by Alex Symington…….
The world seems to be coming apart at the seams and events of just the past few weeks are making my head spin. I have to wonder, are the fundamentalist radical Christians correct about the apocalyptical end times or are they just frantically engineering it into existence with the help of their Abrahamic cousins? We are living within a perfect storm of fear, hate and religious/political extremism being made much worse by an impotent press. Corporate sponsored media is more concerned with keeping their jobs than DOING their job of keeping the powerful in check by asking the tough questions and exposing graft and misuse of power. This course of journalistic inaction and flaccid coverage has helped spawn an ignorant, uninformed and in some cases, dangerous citizenry.
Following the news of the latest * NRA sponsored/US Congress sanctioned assault weapon attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, it seems corporate media just can’t bring itself to call a white guy a terrorist. Always the “lone gunman” or the much sexier “lone wolf”. Another NRA sponsored/US Congress sanctioned murder spree by a white dude took place just last June in Charleston, SC where nine African American church members at a bible study were gunned down. African Americans, people of Middle Eastern descent (or those that resemble Middle Eastern descent) and health clinics that provide abortions as part of their services are being attacked on a regular basis by American WHITE guys. I find it a little more than disingenuous when a handful of black people commit a crime and they are all “Thugs” or when a handful of Muslims commit a crime, they are all “Islamic Terrorists”, but when white guys commit similar crimes they’re just a crazy ol’“Lone Gunman.” The corporate press has made this double standard the standard.
Meanwhile the right wing POTUS contenders seem to be in a contest to see who can fabricate the most outrageous pronouncements because they know they can get away with it as the press passively looks on chewing their cud. These shameless snake oil salesmen and woman are appealing to their lowest common denominator base with inflammatory lies and misinformation that prompted, directly or indirectly, the murders at the Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic. The phrase “stochastic terrorism” is used to describe the use of mass communications to stir up random unstable individuals to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.
Imagine a sociopathic personality with an ego so inflated it would knowingly straight-up lie to millions of people on national TV and incite the mentally unbalanced to go out and commit murder and then double down on it’s lies and deny any culpability in those deaths, just to garner points for it’s campaign. What sort of excremental demographic are they trying to impress? These are the kind of people today we have vying for the office of President of the United States. Corporate media refuses to call these sociopaths out. That would be bad for business. To add insult to injury, some of these right wing “stochastic terrorists” demand and are receiving Secret Service protection as they vomit up their hate speech. Ya gotta love the irony.
I am voicing my disgust with a press that has sold out to corporate interests, but of course there are those fearless journalists who work very hard to chronicle the truth, but they cannot and will not be employed by corporate media. Ninety percent of all media; print, radio, cable and network is owned and controlled by six corporations, GE, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time-Warner and CBS. 232 media executives control the information disseminated to 277 million Americans. That is one media exec to 850,000 people or roughly the population of San Francisco. In 1983, 90% of media was owned by FIFTY different companies! You will find more alarming info in the links below.
So is it any wonder that if corporate interests are backing a particular person or product and are at the same time holding the purse strings of say, NBC, it would behoove any journalist that likes his or her job at NBC to not say anything untoward about that person or product, even if there was something hideously wrong with that person or product. Not the best recipe for healthy, robust journalism.
Journalist Chris Hedges faced a dilemma as a twenty year veteran foreign correspondent for the NY Times with the build up to the Bush/Cheney war on Iraq. He was given a choice by his editors to either talk nice about W’s invasion or look for another job. He is now writing independently and actively speaking truth to power. Bill Moyers is another journalist unafraid to take on the radical right and has been extensively involved with public broadcasting, producing documentaries and news journal programs. PBS is still funded publicly but is increasingly using corporate sponsorship to stay afloat. Stay tuned. Reader funded internet publications are the least beholding to corporate, hence the least tainted, but Al-Jazeera, The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine are the closest to “main-stream” press that have maintained journalistic integrity.
The fact is, put all of the aforementioned professional journalists of integrity and several more not mentioned together and their exposure to the average American is minimal. Most Americans get their news from TV and most of that is corporate sponsored infotainment pablum designed to steer the viewer in one direction or another. At the conclusion of ten short political verbal joustings on ABC’s coverage of the 1968 Republican and Democratic conventions between ultra rightist William F. Buckley, Jr. and ultra leftist Gore Vidal, Buckley spoke of his displeasure with the relatively new medium of TV news. “Does television run America? There is an implicit conflict of interest between that which is highly viewable and that which is highly illuminating.” Buckley’s political descendants have proven his words prescient.
*Written before the San Bernardino NRA approved/US Congress sanctioned assault weapons murder spree. It is very difficult to keep current with the frequency of all the different NRA approved/US Congress sanctioned murder sprees.
More from other sources: