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AdLib On September - 3 - 2009

tv-talking-heads
Yesterday, the top headline screaming in 40 point electric red font on the most popular progressive political blog focused on one of the most important issues facing the nation, namely, Diane Sawyer taking over for Charlie Gibson.

Later that day, it was bumped as the lead story to share the revelation that like everything else, college tuitions have gone up and are harder to pay for.

As with 24 hour news channels, the most popular outlets for news are like addicts who need a current supply of potent substance to keep their viewers habit going.

I exempt PlanetPOV from being such a news junkie, this site is opinion based and for good or evil, there is and will never be a shortage of opinions in this world. But sites and stations that are news delivery vehicles have to either create or generate news when current events won’t cooperate.

Thus the exacerbation and exploitation of fringe accusations is presented as news. Mundane or celebrity related stories become breaking stories.

In today’s MSM (and that includes popular news websites as referenced above), sensationalism is what they serve, not the people. Quarterly profits, not the people.

The reason that the founders made the very first amendment to the Constitution freedom of the press was that they saw the Fourth Estate as the Fourth branch of government. If the other three branches became corrupt or failed the people, the press would be the final safety net to protect our democracy from being lost and/or dominated by the wealthy and powerful.

How then does it affect this safety net when the media is owned by the very people it was meant to be a last best protection from? Back in those days, the press was an independent entity, not owned by corporations (which didn’t exist then) but independently owned. There was no way for the Founders to have foreseen that events would develop where business entities were declared “people” and were seen as such in the eyes of the law…only, BTW,  when it was beneficial to corporations that is.

Consider for a moment if I asked you to give me your savings and I’ll invest them for you to make lots of money for you. But instead, I gambled with your money and gave myself all the profits while assigning all the losses to you. When you asked for your money back I’d explain that though I made a fortune by managing your savings, your money was all lost because I depended on the kindness of other gamblers to take care of it and they didn’t.

As a human person, I would be in jail for fraud and slammed with a massive lawsuit.

If I was a Corporation “person”, I could obviously not be jailed since I wouldn’t have a physical body and since I have financed the elections of people who make the laws and have made the laws so that my behavior has been classified as a common and acceptable business practice, I can not be sued either.

In fact, since those elected officials rely on me to be re-elected, they allow and declare me to be “too big to fail” and actually give me MORE of your money to make up for the other money of yours I gambled away but I don’t have to give that money back to you! And, I still have my profits from when I gambled with your money! I love capitalism!

The wonderful documentary, “The Corporation” dedicates a portion of the film to analyzing the behavior of a “person” that is a corporation as if its behavior was that of a person that was flesh and blood. The conclusion of the  analysis of a corporate “person”s traits, decision making,  responses, etc. perfectly fit the clinical description of  a sociopath.

Now, if sociopaths are running what used to be the last chance protector of American’s democracy, where does that leave us and our hopes for the future of our nation? Are we to be resigned to drowning in fear-inducing hysteria, celebrity gossip and political scripts of propaganda as our “news” for the foreseeable future? Has investigative journalism and the press legitimately challenging elected officials just become quaint nostalgia?

Not exactly. As President Obama’s election has demonstrated, the organizational and informational power of the internet has by default emerged to fill the very shoes of an independent press that was relied on by the founders to safeguard this democracy if all else failed.

The preponderance of blogs, bloggers, independent webzines and journalists throughout the internet form a Great Wall of public expression and participation in our democracy that can’t help but be respected by politicians and officials. Many stories and exposes have occurred solely because of individuals writing articles on the internet.

We are inestimably fortunate that at a time when corporate control and domination of our media was becoming complete…the internet surfaced and flourished.

Had it not been so, we might today have no choice but to be living in the deepest, darkest depression this nation had ever seen with no end in sight, mourning the passing of President McCain and packing our bags on our move to Europe before President Palin was officially sworn in.

As much as one may have criticisms of President Obama, that alternate reality would be a tad bit more of a freaking nightmare.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

10 Responses so far.

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  1. KQuark says:

    AdLib boy does this headline from the Associated Press exemplify your point.

    “Liberals push Obama to make gov’t-run health care”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090905/ap_on_go_co/us_health_care_overhaul_senate

    For fuck’s sake! The AP is basically using the right wing talking point implying a robust public option will give us a government run healthcare system.

    Also “liberals” are pushing him. What the fuck? 75% of the country wants a public option to compete with private healthcare insurance.

    The article is more or less just an update but the spin in the headline is dastardly.

  2. VegasBabe says:

    I’m beginning to feel saddened with Huffie. I really enjoyed blogging over there but your absolutely right, they’ve gone corporate and there’s no turning back now. Everything I read there I must now accept with a grain of salt. But this is why blogging is so important with decent places to seek information. So many here choose different sources and outlets which can be shared not only with accurate reporting but opinions. I haven’t watched network news in years. And Diane Sawyer is no enticement for me either. The other thing about them and what boggles my mind is the salaries they demand. Who needs 15 mil a year to report the news? I don’t get it!

    • AdLib says:

      I wrote a few articles a while back exposing the hedge fund takeover of HuffPo and my perspective on the site just being about “clicks and dicks”…meaning, all that matters at HuffPo now is whipping up anger with misleading headlines and articles to get people clicking and visiting the site and keeping hostile trolls (some who seem on salary) to upset progressive bloggers so they will spend a lot of time on the site sparring with them.

      IMO, HuffPo is all about money now, how much can they generate for their hedge fund owners. They no longer are a genuine progressive site, they are a corporate business that wants to make money off of progressives, a big difference.

      I see no loyalty to progressive principles in their exploitative headlines nor their censorship and manipulation of bloggers.

      Still, there are people there, as there are at other blogs, that I like and it is worth occasional visits to see and chat with them.

      But as a site that has given such an anxious embrace of corporate sensibilities (kinda like Arianna flipping overnight from right wing ideologue to liberal crusader…almost like a mere opportunist…nah!), HuffPo now needs to be taken for the inauthentic site it is but tidbits here and there may still be worthwhile.

      I rarely go there but by doing so and being able to reconnect with friends like you (and invite them to come to a non-corporate, truly progressive site, he said modestly), it has its uses too.

      That’s just it, when it comes to HuffPo, I occasionally use it, I don’t allow it to use me.

    • KQuark says:

      Again Huffy attaches it’s Main page to a WSJ article. No one has to read the WSJ anymore all they have to read HP.

  3. nellie says:

    This is my big axe and I could grind it all day.

    I no longer get my news from any of the newspapers. Even McClatchy is letting us down these days. It seems our news can be reduced to four categories:

    1) What somebody says. Okay so, maybe sometimes somebody says something that actually changes the world. But it’s really rare. These days, the news reports running piss offs between various high profile people. Useless.

    2) Crime reports. Interesting, like a train wreck. But these events affect a very few people. And usually the news value is looky loo only.

    3) Opinion. The worst of the lot. Great for blogging. Great for analysis. But dangerous. Because opinion can pass for facts and evidence and investigation. Which it does a lot of these days.

    4) Celebrity gossip. “Celebrities can include news anchors, movie actors, politicians. It’s news about peccadilloes and triumphs and one upsmanships. It’s useless. I don’t need to know anything more about Gov Sanford than that he was AWOL.

    So these days I get my news from the Cabinet websites. And I know a lot about what’s going on w TARP, the ARRA, health care, business, the military, and just about anything else I’m interested in. Add to that the congressional legislation watch website, and I’m set. I rarely see anything on news sites that I haven’t found in my resource sites. Unless it’s an item from 1), 2), 3), or 4).

    • AdLib says:

      Excellent comment!

      Now that the “WMD” MSM has failed us, we now have no choice but to be personally responsible for seeking the truth now.

      Just as we take personal responsibility for our daily lives, we have incorporated American Democracy as part of our daily lives too.

      It’s a shift in mindsets but really for the best. Americans needed in the past to look to the press to protect our democracy. Thanks to the internet, we no longer need to…which is a good thing because they are all, in one way or another, corporate tools, not tools of democracy.

  4. Kalima says:

    I go weeks without turning on my TV to watch either CNN international or the BEEB, I’m so glad that I know how to utilize my remote ON/OFF switch. Living in a big city like Tokyo, there are enough things around me to cause stress, I will not add to it by the mass hysteria that sometimes comes out of the box. When really depressed, I won’t even read my newspaper or watch my ITunes Podcasts, I want to become a grumpy “old” broad, not just another statistic buried in a western cemetery here.

    • AdLib says:

      I honestly can’t remember watching the network evening news but I know I did. I watched Dan Rather on CBS for years and often looked forward to 6:30pm to get the day’s top stories.

      That seems like another life ago. I remember watching Nightline early on too.

      I still watch 60 minutes though the puff pieces seem to be getting more plentiful.

      I also remember as nostalgia watching CNN for the news. Then migrating eventually to MSNBC.

      Even so, on a daily basis, surfing the web how I get my news now. The MSM has disqualified their legitimacy.

      The truth is out there.

      We’re Moulder and Scully now and our job each morning is to wake up and seek it out.

  5. KQuark says:

    “The Corporation” is a fabulous documentary and should be standard viewing in high schools and colleges.

    You are sadly correct the forth estate is on life support if not dead already.

    I see more and more Huffy mainlining stories from the WSJ and the student loan story was one example. Huffy is a fraud, they are a corporation and are hypocrites because their bottom line is the same as any corporation even though they act like advocates of the people.
    Their current meme is to suspend right/left thinking which really means they will attack anything that will give them more clicks and giggles to make more ad revenue.

    Our nighttime pundits are not much better. Sure I prefer MSNBC because they have more progressive pundits but again their purpose is to create more controversy and outrage to satisfy their audience over reporting news. The whole fact that MSNBC is owned by huge defense contractor, investment banker and polluter GE reveals their hypocrisy.

    In a flash of irony and hypocrisy Huffy wrote a story about how Obama chose a lawyer to work in the EPA who once was hired to defend GE in a Superfund pollution case. Of course the knee jerk outrage people bashed Obama based on the outrage Huffy was trying to generate. I pointed out that if GE were such polluters why don’t Rachel and Keith quit based on progressive principles. That shut people up in a hurry.

    • AdLib says:

      I’ve watched “The Corporation” several times, including times I showed it to friends.

      As I mentioned in a comment above, there is money to be made off of catering to progressives and a corporation need not share their sensibilities to exploit them.

      GE is essentially a war criminal as a “person”. Yet, they have no loyalties greater than quarterly profit reports so they are happy to be prostitutes and tell us how wonderful we are as long as we leave the money on the night stand.


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