As the saying goes, no matter how much lipstick you apply to a pig, it is still a pig. Such is the case of media reform. In the final analysis, it is a discussion about making the jail cell more comfortable.
No matter the nature or degree of reform proposed, media reform advocates are blind to the greater context out of which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arose. Surrendering the broadcast airwaves to corporate interests is the accepted narrative surrounding the Communications Act of 1934, enabling legislation that created the FCC. True as this narrative may be, a much larger political gestalt was in motion.
Put succinctly, the corporate media empires are large cogs in an engine of imperial war and conquest. This relationship was formalized by the Communications Act of 1934.
As much as the left tends to wax nostalgic about the1930’s, it ignores the largely covert war preparation program that was put into play by Roosevelt with domestic economic recovery, social uplift and job programs providing the cover story. Roosevelt implemented a sweeping mobilization of resources and programs to place the United States in a position to conduct a major global war in the Pacific and Europe.
Beginning with the Committee on Public Information (aka Creel Commission), whose World War I propaganda efforts are well documented in Chomsky and Herman’s Manufacturing Consent , the US government continued with both overt and covert efforts to regiment the public mind – aided and abetted by academia, media institutions and industry. Witness the extremely racist cartoons created in the 1930’s to portray the Japanese in the worst possible way.
If your intent is to move a population from a relatively pacifist or isolationist position to one that is supportive of a global war, then it would make perfect sense to place the broadcast spectrum in trusted hands RCA, Western Electric, etc. Certainly not labor unions whose definition of a bayonet is “a sharp instrument with a worker at each end”. Further, you sweeten the pot with the prospect of war profits according to some statistics, corporate America made $1,000,000 of profit for every US service person killed during World War II. Finally, you take the propaganda machine that has been running since 1916 or so and supercharge it once the war has begun. At the end of WW II this machine was not switched off, instead it was turned full bore on the American public. Many major media figures, both frontline journalists and corporate bosses, had prominent positions in this war propaganda apparatus. For example, William Paley, CEO of CBS, served as deputy chief of the psychological warfare branch of General Dwight Eisenhower’s staff. When that is not sufficient you buy journalists by the dozen as the CIA did in the 1950’s. Now most of them are such skanky whores they do not have an asking price.
Given the integral and vital role of media in creating and maintaining a hyper-saturated propaganda environment domestically and an ongoing campaign of media imperialism abroad one would have to be delusional to think that any degree of reform is going to fundamentally alter this reality, or be allowed to have any meaningful effect by the ruling elite. As long as reform is maintained as the only “viable and realistic” option available and its advocates can roam about their comfortably appointed play pens, underwritten by liberal foundations, then those who run and service this mechanistic Moloch to which all must be sacrificed in the name of profit and greed can rest undisturbed.
Further, most advocates of reform fail to recognize that every citizen of the United States is the target of an ongoing psychological warfare campaign. It is terra-forming of the human internal landscape. An old movement slogan had it right, “It is hard to fight an enemy who has an outpost in your head”. When someone is carpet bombing your mind every second, minute and hour of the day, blowing the hell of out of your sense of self-esteem, self-identity and self-worth, would any intelligent, free thinking person believe that media reform aspirin is the solution and cure? No way!
Yes, many worlds are possible. Only if we step outside our jail cells and reject the narcotizing effects of reform, however. Our only option is to continue to create our own systems of media and information. Massive campaigns of electronic civil disobedience on a global scale screw their broadcast regulations, intellectual property laws, v-chips, internet filters, self-appointed gate keepers, proprietary software, indecency standards and all other impediments to the free flow of news, information, ideas, cultural expression, and artistic/intellectual creativity. Stick your thumb in the Cyclopean eye of media monopoly and thought control. Hack the planet, hijack the starship!!!
STEPHEN DUNIFER runs Free Radio Berkeley. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org