Monday, January 11, 2010

The U.S. Propaganda Industry: The MEDIA -Part IIIB

The other sad truth is that false consciousness is already widespread among many. 'False consciousness' is the term given to a deformed or slave mentality rendered so by a false information system that's been absorbed in part or whole, osmotically or via direct mental ingestion, by the majority of a population. It has specific uses in the Corporatocracy to mislead a population about how things actually work. The political system ('democracy' is the rhetoric, but corporate dictatorship the reality), the economy ('free market' the rhetoric, but controlled-demand markets the reality) and so on. If their understanding can be obfuscated, and attention deflected to specious distractions and titillation, then the people can be disempowered. And even cooperate in their own economic (or social, political) subjugation.

The tactic, therefore, is to blind the bulk of the populace, and exert propaganda (PR) pressure so they willingly (if possible) cooperate in their own destruction. As Carl Jensen also notes (Project Censored Yearbook, 1999, pp 12-13):

"More than a half century ago Hitler said the masses take a long time to understand and remember, thus it is necessary to repeat the message time and time and time again - the public must be conditioned to accept the claims that are made no matter how outrageous or false those claims may be. We as a society, appear to have been well-conditioned to accept any number of claims regardless of how detrimental they are to our environment or to our own well being."

Let's look more closely at some specific examples of how this is done:

i) Blind people to how their system of governance actually works.

This is most important. The key principle is to forge a mythology, i.e. participatory democracy, then peddle it over and over again, to make people believe this is actually how the existent system works. But as Baca-Zinn and Eitzen note (p. 371, 'In Conflict and Order', 1991): "The most important component of a democratic model is that the representatives, because they are elected by the people, are responsive to the wishes of the people. This model, however, does not conform to reality. The United States is undemocratic in many very important ways. The people, although they do vote for their representatives every few years, are really quite powerless.

For example who makes the really important decisions about war and peace, economic policies and foreign policy? The people certainly do not. The record shows that many times the American people have been deceived when the object was to conceal clandestine illegal operations, mistakes, undemocratic practices and the like.

What is actually dominating the socio-political landscape, and wields the power, are the special lobbying interests that abound. Often set up by rich corporations or their various special interest factions (banking, insurance, Oil, Chemical etc), they employ money to do an end run around democratic choice. It is a case of he who has the gold makes the rules. Two recent cases come to the fore:

i) The success of the powerful health insurance lobby in preventing a public option from being part of the new health bill now working its way through congress, and

ii) The powerful Pharma (drug) lobby preventing the government from either: a) bargaining for lowest drug costs like the VA, or b) allowing re-importation of lower cost drug from Canada
With both these off the table, prices - both for drugs and health care- are sure to spiral out of control, especially if "health exchanges" emerge with regulation by states, as opposed to the federal government itself.

At a larger level, people are kept blind to the details of how interlocking directorates between government and many corporations usurp democracy and the people's will. Why is this important? Because if people are excluded from knowing how they are governed, or how various laws affect them, then they are rendered ignorant - and ineffective citizens. If they are ignorant and ineffective citizens, then they cannot offset the concentrated power of the Corporatocracy. Say to better their own lives, or the health of the society at large. Instead, they'll continue to vote to prop up and bestow power on the powerful- the agents and systems of the Corporatocracy. So, the key for Corporatocratic success is for a mythology to be propagated where citizens think they have a particular type of government but actually do not (because they do not understand how the real system works). As Charles Reich notes ('Opposing the System', p. 15) :

"Today much of the system by which we are governed is invisible, because it is either not seen at all, or seen incorrectly. The system that we 'see' is democracy and a free market. But if we really have such a system, why have people's efforts at change failed over and over again? The answer is that we are actually governed by a system that we cannot see - an invisible system."

Obviously, if a system has power, and is invisible - then it wields disproportionate control over people's lives. This is the heart of false consciousness: to sustain, reinforce and nourish the mythology, so that the truth of the real system, and how it actually operates, is never uncovered. Or, if it is - and a glimmer of truth escapes because one or two are percipient or well-informed and make an effort to disclose it - it is ruthlessly pilloried and attacked by all others who remain in the grip of false consciousness.

ii) Existence of a 'free market'

Yet another widely propagated media myth is that of the 'free market'. According to this myth, equal competition exists between more or less "equal private capitalists". In such a case, the competition almost always acts in the interests of the consuming public. In truth, this quaint concept was demolished by the arch-capitalists (Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller) after their creature, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, was enacted in 1890. This, along with the absurd legal definition of corporation, equating it to a 'person' in the infamous 1886 Santa Clara decision .
Maxine Baca-Zinn and D. Stanley Eitzen observe (op. cit., p. 343) that more accurately:

"The American economy is no longer based on competition among more or less equal private capitalists. It is now dominated by huge corporations that, contrary to classical economic theory, control demand rather than being responsive to the demands of the market."

Another hidden aspect - that belies the free market myth, is the special subsidies and government support given to corporations - i.e. for their advertising overseas, not bestowed on private entrepreneurs. This government largesse goes by the name "corporate welfare."
Currently, it is estimated that each taxpayer coughs up an annual amount of $1,186 to support corporate welfare in some form. But who is paying attention? How can most people when the information about this outrage is kept concealed by the media-publishing Corporatocracy? A conglomerate whose mandate is to distract and divert people from the truth, the facts, and substitute myths and spurious hype in their place.

iii) free speech The same applies to the myth of 'free speech.'

This so-called right also goes out the window as soon as one joins any corporation, or indeed works for any company or boss. As Reich makes clear (op.cit. p. 146):

"The Supreme Court made clear that an employee's speech is not protected if the employer believes the speech might interfere with the efficiency of the employer's operations. 'When someone who is paid a salary so that she will contribute to an agency's effective operations begins to do or say things that detract from the agency's effective operation..' her speech may be punished by dismissal. "

On yet another level, as Charles Reich notes (op. Cit., p. 143):

"Mass media such as television diminish the freedom of individuals to communicate - not by direct censorship (the individual can still stand on a street corner and attempt to talk to passersby) but by swamping, by drowning out, by denial of access to an audience. Few people realize that all television and radio channels belong to the public, not to networks, not to corporate station owners and sponsors."

Most ominous of all, and why virtually no corporate media jabber or information can be trusted (unless independently checked) is the way their interlocking directorates are constructed - with many actual corporations (they ought to be reporting on) represented on their boards. In terms of this corporate Wurlitzer machine, it's useful to know that eleven media corporations have no less than 36 direct links to each other creating a solid network of overlapping interests and affiliations. Further - these 11 media conglomerates "have directorships interlocking with 144 of the Fortune 1000 companies." (Project Censored Yearbook, 1998)

It was little or no suprise then, around the date of Nov. 22, 2009, the dubious article concerning Dartmouth computer geek Hany Farid "proving the Oswald backyard rifle photo genuine" made it rounds on dozens if not hundreds of mainstream media sites, as well as flooding Google with only these biased "hits". No where, on no account, could be found one single, considered contrary evaluation, that examined possible defects, or at least the danger of rushing this BS into print. Thus it was that I was prompted to do my own blog piece on it ('Hany Farid''s Pixelated Delusions') though this was before I did find an excellent artricle by James Fetzer and Jim Marrs. Again, we beheld how the corporate Wurlitzer is rigged to endorse by knee-jerk any remote claim or "study" which appears to hold up the official codswallop - never mind it's all a fiary tale. But this is the extent of concerted brainwashing the corporate media structure has wrought. This has led Robert McChesney to aver (Project Censored Yearbook, op. cit.):

"Given this networking system it is safe to say that the media in the United States effectively represents the interests of corporate America and that the media elite are the watchdogs of what constitutes acceptable ideological messages, the parameters of news and information content, the general use of media resources. "

Would the same media be amenable to an analysis demolishing Hany Farid's delusional computer pixel analysis? It will be interesting to find out as I complete a full article and paper on it. In the meantime, I advise people to be careful what they consume from any mainstream source that they can't immediately counter-check. Lest we be inclined to be lazy and not bother, the following words of Carl Jensen, Editor of the Project Censored Yearbook (ibid.), ought to be fixed in mind :

"The next step in the information control process in America is to use this control to effectively exploit our minds. This, also, it seems, has been accomplished. The mind manipulators are well aware of the first principle of successful mind control - repetition."


Unknown said...

These are terrific blog pieces! I hope many people read them. I especially like how you tie the Kennedy assassination to a political toxin that the powers-that-be are trying to keep concealed as the conspiracy it is. I knew form the time Oswald got shot something stank.

An apsect of more recent media miscarraige you omitted is how they've taken to publishing every nonsense syllable uttered by Cheney and Palin.

Way too many scribes have covered Cheney and Palin in recent months, allowing them to dispense tightly controlled pieces of information, which journalists then trumpet as "breaking new"s.

And yes, the trend is unprecedented in modern day American politics. I guess you can't technically call it "propaganda" but it certainly is directed stenography and to that extent undermines genuine journalism.

Those media that keep publishing Cheney and Palin brain farts need to go under, go bankrupt and never come back. I wouldn't even say let them rest in peace!

Copernicus said...

Thanks, Jani! I'm glad you brought up the mainstream media's pandering to Cheney when he isn't even a remote factor in gov't anymore. He's a has-been and a sorry one at that. And yet the media clamor and give him a voice! Why? Because the media feasts on discord, real or imagined, just to sell papers.

And these are the same jackals that want to browbeat us into dissing any conspiracy template as an authentic means of conducting business in this country.

The sad truth is journalism has been on a downward spiral the past 30 or more years, since Wall street share value became pre-eminent. Quality journalism is now rare or out the window, all that matter is what sells, i.e. can drive investor share prices higher.

When one examines the whole sordid information matrix in the U.S. one finds out it is largely a misinformation matrix base on money - and then these miscreants have the nerve to assert bloggers are bringing the quality of information down!

Of course, this is why so many Europeans mock us and insist we are like small infants - because our media and their overclass honchos seek to keep us in an infantile thought state. In this sense, conspiracy - for example, is way too mature an idiom for them to accept. Or more accurately, to allow us to accept.

This is why the atomization of sources is a good thing, and if it forces the mainstream to be more accountable - all the better.

If they 'go under', so be it. They ought to have allowed more diverse voices and given better podiums, a larger audience.