Early in April of this year, a reader sent me a note which included the observation that most of the people he knows seem to think the corporate media, collectively, "is America."-
That is, he explained, they believe "nobody cares about this"- or "everybody's talking about that"- based entirely on what they get from television, radio or newspapers. In that very common way of thinking, if the media giants ignore something, then it is not worth noticing. If they yak something up, then it is, per se, important and "everybody is talking about"- whatever it is.
It is an astute assessment of how, and what, and who the American public sees.
In an essay a few days ago -"" posted just below this one -"" I suggested that Americans push our government to transport massive amounts of life-saving goods to the suffering citizens of Myanmar and Zimbabwe. I said we should do that even though the insane and vicious rulers of those countries prefer to let hundreds of thousands of people die of hunger, thirst and disease rather than allow anyone other than themselves credit for saving their people and perhaps gaining some measure of power or influence.
I never expected any sort of action, of course. Didn't expect even one person to send one note to one member of Congress. I don't imagine any such note was sent.
And that, really, was the point of what I wrote.
(Here, let me adopt Dan Rather's preference for calling news outlets collectively "the press."- Though now failing, newspapers remain ""- at least in our collective memory -"" the core of serious news distribution.)
When I wrote that piece, I intended to do at this juncture what I am now doing: pointing out that the press, acting in conjunction with and on behalf of the ruling minority of this country, has so ordered public thinking that while we can soberly discuss whether to rain death on countries that pose no threat to us, it is all but impossible to imagine a serious discussion on whether or not to displease some monstrous little dictators simply to save several hundred thousand human lives.
We do death. We commit mayhem. We don't save lives.
Not even in our own country: witness Hurricane Katrina, the first of many proofs established by our neocon government.
Unprovoked invasions of other countries are within the scope of American behavior. Bombing those who can do us no harm and slaughtering countless civilians for the sake of controlling oil fields and providing huge profits for a tiny group of "defense"- contractors ""- let us not at this stage, after all the evidence laid before us, pretend other motives ""- is again under discussion.
True, many of us are against more such ventures, but obviously not enough against to act to prevent our ruling billionaires from committing the crimes.
It is a given that should anyone ""- even, let's say, a couple of dozen members of Congress ""- stand up and say that we must do something real to care for the people of Myanmar and Zimbabwe, even against the wishes of the murdering thugs who rule in those places, the press would ignore the move or nearly so. Bigger newspapers might do a single paragraph in a news roundup, television almost certainly would black out the attempt.
Most of the public would never know what was said in Congress, and those who did hear of it would dismiss it as trivial because that is how the press treated it.
Now someone is going to say I can't know that's what would happen.
Yes, I can, and do. So do you, if you're honest.