Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Brit's-Eye View of the Media Malaise

I look at the US media, mainstream and online, and I despair. The Professional Left literally make me want to rip my hair out by the roots. Let's dispense with "Professional Left," because, in reality, they are no different from their brethren on the Right, many of whom they socialise with quite freely and cosily - Bill Maher's sweet little friendship with the likes of Ann Coulter and Whoreanna Fuckington, the Ratfucking Queen. He and Her Majesty maintain a warm acquaintance with Darrell Issa, whilst Maher and his nemesis, Jon Stewart, enjoy a special bonhomie with Bill O'Reilly.

I thought this was a problem endemic only to our own peculiar brand of stupidity, but the Brits are busy calling out their own periodical parasites as well. The ever-perspicacious and sublimely acerbic George Monbiot, in today's Guardian, could very well be writing about our own dilemma.

Have we ever been so badly served by the press? We face multiple crises – economic, environmental, democratic – but most newspapers represent them neither clearly nor fairly. The industry that should reveal and expose instead tries to contain and baffle, to foil questions and shut down dissent.

The men who own the corporate press are fighting a class war, seeking, even now, to defend the 1% to which they belong against its challengers. But because they control much of the conversation, we seldom see it in these terms. Our press re-frames major issues so effectively, it often recruits its readers to mobilise against their own interests.

Crime and antisocial behaviour are represented as the predations of the poor on each other, or on the middle and upper classes. "Blonde millionaire's wife raped in luxury home by asylum-seeking benefits cheat" is the transcendental form of a thousand tabloid headlines, alongside "Pippa Middleton's bottom gets £1m makeover from top designer". Though benefit fraud deprives the exchequer of £1.1bn a year while tax avoidance and evasion deprive it of between £40bn and £120bn, the tabloids relentlessly pursue the petty crooks, while leaving the capos alone.

Monbiot's critique is aimed primarily at the Rightwing press in the UK, dominated (until recently) by Murdoch and Co, and - admittedly - that's where the problem does lie here; but his words ring true for our media as well, and no place more obvious than the dear old Professional Left, inhabiting the realms of MSNBC and - now (pun intended) Current.

It behooves us to remember that the biggest mouths expostulating invective against everything the President says, does, doesn't say or doesn't do, and who presume to speak for the "Middle Class" (with nary a mention of the working class, working poor or just the poor), earn seven figure salaries and live lifestyles which can only imply that, for all their rhetoric, they are not only a part of the infamous one percent, they are the one percent.

Monbiot concludes:-

Press barons have been waging this class war for almost a century, and it has hobbled progressive politics throughout that time. But the closed circle of embedded journalism is now so tight that it has almost created an alternative reality.


It's not just Murdoch and his network of sleazy crooks: our political system has been corrupted by the entire corporate media. Defending ourselves from the economic elite means naming and unmasking the power of the press.

We need to remember who signs Rachel Maddow's and Chris Hayes's paychecks. We need to remember David Gregory dancing with Karl Rove, and we need to remember that when Al Gore, originally, offered Keith Olbermann his job at current, Olbermann's reply was simply to remark that Current "couldn't afford him." They found the money.

They are the one percent which we enable, often against our own interests.

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