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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

May 29, 2005
Politics and the Press

Democrats need to pay attention to their voters. And not just the ones being "organized" by grass-roots and other movements. They need to pay attention to those who need them most...the people too busy working three jobs in order to survive to have time to pay attention to political nuances.

And all the time, not just because an election is nigh. Politics is about more than elections. It's a pity the Democratic "leadership" forgot that, isn't it?

Consolidating our national media and creating just a few national (or multinational) corporations ruled by bureaucracies has consequences.

According to Parry, journalists have learned to be afraid. While the rest of us were going about our daily business, working, raising kids, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, and paying our taxes, a war was going on behind the scenes and the side spending the most money won.*

Actual journalists couldn't have been terrorized into silence instead of reporting the truth if their corporate owners hadn't given them reason to think they'd be fired for doing it. I assume the conglomerate "media corporations" looked to where corporations always look...the profit bottom line, and decided that playing footsie with the conservatives was more profitable than taking a principled stand.

The Left, having lost its backbone somewhere during the Carter years, allowed itself to be cowed by a claim it knew was untrue, the myth of the Liberal Media, and skulked in the corner quietly, afraid to speak up for what it believed in for fear of being accused of having bias...as though bias in and of itself was some kind of bad thing.

That left the neocons free to bully the national media into timid submission. (Not that it took much bullying. Once you start consolidating media outlets, you create huge conglomerates and big companies are always inclined toward conservative protectionism.)

It goes without saying that one big media outlet with a backbone and the courage to expose the behind-the-scenes shenanigans could have blown the entire scam wide open, but corporations aren't about courage. They're about profit and maximizing market share.

Anyhow. As soon as they taught the public that celebrity gossip was "news," they were in gravy. Toss in the occasional shaggy dog or runaway bride story and you have a "news" machine that's never going to run out of fuel.

I'd like to think the Internet is changing a lot of that, but between the people who can't spend hours every week looking for real news, instead of the 5-second soundbite on their television, and the loudmouthed wingnuts, I'm wondering for just how long the trend will continue?


* We all know it. In this country; everything is for sale. That's what you get when you accord corporations the status of "persons" with all the political and legal rights of actual people, you know? In a system of pure capitalism, them what has the money has the power. Using the profits generated from the labor of 10,000 individuals, these "corporate persons" buy legislation that favors them, to the detriment of the individual laborers.

I don't mind a system where there's balance between corporate interests and the interests of real people, but I do mind a system where real people are considered disposable, replaceable rodents in a cycle of consumption that exists only to make large, influential corporations ever larger and more influential.

What kind of warped sense of values do you have to have to think that corporate profit is the measure of a healthy society?

While I'm at it, I might as well admit that I don't think there's anything wrong with Marx's theories. They've always made a lot of sense to me, in the abstract. The one thing that they overlook is human nature. When you take that into account, the history and the fate of the Soviet Union were givens.

Unhappily, the propaganda around "godless communism" has shoved our political system (and economy, you really can't discuss one without the other) too far to the Right and totalitarianism. The current Administration is a nice example of that, cracking down on individual liberty and personal freedom and rewarding massive corporate interests for the "economies of scale" that mass-production and mass-employment produce. (Ignore the people from the Right giving you blah-blah-blah about the Republican Party's support of rugged individualism. If those people had been watching their party for the last 25 years, they'd be Democrats by now.)

In real life, I prefer balance, leaning just a bit to the Left, as the system most likely to provide the most benefits to the most people.

I have no idea where I was going with this except now that I glance over it, I realize I'm about to be added to some government watch list, but whatever.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:27 PM


As a dyed in the wool capitalist I would like to make a point that is often over looked: corporations are a violation, by design, of the basic rules of capitalism.

A corporation is designed to reduce risk, while risk is the major governor of the capitalist system. It is risk that justifies profit. If the risk is limited, so should the profit.

Real capitalists, like small business owners, are at a decided disadvantage trying to compete against all of the special privileges granted to corporations.

Posted by: Bryan at May 29, 2005 07:21 PM

You're quite right, of course. I tend to confuse "pure" capitalism with the corporate structure so pervasive here in the USofA.


Posted by: Anne at May 29, 2005 08:47 PM