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Chris Hedges has posted quite a powerful tome over at TruthDig today, entitled:  "The Corporate Media State Has Deformed American Culture -- Time to Fight Back." I would strongly recommend it as virtually required reading for any Progressive activist or blogger that's seeking to improve upon their ability to get their message across to others in a more compelling manner.

I've read, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of pages on effective communications--and as many who have read my own posts will attest--there's always room for perfecting one's own craft. (Heh.)  In all those words that I've read on the subject, it really happens much more rarely than I'd like to admit that I come across something that gives me as much pause as Hedges' piece did tonight. I can honestly say that reading it has caused me to reconsider how I might do a better job with regard to communicating my political sentiments.  (Again, I'm sure many who are reading this will concur! LOL!)

If you're interested in communicating your positions on the issues more effectively, check it out. You'll be glad you did. (I think you'll agree, starting with Hedges' very first paragraph, alone, it is an exceptional essay.)

Here are a few graphs from it:


The Corporate Media State Has Deformed American Culture -- Time to Fight Back
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Posted June 30, 2009.

Progressives must embrace emotion and passion to counter the force of corporate propaganda.

The ability of the corporate state to pacify the country by extending credit and providing cheap manufactured goods to the masses is gone. The pernicious idea that democracy lies in the choice between competing brands and the freedom to accumulate vast sums of personal wealth at the expense of others has collapsed. The conflation of freedom with the free market has been exposed as a sham. The travails of the poor are rapidly becoming the travails of the middle class, especially as unemployment insurance runs out and people get a taste of Bill Clinton's draconian welfare reform. And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.

Our economic crisis -- despite the corporate media circus around the death of Michael Jackson or Gov. Mark Sanford's marital infidelity or the outfits of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest incarnation, Brüno -- barrels forward. And this crisis will lead to a period of profound political turmoil and change. Those who care about the plight of the working class and the poor must begin to mobilize quickly or we will lose our last opportunity to save our embattled democracy. The most important struggle will be to wrest the organs of communication from corporations that use mass media to demonize movements of social change and empower proto-fascist movements such as the Christian right...

--SNIP--

...The battle ahead will be fought outside the journalistic mainstream, he said. The old forms of journalism are dying or have sold their soul to corporate manipulation and celebrity culture. We must now wed fact to rhetoric. We must appeal to reason and emotion. We must not be afraid to openly take sides, to speak, photograph or write on behalf of the disempowered. And, Ewen believes, we have a chance in the coming crisis to succeed.

"Pessimism is never useful," he said. "Realism is useful, understanding the forces that are at play. To quote Antonio Gramsci, `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' "

Originally posted to http://www.dailykos.com/user/bobswern on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 09:57 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree (7+ / 0-)

    I think many people here do that...kudos to them.

    We must now wed fact to rhetoric. We must appeal to reason and emotion. We must not be afraid to openly take sides, to speak, photograph or write on behalf of the disempowered.

    Thanks for the diary.

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:14:35 PM PDT

  •  When we view our media (5+ / 0-)

    the way we view Iran's media, we will be on to something.

    This is largely what happened in the 60's.

    Denial is complicity.

    by Publius2008 on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:20:46 PM PDT

  •  I don't think this is true.. (6+ / 0-)

    The conflation of freedom with the free market has been exposed as a sham.

    That is something so ingrained in our culture it isn't going away through a simple downturn in the economy.  

    This lie has often been exposed.  It is very clear to anyone that takes a look around them even in the best of economic times.  

    Even in the 1930s during the worst economic crisis in US history (possibly we are approaching a situation that is worse, who knows at this point) didn't fully crack open this mythology or defeat market fundamentalism fully.  

    In the 1930s the left at least had a viable or believable alternative definition of freedom and democracy.  Yet still couldn't defeat this pernicious lie.  

    Now with a near non-existent left with no viable and attractive alternative definition and an economic downturn that is going to be more akin to slow boiling a frog than a sudden a abrupt shock, I don't see this lie being seriously challenged.  

    So my intellect is very, very pessimistic.  But, I do always try and maintain my optimism of the will.  

  •  "Understanding the forces that are at play" (9+ / 0-)

    os the key.  All the handwringing about whether Obama is this or that is a waste of time if you know what the forces at play are.

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 10:32:06 PM PDT

  •  I enjoyed the article I was hoping for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkmich, bobswern, In her own Voice

    something a bit more specific but it does outline core progressive principles that we should remind ourselves of.

    The modern world, as Kafka predicted, has become a world where the irrational has become rational, where lies become true. And facts alone will be powerless to thwart the mendacity spun out through billions of dollars in corporate advertising, lobbying and control of traditional sources of information. We will have to descend into the world of the forgotten, to write, photograph, paint, sing, act, blog, video and film with anger and honesty that have been blunted by the parameters of traditional journalism. The lines between artists, social activists and journalists have to be erased. These lines diminish the power of reform, justice and an understanding of the truth. And it is for this purpose that these lines are there.

    Many of my friend in college thought that the next wave in thought or in the zeitgeist would be exactly like this syntheses of practices.

    I almost find myself arguing against this idea that what is needed now - isn't more generalists but more specific analysis that requires the dedication of years on one single topic.

    With the internet, generalists and commentators are a dime a dozen.

    What will truly be special and sought after are those who have the first hand info and those who are able to wade through huge amounts of data - eg those who have the expertise to do so.

    Maybe this isn't at all dichotomous but two ideas that are easily fused.

    co-operative pastiche of expertise and emotion?

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:46:02 PM PDT

    •  Sorry thinking outloud with that one. nt. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      In her own Voice

      "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

      by thethinveil on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 11:53:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No need to apologize! Barring journalists... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, Pluto, In her own Voice, thethinveil

        ...finding a conscience and re-obtaining some sense of ethics,I think it's the concept of highlighting the recent damage caused by corporatism, in vivid and easy-to-understand terms (as opposed to charts and massive amounts of statistics--i.e. documentation) will do more to sway political insider opinion and legislative results in Progressive's favor than we may realize. Don't get me wrong, we'll always need the hard data, but perhaps a strong focus upon a more emotional case might go a lot farther and a lot faster  at this point in time...and that suggested strategy relates to a LOT of issues on the boards right now. In other words, there's something to be said for "good t.v." and visuals; and, we have a tendency to forget how effective they were in earlier crisis. Maybe finding compelling ways to distribute that type of presentation are what's called for now, too. I think that's what Hedges is getting at, to some extent.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:05:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is nothing new about either idea in itself (0+ / 0-)

          It seems that you might be arguing for a type of substantive sensationalism - the issue is how do you make a product that is so simple and universal and not have it turned against you?

          This idea of pastiche is nothing new nor is dramatic representation of political events new.

          And the man Chris interview also stressed that we need to be four steps ahead on the MSM if we are going to have an impact.

          Of course we will excel in the mediums that are the lightest and lowest cost to produce. And clearly the internet is still the best format - no longer is political grafiti or murals or pamphlets or even songs going to really do because we don't have public spaces like we used to and the cost efficiency is much higher on the internet.

          I was thinking of the kind of expertise that would gain us access to what is the truth that we could then advertise.

          May not be a dichotomy but just two step in the process in creating a whole.

          "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

          by thethinveil on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:14:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's all in Hedges' closing sentence, actually... (2+ / 0-)

            ..."Realism is useful, understanding the forces that are at play."

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:21:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was hoping that you would expand on what (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobswern

              would be something that could be four steps ahead of its time.

              "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

              by thethinveil on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:24:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I don't know if it has to be super- (5+ / 0-)

                sophisticated, media-wise. Two sides to this, IMHO...

                1.) OLD SCHOOL: A handful of really, really, really top-notch media/p.r. pro's could work wonders for various causes right now. The public's so heavily outflanked/outspent by the special interests, it's miles beyond pathetic.

                2.) NEW SCHOOL:

                a.) Utilization of advanced media practices--much like the house-by-house cable tv targeting strategy that was used in some markets in the 2008 election--would be a start.

                b.) The more advanced technologies (i.e.: holograms, etc.) have limited applications, although I could see environmental-related causes benefitting most from the deployment of that type of strategy.

                c.) Going waaaay outside of the box, so to speak, and getting into things like "issues social networking," for example.

                In short, one could get very creative here, and a multi-faceted strategy could be deployed using both new- and old-school tactics, given the proper, effective leadership from the communications side of the equation.

                Frankly, just successfully (and that IS the keyword) implementing really focused MSM (large outlet) placement efforts, providing their content was innovative enough could go a long way. But, it would have to be extremely creative...but, it can be done...and quickly, too.

                "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:36:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Frankly, there's a dearth of really effective... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pluto, xaxado, In her own Voice

                  ...media strategy/strategists when it comes to Progressive causes...most of the higher-powered folks are bought and paid for by either the corporations or the larger political campaigns' warchests. 6, 8, or 10 top media types--all working on Progressive-related causes--could have a profound effect upon public opinion, moving the public to action along with actually affecting the mindset(s) of many in D.C.

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:46:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I was just over at Huffinton Post (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bobswern, In her own Voice

                    What was once considered "new" and it has been the suspicion of many of my democratic family members that she only wants to exploit the party for the money she could make.

                    And there it was - an ad for Bio-diesel.

                    It makes me think of another thing that once our politicians are bought we have all the party affiliated journalism and media outlets falling in line if they hadn't already been bought themselves.

                    If only there was a way to build some kind of fire wall between the two and have a media that reflected the grassroots and the interests of the grassroots more than media reinforcing party machinery.

                    I like AD-busters - which fuses radical politics with graphic design.

                    I don't think we will get the kind of high end technology that CNN has but that we will be able to make better use of the prior generations - maybe unthought-of-uses of it.

                    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

                    by thethinveil on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:57:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  One on our site who was really good (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bobswern

          with emotional content--really able to attune to the core of compassion and the righteous rage of the oppressed was OPOL.  Miss the guy.  Music and art are expressions of the emotions--bringing them together with reality based journalism or writing/speaking, and you have a powerful piece of expression.

          La Feminista is good with that too...

          Find your own voice--the personal is political.

          by In her own Voice on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 05:32:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ah. Gramsci. Quoting him or quoting ... (5+ / 0-)

    ...somebody quoting him is a sure path to getting my Rec'd.

    A word about this:

    And class warfare, once buried under the happy illusion that we were all going to enter an age of prosperity with unfettered capitalism, is returning with a vengeance.

    The machinery of class warfare is always in gear, even when buried or masquerading as something else. But the megamedia - which, unfortunately, we don't control the way Gramsci implied we should do - only see class warfare the same way the rest of the oligarchy does, from the top of the rampart. When they're scooping up the earnings of the serfs in their various ways of doing so, it's called the natural order of things.

    Some people would be better off not reading diaries they comment on, since they already have all the answers.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:43:50 AM PDT

    •  Ahh....then again, a few million here...a few... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yellow dog in NJ

      ...million there...and pretty soon you've got some (pocket?) change...enough to seriously rock the boat, in any event...on more than one or two issues, perhaps...

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OT. Late Night Note (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxado, In her own Voice

    ...from my exchange banker. Just for fun:

    OK... Remember when I made such a BIG DEAL out of China and Argentina agreeing to swap currencies in trade settlement and remove dollars from the equation? I told you then that China was trying to gain a wider acceptance for their currency, the renminbi. And... That China had locked up Southeast Asia with similar agreements, which led me to believe that since they had traveled to South America, that Brazil could be next in line... And, the rumors began circulating...

    Mom... He's doing it again! Yes... China and Brazil have agreed in principle to remove dollars from trade settlement, and replace them with renminbi and reals respectively! This follows up what I told you about 10 days ago, and that is that China had become Brazil's number one trading partner, knocking the U.S. down a notch. So... If that's so, it's not like we're talking small sums of money folks... No, this is the BIG KAHUNA for China, and that not so big kahuna for the U.S. / dollar...

    So, while China claims to be on the dollar's side, and "see's no alternative currency"... They are working to get their own currency in the mix... Looks like it's all a "plan" to me, folks... Before we know what hit us, renminbi will be everywhere!

    But... Still manipulated as to it's value VS the dollar by Chinese officials. So... Don't think, for now any way, it could all change though, that you should sell everything you own and go out and buy truck loads of renminbi... I think you would find yourself to be a bit disappointed... That is, unless you have time on your side... Time is on my side, yes it is...

    •  Yeah, there's a couple of related stories... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      ...on global currency-related machinations running on Bloomberg right now, in fact...  

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 12:53:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wowsah! he's so right on! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern

    Good stuff, Bobswern--I will follow his work.  Yes, it's time for us to rise in a groundswell of passion and protest based on reason and goodwill.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 05:22:39 AM PDT

  •  So what's new? (0+ / 0-)

    We must now wed fact to rhetoric. We must appeal to reason and emotion. We must not be afraid to openly take sides, to speak, photograph or write on behalf of the disempowered.

    This is precisely what many of us have been doing for years.

    Eli Stephens
    Left I on the News

    by elishastephens on Wed Jul 01, 2009 at 05:53:55 AM PDT

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