FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The State of the Media Union

by NORMAN SOLOMON

My fellow American media consumers:

At a time when news cycles bring us such portentous events
as the remarkable wedding of Britney Spears, the advent of
Michael Jackson’s actual trial proceedings and the start of
the Democratic presidential primaries, it is time to reflect
upon the state of the media union.

The achievements are everywhere to be seen and heard.

On more than a thousand radio stations owned by the Clear
Channel conglomerate, the programming quality is as reliable
as a Big Mac.

In cities and towns across the nation, an array of outspoken
radio talk-show hosts can be depended on to run the gamut
from the mushy center to the far right.

Television provides a wide variety of homogenized offerings.
With truly impressive (production) values, the major
networks embody a consummate multiplicity of sameness, with
truncated imagination and consolidated ownership. These
days, there’s a captivatingly unadventurous cable channel
for virtually every niche market.

A few naysayers like to disparage our system of mass
communications. Yet overall, modern free-enterprise media
outlets are the best that money can buy.

In 2004, those who scoff at the transcendent future of new
media technologies are like those who greeted television
several decades ago with cries of “idiot box” and “vast
wasteland.” The cynics failed to trust those who would be
enriched by the emerging medium.

Today, let us not be bound by old concepts of national
boundaries. The global village is being wired with fiber
optics; the power to consume is now in the hands of
billions.

In an era of international understanding — when everyone
from Peoria to Belgrade to Beijing knows the meaning of
golden arches or a Nike-brand swoosh — commercial
expression has become a kind of global lexicon in a language
gradually redefining what it means to be human. For the 21st
century, from one shining sea to another, a manifest
corporate destiny is upon us.

Leaving no pixel unturned, entrepreneurial genius has found
endless ways to innovate on behalf of the eternal quest for
more capital. Just as the highest monetary achievers among
us have learned to seem to do good while doing
extraordinarily well for themselves, the TV networks teach
us that the most pristine values are to be achieved by, not
coincidentally, spending money. Every priceless moment, as
MasterCard commercials have often reminded us, somehow seems to coincide with financial expenditures.

To better live in a society that treasures individuality,
you can learn how to be more in step with everyone else who
matters. Glancing at a TV screen for scarcely more than a
second, you have the potential to absorb the latest data
from key stock-market indicators as well as glimpse snippets
of headlines crawling across the bottom of the screen,
absorb computer-generated graphics, listen to voices, hear
background music — and, of course, keep an eye on the big
picture.

But with all media privileges, my fellow American consumers,
come responsibilities. Some technologies are being abused to
bypass commercials on television, suppress pop-up ads on
line and resist legitimate efforts by sponsors to replace
your unduly iconoclastic sense of reality with lucrative
facades.

Yet let us be candid. The legends of corporate-driven
community, laid down by conventions of commerce and
politics, are suitable for compliance with never-never lands
of public pretense. Contrived narratives that provide
maximum profits can have little to do with authentic
experience. To guide the expenditures of time and resources
for enhancement of cash flow, our powerful institutions must
function as arbiters of social meaning.

First among equals of those institutions are the powerhouses
of mass media. As Marshall McLuhan observed, “All media
exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and
arbitrary values.”

These are revolutionary times, media outlets often remind
us. All over the planet, mass marketing boosts cultural
products to digitize the future. In the binary mode, you’re
either with it or you’re not. Media consumers of the world,
unite! You have nothing to lose but your brains.

NORMAN SOLOMON is co-author, with Reese Erlich, of “Target
Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You.”

 

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail