Story after story I read lately (well, for a long time now) consistently complain about “bad” reporting, journalists “missing” things, or express some level of surprise over the anti-progressive bias going on. Perhaps this surprise is happening with Democrats who are more used to being called moderates and supporting politicians that corporations more commonly support. As a progressive since the 90s a pro-corporate bias by corporate owned media is old news to me.
After Bush v Gore some friends and I went down to the “counter inauguration” in DC to protest what we felt at the time was a stolen election. I watched as police cordoned off an entire square of black bloc and shuffled them on to busses to be dropped off at the city edge. I saw angry protestors everywhere and nowhere in the free sections did I see anyone approaching the look of a Republican Bush supporter. Any Bush supporter with any sense either went home or straight to the invitation only section of the parade route. My little group ended up standing next to a section of Black Panthers who came dressed in their own riot gear. In front of us there was 3 rows of riot police. When the police trotted out a company of police on horseback the crowd went so wild some police captain had the good sense to trot them back out of view. The looks on the faces of the poor high school band members as they marched by was shear terror. The presidential motorcade proper went by our section at a brisk 45 mph. The new President would only get to walk in front of the invitation only section.
It was a rush to be part of such a wild show of dissent but my rush was quickly dimmed when we got back to where we were staying. All of the corporate media coverage of the inaugural parade was taken by helicopter shots from so far away all you could see was a bunch of people waving signs that you couldn’t make out. Close up shots were of the invitation only section. There was maybe a brief mention of “a few” protestors. There was no mention that (I’m guessing) 90% of the crowd was protestors. This was no universally joyous occasion that the corporate media made it out to be. I never saw footage of what I experienced until years later when Michael Moore put it in one of his movies.
A more recent example is when I went to Standing Rock for a clergy event. The corporate media was actually there that day as the clergy event managed to garner enough attention (This was the day Cornell West spoke). During some off-time I walked down the road towards the barricaded section where a lot of the media parked their trucks. I talked with a cameraman from CNN regarding why they (the media) didn’t have daily reports from Standing Rock. His reply was “we would come if they made more news”. He says this as we are circled by a corporate helicopter without FAA required tail numbers that would regularly buzz the camp. He says this after a few months earlier this same media covered a conservative takeover of federal lands in Oregon with wall to wall coverage of everything each guy ate that day, where they put their garbage, and if any of them picked their nose. If the tribes at Standing Rock armed themselves like the Bundys did the corporate owned police force would have butchered them.
So for all of you new to being on the more progressive side of politics, the corporate media is doing their job and doing it well. They are not there to do the journalism we all dream of. They are there to convey to the nation a sense of news that their corporate masters wished to be conveyed. The old news in the books currently being released like Peril would never be released and heavily reported on in real time. That is not the job of the corporate media. The Eastman memo getting barely a blip on corporate media is not surprising, they are doing their job correctly. The continued double standard where Democrats are forever portrayed as weak and confused while any Republican who can speak in whole sentences is praised as insightful and wise is business as usual.
The corporate media is not our friends. The New York Times is not on our side. Sure, the “middle” is not as bad as Fox News, but that’s because they have a different audience. The NYTs job is to slowly pull the more educated people towards pro-corporate positions. It operates with a pretense of professional distance and upholding a “leftist” reputation but it is still there to convey the wishes of its wealthy stockholders.
The revolution will not be televised (with apologies to the Black Power movement of the 60s). Our world will not be saved with the help of corporate media unless those who control it deem otherwise. And to further shock some of you, PBS and NPR are part of the problem, not the solution. If you need any proof just listen to their next commercial, I’m sorry “sponsored by”, or look up who is on their board of directors.
One of our few saving graces is that the corporate world is not unified on all issues. So in those cases those issues have some diversity of reporting so long as it all contains a proper pro-corporate slant. I’m sure somebody will post in the comments some singular article of a pro-progressive position taken by a newspaper or TV News. Someone is sure to highlight Rachel Maddow. TV has some diversity of positions, but Rachel Maddow is billed as a left wing persona rather than someone who’s just pointing out stuff that any rational person should be upset with and should really be the moderate position.
I wish I knew the solution to this one. Al Gore couldn’t get his station going. I don’t know why but I’m guessing it was a lack of funding from big investors. The Internet has been a huge boon for progressives with sites like this here Daily Kos. Be sure to donate to it! We need more independent reporting and we certainly need to somehow drag general discourse towards a rational approach to the civilization threatening climate change that is barreling towards us. At some point the corporate interests will realize money won’t help them if there is no civilization left. But I’m wagering that will be too late.
If you haven’t read it, Jared Diamond (author of Guns, Germs and Steel) wrote a latter less popular book entitled Collapse. Merits of the book aside, what sticks most with me about the book is the question he leads with from a former student of his. After learning about how Easter Island used to have trees the student asks (I’m paraphrasing from memory, my copy of the book is in a box...) “What did they say when they chopped the last tree down?”
Unfortunately for our planet full of people, those with the most money and power are not interested in asking too many questions like that which might upset their hold on things. Corporate media does not report on justice, because it is not interested in justice, because its corporate masters are on the wrong side of justice. Theodore Parker and MLK Jr saw that great moral arc of the universe bending out towards justice. We’re going to need to find a way to speed it up because we may not have time for the moral arc to get there in time on its own.
And to do that we need to stop wasting time, energy, and thought wishing that corporate media will do anything except what its greedy masters tell it to do. Now I’m really hoping I’m wrong and I’ll be surprised by a sudden interest in convincing lots of people we need to change for the better and do so quickly. I wish I had the magic answer for you. If you have one, please share. Until then, we spread the words of truth and justice any which way we can. Thank you Daily Kos for doing your part.
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