Posts Tagged ‘mainstream media’
by stuartbramhall in Mind Control and Disinformation
Guest post by Joan Mootry
Below is a comment Joan Mootry had censored when she attempted to post it at the “alternative” news site OpEdNews. As she notes below, only Part 1 was printed. Part 2 was deleted. Be sure to check out her articles and links at the end.
Comment submitted by Joan Mootry on March 17, 2013 on this article:http://www.opednews.com/articles/Opednews-Policies-On-Banni-by-OpEdNews-admin-130314-312.html#comment424753Reply to laurie steele: OEN’s History of Censorship and Banishment…Part 1/2
As a new member of OEN, which then touted itself, as it still does, as publishing “liberal, progressive, socialist and revolutionary content”, I was shocked to be flagged twice as a “truther”, one of [editor] Rob Kall’s many dismissive labels. I had simply pointed out evidence about 9/11 that contradicted the government’s story.Since then I’ve repeatedly seen that OEN’s stated objectives have nothing to do with its actual practice of censoring and banishing, keeping its focus well within corporate-media’s parameters. Most of what Rob ridicules and suppresses are not “theories” or “conspiracies”, as he would have you believe, but are provable coverups. For just one example, HAARP is real and is linked to weather-radar NexRad-type installations functioning all over the world. But we are forbidden to discuss this on OEN, just as it is verboten on mainstream news (MSN). That would be anathema to the corporate state and many of Rob’s advertisers.“Speculation” (ie. contemplation or consideration of a subject) is encouraged by OEN, but only within the media-manufactured faux right/left-left/right paradigm. God help those inquisitive minds that speculate beyond MSN’s and OEN’s boundaries on topics such as 9/11, Sandy Hook, Aurora, aerial spraying (chemtrails), Chris Dorner’s murder, and other real issues. Rob maligns us with ugly names like “flaming anti-semites, right wingers, racists, crazies, sock puppets, dupes” and even “murderers”. Another nasty OEN ploy is that of accusing people of “promoting their own agenda”, a phrase used to condemn opinions outside of OEN’s own rigid “agenda”.Part 2/2OEN’s History of Censorship and BanishmentThe best sources for truth and substantive questions that I’ve found on OEN are those intelligent writers that are invariably banned. The banned include, but are not limited to: Ruth Hull, Tracy Turner, Janet Phelan, Robert Singer, Malany Blaise, Steven Erickson, Michael Rose, Sandra Valley, Brett Redmayne-Titley who resigned to protest censorship, Ned Lud, Georgianne Nienaber, Andrew Winkler, Sibel Edmonds, Rady Ananda, Timothy Gatto, John Doerami…perhaps 20 more and counting.Ruth Hull, one of my favorite writers, simply attempted to support the notion of Chris Dorner’s right-to-trial. You know, that inconvenient 6th Amendment issue that the LAPD ignored, with full approval of MSN and apparently OEN, too, because it got Ruth banned. Meryl Ann Butler, whom we see here repeatedly cheerleading OEN’s narrow positions, was in on the outing. Thankfully, many of these valuable “OEN banned” are publishing elsewhere, such as at Activist Post, Veterans Today and other well-known sites.Will I be banned for speaking up? I would be in good company:Google “America’s So-Called Liberal Alternative Media – Some Are MSM Mini-Me’s” by Tracy Turner (OEN won’t allow a direct link to it). http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2013/03/13/mcdonaldization-news-media-hollywood-telGoogle “OpEdNews Ranked Among Top 100 Blogs, Why?” by Mark Powell (OEN won’t allow a direct link to it.) http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2011/01/03/opednews-ranked-among-top-100-blogs-why
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media
I have recently returned from a week in Australia, where I was pleasantly surprised by the extensive coverage of “current” (government) affairs on mainstream TV and in the major newspapers. Current affairs programming is very much lacking in New Zealand, as in Canada and the US. For younger readers, who may be unfamiliar with the concept of current or public affairs, these were programs and/or newspaper articles offering in-depth investigative reporting and/or diverse views on important aspects of public policy. The PBS program Bill Moyer’s Journal, which aired for the last time in April 2010, was an excellent of current affairs programming.
Prior to the corporate consolidation of the mainstream media, all the major American TV and radio networks, including PBS and NPR, offered at least a half dozen current affairs shows every week. Most featured wide ranging debate between experts and “analysts” representing a wide diversity of perspectives. In the last two decades, this diversity has totally vanished from the mainstream airwaves and major dailies. Instead what we get is universally pro-Wall Street and pro-corporate news and opinion. Given that most federal policy is pro-Wall Street and pro-corporate, it’s also strongly pro-government .
Because most western democracies have experienced the same media consolidation as the US and Canada, I expected to find more of the same in Australia, especially as the main news item for the week concerned the privatization of education (i.e. the diversion of taxpayer money to support private schools). Over the past year, this issue has also received major media attention in the US – both in the form of attacks on teachers and teachers’ unions and unabashed boosterism for (publicly funded) privately run charter schools and (publicly funded) voucher schemes making taxpayer money available to parents who send their kids to private schools. Thanks to major lobbying by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch Brothers and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US media has been pretty unified that poorly funded, poorly performing inner city public schools should be punished by having their funding cut still further – if not instantly shut down and transformed into privately run charter schools.
The Gonski Report and Public Funding of Private Schools
In Australia, in contrast, the mainstream media is far more willing to look at factual evidence, i.e. what statistical studies actually reveal. The issue of school privatization was all over the Australian news last week owing to the release of the Gonski Report. The Australian government commissioned prominent businessman and philanthropist David Gonski to undertake an analysis of why student academic achievement is declining in Australia. The report’s conclusions were unequivocal: 1) student achievement in well-funded government and private schools meets or exceeds international standards, 2) by age 15, students from poorly funded schools are more than two years behind their well-off contemporaries, 3) the only way to improve academic achievement in low socioeconomic schools is to increase per-pupil funding to the level of well-funded (government and private) schools, and 4) Australia has no hope of maintaining its global economic dominance with a large uneducated underclass.
Funding Education: An Economic Investment
Given that similar studies in the US, Canada and New Zealand show that students in poorly funded schools perform worse than their counterparts in well-funded schools, these findings and conclusions seem eminently logical. Mind you Gonski isn’t some bleeding heart liberal urging better funding for low socioeconomic schools because of his progressive ideological beliefs. This is a prominent industrialist asserting that improving the academic achievement of all Aussie children is an investment in Australia’s economic future.
Australia’s mainstream press was quick to pick up on number four – the importance of educational reform to the country’s economic future. An editorial in the August 27th Sydney Morning Herald is an excellent example. Recipe for Education Apartheid starts out “The achievement gaps between rich and poor exposed by Gonski are nothing less than a national scandal.” It’s typical of the commentary I read in a number of papers and watched on Australian TV. Can you imagine reading something like that in the New York Times? It wouldn’t happen.
Could you even imagine the Obama administration ever funding a Gonski-type study? Forget it. That wouldn’t happen, either. The President, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, supports an aggressive school privatization agenda and is too busy pressuring states to transfer even more money from public to unproven charter schools. As with most of Obama’s neoliberal agenda, there is big money in privatizing public programs and transferring taxpayer dollars to private corporate coffers. We’ve already seen it with his giant insurance and drug company welfare program known as Obamacare and with his rapid “corporatization” of the US military, resulting in the transfer of trillions of taxpayer dollars to dubious private contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton.
American Readers Abandon the Pro-Corporate Dailies
Even if the US government (or one or more states) did undertake their own Gonski study, we could count on the mainstream media to bury it. American academics have performed numerous studies that definitively link public school funding with achievement, as well as documenting low academic performance in low socioeconomic students who attend charter schools. None of this receive mainstream coverage. The mainstream media is too busy pushing their pro-privatization agenda to care about the evidence.
It pleases me immensely to see the American public wising up to to the pro-Wall Street propaganda peddled by the corporate media. Big city newspapers are dying like flies, as former readers flock to the Internet to find out what’s really happening in the world. I call this poetic justice.
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media
RT reports on a recent Gallup poll showing that only 20% of the public trusts the mainstream news, owing to bias and bungled reporting and the rise of citizen journalism (i.e blogs like this). They quote one viewer who says something’s terribly wrong when there are major revolutions occurring across the globe – and the main headline on all the mainstream outlets concerns the break-up of Tom Cruise’s marriage.
If video won’t play go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLW_VOciufY
“Bias and bungled reporting on US news networks are behind plummeting audience numbers, according to the Gallup Poll. RT’s Marina Portnaya looks at a cutting-edge project that’s encouraging ordinary Americans to drive their country’s news agenda instead.”
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, End of Capitalism, Mind Control and Disinformation, The Global Economic Crisis, Things That Aren't What They Seem
What Does Collapse Look Like?
“Collapse” could mean the collapse of the US dollar or economy, the electrical or telecommunications grid, food distribution or all of the above. It could also mean the breakdown of federal political authority into local or regional units or of law and order into major civil unrest. In contrast, most analysts view failed statehood as something less extreme – a mere breakdown in specific governance functions.
People look to historical models of collapse – usually the Soviet Union, which fell apart suddenly, or Rome, which decayed slowly over centuries. Looking to the USSR as an example is confusing, in view of increasing evidence that Americans were misled about what the Soviet “collapse” really looked like. It’s true that Gorbachev and a lot of Communist bureaucrats were thrown out of power; that most of the Soviet republics broke away from Russia; and that state support of factories, collective farms, hospitals, and oil and natural gas production ceased.
However clearly the KGB (the state security apparatus) remained more or less intact and, under the new name Federal Security Service (FSB), remains firmly in control today. In fact, it’s no coincidence that Vladimir Putin, Russian’s prime minister and once and future president was a career KGB officer between 1975 and 1991. Or that most of his KGB cronies, who (with FBI support collusion) came to control most of Russia’s wealth as leaders of the Russian mafia and/or private entrepreneurs. (see http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/04/news/international/powell_KGB.fortune/index.htn and http://www.stoptheftaa.org/artman/publish/article_36.shtml).
Also see http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1078954.html. This is a Radio Free Europe site, but the fact that the CIA most likely wrote it makes it even more revealing.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind people of the billions of dollars of US and World Bank loans that disappeared into the pockets of the Russian mafia during the nineties.
The Gradual Decay Scenario
I personally believe American’s demise will be gradual – like Rome’s – unless food shortages or a major catastrophe, like Katrina or the BP oil spill, triggers mass insurrection. However unlike Rome, I believe we are looking at something that will occur over than decades, rather than centuries, owing to the increasing scarcity of essential resources like fossil fuels, water, topsoil and fertilizer. All that will happen is that more and more middle class Americans will find themselves leading third world lives, as they adjust to chronic joblessness, overcrowding, substandard housing, hunger, water shortages, and the illnesses (and early death) associated with such living conditions (TB, hepatitis, meningitis, whooping cough, measles, asthma, pneumonia, and infant diarrhea). At the same time, more people will die in extreme weather events (heat and cold waves, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires) associated with global warming.
Implications for Activists
As Vaknin, myself and others have noted, the mainstream media doesn’t report on the federal government’s failure to perform governance functions – or the increasing shift of political power to states, cities, and to a limited extent, citizen groups. Justin Raimondo wrote last week at Antiwar.com that our media is a branch of government. They don’t want us to recognize the declining ability of the US government to govern or our own increasing power. They want us to believe we are totally helpless and powerless and that our organizing efforts are destined to failure.
This means activists must consciously reject the attempt by government and the media to re-shape their reality. As Noam Chomsky insists, the power elite prefers to govern by controlling our consciousness. They create an illusion of democracy, through censorship and and disarming us psychologically with highly sophisticated propaganda. Their increasing reliance (since 1999) on police violence and direct repression (open government spying, repeal of habeas corpus, invasive airport searches and targeting of citizen activists with FBI raids and grand jury investigations) suggest the softer ideological methods are no longer work. In other words, they are a clear response to the growing strength of civil resistance movements.
by stuartbramhall in Attacks on the Working Class, Challenging the Corporate Media, China Watch, Mind Control and Disinformation, The Global Economic Crisis
The British government has become nearly as sophisticated as the US government at releasing some massive fluff piece – such as the engagement of Queen Elizabeth’s grandson William (which happened back in October) – to distract public attention from more serious, potentially damaging news. Of course, the US media is delighted to jump on board, as recent events in the UK are also extremely embarrassing for the US.
This week we have a two for one – with two bits of bad news that need to be camouflaged. The worst is the multi-million dollar settlement the British government is paying (during a period of severe austerity cutbacks owing to the alleged debt crisis) to seven former Guantanamo detainees who have sued the government over the complicity of British intelligence in their detention and torture. The second item – the possible collapse of the economies of Greece, Ireland and Portugal and ultimately the euro itself– isn’t particularly embarrassing. However it may have serious implications for the health of the British economy, which is closely tied to that of Ireland.
Multimillion Pound Settlement for Ex-Guantanamo Detainees
It appears the British government had no choice but to approve the settlement to the ex-detainees, after the court hearing their lawsuit released documents in February revealing that Binyam Mohamed was subject to ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment while being questioned at Guantanamo. And ordered the release of 500,000 additional intelligence documents. It appears the US government put strong pressure on Prime Minister Cameron to approve the settlement – to avoid further “strain” on the relationship between British intelligence and the CIA. The justification Cameron gives for the settlement is that asking British intelligence to review 500,000 documents would simply waste too much time. (see http://www.france24.com/en/20101116-britain-pay-compensation-guantanamo-detainees-0)
The EU Debt Crisis
The issue of the potential Irish, Greek and Portuguese default is more complicated. And while most Americans don’t seem terribly interested in the European Union debt crisis, they should be. As our government borrows money – and pays interest – to the same bondholders (i.e. Goldman Sachs) to cover our massive government debt.
The headlines suggest that Ireland, Greece and Portugal haven’t been keeping up with their debt repayments – which isn’t true. All that has happened is that Goldman Sachs has raised the interest they charge on the bonds they issue to finance government services in these countries. If you are a good country like Germany and cut back government payroll and services, you get charged 2% on your bonds (on money Goldman Sachs is borrowing from the Federal Reserve for 0.24% or less). If you are a naughty country like Ireland, Greece or Portugal and try to preserve your pension schemes and keep your public employees in work, you get charged 8-10%. Everyone agrees these countries couldn’t possibly keep up with their debt repayments at the higher interest rates.
There is some speculation that the higher interest rates are in retaliation to a threat by German prime minister Angela Merkel to “take action” against bond holders (i.e. Goldman Sachs) who “bet against” weak euro countries by jacking up their interest rates. It sounds like an awesome idea to me. I really hope the EU follows through with this threat.
There was an emergency meeting in Brussels yesterday of European finance ministers to explore an emergency EU/International Monetary bail-out of Ireland, Greece and Portugal.
The Chinese Offer to Stabilize the Euro
Funny no one mentions the offer by Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao during visits in October and November to purchase Greek, Portuguese and Spanish debt to keep these three countries from defaulting. I get the idea this option isn’t very popular among the EU leadership (see http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69112L20101002 and http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/85d8c5ec-e9d8-11df-9725-00144feab49a.html#axzz15Pp5Gufx).
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, Inspiring Moments in Resistance, Mind Control and Disinformation, The Global Economic Crisis
The above title is an example of a novel international counterculture offensive called “culture jamming” or “meme warfare,” popularized by the Vancouver-based Adbusters Magazine and Adbusters Media Foundation (https://www.adbusters.org/). A “meme,” as defined in Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn’s 2000 book Culture Jam, is defined as a unit of information (a catchphrase, tune, fashion, philosophy or politics) that leaps from brain to brain. According to Lasn, memes compete with one another and can alter behaviour, catalyze collective mindshifts and transform cultures. In Lasn’s view, meme warfare is about challenging the mental stranglehold of the advertising culture, reversing America’s suicidal consumer binge and launching a revolution that ultimately frees us from the corporate stranglehold over society, government and our lives.
Culture Jamming: the Movie
Culture Jamming, which I first saw in 2004 and is one of my favourite all time films, gives real life examples of culture jammers in action. As they take a common media messages or images (on billboards, for example) and tweak them a little to call attention – in a humorous and mind blowing way – to the bullshit the media bombards us with on a daily basis. And simultaneously remind us of some unspoken truth the media is trying to conceal from us.
For example Adbusters has redesigned the American flag with corporate logos (I got one free with my subscription) instead of stars:
Here are some other familiar Adbusters images:
The film Cultural Jamming also taught me that you don’t have to belong to a group to participate. A lot of individuals use stencil art – on trash cans, construction site fences, vacant buildings, etc. – to deliver culture jamming messages. When I get depressed, I sometimes indulge in a little culture jamming myself (like a woman in the movie), by writing culture jamming messages on address labels (for example, “Sorry I destroyed your planet”) and sticking them on trash cans and telephone poles and in phone booths and other prominent locations in New Plymouth’s central business district.
I also culture jam by incorporating the following footer in all my emails, lest people forget the US government monitors all their communications:
NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice, and certainly without probable cause. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse other than petitioning your elected officials and exercising your constitutional rights. See: https://ssd.eff.org/ for solutions.
Adbusters‘ Call for Revolution
When Lasne talks about revolution, he means it. In fact the last two Adbusters – which call for an international Carnivalesque Rebellion Nov 22-28 (a “tsunami of global dissent”) – are quite literally about revolution. Both describe in a graphic and detailed way the strategies and tactics of revolution. The most recent issue, for example, contains some very thoughtful discussions about Black Bloc tactics, about creatively reinventing civil disobedience to increase its mass appeal, about the role of vandalism as “an intentional mode of aesthetic expression,” and finally about the controversy regarding the role of violence in civil protest – including commentary from Hannah Arrendt, Ken O’Keefe and Gandhi himself about instances in which a violent response to authority is absolutely indicated (I have recently read a fascinating book, 1968, by British author Mark Kurlunsky describing instances in which Martin Luther King allowed the use of violence in protest marches to increase media coverage).
However most striking in the current issue are numerous full page images of demonstrators from around the world confronting armed, violent authority.
The Adbusters blog is also well worth a visit: https://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters It talks about the potential of building on the growing unrest in Europe (funny how poorly the Sept 29th general strike in Spain and large anti-austerity protests in Belgium, Greece, Iceland and elsewhere in Europe have been covered in the US media). Adbusters find it particularly significant that Portugal’s largest union has called for a general strike for Nov 24th – right in the middle of the Nov 22-28 Carnivalesque Rebellion.
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, The Global Economic Crisis
The “D” Word
I am in the process of launching a new 12 step program (along the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous) called Deflation Anonymous. The aim of the program is to help Wall Street analysts and mainstream journalists overcome their terror of the word “deflation” – and their denial that the US economy has entered a deflationary spiral.
During the first 12 months of the economic downturn, the mainstream media refused to use the word at all. In the last 8-9 months, they have had no choice, especially since major corporations – such as Kroger foods, Costco, and Walmart have publicly blamed “deflation” for a drop in corporate earnings last year.
In the last 24 hours I have heard the “D” word four times – in reference to a 2% decline in New Zealand grocery prices (over one year), “deflation” in the Chinese real estate market, “deflation worries” causing yesterday’s 1% drop in the Dow Jones and now a split in the Federal Reserve on whether we actually have “deflation” or are only “verging” on it. The latter really surprised me. It seems the Fed should have anticipated they would create deflation when they reduced the money supply by 9.6% (with ten percent less money in circulation, people have ten percent less money to spend and retailers have to reduce prices to move their products).
The US media still studiously avoids the word without qualifying it. They hedge by referring to “deflation worries,” a “deflation threat,” or “verging on deflation.”
My absolute favorite, though, is “deflation recognition phase,” which Internet commentators have used a lot this week. This makes me very optimistic the condition can be cured – thus my new 12 step program.
Why is Wall Street So Terrified of Deflation?
In essence deflation is negative inflation, a steady decline in retail and producer prices (oh yes, both the producer price index and the consumer price index have fallen every month for three months). The term deflationary spiral refers to a chain reaction in which lower prices and profits force employers to lay off workers and reduce wages, which further reduces consumer demand because people have no money, which leads to even more layoffs and wage cuts.
Economists who advocate aggressive anti-deflation measures usually point to the Great Depression and to Japan. Many theorists blame the Great Depression on ten percent overall contraction in prices and wages. And people might be surprised to learn that Japan – the world’s second largest economy – has been in a deflationary spiral for thirty years.
Deflation has resulted in a lower standard of living for most Japanese. Most workers have experienced wage cuts. However the government of Japan has pursued a deliberate policy of keeping unemployment low. Everyone works and earns lower wages. However their money keeps earning more because of falling prices (in many cases the price remains constant but the size of the soda can or candy bar keeps getting bigger).
The Problem of Massive Corporate Indebtedness
Based on the Japanese experience, I have the impression that deflation will be moderately painful for average Americans. Where the real suffering will occur is in banks and other corporations (and individuals) which are massively in debt. The dollar amount of a one million dollar debt remains constant, even though that million dollars is much harder to come by (owing to decreased revenues, profits and access to credit) and even though the relative value of that million dollars has substantially more buying power.
I have a feeling individual Americans will simply walk away from their debts when they become unemployed or their wages drop substantially (as they walked away from their subprime mortgages when the value of their homes plummeted). It is much harder for corporations. And after decades of cheap credit increased the wealth and stock prices of corporate America, many companies carry massive debts they can only repay with a US dollar that continually declines in value owing to inflation.
In a deflationary spiral, many of these companies will either go bankrupt – or come to the federal government for more bail-outs.