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21 March 2010 @ 08:46 pm
The Media : What Ever Happened To Journalism?  

 

 



I wrote the following article in June, 2009. But I think the major points are still relevant and worthy of consideration:


It was no doubt the greatest deception in modern political history- Barack Obama’s campaign and election I mean. Believe me I know. I voted for him. Should I have voted for Clinton or McCain? No indeed. But I would feel a lot better now if I hadn’t voted at all. In defense of myself, I can say I had some doubts about Obama, particularly as a result of his votes opposing remedies to customers whose privacy had been violated by telecommunications companies and in favor of governmental invasions of the privacy of citizens without court order. But after eight years of Bush and Cheney, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. And so were many of us.

Congress just voted to provide Obama with over $100 billion to fund his wars. And that’s just a temporary allotment. There will be more and more to come. According to reports by Progressive Democrats of America, Obama and his delegates worked on legislators unrelentingly to vote in favor of the funding, threatening non-support in their re-election campaigns if they failed to comply. So he got his- I mean the war-industry’s- $100 billion; and he- I mean they- will continue to grab the taxpayers’ money for God knows how many years to come. Obama has insured that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will keep going throughout his first term. And he has left himself enough leeway to continue the warfare through his second term- if we’re unwise enough to give him a second term. Yes, Obama establishes a state of virtually permanent warfare for the benefit of the corporate war-industry, which has already pulled in over $1.5 trillion in war profits. And what do progressives and others who should know better do? Nothing. And Obama and his non-entity of a servile Attorney General Eric Holder bury and refuse to prosecute Bushian war crimes. And what do progressives do? Hide under the rug and stay silent. The difference between progressives and Neo-Cons and the radical right has really begun to pale, don’t you think?

And in the face of Obama’s deplorable agenda we have “progressive” organizations like MoveOn, which should be declared the Sociopathic Slime-Balls of the Century. MoveOn recently got all bent out of shape when Tom Hayden accused them of having made a deal with Obama whereby they would shut their mouths about Obama’s Bushian war- mongering provided he pursued the kind of domestic agenda they liked. Yes, MoveOn got all hot and bothered by Hayden’s assertion. The truth really does hurt. MoveOn, which used to be at the forefront opposing just the kind of policies Obama is now pursuing now remains totally quiet and seems to be confining itself to selling Obama T-shirts and mugs on its website. Yes, a deal that should make us all proud.
And then we have the corporate-media “liberals.” The bigger their paychecks get, the quieter their mouths get- at least about Obama’s Bushian aberrations. Judging from his past broadcast history, for instance, I have no doubt that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC cannot be happy about Obama’s war-mongering and his refusal to prosecute war crimes. Olbermann’s Commentaries against Bush were an eloquent testimony to his core beliefs. But have you heard Olbermann deliver any Commentaries about Obama’s policies? If Obama is acting like neo-Bush, why shouldn’t he also be aggressively condemned, Mr. Olbermann? I haven’t watched Olbermann- or Maddow- in months because I can’t stomach their cowardice. If I missed something, I apologize in advance. But I think I would have heard if either of them had delivered the kind of stinging condemnation that Obama so richly deserves.

One of the main functions of the Corporate Media has been to neutralize any serious criticism of Obama’s policies by attempting to marginalize it as “far-Left” and offbeat. CNN’s Anderson Cooper seems to specialize in that form of “journalism,” recently classifying as “far-Left” any protestations against Obama’s burying of torture photos. I guess that in the view of the Corporate Media you’re practically a Commie-Pinko if you feel that Americans should know what crimes their government has been perpetrating in their name. And to CNN’s David Gergen Obama’s continuing and unjustified warfare is just good presidential politics- “any president would do it. Who would want to be blamed for any problems that might arise if he ended the occupations?” Sounds like the recipe for endless war, Mr. Gergen. If no president would want to end the wars and risk blame for possible problems that might arise in the region, then what happens- the wars just go on forever? Thousands of American troops being needlessly killed and maimed is apparently not a real problem to our Corporate- Media moral giants. My God, when did we begin to become a nation of conscienceless sociopaths? Never, I would say. Only the Corporate Media and a high percentage of the politicians have. I think the majority of Americans, if they really thought about what is going on, would be outraged and repelled by what their “leadership” has become.

I have argued before and will continue to argue that the Corporate Media are blinding and destroying this nation. Think about it. Where are you getting your news? Where are you getting the material upon which to base your opinions? Almost exclusively from people who have a major interest in maintaining the status quo. Why? Because the status quo is paying them very handsomely for toting its baggage. It’s all about money. The key media “journalists” have multi-million-dollar contracts and the size of their paychecks would make the average American faint in astonishment. And they are being paid by corporate interests whose profits depend on maintaining things just as they are. That means that they are not going to buck the powers that be because to do so might endanger said profits. Oh, they will engage in some moderate, basically harmless and ineffectual criticism to make it seem as though they are “objective;” but when it comes right down to it their main purpose is to reinforce the establishment line, whatever the establishment may be- and it’s always basically the same: that which favors corporate profit.

That is why there is no longer any genuine investigative reporting of governmental activity- at least not on the corporate media. The media plays it safe and basically accepts the governmental line. That is decidedly not what journalism- the Fourth Estate- is supposed to be. Journalism is supposed to be objective- not “neutral” but objective. In other words journalists are supposed to investigate and determine what is really going on and report it to the people in an understandable manner- no matter what interests may be favored or disfavored by such reportage. Reporters are supposed to uncover and report the truth in order to inform the population. Is that what is happening today? Of course not. Reporting and opinion are slanted in the direction of what the corporate bosses deem “acceptable.” This is a total perversion of what the Fourth Estate was meant to be.

Why is Obama really continuing and escalating these wars? Have you seen any in-depth investigative reporting as to the reasons? Is Obama re-paying debts? Who provided his start-up campaign funding and other campaign funds? His internet funding came later. Who provided the funds to get started? Are the same corporate entities that profited from the Bush wars still profiting from the Obama wars? Why and to what extent? Is the Bush constituency now the Obama constituency? And so on and so on. Have you seen clear answers to these questions provided by the media? Not that I know of.

Think back. Would the Iraq war have begun so easily had the media been asking tough questions about the whys and wherefores? No, they were more interested in having their reporters “embedded” with the troops in order to get better ratings (i.e. profits). Dramatic war coverage provides better programming than non-war- so let it rip! So they didn’t ruffle any governmental feathers so as not to endanger their “embedment.” It’s not a stretch to argue that the Iraq invasion might have been avoided had the media met its responsibility to inform the public of the truth of what was going on. Public opinion might in that case have put a halt to the phony war. And how much death and destruction has followed? They haven’t given us a true account of that either.

The grave seriousness of media corruption cannot be over-stated. It has no doubt gone too far to be remedied. So we must be keenly aware of the state of affairs. And we must make sure that we do not become influenced or intimidated- even unconsciously- by the media’s self-serving, canned and slanted machinations. As unpleasant as it may be, we have to remember constantly that the American corporate media are just as much the servants and spokesmen of the current ruling plutocracies as are the media of other nations. If we wish to gain access to objective evaluation of our national condition, then we have to step outside the paradigmatic box that American journalism has become.

Currently the media are hell-bent to neutralize opposition to Obama’s prolongation and escalation of warfare and his thus-far successful attempts to defeat justice in the matter of war-criminality by falsely characterizing such opposition as “far-Left,” excessive, irrational, impractical, offbeat, un-American and God-knows-what. It worries me that progressives and other persons of conscience continue to be so silent on these issues. Why aren’t we speaking out? Why aren’t we demonstrating peacefully but assertively and in large numbers? Why aren’t we organizing boycotts of the war-profiteers and their subsidiaries and stockholders? Why do we just engage in a lot of ineffectual talk? Have the media convinced us not to appear “offbeat?” Or are we just embarrassed to admit that Obama is not turning out to be all he was cracked up to be. Better that we know that and deal with it now. A little embarrassment never killed anyone. And truth is indeed freeing.

Whatever the case, the silent passivity has to end. If it continues nothing will change for the better and the status quo, fed by the complicit politicians and corporate media, will continue its stranglehold on our nation. Yes, there may be some window-dressing improvements to appease the public and to weaken the position of reformers- but the stranglehold will continue. The systemic and very serious problems which our nation faces require much more than window-dressing. We have to get past our inhibitions and fight relentlessly for what we believe in. There simply is no other way. Unless we just want to join the ranks of the “respectable.”