I loathe the glitzy, sportified corporate media from Fox to CNN to NBC. I hate Jake Tapper's constipated paperweight of a listening face and the esophageal shits of Hannity's cooked brain. These money-hungry dopes would 'both sides' The
Holocaust if there was three fifty in it for them.
Here's what they're like:
INTERVIEWER (accompanied by environmentalist and some messy asshole in a suit): So, many are concerned about the damage caused by fracking. What do you think, asshole?
ASSHOLE: We could certainly limit or stop fracking but that means we'll make less money so fuck the whole world.
INTERVIEWER: Environmentalist, what do you say to people that think banning fracking would hurt the economy?
ENVIRONMENTALIST: If the planet becomes uninhabitable, it won't matter. There won't be an economy then.
INTERVIEWER: Interesting points. So, we are faced with a difficult choice. Do we make marginally less money but persist as a species, or should we just fist the planet
until its pelvis explodes but get a billion dollars for CEOs?
ENVIRONMENTALIST: I think there is only one sensible option, given that -
INTERVIEWER: It seems the debate will rage on. Now for a commercial from the Extremely Poisonous Children's Food Company.
Then we get a committee-written parade of bullshit ads for various pieces of plastic and biological weapons masquerading as food that no news company would be able to do a scathing take-down on because their revenue depends on them. They can't even go hard on these dumbshit
corporations because they're owned by them. A bunch of the generals talking about war on Fox and CNN have ties to military contractors, and these are the guys the news wheels out to tell YOU if your tax dollars should be spent dismembering more brown people. Look at retired
general Jack Keane, Fox News contributor and chairman of the board at the hawkish Washington think tank the Institute for the Study of War. He's on the board at General Dynamic, the fifth largest 'defense' contractor in the world and maker of missiles and tanks.
As for televised political debates, they're dumb-downed insulting jokes festooned with melodramatic light shows, bells, and whistles. The adventure movie music is laughable. They take a debate ostensibly about how government employees will formulate policy to serve ordinary
people, keep them from dying even, and slather it with the sort of melodramatic score you'd expect on a film about giant alien robots from the future. Everyone has fifteen microseconds in which to vomit rehearsed lines or stories about the ACA saving their grandma, then we
all fight on Twitter about who had the coldest zinger. TV encourages such bullshit. They want us driving up web traffic with facile debate threads on which candidate 'rocked it' best. 'Did you see Kamala? She really went for Uncle Joe's nuts tonight.' 'I stan Liz Warren.
She's my girl.' 'I wish Bernie would stop shouting.' And on and on over and over again and again until we all go glassy-eyed after ten months then two or three remain and we watch them wrestle in the mud while no one bothers reading any policy proposals because they're all
too distracted and networks give time they could've spent explaining them to Trump's schoolyard Twitter nicknames instead. These media giants have huge, professional graphics departments and a ton of air time but they don't use them to get in the weeds and help us understand.
It's about money. They won't tell you with any level of honesty what's going on in Israel, Venezuela, Syria, or even the US. You'll get soundbites telling you who the bad guys are - i.e. who the Executive Branch, the Pentagon and industrial sponsors like Raytheon want to bomb
soon - as if reality is black and white and not a nuanced grey sludge worth parsing and close inspection. Everything is a dire threat to the American people, who live in constant danger from terrorists, the Chinese, Russia, Ebola and passing meteors, but not climate change so
much, and who are the centre of the universe, unlike the thousands murdered every year in pointless US-led wars, or the hundreds of unsuspecting civilians splattered in arbitrary drone strikes ordered as a matter of such very urgent self-protection by the conscientious folks
in the White House. No mention of the fact that the US is holding a straight razor to the throat of the rest of the world while the MSM keep its citizens amped up in a state of mortal terror over a series of trivial non-threats to national security, not when there's a bottom
line to protect. 90% of US media are owned by like 6 conglomerates, so it's easy for them to take a unified pro-war stance or frame geopolitical issues as a debate about the comparative veracity of two subtly false propositions in order to generate the illusion of fairness
and intent to inform. In 2003, a survey revealed that 35% of journalists avoided newsworthy stories if coverage would be embarrassing or damaging to the financial interests of a news organisation's owners or parent company. In the run up to the Iraq War, viewers were
overwhelmingly more likely to see pro-war sources, and the impression was strongly reinforced that Iraq was either making WMDs or was linked to 9/11, all for the simple and sleazy reason that media companies are often owned by entities with a militarist agenda. NBC, for
instance, was owned by General Electric, one of the world's largest 'defense' contractors. I don't even really want to get started on TV advertising in general but 'woke' branding is starting to piss me off too. 'Woke' values basically end up in commercials when a company
calculates that progressives will give it more money than it will lose from a poorly-organised three-day conservative boycott, so they do a slick minute-long cinematic ode to men being better or the country being inclusive, the key motivating factor being the prospect of a
sales bump for whatever ocean-killing plastic trinkets they want blue whales to choke on next. These are the same values, by the way, that should be taught in schools and communities every day as basic fucking decency, and which you can live up to easily, not by decorating
the world's landfills with more disposable plastic razors, but by working in real life to benefit and elevate people less well-situated than yourself. Honestly, if you didn't already know the shit in that Gillette commercial then either schools and parenting are complete
trash or you're too stupid to know what a razor is. I doubt it's a straight-up conspiracy, but there must be a good few rich assholes laughing into their tax cuts while the culture wars rage on. These guys love the GOP and can't wait for more state-guaranteed welfare
protections to get stripped away in the cause of pumping up private profit. If they weren't so distracted by perceived affronts to their white privilege and fictional immigrant Ebola, even the right would have to admit they actually treasure the protections offered to them by
the state (state as in country or nation.) Well, those are what's being chipped away everywhere just so the rich can grab an extra superyacht. Take an extreme example. Even if you're a criminal, in prison you should have the right not to be retributively raped or assaulted by
other inmates, because that's how civilisation works. Once tolerance of violent inmate conduct sets in within the prison system, violence becomes widespread and its victims end up including the wrongly convicted. So the state has to guarantee a certain level of welfare for
murderers, bank robbers, and other assorted miscreants, felons, villains, and lunatics. By privatising prisons, you reduce direct oversight by the government and weaken its relationship to standards of safety within prison walls. That's not to mention the profit incentive to
convict and lock up more people prison corporations can exploit for cheap labour and whom they can charge the state (state as in Texas, etc.) to house. And who benefits from this erosion of state-guaranteed protection of citizen rights? Private companies. It's the same
dynamic with removing the provision on pre-existing conditions from the ACA. If they could disabuse themselves of the illusion that Trump will ever replace Obamacare with something functional, even his supporters would slowly realise that this is another of the protections
they enjoy being targeted so that private capital can swell itself, donate again to the GOP, and stomp on them even more. The Republican Party in particular loves to stoke culture wars and push cultural wedge issues to the fore, where they've been looming since around
2000, because they know a perceived position of neutrality or indifference makes someone a pariah on the left. 'Wokeness' demands actively spending time speaking out for, and being an ally to, demographics less privileged than oneself (which is of course the right thing to
do), but that's also time and cognitive capacity taken away from thinking about, studying, protesting and resisting the laws and economic policy that actually create inequity against minority demographics of race and sexual orientation to begin with. Prior to around 2000, the
political cleavage between left and right was defined primarily by differing attitudes to economic policy, with the left favouring greater regulation of business, strong state-provided welfare systems, and higher corporate taxes, with the right advocating for less
regulation, cautious spending on welfare protections, and lower corporate tax rates. Cultural issues like marriage equality, gun control and abortion were discussed, but were not defining features, to the extent they are now, of a political individual's left/right
self-identification. As these cultural issues become the key battleground upon which we spar, it leaves elites less scrutinised than ever before in their continuing and ongoing project to advance the neo-liberal economic agenda of the past 40 years. This agenda means placing
more power, and something similar to but surpassing the scope of human rights in the 'hands' of private capital, transferring wealth upwards under the false promise of stimulating growth, and embracing every other aspect of the laissez-faire, increasingly deregulated
free market hyper-capitalism that has poisoned the planet, decimated union leverage, and torn the social safety net to tawdry strands. It's terrifyingly clear that, to the monied classes with investments in both the media and the arms industry, that all humans weren't created
equal, and that the planet Earth isn't a shared habitat we all have claim to, but rather a saleable resource to be purchased from legislators who themselves have been bought, then wrung dead and dry and left dirty by the million and one externalities associated with
manufacturing, distribution, and waste disposal, and which those same legislators fail to task them with ameliorating by daring compel them to invest in greener technology. Our twin hopes for the biosphere appear to be increased public anger at the damage wrought by the
corporate transactional consciousness that has become the default operating system within structures of power, and the economic benefits companies are beginning to learn accrue from a switch to renewal energy generation and, only a shade more abstractly, from making sure
the atmosphere remains conducive to the survival of human life. We will have to wait a long time, though, if we expect the mainstream media to clearly tie together things like Citizens United, rampant election-buying, lobbyist drafting of legislation, and the premeditated
failures of supply-side economics in a neat bow, on air. No time soon will they broadcast a deeper explanation of how Trump's sweeping tax cuts conferred very little benefit on the average worker, while gifting billions of dollars to the oil and fracking concerns farting
greenhouse gases and other horrors into the air he or she breathes. Phillips 66, which has been fined for polluting San Pablo Bay, like Exxon (which released 10 million pounds of air pollution in Texas due to serious regulatory violations at a single facility), is a major
polluter and has thanked us for letting them trash our home by buying back its own stock, something that does basically nothing for the economy at large. Don't anticipate seeing a clear and sober breakdown of the deeply ingrained systemic factors that cause problems like
these, continue to impoverish ordinary people, and accelerate the Earth's race towards 2C over pre-industrial average surface temperature. Don't expect CNN or Fox to explain how and why politicians have become so deeply unresponsive to the desires of the electorate, or to
even make the effort to sketch out onscreen, as they ought to in the public interest, the network of corporate political donations that has led to a thorough hollowing out of formal democratic institutions. And you CAN say Congress is hollowed out because the GOP, to an even
greater extent than the Democratic Party, is not a party of public servants, but a political front organisation repping the interests of dense and highly powerful concentrations of private money. They're company men, and they behave the way big business would have good
puppets behave. Anyway, I look forward with great eagerness to MSM onscreen graphics for the match-up between Trump and Biden/Harris/Warren/Sanders against a backdrop sheet of roiling flame while heavy metal plays and a movie trailer voice legitimises Trump by asking 'Which
of these two normal candidates ROCKS YOUR WORLD THE MOST, DUDE?!'. But cynicism aside, I do hope we can get a Democrat in the White House because it's Democratic voters and progressives who may actually, this time, get really fierce about holding representatives to account.
'Our' side, at least, seems to possess some awareness that there is no time left.