- On Editor Freedoms and Mega-Media Mendacity -
"This tube is the gospel! The ultimate revelation! This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers. It is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world. Woe is us if it falls into the hands of the wrong people. "
Howard Beal, Network
Given a corporate mega-media, a "public " broadcasting media co-opted by corporate financing, and no major media editors elected by their listeners, readers, subscribers, or station supporters our "free press " has thus become the exclusive and favored tool of the few to control the many.
As a rule, wherever systemic exploitation, and its great disparities of power, wealth, and land ownership prevail, then ruling elites must control both political power and media expression or they risk their diminishment or worse by the greater forces of a truly effective democracy and social equity.
In so-called "free market " societies today, where the few control the many and economic democracy is fiction, it only requires persistent disinformation and taboos on a few key subjects to accomplish and maintain a complete enclosure of mankind. As with the rankest of fascist oligarchies and totalitarian communism, what we see today is exactly this well-oiled manipulation of thought, restriction of debate, dissemination of disinformation, and utter calumny against any who challenge the props of the global corporate oligarchy.
Clearly, there can be no effective democracy where the people neither own nor control their money and media systems i.e., their central banks and major media enterprises. For as long as there is no separation of editorship from ownership the few will continue to handpick their editors, control the media currency, and shape the very debate of society. For as long as journalists and reporters are afraid for their jobs, work for editors hand-picked by mega-media owners, and are easily blackballed and see other 's careers ruined, then the "free press " is in grave trouble and the nation is completely screwed by a ruling few.
"We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with issues and subjects that we choose to deal with."
Richard Cohan, CBS political news, says
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
Richard Salant, former President CBS News
"Fear keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions "
So how can we escape the clutches of the media oligarchy? How do we reform mega-media corporations and their pervasive, and now global, power over our lives, economy, and democracy?
While many may take refuge and comfort in the internet with its many dissident scribes, still, nothing happens in the citadels of power. Indeed, the talking heads remain the same, taboo subjects remain taboo, and the vast majority remain powerless ... and seething.
The hope is that, at some point, enough of "our " legislators will come to so resent the power the mega-media have over their own lives and campaigns (as well as the people 's right to know) they will then consider something akin to an Editorial Freedom Act (see this writer 's www.EditorFreedom.com.)
The purpose of this proposal is to separate ownership from editorship in the major media corporations. Why, indeed, should a handful of men have the power to pick and choose those who control the flow of information to our democracy? Given their power and responsibility, these major media editors and producers are, and should be, classified as quasi-public employees with the attendant rights of the people to have a real say in who occupies these pivotal positions and oversees the information flow to the public.
Did the Framers of the Constitution imply that we should forever countenance a situation in which five or six men control the network media, and have an exclusive right to hire and fire the overseers of our press freedom, and minters of our information currency? Did they mean for the Fourth Estate to become the First?
I think not. In their day, it was relatively easy to print up and circulate a handbill, impact and change the minds of an entire community, and even those in the several states, and so empower a drive to chase the usurpers from our land. This was democracy, and this was the meaning of a free press. Today, however, despite the internet, a handful of men are able to virtually counterfeit the mass media currency of democracy. This cannot stand.
An industry-controlled FCC now says that we have more media choices than ever. In fact, however, only a few corporations decide what most can choose, and that is not choice. Who chooses the talking heads? Who chooses the topics? Who lives in fear for their jobs?
And yet, we, the people, supposedly own the airwaves. In fact we do, but this "ownership " - without any real power or legislative will to control the process in the interests of real and effective democracy - is completely ineffective. In large part, we have been rendered impotent in the very exercise and defense of democracy ... and so Fascism emerges.
"At any given moment, there is a sort of all pervading orthodoxy, a general tacit agreement not to discuss large and uncomfortable facts."
"Popular revolt against a ruthless, experienced modern dictatorship which enjoys a monopoly over weapons, and communications... is simply not a possibility in the modern age."
George Keenan (1964)
So, where are the Howard Beals? Is the major media complex filled with chicken-sh*t imposters who go home every night and look their children in the eye and say Daddy is part of the free press and supporting democracy? Clearly, given the events of late, these people are on the verge of a nervous breakdown ... and it can 't happen soon enough. The bad karma of such duplicity is surely not easy to live with, or die with.
Perhaps we will witness an explosion of Howard Beals and our mega-media mouthpieces will finally risk offending the ruling class, their employers, begin to question the very make-up of our society, and open the debate to the American people.
We could expect to see such things if, in fact, we had an Editor Freedom act ... making such necessary communication possible.
So, you think you have courage Mr. Newsman? Then ask Larry Silverstein (WTC owner) what he was doing with already-placed dynamite in his building(s) #7 so that it could be "pulled " within hours of the collapse of the twin towers? Or, begin an on-going discussion of why it is we don 't have a public central bank, why a cabal of bankers should own our "purse " powers, and why we have to borrow their debt-money, at interest, to pay for not only our infrastructure but even recurring natural disasters? The latter situation is truly sick.
Further, why don 't we elect a representative to the World Trade Organization? Why don 't we have tariff freedom as opposed to forced trade? Why don 't we have a National Initiative like the Swiss? Why are we privatizing our voting machine process? Why was the "Votescam " book and debate buried for twenty years? Lastly, why don 't you open a debate on an Editorial Freedom Act? Imagine that?