Lies, Damn Lies, and the Media
By David Swanson [print_link] March 22, 2010
We need independent media. Is that not yet crystal clear? The strongest grassroots community organization in the country, ACORN, has been swatted away like a fly through the endless airing of fraudulent, badly edited, and irrelevant, but salacious video clips. Elected officials or electoral candidates succeed or fail at the whim of the media cartel. And the biggest lies of all are buried so deeply beneath the hot news stories that they’re almost impossible to see. Does or does not Iran possess nuclear weapons? That question hides the insidious assumption that if a nation possesses nuclear weapons, then our nation can and should launch an illegal war of aggression against it. Or at least our nation should have a debate over how best to take action against our “enemy,” a debate that will represent us all because it will include two political parties.
This is the biggest lie of them all: the system works. Vote for this corporatist war party or that warmongering corporate party, and you will have played your role well. The system works. The president makes the laws. The Congress gets in the way. The two parties are significantly different from each other and represent our views. News stories that include the views of both parties are complete and admirable journalism. The journalism itself has no viewpoint at all. The role of a citizen is to support politicians and parties.
Imagine if Bush wanted to try alleged terrorists in court (as in fact he did). All the Republicanites would have cheered (as in fact they did). Imagine if Bush had pushed a health insurance bill written by the industry and had cut deals with the insurance and drug companies. Imagine if Republicans had called a private program for 3% of Americans a “public option”. All the Democratites in the country would have denounced the whole thing as a scam. The problem with “balanced” reporting is that those who consume it pick one of the two partisan positions presented and follow it as if they’d thought of it themselves. This mindless obedience is going to destroy us all.
We need independent media, meaning sources of news that are independent of either political party. We could easily find the money to create it right now if we chose to make that a priority. We will do so or we, and this republic, and the world as we know it will perish . . . in horrible pain, with a grin on our face.
Author’s Bio: David Swanson is the author of “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union” by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to “The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush” published by Feral House and available at Amazon.com. Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee.
Taking care of the media is way overdue
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