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AdLib On February - 8 - 2010

After a Superbowl that symbolically saw the city of New Orleans make a statement of defiance and resilience against social and economic injustice, CBS (Corporate Broadcasting System) debuted a show that was a disturbing piece of pro corporate propaganda disguised in the sheep’s clothing (borrowed from Carly Fiorina’s media consultant).

So, in addition to promoting the hateful faux-Christian political group, Focus on the Family during the Superbowl, CBS used the valuable slot that followed the Superbowl with a segment from “Undercover Boss”

The superficial description of this reality series is that a corporate CEO goes undercover as a lowly employee to learn about and appreciate the lives of the insects…whoops… employees…under him.

What it represents though is pro-corporatist propaganda wrapped in the manipulative, humiliating, saccharine sweetness of “Queen For a Day”. You see, the corporate “Prince” (CEO) masquerades as a “pauper” (employee) to rub elbows with the unwashed and discovers…they’re actually human beings with real problems (some of which ironically have been caused directly or indirectly by their greedy employers).

The dynamic itself is insulting. In these times when CEOs and hedge fund managers have so devastated and continue to devastate the lives of what was a robust middle class, the concept that a series would present CEOs as warm hearted, compassionate “kings” of our society who may grant their “peasants” a favor out of their holy mercy…is a sobering roadmap for where the corporate “kings” of our society are charting course.

In light of the SCOTUS ruling which openly awards ownership of our democracy to corporations, the corporate plutocracy that has taken over our society needs to have ongoing propaganda to keep the peasants from using their strength in numbers to take back their wealth and country…the only strength the people have that corporations can’t overcome.

So, corporations and CEOs need to shape the perception of themselves as kind and gentle kings who should be loved and respected by their serfs. They need to be Tom De Lay on Dancing With The Stars. Be self-deprecating and humble on tv so they can shield their greed and ruthless acquistion of wealth and power from the American people.

For example, look at the phony “concerned American” T. Boone Pickens (who Dylan Ratigan celebrated last week by using Boone’s ass as a nose warmer) and his “Pickens Plan” .

As the book, Deceiving Americans For Dummies explains on Page 1, if you’re trying to present a plan as selfless, you don’t name it after yourself.

Greedy, egotistical creatures like Pickett just can’t help themselves. Even when they’re trying to cloak themselves in sheep’s clothing, they can’t help but put a huge wolf tattoo on it.

Why is Pickens, the greedy, polluting, destructive oil man who financed the hateful, lying Swift Boat ads against John Kerry, now our savior, only trying to help us to energy independence without any concern for his own benefit?

You guessed it, like all the bullshit that corporations and CEOs shovel about themselves, it’s another Swift Boat-style blatant lie just for public consumption.

The Pickens Plan is about changing our addiction to the limited fossil fuel, oil…to an addiction to the limited fossil fuel, natural gas.

Pickens has cornered a majority of the natural gas market in the U.S., along with using his money and deception to get state governments to grant him wide swaths of public land for “wind farms”…but somehow has ended up with the water rights for all of that land too.

As many nations in the world could tell you now, potable water is the oil of tomorrow, something that is quickly shrinking in supply thanks to global warming and the destruction of rain forests and nature…that has happened due to the use of and exploration of oil and gas and other plundering of the Earth.

Which was and still is Pickens original “plan”.

Pickens used his money to get a ballot measure in CA that would have only allowed natural gas powered cars and natural gas stations to be subsidized by the state, excluding all other vehicles and stations that used any other type of energy. It’s a credit to Californians that they voted the deceptively “altruistic” bill down which would have effectively smothered actual renewable and environmentally positive types of energy including plug-in electric and the potential for hydrogen powered cars.

When you see generic energy organizations or oil companies promoting natural gas in commercials on MSNBC, CNN, etc. with clear blue skies and happy families having picnics at big grassy parks, that’s Pickens rubbing his hands like Mr. Burns and sighing, “Exxx-ce-llent!”, hoping that his dream of a new monopoly on energy has just moved a little closer to reality.

What all of this points to is the ongoing propaganda assault on our nation by the unapologetically, greedy corporations and CEOs who, despite destroying our economy, won’t stop trying to shake the piggy bank until all of our nation’s wealth and democracy are emptied into their hands.

And IMO, the new, post-economic-crash phase of propaganda is in full swing, exemplified by the debut of this new series in a great time slot and cynically presented with a deceptive, populist theme.

Perhaps they should have titled the show, “The People Are Revolting” so that people on each side of the fence could have a definition they found most satisfying.

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."

28 Responses so far.

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  1. javaz says:

    The corporate take over of our country is disturbing and quite depressing.
    The blatant arrogance of corporations and the wealthy during these hard economic times is disgusting.
    What can “we the people” do to stop the level of corruption and greed?

  2. escribacat says:

    I wonder who is bankrolling “Undercover Boss.” By the way, I’m betting most of us could spot the CEO in an instant — most muckety mucks I’ve met have been completely helpless with the computer. They can barely read their own email.

    • SanityNow says:

      LOL, I worked at Frank Gehry’s studios in Santa Monica and then Marina del Rey, and he actually has someone print out his email so that he can read them each day. His assistant responds electronically for him. He could not stand even looking at a computer and this coming from a man whose success is fully enabled by the bleeding edge of design technology. priceless.

  3. SueInCa says:

    One thing about all the ads during the superbowl is that many people get so drunk they probably do not remember them. I went to a superbowl party Raiders against the Redskins and my sister’s father-in-law and I were the only sober ones there. There was probably about 35-40 people there and only 2 sober adults.

  4. SueInCa says:

    Adlib
    I did not watch it partly because after the super bowl I will not watch CBS anymore and partly because it just sounded stupid to me and more like a witch hunt for the corp masters than doing anything out of the goodness of their hearts.

    To try to portray them as caring “kings on high” I hope the American public truly gets that they are not.

  5. boomer1949 says:

    It’s the old “subliminal message” controversy all over again.


    Cue Twilight Zone theme. 👿

  6. kesmarn says:

    Well, all of us little worker bees had better be extra careful now, because the drone hummming away next to us might not only rat us out to the boss. He might BEE the boss. Let this be a lesson to us.

    Ah. Sigh. Nothing says “contempt” quite like slumming. So amusing to pass a bit of one’s time observing the little people. Gives one so much fodder for witty conversation back at the club. Didn’t lords and ladies playfully don costumes and pretend to be milkmaids and shepherds, just before the French revolution? It made for such pretty pictures. ‘Course it’s just possible it may have ticked off the real people who performed tedious and/or back breaking labor without any possibility of waking up and discovering it was all pretend. Hence that revolution thing….

    I suppose we’re supposed to be content with watching “riches to rags” week after week, since “rags to riches” stories just don’t happen any more out here in reality land.

    • AdLib says:

      Wish I had thought to include the phrase, “slumming”. It is contemptuous and demeaning, “Hey look, I’m driving my own car, like a peasant!”

      The problem with Americans ever rising up against their ruling class is that the art of market research has given corporations cutting edge insight into how to pacify and distract Americans.

      TV, video games, movies, music, sports, food, internet, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., they have many pacifiers intertwined in American’s lives so as their standard of living continues to decline, they can push a button and get instant “comfort” instead of remaining upset.

      I think in 1,000 years, it is unbridled capitalism, not communism, that will be looked back on as the most insidious system in history that dominated and stole wealth from the most people.

      • kesmarn says:

        Sorry for the long delay in replying, AdLib, b’ito, and Sue. Got called in to work. (The nerve of them. And the CEO didn’t bother to drop by and help out, either, darn him.) 😈

        You’re so right on all the myriad distractions that are dangled before our ADD-affected brains, AdLib. And I might add one more factor, since I see it first hand so often. Prescription anti-anxiety and/or anti-depression meds. (Obligatory disclaimer: of course, there is a legitimate use for these meds, and thank the Great Tweeter that they are available when they’re truly needed. However…) A drugged populace is a malleable populace. Powerful movements like the union movement and the civil rights movement came out of suffering. And that suffering was horrible suffering. But if we never allow ourselves to suffer--to feel the fear and anger that oppression causes--where’s the energy that drives resistance to that oppression?

        You could hardly believe the numbers of people who are on these meds. I see it every day. The only thing that really riles them is the possibility of losing their supply of pills. That will get ’em up and our of their recliners. Not much else, though.

        I glanced at a couple of websites earlier today that dealt with the subject of how people are coping with this recession. Apparently many of them are rushing to their doctors and getting Xanax. There were many references to whole offices of folks awaiting news of potential lay-offs and popping anti-anxiety meds while they were in the process of finding out who was to get the pink slip and who wasn’t.

        I have a feeling the not-so-lucky ones’ meds don’t get shelved during the job hunt, either.

        Like pain, anxiety and anger have their legitimate uses. They’re indicators that something needs attention!!

        So sorry for the soapbox rant. I realize I’m preachin’ to the choir here, but this worries me.

        EDIT: On re-reading your comment, AdLib, I realized you did mention pharmaceuticals in your list of distractions. Hope you don’t mind my late night expansion on the topic, though!

      • SueInCa says:

        There are many who have studied capitalism who agree with you. I do as well.

        • bitohistory says:

          Many Years ago when Khrushchev was meeting with Nixon, K said to N., you have everything you need, but it will be greed that brings down your country. That was one of my father, the trade-Unionist, favorite stories.Now Mr K. may not be the best source, but I think he saw something there. Greed.

          • SueInCa says:

            K was right too. Look what happened last year? Of course the people who dealt it are not suffering, but the rest of us are. How long before we take up the mantra against the corp? There are many more of us than there are of them……….

  7. bitohistory says:

    I did not know about he water rights were part of the wind-mill farms. I did know that he was/did run some grab on water rights in Texas. Funny he never mentions this point. Even odder no one even asks him.

    There was another add on the Superbowl that espoused the right wing cause, and that was the one on “Defeat the Debt” ad. The ad was dine by a group called the “Employment Policies Institute.” That sounds nice a friendly, a rel pal looking out for your job.
    That group is one of many that is run by a person by the name of Rick Berman. He runs at least 22 front groups, all right-wing/business.
    You may remember him from the Rachel Maddow show.

    What happened to the decades old rule by CBS not to run advocacy ads? Or should I say progressive advocacy ads?

    http://thinkprogress.org/2010/02/08/debt-berman/

    • Khirad says:

      Yup, he’s so not in this out of actual concern -- but “rational self-interest”.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks for the link!

      I was also upset at the car commercial that showed an eco-fascist America where only an American with a hybrid car was not assaulted. I mean, WTF? Trying to promote eco-friendly hybrids by portraying eco-mindedness as fascist?

      Yes, this shows what a greasy, slimeball Pickens really is. He spent lots of money and made lots of political contributions to sell TX on practically giving him public land that he vowed to build windfarms on.

      However…he insisted that he receive all mineral and water rights. Here’s an interesting article from Businessweek:

      If water is the new oil, T. Boone Pickens is a modern-day John D. Rockefeller. Pickens owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. As far as Pickens is concerned, he could be selling wind, water, natural gas, or uranium; it’s all a matter of supply and demand. “There are people who will buy the water when they need it. And the people who have the water want to sell it. That’s the blood, guts, and feathers of the thing,” he says.

      In the coming decades, as growing numbers of people live in urban areas and climate change makes some regions much more prone to drought, water

      • Khirad says:

        That commercial made me go WTF, as well. Like, aren’t you trying to discredit the very movement this car is made for?

        Wait a sec! hmm….

  8. SanityNow says:

    Thanks AdLib, great post.

    the grooming has been going on for quite some time but I can’t escape the feeling that the effort has been exponentially ratcheted up with the SCOTUS ruling. The most obvious example of undue corporate influence on public dialogue is clearly Murdoch’s News Corp in general and Faux Pneus specifically. Our fifth estate has been almost entirely subverted. Faux is the worst by far, allowing their “journalists” to mc partisan political events and hiring partisan pols to be the face of the network.

    The fact that CBS allows their network to be the mouth piece of Focus on the Family’s reactionary message, I think, heralds the comming of the challenge to Roe v. Wade. The SCOTUS seems all to willing and eager to reverse more hard earned precedent.

    And I think your take on Undercover Boss is wholly accurate.

    The grooming of America continues.

    • AdLib says:

      Yes, to leave Fox out was a big oversight on my part. They are the quintessential example of corporate and political control of the MSM.

      When the WH called out Fox for what it is, the propaganda arm of the GOP, the rest of the corporate media came out to attack him…because that’s their role model!

      So everyone is supposed to dance around the truth and adopt this co-dependent lie, even though everyone, including everyone at Fox, knows it’s a lie.

      It reminds me of how everyone kind of knew that pedophilia was going on by priests in the Catholic Church but it wasn’t politically correct to say it straight out. It could be joked about by comedians but never expressed by the MSM…until the story just couldn’t be hidden any longer.

      Fox News has two “correspondents” who could be Presidential candidates. Huckabee’s problem with the released criminal may have dampened his prospects but until then, he was a likely candidate. And Palin confirmed that’s an option for her.

      What “news” organization provides a pre-campaign platform for potential candidates who plan on running for president? What Dem candidate for President ever had such “help”?

      The so-called principled journalists who protested Fox being called out for being a sham, are destroying their own principles and profession.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I agree that Roe v. Wade is being positioned to be overturned. One of the most frustrating aspects of Presidential elections is that voters constantly forget that the person elect will appoint Justices and judges throughout the system. And that has many more far-reaching consequences that just what’s happening in the political arena, or even jobs, or the economy. It’s about who we are. I will try to find the article--I think it was in the New York Review of Books--a few years ago that stated it would take decades to undue the damage to the courts that the Bush Adm. caused.

  9. Chernynkaya says:

    When we first saw the ads for Undercover Boss, my first reaction was way off target: I thought the bosses were going to snoop on their employees and maybe find shit on them. I wasn’t paying attention. The next comercial i saw for it made me think: “Oh, good. Maybe now those CEO’s will realize how terrible their working conditions are.” BZZZT. Wrong again. My husband pointed out that’s not gonna happen. It ook reading this, AdLib, for my to finally say, DUH! OF COURSE this is propaganda/damage control by our corporate pus bags. Why didn’t I see that? Thank you for turning my eyes from the bright shiny object!

    • AdLib says:

      Imagine how bad the brainwashing attempts will get now when corporations own the MSM and can simultaneously spend unregulated billions in political ads.

      We are careening to the most severe crisis in our democracy since the civil war. A government that can’t function, except to hand wealth to corporations and that lacks the confidence of its people, will eventually destroy the integrity of this nation.

      There is a small window here for the Dems to step up and recognize how huge the gathering crisis is. If they don’t fix this in the next year or so, I don’t see how the corporations will ever be beaten back again.


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