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June 03, 2006

Let's Try Hard To See What's Right In Front Of Our Face

What is it that the U.S. media is trying to accomplish? If the main, overriding purpose of the mainstream press is to help people learn about the world, we'd be seeing headlines like this:

70 Members of 'Wash Post' News Staff Accept Buyouts Over Flawed Pre-War Iraq Coverage

By contrast, if the main, overriding purpose of the press is to make as much money as possible for its owners, we'd see headlines like this:

70 Members of 'Wash Post' News Staff Accept Buyouts (So Post Corp. Can Cut Costs and Enhance Profits)

Which of these headlines is real, and which is a made up fairy tale?

Which of these possible purposes of the press is real, and which is a made up fairy tale?

I hate to yammer about this over and over and over again, but progressives are never going to get anywhere with the media if we keep believing in fairy tales. It's not enough to criticize Santa Claus for not bringing us presents. We have to face the fact that, no matter how many thoughtful debates the Ford Foundation hosts on "The Role of Santa Claus in Democratic Societies," THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS.

I realize this makes everyone sad. It makes me sad too. I don't really miss god, but I sure miss Santa Claus.

Nonetheless, if we truly want the presents, we have to face reality. And the reality is we will only get the presents if we make them for ourselves.

Posted at June 3, 2006 10:20 AM | TrackBack

I sure miss Santa too...I can't stand reading another 'news report' about how business have to fire people so the CEO's salaries can be increased --all in the pretense of 'free-market' and 'cost-benefit appoach'. Today's it was about Heinz and how 'job growth' was weak this month! If you a poor or middle class person, you know that the 'job growth' has been weak for some time. There is a reason for that: ability to exploit people! Goebbel would be proud of our 'media', but we should be ashamed.

Posted by: Dimitria at June 3, 2006 11:42 AM

It's a long, long way to "people before profits," and I can't see enough motivation or momentum to get us there. Perhaps a major disaster (bigger than Iraq! as hurtful as the Great Depression! more traumatic than Pearl Harbor!)will open the door.
What's the matter with Kansas? Hell, what's the matter with the whole country? The blue state liberals at NY's law firms and brokerages are as hooked on capitalism with an inhuman face as the red state hunting types.

Posted by: donescobar at June 3, 2006 12:03 PM


Breathe. The progressive movement is coming. More people understand what you are saying than you may at first expect. Nurture the seeds now and the crop will be here before you know it.

There is a Santa Claus. It's the human principle of self-organization, it is a network effect that creeps up slowly and it is totally unstoppable because of its distributed nature.

Where are the best places to plant or nurture. Get one blog up and running in ever voting district in america. I don't mean one for each US house representative, I mean the smallest subdivided voting district. Help these people to report on local conditions and who is responsible for life in their 5 square mile area of the world. Help them coordinate their conversations with each other and direct their communities to talk with each other.

Get this first step running and the seeds of truly national political non-party non-coporate consciouness will follow. Society has become disconnected from itself, seed the ground to aid humanities natural desire to connect with each other and the lorax will return.

Posted by: patience at June 3, 2006 01:33 PM


I think it's a different kind of attachment. The blue state money shufflers and Davos attendees are really nihilists of a sort--they'll swing with any system that gets them to the top and guarantees a certain lifestyle. Capitalism does it for them, so two cheeers for the big C. (Three is only for me, me, me.)
The red states types connect to the big C because they somehow believe that Capitalism is democracy and that God is on the side of big C. Even their populism is a capitalist version. What else do they know? Tom Frank got it right in both books, especially in "One Market Under God."
I'd like to see signs of hope. On a small scale, I read of small victories. But who could link them and create a movement? Not any party I can think of. Maybe the rot at the top can't be removed, only painted over.
"The whole fabric of society will go to wrack if we really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions. From top to bottom the whole system is a fraud, all of us know it, laborers and capitalists alike, and all of us are consenting parties to it."
And that was Henry Adams in 1910!

Posted by: donescobar at June 3, 2006 03:52 PM

"The whole fabric of society will go to wrack if we really lay hands of reform on our rotten institutions."

...yeah! See what happened in Iraq? Forget beating butterfly wings and storms in the other hemisphere. We've got brush-clearing in Crawford and anarchy in the Middle East!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at June 3, 2006 04:13 PM

You guys need to go to church more. Then you'd know that peace, joy, and love (let's not worry about justice) are waiting for us in the next life, not something we should be looking forward to in our time on earth.

Posted by: Freddy el Desfibradddoro at June 3, 2006 04:49 PM

Times are a changing. The innernet IS the new media and there's no turning back.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 4, 2006 12:07 AM

Jonathan, never say never though you are probably correct that the news media will not change and I agree with this because of the simple fact you cannot change human nature. You can write constitutions, pass laws, begin grass roots movements but all are ephemeral in the end, all accept human nature which never seems to change.

All the little household gods
Have started crying, but say
Good-bye now, and put to sea.

W.H. Auden

Posted by: rob payne at June 4, 2006 02:05 AM

Actually, Jonathan, Santa Claus is only supposed to give you your presents if you've been good all damn year, and being good all damn year (as any reader of Little House on the Prairie will remember) actually required an awful lot of work.

Posted by: Saheli at June 4, 2006 03:49 AM

Hehe, a break from beating up on MSM: Chomsky speech speech at West Point to military cadets on among other things "Just War" being streamed on CSPAN2 right now (booktv logo). This link worked for me:

Posted by: sk at June 4, 2006 10:19 AM

"Regular red state people are screwed harder by our present set up even than regular blue state people."

Jon, do you live in a city? I have a blue-state itinerant in my back yard. My next-door blue-state neighbor has AIDS. I fall asleep to gunshots.

(I'm actually being mugged AS I type this...)

I know the rural poor (i.e., Kennedy's "kids who never drink milk") are a large part of the secretly-screwed of America. But MOREso? I don't know about all that.

Posted by: Sully at June 5, 2006 09:29 AM