By ROB KALL
I've almost totally shut off the TV news, which I used to have on most of my waking hours. I am so disgusted by the mainstream media. With the exorcism of Dan Rather and his team, and the scheduled elimination of Crossfire, there is a systematic purging of progressive perspectives and voices in the mainstream media.
The biggest effect of this continued intentional obliteration of the full vocal range of democracy will be upon the undecideds and the less-interested-in-politics moderates. These people do not seek out the truth, the full picture, the perspectives that the right wing controlled media don't want them to hear. These people complacently, even lazily lay back in their couches and depend upon the news they get from the mainstream and cable networks. They're turning the USA into a Titanic-- the biggest and best of its kind in the world blindly approaching an iceberg of hidden or, more accurately, ignored dangers that will take this nation down.
If you are reading this, then you know about the dangers and threats this nation faces. If you are reading this op-ed then you probably realize that the Bush administration's surrogates are out in force now, helping him shill for the investment firms and banks that stand to make trillions if Social Security is privatized. As I write this, Tim Russert, on Meet The Press, plays Chicken Little, echoing the "sky is falling" talking points about the "imminent demise" of Social Security that we'll be hearing from the right wing controlled media for the weeks and months to come.
It is very clear that control and ownership of the media by the right wing enabled them to strongly influence who was chosen as the democratic candidate and then to massively slander and destroy the image and reputation of Kerry. Bush didn 't get a mandate. He got billions of dollars of free help with his attack on Kerry, with the "news " media running, repeatedly, the attack ads of Bush 's surrogates. And when they weren 't running the ads for free, they were bringing the primary messages of the attack ads up in smarmy remarks by anchors and commentators.
When you turn on the TV news, you should be aware that you are taking a risk that you and anyone who watches the TV with you will be affected by the most powerful, most well financed, most penetrating, systematic, sophisticated and organized propaganda machine ever created. If you watch these news propaganda shows with the expectation and realization that the spin on the news is worst than ever, that the news presented intentionally leaves out major, extremely important facts, then you may be adequately "immunized " to protect you from the hypnotic, ubiquitous, continuous barrage of half truths, misrepresentations, lies and distortions that have become the predominant pattern of communication which the corrupt Bush administration uses to sell itself to those couch potatoes who don 't bother to open their "media eyes " to actually see what 's really going on.
Since you 're reading this, you have an idea of the endangered dangerous state of our nation 's media. You know some of the strategies used by this corrupted and broken media that is becoming a purer and purer propaganda vehicle for the right wing and the corporate bankers that pull their strings. These include the conversion of the news into entertainment --focusing on celebrity gossip, the magnification and hypertrophied "media-ization " of celebrity trials, the celebrity-ization of kidnapped children and Siamese twins. They use all of these faux news techniques as distractions to fill up the shrinking news time slots, so the real news --about the war, about poverty, about health care and the economy, about corrupt politicians and crooked megacorporations --is either ignored or relegated to 15 second spots skimmed over or sandwiched between ads for purple pills and male erectile dysfunction drugs.
The mainstream media have become what is perhaps the biggest threat to American democracy. These corporate owned and controlled weapons of mass democratic destruction (double entendre intended) ARE the problem. They ARE the biggest impediment the progressives and the real democrats (not centrist republican-lite DLC shills) must face in rescuing the nation from the crooked extremists who are running the country and who have now corrupted and stolen two elections. The mainstream media are the foils, the PR protectors and "tricksters " that enable the frauds, lies, distortions, crooked deals and failed, incompetent decisions the right wing has built their empire upon.
The only way the progressives and real democrats will be able to take back the white house, the congress and reinstate the laws and regulations that the right wing have dismantled for the sake of the transnational corporations they are beholding to is for us to take down or take over the mainstream media.
One way to do it might be to chose one network and buy it --for millions of us to buy a hundred or ten or 2 shares each so we can literally fire the management in install managers who will create honest news.
Another way is to start a campaign aimed at letting Mr. And Mrs Couch Potato know that they are getting bad information from the networks. Forget about Bush stinks bumper-stickers. But consider bumper stickers that call the media liars and propagandists. I don 't have the right words yet. But we should start using whatever means we can to get people at least suspicious of the nightly news and the anchors who are whores for the right wing, potentially even on their payrolls.
Another way is to go after the advertisers. This could be the most effective way, since we 've already seen some positive results with the Sinclair media episode. One first step would be to insist that advertisers spend a serious portion of their budget on progressive media. Of course there are only a few radio programs where this applies. But those shows should be flush with advertising and we should be targeting specific corporations that are most vulnerable to our pressure. These advertisers should also support specifically identified programming on existing networks. Oh, you say they don 't exist? Then we need to create the programming and license it to the networks, with advertising attached. IT works for soap operas, sitcoms and game shows, why not progressive media. If John Stewart 's the Daily Show can make it, why not build some new shows that the mainstream networks can run?
These are positive approaches that build towards a strong future. But we know that the right wing thrives on negative attacks and campaigns. We should be letting advertisers know that if they support the most biased media, particularly FOX and the toxic right wing talk shows --then we will stop buying form them unless they balance their ad budgets with progressive media too. The last thing we want to do is to start an actual boycott. Short, very targeting mini-boycotts that show our resolution and power DO make sense. But long-term boycotts should not be our goal. We want to get to those companies that contributed to the Bush administration or that run ads on FOX and Limbaugh and Clear Channel and force them to support us, to spend money on our media, on our campaigns. We want them to hold their noses as they make the correct BUSINESS decisions and run ads on our media, our syndicated shows.
As I wrap up this article, with the TV on the SciFi channel, there 's a DELL computer ad. Michael Dell was the Texas Republican chair in the 2000 presidential election and Dell was a major contributor to Bush. I won 't buy Dell products until I see they are running ads on Air America Radio, the Thom Hartmann Show, Ed Schultz, the Daily Show, and let 's throw in contributions to the Center for American Progress. These SOB 's must pay penance. Frankly, they also need to have some way to prove that they ARE paying penance and they need a way to let us know it. I have some ideas for that, but it will take another article to cover it.
Bottom line on this article --the mainstream media are our number one enemy. They are the primary weapons and infantry that have fought and won the wars that handed the nation over to the crooked, lying right wingers who are dismantling the USA. We need serious, massive efforts to bring balance to the media, doing whatever it takes. Boycotts are not enough, but can be used to enable other balance-initiating and maintaining strategies.
Rob Kall email@example.com is editor of www.OpEdNews.com Read over 150 of his articles at Rob Kall's article archive Read his blog at www.opednews.com/robsblog.htm Rob lives in Bucks County PA, which, with almost 30% more registered republicans than democrats, went for John Kerry in the 2004 election. Some of Rob's other websites include www.futurehealth.org www.storycon.org, www.brainmeeting.com www.positivepsychology.net www.quotationscentral.com and www.sphincterpolice.comContribute $$ to OpEdNews