FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Free Press? There’s No Damn Thing

It’s appropriate that the cable news airs so many Viagra spots just now. Consider what Viagra ultimately is about. So-called erectile dysfunction, of the sort that often as not accompanies performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is the kind of thing that snowballs, whether in sex, sports, or any other performance medium. It’s arguable that National League fans chanting Darryl Strawberry’s name as a taunt — Dar-ryl! Dar-ryl! — was a root cause for Mr. Strawberry’s repeated run-ins with the law. Just because he likes a little rock, he’s a walking punch line for every Sportscenter anchor and sleazy stand-up comic within range of a live mike. Kick the man when he’s down, why don’t you? Never mind that Straw was so over twenty years ago that UTFO recorded “Chocolate Strawberry” in homage to the slugger and what he represented to Mets fans. Long limbed grace, a sweet, natural swing. The potential to be one of the greats.

But, of course, Darryl Strawberry is a joke. Easiest thing imaginable to slap him around in absentia. Like masturbating, or taking liberties with a corpse, or calling plays without a defense. The willingness of so many in the national media establishment to take joy in Strawberry’s problems with laws relating to substance abuse — I don’t see any crack dealers putting him in jail — reflects an elemental cowardice in the corporate media caste. A willingness to destroy the powerless, to mock human suffering, to reflect their sponsors’ interests by way of selling American citizens on so many despicable lies.

But I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before. And it’s goddamned un-American too, in case you’re keeping track of such things. Better to front like you’re facing some moral dilemma as you decide what street gang gets your protection money. Crips or Bloods. US or UN. Focus on the uniforms and the signs of authority, and don’t ask too many questions. Because it’s like Katherine Graham said, there are some things the people don’t have the right to know.

Or maybe it’s more like how John Swinton put it. The former Chief of Staff of the New York Times, in 1953 [the figurative dawn of the national security state], claimed that “there is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”

Of course, most everyone reading this knows Swinton is telling the truth here. We see the Democrats wrestling their consciences, only to take a fall for the payoffs of defense contractors, and for their continued incumbency. We saw the media establishment run like hell from Cynthia McKinney, painting her as a radical because she dared to ask questions about what the hell was happening to her country. Those creatures of conscience within the two major parties, and the media adjuncts thereof, reduced her to a caricature, so invested they were in this tapestry of lies that pre-dated most of their births.

A tapestry of lies, also known as the political center, that place where nothing matters except business. It’s always been far easier to stone the heretic to death than to examine exactly why it is someone bothers with heresy. There’s no payoff in it. As soon as you get heard, you’re offed by one intelligence asset or another. But then you get lionized in eulogy, and all your opponents — saw-toothed jackals with complexions like freshly-waxed floors — extol you as a voice for peace, diversity, or some other abstraction trotted out by statists to convince people that their blood, sweat, tears, and expended belief wasn’t a complete waste of time, energy, and life itself.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI, author of Unfortunate Incidents [Diversity Inc, 2001], welcomes comments at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.

 

More articles by:

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail