I’m sure this is no secret to anyone who reads this blog, but I lost faith in the media a long time ago. I find myself reading news less and less, mainly because the news we have access to is propaganda mouthpieces for billionaires. Like checkout this video from the H3 Podcast, reviewing a recent mashup of local news sources, owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.
It’s just like Ethan points out; we’re living in a real life 1984. We see thousands of news anchors, all reading from a prepared script, telling us to be wary of fake news. -rolls eyes- It’s like, oh really? Yeah, there’s all kinds of fake news, including this. Journalists? Give me a break. You’re literally actors, reading from a script. The question is, who is writing this script, and what’s their agenda?
This is where MIT professor Noam Chomsky can enlighten you. These organizations are owned by powerful elites who are using these media outlets to manufacture consent. What most of us see as “news” is really carefully crafted propaganda, meant to convince us that the correct courses of action in our democracy are those that are in the self-interest of a network of powerful corporations and billionaires. This is true of CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, whatever it is.
How do they manufacture consent within the public? They have a variety of tools, but to deal with the relatively educated, intelligent, 10-20% of the population, they:
- Select the topics and issues we pay attention to
- Emphasize some things over others
- Frame the issues in a biased way
- Filter out information that goes against their agenda
- Bind the debate and limit discussion within certain guideposts
They engage in a wide variety of activities. They create and destroy social movements, justify wars, frame the discussion around financial crises, spur on ideological currents, control our record of ‘history’, and mold or psychological picture of reality, just to name a few.
For the remaining 80%, they want to distract you with things that don’t matter, and pit you against your neighbor. They want you caught up in the left vs right nonsense, fighting over various issues that have no tangible influence on the real power structures.
This idea that media is out to inform the public and protect us from power is baloney. They don’t serve the public. They’re not out to help us make better decisions. They don’t want us engaging in the political process, not in any real, meaningful way. You have to realize the main aspects of the mainstream media.
- Who owns these news organizations?
Giant corporations and billionaires.
- What is their end-goal?
Profit. Journalism takes second place to making money.
- How do they earn money?
Advertising, which sells the products of large corporations to news viewers. Media costs a lot more than consumers are willing to pay, so who fills the gap? Advertisers. So who do news corporations actually serve? Their advertisers. Just like Facebook, news corporations are selling a product to their advertisers — YOU.
- Where does the information they report on come from?
Everything that’s interesting comes out of big corporations and the government. I doubt you’re interested in the day to day life of some everyday person, such as what Billy Bob is doing while he tinkers with his lawn mower in the garage. Most everything that’s interesting in the world is coming out of big corporations or the governments of the world. So in order to get the inside scoop of what products are going to be released, the tech involved, or even what’s going on within the government, news outlets need access. But what if they get Apple angry at them by writing up bad reviews? How will they get special information access on the next iPhone release? And what if Apple pulls its advertising? Think of the loss in profits. Or similarly, if they alienate their sources within the government, such as powerful senators, etc., those sources won’t appear for interviews and so forth. So the system itself breeds complicity. They have to play along or they go out of business.
- How do they control this information?
You can’t patent common ideas or general public information, so how would a news organization protect its product? First they must choose which information they’re going to disseminate and frame it in a way that appeals to their base. Next they have to isolate their base from other conflicting sources of information. Why is this? It’s the same reason religions demonize everything outside their cult. It breeds loyalty. Don’t get your information from them! They’re lying to you, they’re biased, they’re untrustworthy. But us? We’re fair and balanced; unlike those other guys, we’ll tell it like it is. This is why they play up the left/right false dichotomy. It both gets people fighting with one another, breaking up public support on important issues (which is in the interest of the billionaires profiting from the current setup), and also breeds loyalty to their product.
This is a rotten system. Whenever you’re reading or watching the news, keep all of this in mind. I only watch the news out of curiosity, wondering what their current agenda is, and what distractions they’re using. But I don’t trust any of it. The mainstream media is garbage.
I don’t think we’ll ever get honest information as long as we live in a capitalist society. It’s all profit driven, and that creates this nasty incentive structure that is inherently untrustworthy.