The Curse of Infotainment

After the recent happenings in Boston and Texas, my mind started wandering through the cold-hearted landscape of mainstream media. This is where it landed:

A section of a U.S. city on lockdown during a huge manhunt for criminals suspected of a bombing. SWAT teams searching everywhere and reporters tripping over themselves to get entertainment – uh, I mean information – out to their customers. ANY information – whether true or not. It’s a disconcerting thought in a society that purports to be a democracy. I couldn’t help wondering why that much attention and that many resources aren’t expended on educating the public on the destruction of the U.S. Constitution – something that affects everyone in the U.S. in a big way. Or why stories on the sad state of the less fortunate in society aren’t on the front pages of newspapers and featured on television news programs. I wonder why the corporate media don’t give as much airtime when Muslims or young Black and Latino men are being murdered. Or, when homeless people are being denied health care and adequate housing.

It’s very sad that we seem to vary the values we place on human life depending on where they fit into society – as if life were a commodity. Oh yeah, that’s right. We live in that heartless system called Capitalism. Everything has value, with a number attached to it. How could I forget? We sell good health to those wealthy enough to afford it. We sell indoctrination and call it media, entertainment and education. People pay for an education and get tamed. Corporate media’s purpose is to soothe the beast of creativity. Obey and you might “succeed”. Observe protocol and climb the corporate ladder.

Since we allow pharmaceutical corporations to get away with mass murder by marketing unsafe drugs and fast “food” establishments to reap billions selling toxin-laden snacks to a mostly unsuspecting populace (especially in poor neighborhoods), do we really care about one another? Or do we like a good story? Would we find the resources to track down criminals preying on “undesirables”? Or are the ratings too low for prime time?

Now, I’m not talking about any specific subject in the media – racism, religious intolerance or poverty – as important as they are. I’m talking about the way that corporate media jumps on the bandwagon of controlling information in a way that keeps attention riveted on certain issues. There are two aspects to this strategy.

And, it IS a strategy. Don’t fool yourself that it’s some natural process.

One part of the strategy is that it diverts attention from the fact that OUR government has been purchased – at a discount price – by corporations and, specifically, away from the horrible deregulation corporations purchase from corrupt politicians to bypass important legislation designed to protect people. From environmental disasters to manipulation of elections to disposing of safety and fairness regulations, corporate criminals are feasting on the carcass of our former democracy while the working class pay the price.

For example, the corporate media went at the Boston bombing that killed 3 innocent people like rabid mongrels who’d been starved for days. Why was there relatively so little attention paid to the explosion in West, Texas in which at least 15 innocent people were killed (the majority first responders) and over 200 injured? It left a crater 93 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep. Isn’t that entertaining enough, America? Of course, I’m not dismissing the horrible tragedy in Boston. Any time people are senselessly murdered and maimed we need to express the love and compassion necessary to move forward with healing. It’s an extremely painful process that takes time, patience and understanding. I just can’t help being concerned with why we don’t care as much about a PREVENTABLE disaster like an industrial accident as we do about the “disasters” that wealthy people want us to pay attention to. And that brings me to the second aspect of the manipulation of information by corporate media. They spend much more time on the disasters that corporations can profit on instead of the disasters these predators need to show responsibility for. It’s about the money, the driving force behind most of what goes on in this selfish, possession-obsessed world we live in.

Why do we allow this to happen? Why don’t we like to question our masters over their deranged fascination with deregulation? Some people think; ‘Well, what’s wrong with corporations taking care of corporations? They’re people, too, right?’ Is it because we’re too busy worrying about people from other societies “attacking our way of life”? The way of life in which people are thrown away if they are too disabled, too poor or too old? The one in which almost the entirety of society is expected to work most of their lives to provide comfort and luxuries for a few people who rule over them? And then, after decades of paying their due, have to worry that their small, ineffectual safety net is going to be stolen by purchased politicians doing the bidding for those same people? The way of life in which more than 16 MILLION children live in poverty and where about 10,000 people die each year due to gun violence? We’ve all got to do our part to protect this system where human life is a commodity exchanged on the big board Monday through Friday from 9 to 5.

How long will people continue to believe we live in a civilized society? How long will we stay blind to the savagery of a system in which guns are better protected than some people? (Basically obedient, non-White, non-Christian/Jewish). And, where many disabled are left to fend for themselves. In which some children are forced to go to school without proper nutrition and be relegated to the darker corners of society for not being able to compete with those given what EVERY CHILD NEEDS AND DESERVES. I’m not sure what’s worse – that these things exist or that so many people aren’t aware of it.

Mohandas Gandhi was once asked about “Western civilization”. His reply was “I think it would be an excellent idea.” Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much after all these years in the land of the “me” and the home of the enslaved.

17 comments on “The Curse of Infotainment

  1. You have drawn some nice parallels to ponder over

  2. Reblogged this on Awaken Longford and commented:
    Excellent post….

  3. Arthur Silber has a recent post about the culture of obedience in America, “This is what the experiment in Boston revealed, and this is what those in power now know. I often refer to America today as an “obedience culture,” and this is a powerful and perfectly awful demonstration of what I mean. And the Boston experiment? That was a test to determine how diligent Americans have been during their obedience training. They passed with very high grades.” Here’s the link: http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2013/04/obedience-training-boston-experiment.html

    The corporate media has been tasked with keeping us chasing the tail that wags the dog. They want to avoid at all costs an educated and politically active populace. Thus, we get unending fear and insecurity instilled of “terrorists who hate us for our freedoms.” We get divisive dialogues regarding immigration, gay rights and gun control (at least in the U.S.) that take our eyes off the ball while the global capitalists are heading to the end zone on the other end of the field. You’ve made some good insights here that are sadly lacking in our national discourse.

  4. Interestingly, I just read and commented on your essay, “The Citizen Who Came In From The Cold”. Great writing. Thanks for the comment. Yes, the manipulators are very clever. Sadly, much of what their underlings do and say can hardly be called clever and it’s very disturbing that it works very effectively. It’s difficult to be hopeful that the human race will evolve beyond this pathetic level of unconsciousness when you see what passes for “civilized” behavior and leadership. Deregulation has led to a consolidation of media in the U.S. that has suppressed the voices of most of society. In N.Y., we had a newspaper (The Village Voice)that was known mostly for music and the arts, but had relentless investigative journalists who went after the truth and never fell prey to the democrat/republican game of manipulate, divide and conquer. It was purchased by Rupert Murdoch and, eventually, had all its teeth pulled. It’s still around, but doesn’t provoke thought the way it used to. The “divisive dialogues” have varied over the years, but the song remains the same. Divert attention away from important issues and clog up the airwaves with putrid nonsense. I will check out the post. Thanks.

  5. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve heard of the Village Voice but have never actually seen a copy or read it…another bygone era in America.

  6. It was full of reviews of, and ads for, local music shows, Broadway plays, art exhibitions, festivals, museum exhibits – things of that nature – but had a couple of investigative journalists who dug deep into events the PTB didn’t want anyone to know about. They published the Pentagon Papers in full and many government commission reports that were ignored by mainstream media. They would regularly do “report cards’ on charities to show which were authentic and which were crooked fronts for the CIA or corporations and expose various corporate/government scams. They published an extensive story on the October Surprise of 1980 in which the Reagan/Bush campaign team met with members of the PLO, Iranian students who took hostages from the U.S. embassy in ’79 and Israeli soldiers and made a deal to sell weapons to Iran if the students held the hostages LONGER to help Reagan win the 1980 election against Jimmy Carter. (George Bush Sr. himself met with them in Paris at least twice). I could go on. They made powerful enemies. It’s a shame it’s gone. Now, people like us have to pick up the slack. Thanks for doing your part. Peace.

  7. P.S. I almost forgot. I read that blog post by Arthur Silber. Excellent. Thanks.

  8. I made an error when I said that the Village Voice published the Pentagon Papers in full. I confused two events. They published the Pike Committee report in its entirety in 1975 – 76. It was a House Select Committee investigation of the effectiveness of the CIA and the interaction between intelligence organizations and the White House. They were concerned the Legislative branch was unable to conduct proper oversight. (An amazing case of wanting to do their job!). Congressman Pike and his staff didn’t go through the “proper channels” so were called anti-establishment and not given “access”. Nat Hentoff, one of the bulldog journalists on the Village Voice staff, was instrumental in the N.Y. Times publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. A team was working on the story in secrecy and the editor wasn’t sure about chancing publication. When a story about the report ran in the Voice, the Times figured they had to print it or someone else would. Sorry about the confusion. I don’t want to be like CNN or Fox and print false info!

  9. Thanks. I enjoy your blog – perspectives that don’t get heard in corporate media.

  10. There is definately a lot to know about this topic.
    I love all the points you’ve made.

  11. Thank you for the comment. Yes, this is a very sticky subject to discuss with people. So many of us are conditioned to accept what the corporate media tells us that we’re forgetting to question the integrity of what they report. Ever since 2003 when Fox Propaganda Inc. won a lawsuit that allows media outlets to ascertain the veracity of their “product” it has been legal to broadcast lies in “news” programs.

    A very sad state of affairs. You can read about that historic lawsuit in an essay on my blog entitled “The Day The Truth Died.”


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