The Liberal Media are as Liberal as the large corporations that control them.

This rant was caused by a comment made elsewhere about my So much to be pissed at post as well as a shitload of other things.

” I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. ”
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 – 1859, French political thinker and author of Democracy in America

I am curious about why the founders put the First Amendment in the Constitution in light of the de Tocqueville quote above:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It pisses me off that the first time I came to Philadelphia in 1980 and went to Independence Hall to see the US version of “speaker’s Corner” that (a) no one was speaking, and even more disappointing, (b) a young lady made a comment that “if anyone said anything bad about the US she would punch them in the nose”.

Compare that to Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park which has a vibrant history of oratory, discussion, debate, humour and madness. Rarely do people make comments about punching others in the nose no matter how much they may disagree in London. Of course the remark about London’s Speakers’ Corner that “the older generation of Socialists who have battled for their ideas here many for more than half a century” might go a long way to explain why the US version of Speakers’ Corner is silent.

While looking up material on Media Control and Propaganda I came upon the Third World Traveler’s Media Control and Censorship page. THIRD WORLD TRAVELER

is an archive of articles and book excerpts that seek to tell the truth about American democracy, media, and foreign policy, and about the impact of the actions of the United States government, transnational corporations, global trade and financial institutions, and the corporate media, on democracy, social and economic justice, human rights, and war and peace, in the Third World, and in the developed world.

My interest is the point that the US media are controlled by a very small group of people. Five companies control 80% of what you see on TV, and 10 companies control two-thirds of what you hear on the radio in the United States! We can get into how this affect the accuracy of US Commercial media, but you can find that in very fine detail at this site.

“As long as people are marginalized and distracted [they] have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even know that others have these sentiments. People assume that they are the only people with a crazy idea in their heads. They never hear it from anywhere else. Nobody’s supposed to think that. … Since there’s no way to get together with other people who share or reinforce that view and help you articulate it, you feel like an oddity, an oddball. So you just stay on the side and you don’t pay any attention to what’s going on. You look at something else, like the Superbowl.”
Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

The concept of freedom of speech is to get out ideas which normally wouldn’t be heard. Unfortunately, the US media tends to play up and dwell on stories that are sensational – murders, car crashes, kidnappings, sex scandals, and so on. This is why the idiot preacher in Florida was able to get a vastly disproportionate amount of attention. Likewise, the Media chooses who it wants to support. As I mentioned in my Feeling “Left” out post:

the Tea Party Convention this February received more coverage than the U.S. Social Forum convention held last June, five days of strategizing, organizing and activism inspired by the 2001 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Social Forum, in Detroit, drew an estimated 15,000–20,000 progressive activists from around the country, while the Tea Party Convention in Nashville hosted a meager 600 attendees. Compare the two “activist” gatherings striving for political and social change, one at least 25 times larger than the other—but the smaller one received the larger share of the media coverage. Across 10 major national outlets in the two weeks surrounding each event, the Tea Party got 177 mentions to the Social Forum’s three. Per participant, the Tea Party got 1,500 times as many mentions!

The Internet, in some ways, is just as bad since googling “gun control” nets you more pro-gun sites than ones that address the issue of gun control. The amazing thing is that the “gun rights” message is heard vastly out of proportion to its level of support.

“You have presented to stations around the world a model for freedom of speech and the unhindered availability of information… You have shown that despite media monopolies and manipulations it is possible to preserve a spirit of tolerance, freedom and truth and to allow dissenting voices to be heard… Your struggle to preserve your autonomy… has revealed an unexpected similarity between the media in the US and Serbia today, the freedom of speech is being stifled in a similar manner, journalists are being .. intimidated and progressive radio stations are prevented from operating. The character of media repression is virtually the same under openly totalitarian dictatorships as it is under democratic systems which are increasingly influenced by conservative structures.”

A message of solidarity from banned independent radio station B92 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia to Pacifica Radio Stations in the US, expressing support in their struggle to preserve progressive community radio in the United States – July 1999

The problem is that with media control in the hands of a few and no outlet for opposing viewpoints, the First Amendment guarantees are basically shit blotter. It’s roughly like the Second and Third Amendment guarantees against a standing army being trampled by an out of control military machine. One wonders in retrospect why did the founders bother to write all this down if it would become meaningless in a few years?

There’s quite a lot to be angry about here, but I am not sure of where to direct all this anger.

I will add a couple of links here for non MSM news:
http://www.pacifica.org/
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Independent_Media/Internet_News_Information.html

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: