17 August 2010

MFM and Europe's Promise

In response to my previous rant about the non-story of the nonmosque not at Ground Zero, and the whole media shitstorm thereabout, my not-so-farflung correspondent Pablo in L.A.. remarked: 
We need a new term for media! There is informative media like PBS, still lacking in many ways. There is BBC, world reporting. Then there is the media which keeps our population dumb!
To which I replied:
You're right about that. PBS and NPR are only slightly better, because they (usually) still take their cue from Fox and other corporate media to define what the news is, which it usually isn't; this is a perfect example. BBC and Deutsche Welle are good solid (and stolid) reporting sources, but let's face it, their main focus is Europe and the rest of the world, and they treat America as a kind of Crazy World, reporting mostly on what goes on in Crazy World Media. Even Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann talk their entire shows about these non-stories (even if it's to debunk them; it still gives them presence and a sort of authenticity by attention, even negative attention). I rely on the saner segments of Pacifica like Amy Goodman and Ian Masters to actually talk about things that matter.

Instead of Mainstream, how about Mindf**k Media? I dunno, but you're right we need a better word for it. George Lakoff, the brilliant Berkeley psycholinguist and author of the Majority Rule initiative on the November ballot (which, thanks to Mindf**k Media and corporate money will probably go down), always stresses the importance of framing and controlling the message. The superrich, who pay to get their message framed and drilled into the minds of the millions, have hired and control a whole army of real experts at this; we progressives are keystone kops in komparison.

By the way, I recommend Were you born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan [pronounced "Gann," that's Gaelic for ya], and, hewing a similar line, Europe's Promise, by Steven Hill. (The latter a more comprehensive and thoroughly researched presentation). The premise of both books is that our adoption of what Hill refers to as social capitalism, the regulated humanistic free market systems of Europe, is our only hope. Frail hope, I'm afraid, because the oligarchy that has total control in this country will not let the changes
necessary to get us there occur. 

The irony is painful: 65 years ago, in the wreckage of the old system that destroyed Europe, the US fostered and encouraged them to develop the social and economic system that will end up beating the pants off of us, with our hidebound and increasingly unworkable casino capital corporatist system...meanwhile leaving their people with a much better average standard of living than we can hope to achieve. This has already happened, really, but it just hasn't dawned on most Americans yet that history has already passed them by. 

And I add: 

... or that they are being lied to, and they will never share in the American Dream they see on TV, because that's now the realm reserved for the rich, and the divide between THEM and the rest of us is greater than ever, growing, and already unbridgeable forever.

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