Friday, December 23, 2011

Corporate-State Media Creating a Fool's Paradise

"FEAR" by Anthony Freda
William Bowles
Activist Post

Are we living in a fool’s paradise?

A question keeps nagging at me: Are all of us, including the left, reacting to an entirely engineered reality, fed to us via an all-embracing media? We get blown this way and that, all of it being determined by whatever ‘event’ the globalized media decides to feed us with. Then, just as ‘mysteriously’, the ‘event’ disappears to be replaced by yet another ‘event’.

The old Anarchist cry of ‘Do not adjust your mind, there’s a fault in reality’ takes on an entirely new kind of import given the power of the media to determine what’s ‘real’ for us.

What this means is that the media effectively acts as an agent provocateur for the state and big business as it decides for us what is actually going on in the world. In turn, progressives make decisions based not on what needs to be done, but as a reaction to the ‘news’ in a weird political version of the Heisenberg Effect.

Press coverage of the Summer Riots is a perfect example of this process in action whereby the media, by focusing solely on the violence and destruction, not only transformed it into a ‘riot without a cause’ but in doing so actually incited even more violence and destruction, just as ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) are worn as ‘badges of honour’ by alienated youth who actually go out of their way to get one (or two).

Aside from anything else it demonstrates just how out-of-touch the political elite is with the reality of life as it is really lived by a goodly chunk of the population; the so-called underclass.

Life as supplied to us is now an endless succession of ‘crises’ or public spectacles (the lines between the two often blur):
‘Ground-to-air missiles ‘may protect’ London 2012 games’ — BBC News, 14 November 2011.

In fact, the very nature of BBC’s headlines headlines betray the essence of how to report the ‘news’ as a succession of dramas to be played out, not in the real world that you and I live in but in the world created by a globalized, corporate media machine.

‘Crises’ are played out in the TV equivalent of ‘flaming’ (shooting off at the mouth without thinking). Dictators come and go… All but the dramatic essence is removed and along with it real meaning disappears. This is the triumph of television, the ability to be able to cut and paste reality in its entirety.

And the question, what of life outside the media-supplied ‘reality’ has been brought home to me by MSM’s coverage of the #Occupy ‘movement’. The left debates its relevance and its potential endlessly but within the confines of a media-supplied reality. All that’s solid melts into air, or in this case bits and bytes.

The #Occupy movement exists for as long as it grabs the headlines and for said headlines to work, an element of violence is an absolutely necessary ingredient for it to become ‘news’. But once the ‘confrontations’ are gone and the ‘struggle’ safely removed to the controllable environment of the High Court, the story is no longer ‘newsworthy’ except as a footnote to ’2011 – Year of Occupations’.

We are now literally, passive observers of our own funerals in a world of total media saturation and control. A world of endless tragedy but at a distance, mediated by an unseen hand and fed to us pretty much like an out-of-control soap opera, where events break and at first reporting is chaotic and normally wrong but as soon as the MSM has gotten hold of the ‘right script’ then ‘reasons’, ’causes’ and ‘solutions’ can then be inserted for each unfolding, dramatic episode.

Gaddafi’s tortured, broken and abused body presented to us as the rightful end to a ‘weirdo celebrity’, a victim of his own success and failure. First courted then betrayed, an epic worthy of a plot by Shakespeare.

The ‘story’ can then be handled as spectacle and for as long as it remains spectacle it’s a product that can be safely and passively consumed. In this sense the #Occupy movement has also become a victim of its own success. It plays out its life not in the real world but in that other reality, that the rest of us live in, the one supplied by the corporate media machine.

In turn this determines our relationship with it or lack of one. The media for example talks of how occupations or strikes affect the public, as if by some miraculous process, the occupiers or strikers are no longer part of the ‘public’. They’ve been relocated to media-land to live lives as ephemeral as the photons they are made of.

It’s for this reason that the question of the role of class in the proceedings rarely if ever figures in media-land, for if it were to explore the role of class with as much zeal as it explores the ‘role’ of violence, it would have to redefine its use of the word ‘public’ let alone violence. It would also have to reveal which side of the class divide it’s actually on.

If it’s true, and I think it is, that it’s working people who are paying the price for the crimes of the 1%, the ones who own the capital that (just about) makes capitalism work, then it’s a question of a struggle between two classes; those who own capital and those who don’t.

Currently the media represents the interests of the 1% of the ‘public’ that imposes its reality on the proceedings as if it’s ours. A reality in which certain fundamentals are a ‘given’, for example, the rule of private capital, the primacy of the state to act with impunity in all things in order to ‘protect our national interest’. In a phrase, the preservation of the existing order and way of doing things.

Even the tools that we now have including blogs, social networking and instantaneous video have proved to be very powerful tools of propaganda for the Empire. Tools that have been turned against us as is the case with Libya and now Syria.

The BBC’s use of video from cellphones–mostly unattributed and revealing nothing about what is actually going on in Syria–have become the staple diet of the BBC’s alleged news coverage of Syria, claiming that they’re not allowed into the country.

And ‘bloggers’ are now a regular feature of MSM coverage, which is fine except that only a couple of years ago, the MSM was ranting on about how ‘blogging’ was going to be the death of ‘professional’ journalism. If only…

But no more, the MSM realized that ‘reality’ video was the perfect tool of propaganda, as it appears that it’s ‘the people’ speaking. The BBC is merely relaying ‘reality’ to its public and in the process it accrues the authenticity needed to make it believable. To make it credible.

And in doing so, the MSM has jettisoned the last remnants of what it chooses to call ‘impartial and objective’ journalism.

The drama and (hidden) tragedy of the destruction of Libya was played out for us as if it were cinéma verité, all grainy footage and hand-held cameras swinging about wildly all over the place, inter-cut with BBC propagandists masquerading as news men standing in front of a weapon of death boasting to the viewer of its awesome fire power.

As the Empire acts with increasing impunity, so too does the media. The Media and the Empire in total lockstep.

William Bowles is an essayist investigating modern imperialism.  Please visit and support his work at


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To Think said...

The basic problem is that the controlled mainstream media still operates in a false paradigm- that they can control the information flow and through that control- set up any number of false paradigms to suit their controllers.
That worked in the past.
Now, whenever they lie (which is quite often), those lies are ferreted out instantly and they become the butt of laughter. A slowly collapsing credibility results, kind of like a huge iceberg slowly melting until it collapses into the sea.
It is the principal reason why the government has such a low approval rating and through that low approval rating and measure of hostility by the general population to same, the government, rather than doing the sensible thing and backing off from the insanity- reups the ante, thus making the scenario far, far worse. This must be what they intend because it lacks common sense and logic to do what they are doing unless the intent to create the hostility is real. A war on terror which emerged from Sergeant Schultz shooting himself in the foot has provided us with any number of theatrical security theater antics, none of which produces a dimes worth of wealth in a society which requires a huge amount of wealth creation to service and out of control debt.
Most of the propaganda and machination of the media is now being discreted and some semblence of the truth is peaking through the miasma.
Of course, the approach is never to tell the truth, come clean and operate transparently, sensibly and lawfully, but rather manifesting a further approach toward tyranny, a worsening of policies and even making delusion compulsory (pity the poor bastards who are not on psychotropics). The result is a population increasingly agitated and hostile.
A complete collapse of the mainstream media would be expected and encouraged by some, but the substitution of Max Headroom with a military hat and a red band around the brim would be going in the wrong direction.
I'll still take Simon Cowell and his ilk knowing he is part of the grand manipulation, but at least someone can entertain.
The Max Headroom guy will be without entertainment value.
A real crank and sick puppy.

Anonymous said...

@first poster - the problem is that the elite are aware of the whole dynamics of it and use it for their own advantage.

By focusing so much of their own coverage on low government approval ratings and a constant parade of corrupted scapegoats they make people believe that the MSM is on their side, separate from the government.

The media playing the role of the 'voice of the people' against corruption in government is what keeps the corruption going.

The media is the main outlet of the elites used to control politicians who aren't directly corruptible to continue the agenda.

The politicians themselves are meaningless and can be scapegoated and replaced with ease by those who control public opinion.

Those who have real power in the government are never really exposed by or to the media.

As the article says the media is in lockstep with empire, without the media that empire would crumble.

If we want real change we should focus on dealing with the media first as they will always seek to control our narrative and prevent any successful change.

The entire goal of the media manipulators these days is to sustain the system(or expand it) by framing all important issues in the ways they want people to think of them.

They can't stop people from disliking the government but they can control how people dislike it.

The low voter turn-out in Canada's last federal elections was due to large numbers of people not liking any of the candidates - but the media turned it into a big story about how it shows Canadians don't like all this constant political mud slinging of a minority government so we need a strong majority government so Canadians can go back to not having anything to do with their political governing other than being happy, angry or sad about it when the media tells them to be.

No doubt the current animosity for the government in the U.S will be spun to push a 'reform' agenda that will destroy the rights and freedoms of the American people even more - it already is/has with the NDAA.

Public support can't really can't get much lower and as long as the media keeps people controlled and passive so no armed rebellions break out you may as well keep going with doing things the public doesn't like.

They will keep pushing until the limit is found and the people finally break down and unleash violence - and by then they will have everything ready to deal with that violence as they have planned too for a long time.

Of course this will likely coincide with WWIII which will affect the outcome and the time-line and such profoundly.

But in my view the greatest fools are the ones who think they can control the outcome of that coming global conflict.

A human being is an unpredictable thing once outside the 'matrix of control' and capable of great violence, billions of human beings in states of agitated emotions(mainly fear) is about as unpredictable as you can get.

I don't think even nuclear weapons can guarantee the outcome of such a massive conflict.

But foolish self-perceived superiority can easily trump intelligence and commonsense.

Anonymous said...

I guess if we really want to send a message to the PTB and the media they control we should bring the tv to the curb and smash it. Maybe if a few million people did this on the same day it would make a statement more powerful than all the occupying in the world. It would give the media there violence so they would have to cover it. Just a thought from someone who dosn't watch TV.

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