March 28, 2005
The New Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian
Yesterday was "1984" Day on BuzzFlash.com, honoring the two Georges who have brought us into an Orwellian world of double speak. One of them created the Stepford world where lies trumped history in a novel. One of them brought that novel to life in America.
Today, is "Corporate Media Knee Pad Day" on BuzzFlash.com.
America will not change unless the way the White House's current misinformation and propaganda is delivered by a compliant mainstream media is dramatically and positively altered. Their loyalty is to their shareholders, not the citizens of America.
The granddaddy of books on the rise of the corporate media is "The New Media Monopoly," by Ben H. Bagdikian, dean emeritus of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. The Beacon Press printed a completely revised and updated edition with seven new chapters a few months back, with praise from Eric Alterman to Joe Conason to Robert McChesney. Bagdikian was the Jeremiad who alerted Americans to the journalistic disintegration of the professional news services of the United States. He lived long enough to see his nightmare become a reality and update his book.
With foresight, Bagdikian opened his groundbreaking book with a quotation from a federal judge: "In this job, you have to ask the questions that tend toward greater fairness. Without the right questions, you'll never get the facts that will lead you to better answers." Does the modern corporate media even have a clue as to what are the right questions that lead to fairness and integrity in reporting?
It's "expose the corporate media day" on BuzzFlash.com. They aren't journalists anymore, for the most part (although a few dedicated ones have hung on), they are entertainers, script readers, and transcribers. Their motto is don't upset the White House and turn a big profit.
Corporate media journalism many years ago jettisoned its role as a key thread in the civic fabric of society.
Now it is, for the most part, just images, propaganda, entertainment, and public relations.
We don't sign their paychecks, so we don't count.
We're just the rubes they need to suck in to buy their papers or boost their ratings.