Friday, January 3, 2014

Corporate news, the 1%'s propaganda show

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

People that haven’t tuned the real world out completely have to see the incredible bias of the mass media. It’s more than bias really; the mass media is designed to mold public opinion.  It may want us to fear Iranians and love Germans or blame the poor for the bad things that happen to us as opposed to the system and the class that govern it.

Sometimes it really jumps out at you though.  I was watching KTVU Channel two news tonight which, like all of them is not really news at all.  One story was about a sewage spill in Sausalito, a trendy tourist spot in the North Bay alongside the Golden Gate Bridge. Raw sewage spilled in to the bay but this is one of hundreds such spills every year in the Bay Area and the result of cut funding the report added. There’s just no money you see and the reporter blamed, in a sneaky way, the public, more accurately the voting public because there were measures on the ballot to combine the responses to this problem under one agency but the voters opposed them.

I’m sure there is more to it but the general gist of it was that it’s Joe public’s fault. 

Right after it we got a snippet that fell in between the ads, a short clip designed to get us to stay on this channel while they sell their junk; a sort of teaser.  In the matter of a minute or less, the propaganda pusher, driving along in his car being bumped around it seemed, let us know there was a report coming up about the sad state of Bay Areas roads.  He gave a brief description of how bad they were and then said “But will the voters agree to spend the money to fix them?”

This is propaganda as plain as day.  The voter is the problem. There’s a lack of funds so we have raw sewage spilling in to the Bay and the creeks.  There no money so the roads are in a terrible state so we can’t fix them.  You, yes you, the selfish voter won’t reach in to your pockets (your daughter’s college fund or the savings for a health emergency).  If you don’t drive you should still cut your disposable income it’s the right thing to do.  If you won’t sacrifice, then don’t complain.

This approach to the issue is not an accident, it is very seriously thought out.  If there was such a thing as freedom of the press, the news could say that it is a disgrace that the state of things where politicians spend trillions on predatory wars building more weapons of mass destruction and where people earn $10 billion a year clipping bits of paper is going to stop.  This media could proclaim that those of us that work for wages and contribute through our labor to the production, distribution or consumption of society’s needs must join together and build a movement including an independent political movement, to take the wealth of society and the means of producing it out of the hands of a tiny elite and in to the collective that created it; real democracy.

Mass media of this nature could explain how this could be done, and how others have tried it and where they’ve failed, where they’ve succeeded and why on both counts. This media could be different to the “murder” channel I just watched which in no way tries to help us understand why so many killings because it is our nature then to try to do something about it rather than lock people away.

Of course, the media is not simply biased; it is not “free” at all.  There’s a free press if you can afford the printing presses as they used to say.  Who owns ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN etc? The media is owned by the same group, club, class of folks that owns Boeing, WalMart, GM or Microsoft.

So the media has a class bias or more accurately, a class point of view.  In order for our point of view to get across we’d have to have TV stations and technology and a large means of communication.  To do that we would have to have a political party independent of the 1% , funded by workers, based on workers with roots in each and every workplace and community; white collar and blue, tech and industrial manufacturing, rural communities and urban; all wage workers and poor people as well as community businesses that depend on working people and are part of the community.

The unions could provide this to a certain extent as they have a structure, million of members despite the depletion of organized Labor and the money, billions of dollars, that it gives to the Democrats, a party of Wall Street, could be available.  But the heads of organized Labor have the same worldview as the capitalist owners of the mass media; they worship the market and see no alternative to it.  They cannot go beyond this.

The point is that we have to not succumb to this worldview.  We must recognize first and foremost in our own mind that raw sewage entering our beloved bay and roads that the Romans wouldn’t take a chariot on has nothing to do with a shortage of funds or the lack of labor and technological know how. Capitalism has priorities and laws; it is an economic system of production that exists to make profits and I don’t intend to go in to that in detail here but this comes first. A certain amount of wealth we create is handed over to the capitalist state for certain public expenditures; the system has to have governance and a structure that helps perpetuate it.  As the system goes in to crisis, as a nation loses it’s place in the pecking order or has to spend more to keep it as US capitalism is having to do, sewage be damned the economic, political and military war to stay on top comes first. You want decent roads, transportation, health care education, housing---you are going to have to pay for it.

For the 1%, things are booming.  But their media has a goal; to obscure the fact the capitalist class exists at all.  The folks refusing to fix the problem who hold political and economic power don’t exist.  There is no ruling class; there is no working class it seems, only a middle class.  This is pretty much the only time a social class is ever mentioned.  So only you, the voter, or non-voter exists. You who won’t reduce your standard of living to stop the poisoning of the water or crumbling of our social infrastructure.   It’s all your fault.

This false view of the world can be changed, but it must be challenged first.

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