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Ignorance by Content and Omission

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Message Charles Sullivan
As a nation and as a people we have come to where we are as a direct result of the information we receive through the commercial media. In terms of democracy creation the news is useless if its intent is to inform and to educate. It is effective if its intent is to purvey propaganda and to deceive the masses. So many well intentioned people fall in line behind the president because they fail to understand his policies. They lack historical perspective. Having the ability to understand current events from an historical perspective brings them into clear focus. Certain unmistakable patterns emerge to explain things.

No thinking person should take any government at its word, especially this one. Governments lie in part because they represent special interest groups rather than the ordinary citizens that comprise the great majority. Most governments fear and loath its citizens because they are clandestinely betraying them. The less transparent the government, the more it has to hide. Lying is the only recourse that undemocratic governments have to make the citizens support and implement their hidden agendas. This explains why the Bush cabal is incapable of speaking truth. It also explains why it is the least transparent government ever to occupy the oval office, bar none.

The Bush cabal and its enablers in Congress are thus forced to call into service noble sounding euphemisms to hide the selfish motives behind their policies. Who but a fool or a madman would volunteer to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people for the sake of increasing the already obscene profits of defense contractors and oil companies? It is precisely because the agenda of those in power conflicts with the interest of the people that governments lie and distort. Those who carry out the agenda of Plutocratic Empire must be made to believe that they are serving noble purposes rather than feeding the insatiable hunger of corporate greed. They must be convinced to betray their own class by acting against its best interest. It would be impossible to accomplish such a monumental task of behavior modification without the aid of the commercial media.

Know that the consumption of commercial media content, whether news or entertainment (they are really one and the same these days), is hazardous to your health. Owned by only five major corporations the world over, the content is sweet to the taste but devoid of nutriment. It consists of addictive substances and empty calories""the kind that leads to mental and spiritual obesity typified by an array of serious health problems that may result in permanent blindness. The sole beneficiaries of this content are the corporations who manufacture and sell them and their servants in government. As always, the consumers are the victims.

At a time when only the most venal would argue that America is not in the midst of serious decline, it is amazing that so little formal opposition has managed to organize itself into action. Even staunch conservatives are distancing themselves from George Bush, whose approval ratings have fallen to thirty-four percent and probably have yet to bottom out. There has been much talk but so little meaningful action. Talk is safe and easy but action requires commitment and sacrifice. In the end it is thoughtful action that gets things done. Propaganda is a powerful wedge that keeps us apart and renders us ineffective.

The illegitimate cabal at the head of government obtained power with the complicity of the commercial media. Despite the virtual ownership of the corporate media and hence its content, the cabal's hold on power is nevertheless tenuous. Imagine what Bush's approval rating would be if the people were actually informed. Can you imagine an approval rating of say, minus four hundred? Without the aide of the worlds most prolific and effective propaganda machine the neocons could never have come into power. The fact that they are losing favor with the people despite the useful lies purveyed in the corporate media indicates just how badly they are behaving. Despite the monopoly they enjoy their approval ratings continue to plummet. This is clear evidence that the special interest agenda is not America's agenda.

No thinking person should assume that the corporate media is neutral or objective. They are not; however, they try to give the impression that they are. All for profit institutions have an agenda""the accumulation of private wealth. Credibility is important to them, facts are not. Like their brethren in the defense and oil industries, the corporate media is amassing fortunes by supporting an agenda of war and world domination. In a capitalist society the role of the media is not to inform and to educate""it is to make money by any and all available means. Capitalism does not care how its fortunes are made. Its modus operandi is Machiavellian: ends justify the means. Capitalism is unbridled greed unleashed upon the world for the privatization of wealth. It allows a small group of business owners and investors to get rich by exploiting the under class of all nations.

Relatively few Americans are aware of the extent to which the corporate media played in putting George Bush in power, or the pandering of propaganda and outright lies that keep him there. They are unaware that under the guidance of ultra conservative Grover Norquist, a group of eighty of the nation's wealthiest people gathers in the nation's capital every week. This gathering, as one might expect, is not innocuous or benign. Its purpose is to create the talking points that will be purveyed each week in the commercial media to further their agenda. In essence, this group defines the news for the week and the manner in which it will be presented for public consumption. Their reach is enormous and their sole motivation is profit and power for the elite. Not only does Norquist's group literally write the scripts followed by Rush Limbaugh and his robotic drones, it provides the content that defines the evening news and the daily newspapers. Every mainstream televised and audio program should be preceded by a Surgeon General's Warning: Use of this product may be hazardous to your health!

Thus every television and radio network incessantly preaches the same propaganda from the individual pulpits of class privilege. The key talking points are the same whether on Fox, CNN, CBS or ABC; or the nation's newspapers. Likewise, conservative talk radio receives its marching orders directly from Norquist's intimate group of billionaires. This is not benign advocacy for a particular point of view""it is blatant propaganda and outright lies packaged and sold as news. Without the aide of the corporate media and Norquist's billionaires, we would not have invaded Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people would still be alive. We might even have taken global warming seriously and done something about it before it was too late. Truth and integrity might still mean something.

Little by little the minds of the people have been poisoned by propaganda and it is called nourishment. As a result the more noble traits of our culture are incrementally dying. Through the judicious use of lies and distortions the people are deceived into supporting the atrocities of war and conquest that are committed in their name. Historical context reveals the unmistakable patterns that make these behaviors readily visible and renders them understandable to the present moment. The lack of historical perspective leaves one vulnerable to the lies and distortions that have always characterized our government. Of course, this historical context is not taught in our schools for reasons that should be obvious.

By shamelessly touting the transparent lies of the Bush cabal as fact the corporate media is generating enormous wealth for the upper echelon, while our sons and daughters make the blood sacrifice. Encouraging patriotism (really jingoism), keeps the uninformed masses in a frenzy and in mortal fear of phantom enemies. It keeps them from recognizing the real enemies of peace and democracy that misuse government for the creation of privatized wealth for the privileged. By content and by omission the corporate media decides what Americans will be told and thus how they will behave.

The purveyance of such powerful propaganda is keeping the coffers of the nation's defense contractors and the oil companies running over, while also keeping the people dumbed down. Like bloated ticks fed on blood sucked from the public teat, the Carlyle Group and Halliburton are raking in billions. Such obscene wealth is generated at the expense of working class people who have no health insurance because their tax dollars support war profiteering and welfare for the rich.

The champions of Plutocracy including the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, are masquerading as people concerned with the welfare of political conservatives of modest income, even as they lead them to the slaughter with the rest of us. The millions of angry white supremacists that comprise their audience should ask themselves who Limbaugh and the others are working for. What do they have in common with their listeners? Are they living high off the hog? What motivates them? Are they profiting? Or are they in fact shameless opportunists who are preying upon their follower's emotional vulnerabilities and intellectual vacancies? We have witnessed this same predatory behavior time and again in the persons of television evangelists who regularly fleece their flock of their hard earned income. Every false idol needs its fools, and they are not in short supply.

The effects of this pervasive propaganda are visible all around us. We see it in the flag-draped coffins that arrive home every week from Iraq. We see it in the faces of the Iraqi children whose families were decimated by those whose sole concern is privatized wealth. We witness it in our dilapidated schools and national infrastructure. It is visible in the elderly without health care, the millions of nameless poor that are forced to live in abject poverty so that Bush could execute his war. The flies are buzzing around the dung heap. This is nothing new. People have always been deceived by their governments, regardless of which party is in power. You see, the underlying cause is capitalism and privatized wealth. So be careful about what you admit into your mind. It may be hazardous to your health.
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Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.
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