Skip to content
About these ads

The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world

2 June 2009

Summary:  This post examines our broken mainstream media, a vital component of America’s observation-orientation-decision-action loop (the OODA loop).  Mark Steyn provides a a current illustration; Lewis Lapham shows that this results from a long period of decay.  At the end are links to other articles on this subject.

The apparatus by which America sees the world, the news feeds of the mainstream media, are broken.  Both its business model and its ability to function (in terms of meeting our needs).  These problems re-enforce one another.

A note about solutions

We can adapt to these, but it takes work.  Via the Internet one can access foreign news, such as the excellent range of British papers and English-editions of foreign press (e.g., Der Spiegel).  Most important, using the Internetone can read the works of those withdifferent opinions.   Or your can rely on comfortable sources, where seldom you’ll hear a disturbing word.  I suggest that the former will work better for you than the latter.

Or you can just read Fred Reed.  Such as his latest analysis of the current big news of the world:  “The Whole World Sucks, and Everybody Thinks its Gravity“.

Excerpts

(1)  Monday, the President ate a burger“, Mark Steyn, op-ed in Maclean’s, 21 May 2009 — “Maybe if they’d covered the love child instead of a fast food foray, papers wouldn’t be dying.”  I recommend reading it in full.  Excerpt:

John Edwards’ adultery was back in the news last week. Well, okay, “back” is probably not le mot juste, given that the former presidential candidate’s mistress cum campaign videographer wasn’t exactly front-page news even in the days when he was coming a strong second in the Iowa caucuses or being tipped as a possible vice-presidential nominee. Every editor knew the “rumours” (i.e., plausible scenario with mountains of circumstantial evidence), but, unlike, say, Sarah Palin’s daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s mother’s drug bust, this wasn’t one of those stories you need to drop everything for.

Only when the hard-working lads at the National Enquirer doorstepped Senator Edwards in the basement stairwell of the Beverly Hilton after a post-midnight visit to his newborn love child and forced him to take cover in the men’s room did the Los Angeles Times swing into action. Alas, it was to instruct its writers to make no comment on a story happening right under their own sniffy noses.

… The one-term southern senator was running on biography — son of a mill worker, happily married, stood devotedly by his wife during her cancer — and, although the press were aware the biography was false, they decided their readers didn’t need to know that. It’s not an Edwards scandal, it’s a media scandal.

… Edwards is history now, and Obama is President. And the other day he and Joe Biden visited a hamburger restaurant. In the Clinton years, the 8 a.m. news bulletin on National Public Radio would invariably begin: “The President travels today to [insert state here] to unveil his proposals on [insert issue here].”  If you’ve read A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Courtby Mark Twain, you’ll recall that Hank Morgan, the eponymous time-travelling New Englander, was much taken by the Court Circular published each week in Camelot:

  • On Monday, the king rode in the park.
  • Tuesday, ” ” ” ”
  • Wednesday ” ” “ ”
  • Thursday ” ” “ ”
  • Friday, ” ” “ ”
  • Saturday ” ” “ ”
  • Sunday, ” ” “ ”

The NPR morning lead is the merest variant: on Monday, the king rode in the park to declaim his proposals on reduced emission standards. And the massed ranks of the press corps dutifully rode behind to scribble them down while trying to avoid the horseshit. But, when King Barack rode to the burger restaurant, there were no such policy implications: he didn’t bring along the treasury secretary to nationalize America’s cheeseburgers or Barney Frank to cancel the busboys’ bonuses. He just went to have a burger and some “tater tots.” And not one self-respecting member of the press corps thought, “Uh, do we really want to schlep across the Potomac to Virginia just to file a report on Obama eating a cheeseburger?”

… The blogger Mickey Kaus likes to distinguish between the news and the “under-news.” The “news” is what you get from your bland monodaily or your incontinence-pad-sponsored network news show; the “under-news” is what’s bubbling out there on the Internet. I can see why Obama, Edwards and others value the king-rode-in-the-park model. But it’s not clear what’s in it for America’s failing newspapers. If you’re conservative, you don’t read them because they’re biased. If you’re an informed leftie, you don’t read them because they don’t have the gleeful partisan brio of the Daily Kos or the Huffington Post. And, if you’re apolitical, you don’t read them because they’re just incredibly boring.

Throughout the‘1990s, from O.J. to Monica, the ethics bores of America’s journalism schools bemoaned at the drop of a New York Times commission the media’s “descent into tabloidization.” A decade on, American newspapers are dying. Really dying, I mean; not just having a spot of difficulty negotiating the transition from one distribution system to another, which is the problem faced by British, Australian, Canadian and other newspaper markets. But better to be the dead parrot’s cage liner, than the actual parrot. Which would you say was more responsible for the death of American newspapering? The “descent into tabloidization”? Or the dreary monarchical deference of American liberalism’s insipid J-school courtiers? The king rode in the park. He was riding his videographer in the shrubbery, but you don’t need to know that.

(2)  “Descent into the Mirror, Lewis Lapham, published in Money and Class in America (1988) — Excerpt:

America cannot quite manage to perceive the reality of the world elsewhere. God knows we try hard enough. We send camera crews to the uttermost ends of the earth, decorate the front pages of our newspapers with foreign names and datelines, endow learned journals and research institutions, dispatch our corporate executives to the Aspen Institute for weeks of earnest briefings — mostly to no avail.

The American correspondents don’t get sent to the important posts in Moscow, Tel Aviv, or London unless their editors already know their agents will confirm the presuppositions already in place.

On a Sunday afternoon during my first summer as a reporter for the New York Herald-Tribune in the early 1960’s I was sent to a meeting of the Black Muslims in Harlem. The editors expected a story of violent black men threatening revolution. Malcolm X made what seemed like an interminable speech, rambling and demagogic, condemning the white establishment and all its works, demanding that the federal government cede to the blacks the states of Georgia and Mississippi. At appropriate intervals the crowd chanted “Oh yes” or “You tell ‘em, brother!” or “That’s right!”

But none of the threats were threatening. Everybody present was dressed in his or her best clothes, the little girls in starched dresses and patent leather shoes, the little boys as well-behaved at the choir in church. Although I was one of only two white men in a crowded auditorium, I never once felt frightened. Malcolm X was conducting a political variation on a revival meeting, speaking the language of ritual catharsis. Nothing in his performance, or the response of the crowd, suggested the least hint of violence. The words were terrifying, but the spirit in which they were said contradicted their apparent meaning.

On my return to the newspaper office, the editors wanted a story that could justify a headline foretelling riot and bloodshed. I explained that so literal-minded an interpretation of the ext was utterly false. Disgusted with my lack of jounalistic acumen, the editors assigned another report, who hadn’t been present, to write the story conforming to their own wishes and fears.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp interest are:

Posts about America’s mainstream media;

  1. Only our amnesia makes reading the newspapers bearable, 30 April 2008
  2. The myth of media pessimism about the economy, 13 June 2008
  3. “Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham, 26 August 2008
  4. “The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism”, 23 December 2008
  5. The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2009
  6. The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents, 19 February 2009
  7. The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
  8. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
  9. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
  10. Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
  11. We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009 – About mythical numbers
  12. Journalists, relying on anonymous government sources, attack anonymous bloggers who correct journalists’ errors, 25 July 2010

America’s broken observation-orientation-decision-action loop (OODA loop)

  1. The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
  2. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
  3. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
  4. Does America have clear vision? Here’s an “eye chart” for our minds., 15 June 2009
  5. Attention fellow sheep: let’s open our eyes and see the walls of our pen, 16 October 2009
  6. America’s broken OODA loop in action: a swarming attack by ankle-biters in our intelligentsia, 26 February 2011
  7. Facts are an obstacle to the reform of America, 20 October 2011
  8. A reminder that debates are fun, not politics: Reagan had Alzheimer’s in 1984 and we didn’t notice., 5 October 2012

.

.

About these ads
16 Comments leave one →
  1. Sgt Oblat permalink
    2 June 2009 3:07 am

    Mark Steyn is a one trick pony – everything is the fault of the liberals. Basically he’s the reading mans Rush Limbaugh – he brings no insight or analysis just constant innuendo and unsupported claims that it’s liberals that are ruining everything.

    Mark obviously sees himself as a propagandist rather then a journalist. Lies and misrepresentations are his stock and trade. To him Bush was one of the great American Presidents. Who never led about WMD or anything else. Steyn deserves to be buried in the dustbin of history along with Bush.

    All Americans believe they should receive what they want not what is good for them. The American media is just providing that. The problem is not with the supply, there is more than enough well informed analysis out there if you desire to get it on all sides of the political spectrum. The problem is that the customers want to be pandered to – they demand it.

    The great irony here is that FM is reading Steyn for exactly that reason. It is shoddy poor quality work but it panders to his political biases so he laps it up. Hell why not it feels good to blame everything on the others. And Steyn will twist the facts like a good propagandist. It’s an American right to feel good isn’t it ?

    And like all Americans woe betide anyone pointing that out as a bad thing.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: Let’s take this by the numbers.

    (1) “Mark obviously sees himself as a propagandist rather then a journalist”

    So were Jonathan Swift and Thomas Paine. Why is that a bad thing? Unlike many journalists, at least Steyn is open about his advocacy.

    (2) “he brings no insight or analysis just constant innuendo and unsupported claims … deserves to be buried in the dustbin of history … shoddy poor quality work.”

    Looks like the kettle calling the pot black. You neither support any of these claims nor link to anything doing so. I doubt most of these can be adequately supported. I have found Steyn to be mostly accurate, albeit with the strong spin typical of political advocates.

    (3) “panders to his political biases so he laps it up”

    The second writer cited, Lewis Lapham, is a well-known liberal (writing for over 30 years, with excerpts in 11 posts on the FM site). It seems your comment displays “shoddy poor quality work.” {Also, this site has 35 excerpts from leftist Tom Englehardt}

    So many folks say that the posts on this site are right-wing. And so many say they are left-wing. I recommend reading read Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast? Your formal letters of apology will be accepted and posted. Leftists should of course frame them as self-criticism. That is, according to Wikipedia

    producing statements detailing how your were ideologically mistaken, and affirming your renewed belief in the Party line. This does not guarantee political rehabilitation; often offenders are executed afterwards.

    Like

  2. Elle permalink
    2 June 2009 6:53 am

    The “new” media seems to be the old — “American capitalism gone with a whimper“ by Stanislav Mishin. amazing how things have come full circle

    Like

  3. Reynardine permalink
    2 June 2009 9:50 am

    Yes, the media are doing a poor job at national and international reporting. (Has it ever been that much better?) However, I would argue that a marginally functional media apparatus is better than none at all. No news is not good news.

    In particular, I value the local media—my newspaper and the local TV stations. The Dallas Morning News does an excellent job at uncovering graft and corruption by city and county governments, and local Channel 8 has opened some yummy cans of worms for us. I’d be really upset to see the DMN go out of business; if the New York Times goes belly up, that would be bad news of a more abstract sort.

    Clearly, the old business models are failing, and the newspapers, at least, do indeed appear to be on the verge of extinction. What’s to be done? To me, the notion that a real news organization can be replaced by a bunch of egotistical amateurs (a.k.a. bloggers) is downright silly. The solution is almost certainly in part technical—eletronic paper and ink, e-readers, and all that. However, that kind of thing has been talked about for years, and in terms of creating an electronic equivalent of a newspaper, no one has come close.

    Of course this is not only a technical question— it’s also a question of how an e-paper business model would work. Newspapers have traditionally relied on advertisement revenue. This might work, if the e-paper doesn’t try to emulate web advertisement. If an e-paper opens a bunch of flash ads when I try to read it, it’s going straight into the e-can.

    In short, people with business talents and people who value good reporting should get together and think up ways to make the old forms work with new technologies…instead of complaining about how terrible it all is.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: I’m not sure you grapsed the point of the excerpts. The first shows clear decay of the major media institutions, in terms of audience appeal. A serious decay from the vibrant pre-WWII press, before it aspired to respectability. The second shows why the media suffers from development of new sources of information, esp the Internet.

    Most of the analysis about the media biz makes no sense to me. Technology has opened the markets. The effect is similar to rapid cheap transportation’s effects on your great-grandparents’ general store: it created overcapacity. Most local outlets are uncompetitive, and there are far far too many national and global major media firms. Time will thin the herd, probably leaving fewer but strong survivors.

    The primary fact — ignored in most esseys on this subject — is that the media are mostly distribution outlets for the actual producers of news: the wire services (and to a far smaller extent, major newspapers). The internet means that the wire services no longer need their current customers, hence the need to re-define their customer base and to ring-fence their output — either by linking it to advertisements or protecting access. Since a whole level of costs have been eliminated, the economics for the few surviving news gatherers should be adequate. Smaller pie for the industry, but far fewer feeding off it.

    Note that this is a global game. The Financial Times and Der Spiegel are new producers as well. Advertisers with global brand names will be natural markets for them.

    Nobody covers local civic news effectively, outside a few major cities. If your local media are in fact excellent at uncovering “graft and corruption”, they are an exception. A rare exception. Typically anything that bleeds gets its 60 seconds of fame, and investigation of local elites is almost unknown. I wonder if there is a real business here. Perhaps some sort of community nonprofits will form to cover local news. Partly hobbyists earning a pittance but having fun, with adverts and donations covering costs. These will be great networking centers, and might weild substantial local influence.

    These locals might become de facto “farm teams” (recruitment and training apparatus) for the surviving major media. Bloggers might become marginally paid reporters, analysts, and pundits for the media (trading their work for fame and exposure). That is, the major media might use locals and bloggers to enhance their reach and lower costs.

    Like

  4. Andrew X permalink
    2 June 2009 1:35 pm

    “To him Bush was one of the great American Presidents. Who never led about WMD or anything else.”

    Actually, Steyn will and has acknowledged that Bush very, very MUCH “led” on the WMD issue, as are you acknowledge he did in this very sentence it seems. Bush talked about WMD until many of us became sick of it. Bush asked, begged, threatened, cajoled the UN into dealing with WMD, as he did others around the globe, which they responded to with the dynamic and forthright lack of fortitude and seriousness they have shown on almost any other pressing issue of the modern day.

    No, as you imply here, Bush very much “led” on WMD’s. We, the nation, chose in large part not to follow, particularily later in his administration when it became a moot point in Iraq. Whether that choice was a smart one we may get an answer to in the all-too-near future.

    But Bush did lead, certainly.

    Oh…. you didn’t MEAN to write “led”?? You meant to write something else?

    Heh. Freudian slips are funny things.

    Like

  5. senecal permalink
    2 June 2009 3:59 pm

    I dont see either of these excerpts as having to do with new economic/cultural realities about the media. The first simply talks about the habit of treating political leaders as celebrities, and the second talks about the habit of shaping any story to existing cultural archetypese and prejudices. Both point to the missing ingredient in current media — investigative reporting.

    I see this as something like the vanishing of the gas station car mechanic — an honored if humble craft in a small town. Fixing and tinkering with engines, or radios and appliances, used to be seen as a dignified expression of American practicality. Similarly, investigative journalists — Walter Winchell, Edward Murrow, Jack Anderson, e.g. — were something like cowboy heros, embodiments of traditional American virtues of independence, skepticism, outspokenness, freedom. All of these values are gone now, relegated at best to the radio talk shows and tv comics. There’s just no room for them in a society of this size and complexity. The whole purpose of news, now, is to manipulate public awareness into a governable, homogenous mass. Noam Chomsky has demonstrated this brilliantly, at length.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: After your opening sentence, the rest reads to me like agreement with these excerpts — placing them in a wider social context. Also, while I agree with your characterization I don’t see what this has to do with our society’s “size and complexity.” Small societies can be — and often are — as tightly controlled as larger ones. And probably more easily.

    Also, any suggestions as to which of Chomsky’s works best discuss this for someone unfamilar with the subject?

    Like

  6. senecal permalink
    2 June 2009 4:08 pm

    “The media have obviously abandoned economic reporting and instead have adopted the role of cheerleader, touting whatever good news it can find and inventing good news when none can be found. This leaves the responsibility of reporting on the economy to others”

    From “Economic recovery is wishful thinking“, by Dean Baker in The Guardian, 1 June 2009 — “The media has been touting whatever good economic news it can find. But the truth is economic recovery is nowhere in sight.” The key terms: “reporting” versus “cheerleading”.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: This was a common trope as well in the early stages of the recession. As discussed in these posts:
    * Making us dumber, chanting “Dude, where’s my recession?”, 3 June 2008 — Economic columnists do a disservice to their readers by ignoring the data showing a weakening economy.
    * When did “Dude” predict a recession? How severe?, 6 June 2008 — Why accurate economic forecasting is difficult, what we know about current conditions, and warnings from a top economist.

    Like

  7. 2 June 2009 7:06 pm

    I dearly love reading Mark Steyn. Having said that, I highly recommend this: “Editorial Observer; An SAT Without Analogies is Like: (A) A Confused Citizenry“, Adam Cohen, op-ed in teh New York Times, 13 March 2005 — Excerpt:

    The power of an analogy is that it can persuade people to transfer the feeling of certainty they have about one subject to another subject about which they may not have formed an opinion. But analogies are often undependable. Their weakness is that they rely on the dubious principle that, as one logic textbook puts it, ”because two things are similar in some respects they are similar in some other respects.” An error-producing ”fallacy of weak analogy” results when relevant differences outweigh relevant similarities.

    The whole piece is quite brilliant IMO.

    Like

  8. mclaren permalink
    2 June 2009 7:47 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that the mainstream media started to break down badly right when the internet hit big in the mid-90s and Craigslist started to eat newspapers’ classified ads alive?

    Think about it. The first big example of a catastrophic mainstream media dysfunction was the fetishistic monomaniacal coverage of O.J. in 1995. Then we got the succession of “damsels in distress” stories culminating in the non-story about Natalie Holloway, and along the way bizarre abberrations like Elian Gonzalez and Bill Clinton’s $300 haircut showed up.

    A logical conclusion would be that this kind of weirdly irrelevant blind-leading-the-blind lemming-like coverage of non-events represents a convulsive twitch response to the death of newspapers’ basic revenue model, courtesy of Craigslist. TV news always parrotted and summarized the content of local & national newspapers, so the networks followed suit.

    No one has succeeded in explaining how newspaper can maintain traditional investigate resporting as the internet destroys their classified-ad business model. Without serious investigative reporting, how will corruption in government be kept in check?

    Answer: it won’t be, as we see from the current outright theft of the bank “bailouts” and the Wall Street “rescues.”

    Like

  9. phageghost permalink
    2 June 2009 8:34 pm

    Fabius, Probably the best place to start with Chomsky’s media analysis is the excellent book he co-authored with Edward Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. It’s often mischaracterized as presenting some sort of left-wing conspiracy theory, but it’s really a solid institutional analysis along the lines that has become much more common these days on the internet and particularly on this site, done in his usual academic style of exhaustive research, copious footnotes, concrete examples and relentless, logical argument. It was written in 1988, and so reflects a media landscape rather different than that which exists today, but the fundamentals remain as true as ever. Great stuff. There was a movie of the same title in 1992 which was quite popular on the college documentary circuit, but Chomsky (characteristically) didn’t like the way in which the filmmakers used it as a springboard to focus on him personally.

    Noam Chomsky: “Democracy permits the voice of the people to be heard, and it is the task of the intellectual to ensure that this voice endorses what leaders perceive to be the right course.”
    .
    .
    FM reply: Thanks for the recommendation!

    Like

  10. anna nicholas permalink
    2 June 2009 10:57 pm

    Newspaper : multifunctional product ( opaque , absorbant , warm , recyclable , convenient sizes , with a slap factor suitable for wasps or small boys ); cheap and portable ( can be found/left on train seats without causing problems , unlike laptops ); contain at least something to interest any person , even if they cant read . You want serious investigative journalism as well ?
    How about cash for dirt , as with
    Expensesgate in the Daily Telegraph ; detailing Members of Parliament’s expenses claims for moat- cleaning , duck-houses, and blue movies ?
    Strangers talk to strangers , suits smile at cleaners , burquas giggle with dropouts , students laugh with pensioners : a nation totally united in delicious scorn .

    Like

  11. senecal permalink
    3 June 2009 2:26 am

    Chomsky’s main point is that any government requires, to some degree, the consent of the governed. In Democratic societies this is harder to obtain than in authoritarian societies, because at the same time, important decisions can’t just be left to the whims of the Many. Hence, “consent”, or the appearance of choice, has to be manufactured, by framing the issues, or editing the information, in a way that supports the desired policy outcome.

    Like

  12. Reynardine permalink
    3 June 2009 9:24 am

    FM note: I have interjected replies into this.
    .
    .
    I plead guilty to ignoring the excerpts in favor of what I regard as more central questions. Also, I would rather hear what you think than what some other guy I have never heard of has to say.

    Technology has opened the markets. The effect is similar to rapid cheap transportation’s effects on your great-grandparents’ general store: it created overcapacity. Most local outlets are uncompetitive, and there are far far too many national and global major media firms. Time will thin the herd, probably leaving fewer but strong survivors.

    I think you are wrong about the effects of technology on the news media, as well as unreasonably optimistic about the outcome. I don’t think that the “general store” analogy applies. I don’t see how better transportation created “over capacity” that put grandpa out of business.

    *** It is, I believe, the conventional explanation. As for optimism, where there is a demand (paying customers) there will be profitably providers of that service.

    A lot of market forces combined to accomplish that, and they were by no means all technological. Japan has a technological sophistication at least equal to ours, but the small store has not been replaced by huge supermarkets, as is the case here in the United States. It is also not true in European countries&mash;at least in Germany, with which I am familiar.

    *** I don’t know about rural Germany, but in Japan small stores are protected by regulatory barriers,

    The internet has made it possible for any ass with an opinion to share. Regrettably, it has done nothing to improve the capacity for critical thinking among the masses. That’s a terrible combination.

    The primary fact — ignored in most esseys on this subject — is that the media are mostly distribution outlets for the actual producers of news: the wire services (and to a far smaller extent, major newspapers). The internet means that the wire services no longer need their current customers, hence the need to re-define their customer base and to ring-fence their output — either by linking it to advertisements or protecting access. Since a whole level of costs have been eliminated, the economics for the few surviving news gatherers should be adequate. Smaller pie for the industry, but far fewer feeding off it.

    Your observation about the primacy of the wire services is correct, of course. However, if the wire services have found a way to remain in business purely as purveyors of news to the internet, that is news to me. Indeed, it would be welcome news…can you tell me more about how this works? Can you give me some numbers that establish the profitability of this new business model?

    *** I described current circumstances to which wire services can respond in the future. There was no statement that the wireservices “have found”. Organizational adaptation to rapid radical change, esp the development of new business models, takes time. These are new developments. At the start of 1994 there were 700 websites; today there are 100 million+.

    Note that this is a global game. The Financial Times and Der Spiegel are new producers as well. Advertisers with global brand names will be natural markets for them.

    Please. I know about global, ok? I’m visiting the country in which Der Spiegel is published. Damned interesting about that Kurras fellow…imagine, the cop who set of the ’68 rebellion was working for the Stasi the whole time. But…I see no sign that this magazine has plans to support itself off the internet. If people stop buying the dead tree version, the internet presence dries up and blows away, as far as I can tell.

    *** Don’t take every word personally. This is not a letter, it is a comment on the Internet. It must be clear to people of varying backgrounds.

    And I do think that the local scene is important, and that the local media have immense value. Conditions at the local county jail and the location of speed traps are examples of what I consider vital information (not that I spend at lot of time at the jail). To say that journalism is going to be taken over by amateurs (if that’s what you really think) flies in the face of human nature.

    *** It does not matter what you consider of value or even vital. What matters is how many people share your opinion. As for local reporting being done by quality people, that does not match my experience.

    Most people don’t do quality work for free.

    *** There are many counter-examples to your statement. The entire complex of volunteer services, many of which involve skilled people working for free. In the business world there is open-source software.

    Like

  13. rick permalink
    3 June 2009 6:23 pm

    Part of the problem with the media, is that the corporate controlled media does not want stories that reveal the real biases of the corporate media. They don’t want negative stories about their subsideraries (pollution, bribery, etc) published or aired. So, those stories don’t come out. The local paper in Dallas may be an exception, but most papers don’t publish negative stories about their largest advertisers.

    Than there’s things like AIM (see Wikipedia) ) which was/is largely funded by Richard Scaife, who decided after the Goldwater debacle to intentionally try to create a conservative (read right wing) media landscape.

    Also, you might want to become familiar with Edward Bernays (see Wikipedia) who was instrumental in developing the idea of using consumerism to control the masses. there’s also a two hour BBC documentary on the man who created PR.

    Neither of these were the result of conspiracies. They wrote about their intents openly. In fact, Edward Bernays’ “Propganda” was well read amongst the elite of his time. Chomsky’s work is evidence that these men were successful.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: I am not sure what your point is. Most urban societies attempt, with varying degrees of success, to control information flow and manipulate public opinion. Using the priesthood — organized, literate, wide and deep public reach — is a traditional method. Modern communications gives new tools to do so. This is life, the process of governing, now and forever.

    Nor is media manipulation solely a right-wing activity. Many power centers in the US tilt left, and have powerful reach into the media. Keeping in mind that each of these refers to a fluid coalition within our ruling elites.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. InfoBore II « ubiwar . conflict in n dimensions
  2. 10 Wednesday PM Reads | The Big Picture
  3. Last Ditch Efforts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,613 other followers

%d bloggers like this: