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 wondered if the corporate media would give so much airtime if Muslims or young Black and Latino men were being murdered. Or, if homeless people were being cut down in the streets.
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? 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.