportedly, October 1.) Gardiner notes, “You cannot issue a PTDO and then stay ready for very long. It's a very significant order, and it’s not done as a training exercise.” This point was also made in the Time article.

  • "I think the plan’s been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran," says [Colonel] Gardiner. "It's a terrible idea, it's against U.S. law and it's against international law, but I think they've decided to do it He says that while the United States has the capability to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, "the Iranians have many more options than we [the United States] do.

  • Of course, Gardiner agrees, recent ship movements and other signs of military preparedness could be simply a bluff designed to show toughness in the bargaining with Iran over its nuclear program. But with the Iranian coast reportedly armed to the teeth with Chinese Silkworm anti-ship missiles, and possibly even more sophisticated Russian anti-ship weapons, against which the [U.S.] Navy has little reliable defenses, it seems unlikely the Navy would risk high-value assets like aircraft carriers or cruisers with such a tactic. Nor has bluffing been a Bush [Administration] MO [tactic] to date.

    Click for the full article at Global Research
  • 10/24/05

    Manufacturing Consent IX: The O'Reilly Fracture


    Home_____Manufacturing Consent IX: The O'Reilly Fracture

    The immensely profitable O'Reilly industry depends on the credibility of its guru, Bill O'Reilly. When Bill speaks, the public listens. A key money earner, for Fox News, he is a force to be reckoned with. What follows is the legal complaint for a lawsuit against him by a former Fox employee.


















    The entire document can be found at The Smoking Gun.

    Labels: , , ,

    10/19/05

    Manufacturing Consent VIII: European Public & Media

    Home_____Manufacturing Consent VIII: European Public & Media

    Over the years this blog has followed the decline of good information and news analysis on which people can make critical judgments as citizens. It has noted that the major news outlets simply feed to the public what they receive. Various reasons exist for this sorry state of affairs. One is that corporate news organizations are more concerned with the bottom line than with any sense of responsibility to the public for investigative reporting or in-depth news analysis. They are driven by the competition for dollars, which has become increasingly fierce as international behemoths swallow newsrooms to make them part of a cash flow. (One of the biggest jokes is ABC News' "In-Depth" segment, which offers a few minutes to some cheesy topic, giving nothing but a tease and no depth at all.) The sense of corporate civic responsibility is being strangled by the need for survival.

    Certain types of blogs have become a feeble but--hopefully--rising voice for the public to learn about the skullduggery that goes on within the corridors of power. Unfortunately, they are so many of these blogs that one must become a news, politics, and policy junkie to keep up with all they provide. I go back decades and miss the era when a few major dailies could give much, if not all, of what an informed citizen should know. True, one can whittle down his reading to the most frequently visited sites, but even their number requires more time than my day offers.

    All of that is by way of preface to a growing global phenomenon. The death knell of news analysis and investigation isn't being sounded here only. We are faced with a frightening prospect--whole populations whose consent is being manufactured--as only one example--to unwittingly endorse wrong-headed policies that fatten the rich while diminishing the people's own income. Recently while traveling I found this news clipping from the St Louis Post-Dispatch. It is dated 11 October 2005:

    Associated Press. Europeans have nearly 4,000 television channels to choose from, but less and less quality programming to watch, according to a report by a European watchdog group.

    The report by the Open Society Institute said television remained the primary source of information for most Europeans even as programming is becoming less informative and more sensational.

    The institute analyzed television ownership content and regulations in 20 European countries, including 12 European Union member states, four EU candidate countries and four potential candidate countries.

    It found a drop in quality of news reporting in countries where a few companies often control a country's entire television market and those which have opened up quickly to a flood of commercial broadcasts.

    TFI, one of France's three commercial networks, commands almost one-third of the national audience and half of total TV ad revenue.

    "Investigative journalism and minority programming are hard to find," the institute said. "Viewers often do not receive the information necessary to make informed democratic choices."

    Miklos Haraszti, a media freedom expert, said a deluge of commercial channels in some countries has led to ratings wars with public service broadcasters. Haraszti is with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a regional security organization.

    "The inevitable result has been the dumbing down of public service content in many countries," he said.

    The Open Society Institute, based in Hungary, said governments and international institutions should not let the market determine broadcasting policy. It recommended that the EU set up an independent agency to monitor media.

    7/12/04

    Manufacturing Consent, VII: The Media As Seen By Journalists


    Home_____While their worries are changing, the problems that journalists see with their profession in many ways seem more intractable than they did a few years ago.

    News people feel better about some elements of their work. But they fear more than ever that the economic behavior of their companies is eroding the quality of journalism.

    In particular, they think business pressures are making the news they produce thinner and shallower. And they report more cases of advertisers and owners breaching the independence of the newsroom.

    These worries, in turn, seem to have widened the divide between the people who cover the news and the business executives they work for.

    The changes in attitude have come after a period in which news companies, faced with declining audiences and pressure on revenues, have in many cases made further cuts in newsgathering resources.

    There are also alarming signs that the news industry is continuing the short-term mentality that some critics contend has undermined journalism in the past. Online news is one of the few areas seeing general audience growth today, yet online journalists more often than any others report their newsrooms have suffered staff cuts.

    Only five years earlier, news people were much more likely to see failures of their own making as more of an issue. Since then, they have come to feel more in touch with audiences, less cynical and more embracing of new technology. In other words, journalists feel they have made progress on the areas that they can control in the newsroom.

    While feeling closer to audiences, however, news people also have less confidence in the American public to make wise electoral decisions, a finding that raises questions about the kind of journalism they may produce in the future.

    There are also signs that the people who staff newsrooms, at least at the national level, tend to describe themselves as more liberal than in the past. . . .

    What Journalists Are Worried About

    Sizable majorities of journalists (66% nationally and 57% locally) think "increased bottom line pressure is seriously hurting the quality of news coverage." That is a dramatic increase from five years ago, when fewer than half in the news business felt this way.

    And their concerns may be justified. The State of the News Media 2004 report produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism in March found that most sectors of the news media have seen clear cutbacks in newsgathering resources. The number of newspaper newsroom staffers shrunk by 2,000 between 2000 and 2004, a drop of 4% overall. Some major online news sites saw much deeper cuts, such as MSNBC, which cut around a quarter of its staff between 2001 and 2003. Radio newsroom staffing declined by 57% from 1994 to 2001. After an uptick in 1999, network staffing began to drop again in 2000. Since 1985 the number of network news correspondents has declined by 35 percent while the number of stories per reporter increased by 30 percent. . . .

    There are also signs that the economic influences on the news business have become more pernicious. Five years ago we found that financial pressure in the newsroom was "not a matter of executives or advertisers pressuring journalists about what to write or broadcast." It was more subtle than that.

    Unfortunately, that is less true today. Now a third of local journalists say they have felt such pressure, most notably from either advertisers or from corporate owners. In other words, one of the most dearly held principles of journalism--the independence of the newsroom about editorial decision-making--increasingly is being breached. Nationally, journalists are more than twice as likely as executives to say bottom line pressure is eroding journalistic quality. The divide exists at the local level as well but not as drastically.

    Whatever the reasons for this, unless staffers and bosses can agree on first describing what is going on in the company and then agree on its impact, it seems doubtful they could agree on how to deal with it.

    Specific Areas of Concern

    Beyond cutbacks and pressure to help advertisers or corporate siblings, journalists have other worries as well. Five years ago, people in the news business shared two overriding concerns. As we said back then, "They believe that the news media have blurred the lines between news and entertainment and that the culture of argument is overwhelming the culture of reportingConcerns about punditry overwhelming reporting, for instance, have swelled dramatically in only four years."

    Today, the concerns are more varied and less easy to categorize. The worries about punditry are still there but they have diminished both nationally and especially locally.

    A bigger issue now is a sense of shallowness. Roughly eight-in-ten in the news business feel the news media pay "too little attention to complex issues," up from five years ago to levels seen in the mid-1990s, at the peak of the fascination with tabloid crime stories like O.J. and JonBenet Ramsey. . . .

    On the issue of accuracy, journalists seem divided. Nationally, the number of journalists who feel that news reports are increasingly sloppy and inaccurate is rising. Locally, it is dropping. . . .

    Confidence in the Public

    . . . It is also possible that journalists are leaping to another conclusion: They see the content of the news becoming shallower and conclude that this must be what the public wants or why else would their organizations be providing it? More (From The Pew Research Center For The People And The Press, Survey Report titled "Commentary: A Crisis of Confidence," no date, by Bill Kovach, Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell.)

    Labels: , ,

    Manufacturing Consent, VI: A Brief History of The FCC & Related Legislation

    First, this by George Orwell--"Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for official ban." I will add that the silence and the darkness are all the easier if a media elite owns most information outlets, which is where we are today.

    Senator John McCain, at a congressional hearing--"When is the endpoint to all of this? Why not have Rupert Murdoch buy another company, then Comcast another, and on it goes. At some point, you'll have many voices--and one ventriloquist."

    We don't know when it will all end. Here is a breakdown of shrinking media ownership--

    In 1983, 50 owners

    In 1987, 29

    In 1990, 23

    in 1992, 14

    In 1997, 10

    In 2004, 6 owners for 94 percent of the entire media

    Understand that this is a sketch of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and omits important information in some instances. Its chief advantage is that it is presented in chronological order.

    Labels: ,

    Manufacturing Consent, V: What About Terrorists or Arsenal Security Elsewhere?

    Of the news that occurs, we can always trust the media to surface important events into the public consciousness. Right? For example, the public can rest assured that they will learn of breaches of security, especially concerning weapon stockpiles in former Soviet states, with implications for increased nuclear or terrorist threat. We would like to think so. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

    The gate keepers of media conglomerates determine what we see and hear, and once again the public is unaware of an important story, which I will provide shortly. First, though, think about this. In 1983, media ownership had shrunk to 50 conglomerates. This raised great concern, but nothing was done. In 1989, it had reduced to 29; in 1990, 23; in 1992, 14; in 1997, 10. Today, 6 conglomerates own 94 percent of the media. Soon, one will own them all. *

    The important story I mentioned--it occurred just a few days ago. It is scary, and should have received extensive and high profile coverage by the major media outlets. If the gate keepers chose to give it less than that, one would think they would still gave it some attention. It fell through the cracks, remaining only a wire release, and that fact provides a harbinger of things to come.

    Think about this in terms of various issues, not only weapons stockpiles. Watergate, for example. The hotel break-in would have remained a curiosity and allowed to die a quiet death without Deep Throat,** a public official, and Woodward and Bernstein, two investigative journalists. Without intense and difficult investigation, even Deep Throat's tips would have been forgotten, and President Nixon's involvement would not have been uncovered. But investigative journalism had its death knell, and today the conglomerates only like news feeds, as they are cheaper. ** (Woodward promises to reveal his identify after Deep Throat dies.)

    Anyhow, here is the story, and its omission from public consciousness is an example of what the media has come to. If a former Soviet state is capable of this kind of neglect, what else should we be concerned about?

    Ukraine Says Hundreds of Missiles Missing by Anna Melnichuk

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) 03/26/04--Several hundred decommissioned Soviet-built surface-to-air missiles are unaccounted for in Ukraine's military arsenal, the defense minister told a newspaper.

    Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk, in an interview published in the newspaper Den, appeared to suggest the missiles may have been dismantled without proper accounting, rather than stolen or sold.

    ``We are looking for several hundred missiles,'' Marchuk was quoted as saying in Thursday's edition. ``They have already been decommissioned, but we cannot find them.''

    Labels: ,

    Manufacturing Consent, IV: The Bewildered Herd

    This article provides background to the earlier articles on manufacturing consent in the United States, a phenomenon with a scale unprecedented among wealthy nations. Somehow, consent toward corporate values has become assimilated into Mother Culture of America. Few people even think to question how they get the memes that form their opinions, view points, and beliefs about matters social and political. This, Part Four, touches upon early views of social engineering, as well as upon recognition that it has become a major instrument of government. (For articles on memes, see Memes, Genes, & God, 31 December 2003; Memes, Type X, Irrationalists, & Religion, 26 February 2004; Beyond Memes, 6 March 2004.)

    Two hundred years ago, the idea of democracy was ripening, and would blossom into the French and American Revolutions, although not everybody thought it a good thing. The masses were regarded with suspicion, and aristrocracy with favor. Some, though, simply looked at the situation objectively. Eighteenth Century philosopher David Hume found "nothing more surprising" than

    " to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governers have nothing to support them but opinion. 'Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular." (Essays Moral, Political, and Literary)

    Walter Lippmann, early Twentieth Century political and social pundit, wrote that "the public must be put in its place" so that we may "live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd," which serves to be "interested spectators of action," and not participants. As a "responsible" pubic intellectual, he saw his duty as guiding the voice of the herd in case government does not have sufficient sway over the public. (The Phantom Public)

    Gore Vidal, a prominent, current, novelist and intellectual, has a different take on the situation: "To deny inconvenient opinions a hearing is one way the few have of controlling the many. But as Richard Nixon used to say, ' That would be the easy way.' The slyer way is to bombard the public with misinformation. During more than half a century of corruption by the printed word in the form ' news' --propaganda disguised as fact--I have yet to read a story favorable to another society's social and political arrangements. Swedes have free health care, better schools than ours, child day-care center for working mothers. . . but the Swedes are all drunks who commit suicide (even blonde blue-eyed people must pay for such decadent amenities). Lesson [for the bewildered herd]? No national health care, no education [with high national budget priority] , etc. . . . ."

    "Of the billions now spent each election cycle, most is donated in checks of $1,000 or more. But less than one-tenth of one percent of the general population make individual contributions at this rate. These happy few are prepared to pay a high and rising price for the privilege of controlling our government. In the 1998 election cycle, the average winning House candidate cost the owners about $600,000. The average winning Senate candidate a bit over $5 million. Multiply both figures by two if you want the cost of dislodging an incumbent from office (in a system where, last time around, over 97 percent were re-elected). To finance a race in big media markets like New York, or California, it's a bit more expensive: as of election day 1998, something like $36 and $21 million respectively."

    "The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity--much less dissent."

    "Of course, it is possible for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions. . . ." (The Decline and Fall of The American Empire)

    Nothing manufactures consent like fear. It guarantees that the bewildered herd will be tamed to conform to the expectations of the governing elite. A common threat marginalizes dissidents, activates supporters, and sways the undecided. It silences all opposing voices. If terrorists strike again in America, the November elections will be decided on only one issue, the war against terrorism. The economy, joblessness, health insurance, worker pensions, social security, environment, the budget deficit--these and other issues will be rendered null and void for practical purposes.

    "Bewildered herd" refers, of course, to you and me, who have a voice only once very four years. Do you feel bewildered? I don't.

    Labels: ,

    Manufacturing Consent III: Which Frog Is It?

    The range of media ownership is unprecedented in history. Conglomerates now shape American culture and society, from movies and television to music, book publishing, and the web. They impose a different kind of Big Brother over the nation--not Orwell's totalitarian dystopia, but a social engineering that determines even teen values and voter preferences. They cross generations, these conglomerates.

    If we believe the conglomerates, we have more choices, and this is true. We have more options to buy the same package merchandised under different labels.

    A handful of owners push their products on magazine racks, cable channels, web sites, television programs, radio shows. With their diverse outlets and labels, they can sell the same or slightly altered material without paying for additional staff. With minor revisions, a few journalists can feed news and information to the many outlets of companies under the same conglomerated umbrella. By this means conglomerates make more money more quickly.

    As already explained in The Manufacture of Consent, Part One, the free market is not so free for you and me. Conglomerates threaten our culture and our society. Our entertainment, our diversions, our news and information come at a very high price, indeed.

    At one time, books were published by people who loved them. At Scribner's, Maxwell Perkins sat down with young writers like Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway to help them on manuscripts. He tutored them, took them out to lunch, wrote letters. He developed friendships with them, cared about their craft. To modern publishers, he sounds quaint, amusing, although in a Barnes and Noble book store, Hemingway, Wolfe, and other cultural icons are posted on walls. The book browser can gaze on pictures of Herman Melville, Edgar Alan Poe, Emily Dickinson, all to impart a sense of high art. In truth, publishers no longer care for literature. The bottom line alone counts. The watchword is follow the money.

    Today only the product matters, not its value to society or culture, but its value to economies of scale. The present idea of free markets accepts this as the way things should be. But at what price, this acceptance? At what price to us and future generations?

    This question has little resonance in the corridors of money and power because the free market is part of American mythos, regarded as almost a force of democratic nature. Its ideological father, Adam Smith, said that if each person pursues his own profit, then profit comes for everybody, all guided by the invisible hand of nature. This invisible hand was the metaphysical Great Machine of the Eighteenth Century, a Deism in which all worked out for the best.

    In our times the commonweal has become confused with uncommon wealth.

    In fact, free markets don't exist. All markets are artifacts of human societies, bound by rules. We find these proscriptions in the stock exchange, the World Trade Organization, the bond market, even the black market. The monopolistic free market is economic theory become democratic theory. It is a king of the heap ideology. It is not what Adam Smith meant with his belief in a benign nature guiding the invisible hand.

    The problem is that the new rules involve a corrupted moral theory, that somehow society benefits when only individualism is primary. Money alone matters, and all will sort itself out for the best if people only compete in an open market. In the meantime, fish die in our rivers, the climate warms each season, the skies turn grey above cities, the ozone gets thinner, drug use increases, criminality reaches down to twelve year olds. We buy distilled water to avoid drinking from the tap while our waste dumps are leaching into water tables.

    Through the memes of media conglomeration we are distracted from these issues. Instead, the public consciousness is allowed media access which makes money for the corporations. People have a choice to turn off the televison, or switch channels, so the simplistic argument goes. This naive view is part of the brainwashing imparted by media pundits themselves, be they talk radio hosts, or Sunday morning TV gurus, all of them allowed under the scrutiny of conglomerate executives. The view assumes that society is comprised of individuals. But people also unconsciously process the countless memes that daily invade their minds. As usual, the disciples of rugged individualism fail to acknowledge unconscious factors allowing little awareness of choice--in particular memetics. (For a discussion of memes, see Memes: Type X, Irrationalists, & Religion, 26 February 2004, Memes, Genes, & God, 31 December 2003, and Beyond Memes, 4 March 2004.)

    This view prevails even as the conglomerates look to amassing more influence over society and people's lives, not in the interests of Orwellian Big-Brotherhood, but for the sake of greater profit. If people saw them as Big Brother perhaps the alarm bells would have rung long ago.

    In terms of the public, children are fair game. They are influenced, of course, in the interests of sponsors and revenue.

    So long, Mr Rogers, and your soft, gentle voice. Children once watched The Brady Bunch as entire families sat down in front of the television. The episodes had morals, reflected personal integrity, and provided points of view,although such perspectives are now implied as platitudes by media-memes imposed on today's youth. Modern programming targets specific youth age groups. Kids' TV, especially Saturday mornings, reveals no Mr Rogers and his slow, caring ways. The programs move frantically, hysterically, violently, and persuasively, and even the commercials do so. It is all part of the Big Sell. It is Adam Smith gone amuck.

    As for MTV, it has no interest in encouraging good, solid citizens among youth, nor of promoting their happiness. Its only interest is to get them to watch what Viacom wants to sell. Their "increased choices" arrive only by management decision as to what will raise ratings. In fact, the options for youth's minds and their future happiness are not increased but narrowed by ever more cynical and ironic presentations that cater to their innate anti-authoritarian bent. They are not prepared for entry into society, as MTV gives them ironic, self-serving coolness without any broader context.

    Just a few decades ago, advertisers and media had scouts in youth cultures to stay abreast of changes in attitudes, fashions, and events. They no longer need to do so. Today, youth culture and markets are shaped by those who control the media. Back then, teenagers didn't care where they bought clothes, and if a company wanted to advertise their products they would give the kids, say, a company T-Shirt. Kids never would pay to wear an advertisement. Today brand logos are fashionable because fashion is shaped by the entertainment and commercials youth watch.

    Consumer media has shaped them into good, obedient consumers who will pay to advertise consumption.

    Take a look at advertising from the 1920s forward. From about the mid-1970s it gradually evolved into a new mode. Call it coolness. Now it's no longer about a community of friends, about sharing, but about how you stand out, how you look. The implicit values have become superficial.

    We are not talking about American conglomerates. These are huge. They are trans-national, saddled with monstrous debt, forced always to look at the bottom line. They live in a dog-eat-dog world and compete with one another for the public consciousness. They can't afford to think about the public good, although their executives pay lip service to it when interviewed by one of their program anchors or arraigned before Congress. Don't kid yourself. They have little to no concern for standards in taste, morals, and family values. To survive, they will merchandise what they can. Their argument will always be that they only provide people with what the public wants, which is an argument that morally corrupts Adam Smith's free market. It is a view that has run his theory amuck. They aim straight for the pleasure centers of the lowest common denominator. Noblesse oblige? Forget it.

    This is corporate theocracy, a new kind, a creeping totalitarianism. Democracy assumes, nay, requires, that its public be able to separate propaganda from truth and fact. *

    Something is happening to America and it is frightening.* A few decades ago, the largest media companies produced only newspapers, made only movies, owned only one TV network. Conglomerates will soon control our culture, if they don't already. That is no understatement. He who controls a culture will control a society. He who controls a society, will shape its government. *(For an extended discussion of this, see The Manufacture of Consent, Parts One & Two, linked below.)

    This handful of conglomerates belongs to the best of clubs, to which you and I have no access. They make deals, have cronies, shaping the minds of youth and the general public. They can do what they want without public consent, or public retribution. In fact, in terms of their memetic influence on society and culture, they can almost do what they want to the public.

    Item. In 1996, radio, a public property, was deregulated by the Telecommunications Act of that year. It lifted ownership restrictions, allowing a single company to own as many stations as they wanted rather than a mere 28. It allowed them to own up to eight in the largest markets. Overnight, big companies went to huge. Did it arouse any debate in congress? Duhh. Did Congress hold any hearings? Of course not. Its members' campaign chests held media money. Did you or I hear about any of this as major media news pieces? Did any network give it even the program half hour that it at least deserved in order to raise public awareness? No again. That would have been downright stupid on the part of the media moguls.

    So where will it end? Abraham Lincoln had great faith in the people, believing that the common man and woman had uncommon wisdom to govern their society and themselves. The people, yes, as Carl Sandburg succinctly put it.

    This is what I think. People do not change until the pain of the status quo exceeeds the pain of acting. But the majority feels no pain. All is fine. They get their programming, the dumbing-down that degenerates with each season. They notice a connection between media programming and youth behavior, between it and adult values, attitudes, and political ignorance, but shrug as if to say, What can I do about it? Perhaps they have not yet realized the implications of the situation.

    I am reminded of frogs and boiling water.

    If a frog is dropped into a pan of boiling water it will immediately hop out. If it is first put in a pan of cold water slowly brought to a boil, it will then cook to death.

    The fire is on and the water is becoming hot. Which frog is it?

    Labels: ,

    Manufacturing Consent, II: Gatekeepers & Democracy

    Should the big media conglomerates be allowed to control more television and radio stations and why should we care? To understand the importance of this question, first read the 21 February article below, The Manufacture of Consent. Something is happening today, and it threatens the very foundations of democracy as we know it.

    These are by no means idle observations:

    As US citizens, we own the air waves. We pay the taxes for them. Has anybody asked us?

    We own the bandwidth on which broadcast media deliver programs to TV and radios. Maybe some of us haven't thought about it that way, but it is true.

    The FCC, or Federal Communications Commmission, is supposedly our watchdog as to who gets access to bandwidth. The FCC was created as our eyes and ears. It is presently headed by Michael Powell, son of Colin. I have respect for Michael's father.

    For over 60 years, the FCC allowed companies to own a number of local TV stations, with the reservation that none of them could reach more than 35 percent of US population.

    Something happened on 2 June 2003. On that date, with Michael Powell's decision, the FCC raised the limit to 45 percent, which allowed media giants to gobble up more local TV stations. A single corporation can control up to three television stations in the largest nine cities.

    Not only that, the FCC allowed local mergers of TV with newspapers. Thus our news and information would come from the same company, whether we flick on the TV or open the paper.

    The FCC ruling is being challenged in the courts, but keep your fingers crossed.

    The National Rifle Association, the National Organization for Women, and many others have spoken out against the FCC decision. Over 750,000 Americans of all political stripes registered their opinion with the FCC, nearly 100% opposed. Clearly, this is not a Republican versus Democrat issue.

    Before the FCC ruling, control of local media had already become monolithic, reducing information diversity, limiting opinion, stereotyping entertainment. Local or interesting coverage is replaced by mass-marketing that appeals to the lowest common denominator. I shudder to think of what will happen if the FCC ruling is implemented.

    But don't cable TV and the Internet give people more sources of information? In theory, yes. In practice, no. Big media firms own most of the cable networks and supply much of the content for major Internet sites.

    Now let me ask a question. Although the issue is vitally important to every citizen, how come we have heard so little about this?

    Because the lack of diversity and independence in broadcast media already limits what information we receive. This is a whoppingly big issue and it was played down by the media conglomerates, the major TV networks and newspapers, the very people who stand to profit if we don't know about it.

    As a lone voice on the FCC put it, "At issue is whether a few corporations will be ceded enhanced gatekeeper control over the civil dialogue of our country; more content control over our music, entertainment and information, and veto power over the majority of what our families watch, hear and read." (Michael Copps)

    As for the court challenge to the FCC, here is 8 February information:

    "A contest much bigger than the Super Bowl will take place this month in Philadelphia. A federal appeals court will hear a lawsuit trying to stop the Federal Communications Commission from allowing more media deregulation."

    "One of the main players will be Viacom, a broadcast giant that lists among its properties CBS, MTV and Infinity radio. How big is Viacom? Consider that the Super Bowl was telecast on CBS. The halftime show, featuring Justin Timberlake exposing Janet Jackson's breast, was produced by MTV. Records by Timberlake and Jackson are played on Infinity radio stations. "

    " This is the way media works in America. Deregulation has given a handful of corporations all-consuming power over what we see and hear. Those media companies also set broadcast standards, which, if you saw the halftime show, can't get much lower. "

    " ' What happened at the Super Bowl is a consequence of the FCC and (Chairman) Michael Powell easing the rules of ownership limits, ' said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington D.C. ' Big companies get more properties and embrace cheap and offensive programming aimed at the lowest common denominator '." From Reclaim The Media.

    Labels: ,

    7/11/04

    Manufacturing Consent I: Corporate Theocracies

    America will never let it happen. It will never let media giants, huge corporations, control both the production and dissemination of our news and entertainment. It will never do so because such power and control would allow a few, or even one conglomerate to rule the country. It will never let it happen. Right?

    It will never do something so wrong because Congress and the Federal Communications Commission protect our interests, yours and mine. Our leaders, from senators and representatives to Michael Powell, will never forget our rights to a free exchange of information, news, and ideas. Right?

    Wrong. Things aren't looking good. Wherever people sit on the political spectrum, this is a concern for all.

    Viacom-CBS-MTV just showed how wrong we are. It controlled both the content and communication of the sexiest Super Bowl. What a lame excuse for its chairman to say he wasn't prepared for Janet Jackson to expose her nipple. Look at the invasion of prime time with sex, violence, and commercials that occasionally are interrupted by programs. Money talks, and whether he was prepared or not, the tone was already set for Janet's breast.

    Let's take a look. Now, if we really get varied and diverse access to news, information, and entertainment, then a quick check of the television channels should reveal it. What do we find during the evening news? The first fifteen minutes provide hard news interspersed with commercials, and this news is almost identical between networks. The rest is pap, to include some "human interest" teaser to keep us watching till program end. Look at entertainment. Tell me that each season they don't get dumber or more sensational, or cruder. A few exceptions exist, but not because the networks feel any public responsibility. The programs somehow pull in enough viewers that sponsors are willing to pay big bucks for spots on the shows.

    The truth is, our access to of the news, to include newspapers and television, is owned and controlled by six media conglomerates. The other five are (1) Murdoch-FoxTV-HarperCollins-WeeklyStandard-NewYorkPost-LondonTimes-DirecTV; (2) GE-NBC-Universal-Vivendi; (3) Time-Warner-CNN-AOL; (4) Disney-ABC-ESPN; (5) Comcast. Comcast has just bid to take over Disney and although Disney initially declined the offer, the show isn't over.

    These six conglomerates own 94 percent of the media, including news and information we need as citizens. I don't know about you, but those numbers are downright scary to me.

    If Comcast does take over Disney, this would bring the total down to five who control our access to information, to include government policy and news. Of course, Rupert Murdoch would probably try to take over, say, Time-Warner-CNN-AOL. Bill Gates wouldn't like standing on the sidelines. Microsoft then might grab a company and the number would be whittled down to three.

    But the US government would never allow that. Right? They are concerned for the information we get as citizens. Right?

    Wrong. Michael Powell never met a merger he didn't like.

    No independent media voice remains in Russia. Senator John McCain has pointed out Putin's control of Russian media and the power Putin is accumulating by stifling dissent. As chairmen of the Commerce Committee, McCain has yet to do anything about Powell, except to whine to him, "Where will it all end?"

    Don't kid yourself. The less information you and I get, the less trouble we will make. It's called the manufacture of consent. So long as the fat cats sing off one sheet of music they can insure that we become the chorus.

    He who controls the media controls the people. He who controls the people can shape their minds.

    We are at a crisis. The role of media in contemporary politics forces us to ask what kind of world and what kind of a society we want to live in. What will happen to that which we had regarded as a democracy?

    My conception of democracy is the one my teacher taught me in sixth grade. It is a democratic society in which a free press allows people free and diverse access to information so they can manage their own affairs. She stressed the importance of investigative and analytic journalism. She spoke of the need for dissenting views so that truth and facts could be found in the forum of public opinion. That's rather like the definition I find in the dictionary.

    Over the decades an alternative conception has gradually evolved. It is that the public is not the best judge of its own interests and others, the elite of politics and business, are in a better position to decide. The elite manufacture consent to facilitate their wise and beneficent governance. This means that you and I have limited access to information and news unless we dig for it, and even then we may not find it. Of course, our grandfatherly leaders insure that through popular media we know only what they deem to be in our best interests. Read: their best interests.

    Only two decades ago 50 firms controlled news and entertainment, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and film. Back then media watchdogs were greatly alarmed that Americans had become the victims of a news monopoly. Where once several newspapers shared turf in a city, the number had dwindled to one or two. Where television stations included independent broadcasters, they were either bought out or forced out. Where radio stations offered populist or dissenting voices, they found their licenses bought by nationwide or regional corporations.

    And that brings us to the present time. Think about this. 90 percent of Americans get their news from television.

    So what went wrong? Somewhere along the way, the public was gulled into believing that economics is the same as a form of government. They were led to believe that monopolistic capitalism and democracy are identical. In truth, interest groups have far more clout than you or I. Lobbyists for timber, beef, milk, steel, autos, poultry, construction, guns, defense, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, can walk into a politician's office or gain his attention in a capitol corridor while you and I go unheard. Who sponsors the programming we watch? These same industries. Do we see or hear much that is unfavorable to them? Duhhh.

    We are in the process of trading our democracy for a corporate theocracy.

    Here's a list of stories from the year 2000 that didn't deserve nearly the amount of coverage they received in the mainstream media. These stories were reported as if they were news.

    Survivor.

    Elian Gonzalez.

    The millionaire bride from Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?

    Britney Spears.

    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

    Napster.

    The Ellen Degeneres/Anne Heche break-up.

    Ricky Martin's sexuality.

    Brad Pitt's wedding.

    Here's part of Project Censored's list of stories from the same year that went virtually unreported in the mainstream media:

    The World Bank and multinational corporations seek to privatize water.

    OSHA fails to protect U.S. workers.

    U.S. Army psychological operations personnel worked at CNN.

    Did the U.S. deliberately bomb the Chinese embassy in Belgrade?

    U.S. taxpayers underwrite global nuclear power plant sales.

    International report blames U.S. and others for genocide in Rwanda.

    Independent study points to dangers of genetically altered foods.

    Drug companies influence doctors and health organizations to push medications.

    EPA plans to disburse toxic/radioactive waste into Denver's sewage system.

    Silicon Valley uses immigrant engineers to keep salaries low.

    United Nations corporate partnerships: A human rights peril.

    Cuba leads world in organic farming.

    The World Trade Organization is an illegal institution.

    Europe holds companies environmentally responsible despite U.S. opposition.

    Gerber uses the WTO to suppress laws that promote breast feeding.

    People didn't even have a chance to form an opinion on these issues because they didn't know about them.

    Finally, here is a statement from one of our Founding Fathers: "We must crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to bid defiance to the laws of our country." Thomas Jefferson

    Home

    Labels: ,


    © 2011 Mind Shadows: Media |