The Energy Net
A week after the melt down at Three Mile Island in 1979, 25,000 people came to a rally at the civic center in San Francisco igniting the anti-nuclear movement in California. The movement would spread ideas like consensus process and new models of democracy, but it also opened up the eyes of many to the behavior of the corporate media. During this time a young award winning journalist at one of the big SF daily newspapers started spying on the media for us. What a few of us learned from him was that the corporate media was hardly an objective bystander, but was involved in a fullscale attack on opponents using every trick in the book.
Opponents were villified by labels, coverage was biased or completely censored. Content was even written by demographic area in ways to manipulate reactions. Probably the most vicious strategy was the complete refusal to cover movement elsewhere that made most of us feel isolated. If a tree in the forest fell and nobody saw it fall, did it happen?
Today, 80% of Americans rely on the media to understand the world. Over time a growing number of people have come to see the corporate media as a propaganda machine that has created a Matrix of brainwashed citizens.
This presentation isn't just a brief soundbyte against the media. The dawning of online journalism, blogs and video activism has helped to launch a global campaign to end the corporate control of how we interact with the world around us. This is an evolving project with the goal of deconstructing the brainwashing tactics of the TV industry and its corporate allies.
The anti-nuclear movement 30 years ago had a lot to learn. The use of Ghandian non-violent civil disobedience was framed by the media as a "leftist tactic" led by Direct Action anarchists, stripping its broader base of support. Only in Germany did the the anti-nuclear movement quickly broadened into Die Grunen. By the time the Greens filed for party status in California it had long lost its youthful vision, to be labeled unwashed luddites or eco-terrorists by the Limbaugh led media. The grass roots movement was mowed to the ground by corporate strategists who had infiltrated the movement, cynicizing public support with its vast propaganda apparatus. One of Reagan's think tanks was directly involved in spying on every aspect of the movement. Our values and movement terms would all be redefined or stolen outright Within a short time, many core organizing strategies were being used by the religious right, surprise!
The government and its alliance with the media were originally used to promote nuclear development as a way to rationalize the huge nuclear weapons fuel-cycle infrastructure. The public was spoon fed a patronizing pablum of propaganda inferring that the general public had no capacity to chose for itself. Nuclear opponents were framed with labels like Communist, radicals or terrorist rather than addressing their issues. The establishment never debates issues, it just goes for the artery of its opponent with red baiting tactics honed nearly a century ago against workers. The military industrial complex would nuke us or the world if we got in the way of their agenda.
Grassroots movements would be supplanted by non-profit groups that took their operations to Washington, evolving into just another "special interest lobby". These professional non-profit Eco groups have sucked the soul and vision out of the issue. The socalled "radical" values that questioned corporate driven consumer behavior have all been reframed into legislative techno fixes.
Not until the internet was there hope of building movements again.
Let's fill in a few details. Over 80% of Americans rely on TV news. Over 90% of all radio talk shows are conservative if not worse. A handful of companies control almost all of the news people receive today. The New Deal laws like Glass-Steagall and the PUHCA that helped protect the country from the super rich are gone. A stealth "Bill of Rights" for corporations was used to take over the country's political process and led to the top down corruption of both political parties. The thiry year agenda to deregulate corporations with Bush's New World Order (the World Trade Organization) in the lead has bankrupted the US.
General Electric has long owned NBC. General Electric has long been part of the larger British-US super elite that was originally set up by the house of Morgan and the Bank of England. It is also one of the biggest nuclear power and weapons contractors in the US. NBC was originally setup by Morgan to counter the public power movement during the 1920's. The socalled capitalist strategies the US inherited from Britain have long been imperial rather than democratic. By now it should be all too clear to anyone with eyes what the merger maniacs that have taken this country to the cleaners was all about. As the New Deal old guard died out, it was replaced by economically dependent politicians who let Pandora out of the box. It was Clinton who gave Enron a waiver to the 1935 Public Utilities Holding company Act that led to the final phase of selling off Calfornia's economic power. Untold billions of dollars were freed up, to be moved over to China via the remnants of what was once the East India Trading Company, HSBC and the 21st century goldrush. It is only a matter of time whether or not the modern nation state will survive the machinations of the World Trade Organization and the super elite who have cooked this nightmare up.
Less tha 20% of the American public has any college education and fewer still have good english comprehenshion skills. Prior to the recent surge of internet news coverage barely 10% of the country's adults read newspapers while 80% rely on TV news exclusively.
In what was one of the best books on the corporate media, Jeremy Rifkin's "Time Wars" wrote about its beginnings along with its connections to Taylorism. One of the major points was how the TV news industry reduced the average soundbyte from 50 seconds back in the 1970's to 8 seconds by the early 1980's. In a recent article, researchers tracked the 2008 election coverage of the corporate media. The investigation documented the fact that the media covered the campaign season at a 7th grade level of english comprehension. Yes folks, the media has long been dumbing down the general public.
And what do all of those working americans do every day sitting in their cars or at work. They tune into radio stations owned by the Texas media giant Clear Channel, a right wing corporation that specializes in hate radio jocks. Estimates of over 90% of all talk radio programming in the US are pumped across the country by Clear Channel and other major media giants, promoting the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
There are few today who haven't heard the sham argument that the US media is liberal. A Pew survey of political affiliations of media stars (for those that would divulge it) indicated that over 70% were conservative. Imagine what would turn up if someone looked at the political views of those who sit on the boards of the five biggest corporate giants! Anybody care to guess what Fox News is about?
So let's throw this modest concept together (it took more than 8 seconds) that the corporate media wants america to think that the media is liberal yet is mostly run by conservative corporate interests. Then combine this with the fact that most news content has been geared for a rather poorly educated general public, just as the above article points out. If it takes more than 8 seconds to develop an idea then are such ideas off limits to the general public, unless they accidently escape?
But lets not just stop at this point with the insinuation that the corporate media is playing games with the public's heads. Within a few days of Colin Powell's speech before the UN and Bush's State of the Union address, European media outlets had already disproved the Niger yellowcake story as well as cast doubts on the aluminum tubes claims. Yet the general public in this country never got wind of this until after Bush made his victory speech. For anyone watching the whole game, not to mention the leaked ABC marching orders, there was no way Bush could have taken the country to war without the support of the corporate media's bandwagon promotion.
Today, for anyone with a more sophisticated viewpoint, via the internet, it is clear that there will never be a negative story in the US press that carries a serious threat to official Washington foreign policy positions. Thus, the Bush doctrine, which could be considered a criminal act for its failure to carry out the duties of the president, which means following the country's treaty obligations were never challenged by the media.
But then, this isn't just about Bush bashing. This is about a far deeper problem. There are litterally thousands "controversial" issue today that get no coverage, the worst of this being the poltical maneauvering of the corporate media itself.
For example, in 2003 the TV news industry completed censored its own lobbying tactics with the FCC to expand the corporate control over local media concentration levels. Yet a nationwide movement emerged where millions of americans via the internet were able to block the industry and the FCC actions. But this is hardly the real core problem today. For anyone who watched the weeks of coverage that C-Span used to dedicate to congressional debates, a single representative dared stand up and speak out about the media's own role during the McCain Feingold political reform process a decade ago. He stated that the biggest opponent of political finance reform in the country is the Corporate media lobby. How many people in this country have even heard of the idea that the media itself has its own giant lobby arm in Washington and that the media likes the fact that up to 70% of our representatives time is now spent fundraising for their next election cycle. And who do you think one of the largest reciprient of all that political money is? Anybody ever heard of a cheap 30 second political hit ad on TV? Yes, folks Congress has been corrupted by money and done so by the TV industry.
Most young people today, as well as the rest of the country have little time or resources to really undestand the complex agenda of the corporate media and how they have been manipulating the framing of news in this country for generations.
The result has been a dramatic political shift to the right that played a central role in the current collapse of this country. And folks this was done on purpose. The wealthiest people in this society have been doing everything in their power to destroy our government. Today, the government has become all but an extension of corporate interests as we have witnessed a 30 year process of deregulation where, once corporate america used to pay a substantial portion of the taxes in this country to where most pay no taxes and the burden has been shifted to the poor and middle class.
And who got bailed out when the system tanked?
Fifteen years ago FAIR regularly did deconstructions of the corporate news as well as PBS. Content and disgussions were all biased far to the right, or more to the point, to meet the demands of corporate interests. White males from corporate sponsored (mostly conservative) thinktanks were the only people allowed to present their opinions on news shows. With the advent of Fox's socalled "Fair and Balanced" propaganda claim the left struck back with documentaries like the "Corporation" and other online content to demonstrate that the media and especially Fox News is anything but biased.
For example O'Reilly did a show days after Obama's election on what would happen to the US by coming to San Francisco and picking to long time red light districts as examples of liberal values.
But let's look down the rabbit hole a bit further. And to do this, I'm going to go back to the the heydays of the anti-nuclear movement between 1977 and 1984. Back then two of the three major media outlets happened to be owned by the two largest nuclear industry corporations in the US: General Electric and Westinghouse. (NBC and CBS). Activists were able to openly caught NBC censoring coverage of the issue, but it went far beyond just mere censorship. Again, anyone who took a hands on approach to how the media covered the controversy knew that the media was the primary promoter for the industry and did everything in its power to stave off the opposition to both nuclear power and weapons issues.
The anti-nuclear movement went through the ringer with the media during its heydays of the 1970's and 1980's. Bill Moyer's from the Clamshell Alliance spent over 20 years investigating the media and strategies to counter pro-nuclear strategies. Just before he passed away, Bill made one last presentation that was taped. He used to give day long (Movement Action Plan) presentations as well as writing a book called Doing Democracy.
His MAP Slideshow included an 8 step macro perspective that proposed the idea that any issue oriented movement would have an evolving relationship with the corporate media.
Has great image of newstand with grafitti on it saying "Lies"
Matrix concept and the corporate media