by Sophia Schooley
Every time I hear someone musing; “Where’s the outrage?” I can’t help but muse back; “Where do you think? As many know, almost all commercial media is owned by a handful of global corporations. If the media does not cover a movement or protest at all or distorts the facts by focussing on the fringe elements of violence, as large and decentralized as our nation is very few will know the truth. Protests, no matter how many, how organized or peaceful can effect little change in government without the voice that national media gives when educating the public. True, most get their news online, but still from the corporate controlled news industry. Independent media was not even represented by Pew in their study with regard to who gets news where.
It seems to me that unless every social justice and environmental activist, every non-profit concerned with human rights, climate change, honest rule of law etc. unites to focus on one issue above all else; taking back the FCC and all media, we as a nation and perhaps a planet are in serious trouble. Together, we can restore the Fairness Doctrine and rules prohibiting media monopolies; perhaps go further to force the FCC to make all media free, open, and public and not-for-profit. The first amendment guarantees free speech. Is speech free if you have to pay to have your voice heard by comparatively few? Is speech free if you get payed millions while being granted tightly controlled access to a bully pulpit granting you an audience of millions? With the revolving doors between Capital Hill and huge lobbyist money, there will never be incentive to amend the constitution to take money out of politics without huge public pressure and debate nurtured in national media. An uneducated public will never bring enough pressure. With corporations in control of the media , there will never be an educated public since most people only know what their local news affiliate tells them, or what headlines jump out at them from the barrage of corporate media headlines displayed by ISPs and Aps. News in the public interest is drowned out all but completely. The sad truth is, most Americans are too preoccupied with survival to seek out the truth.
If the British had control of present day media and our legal system, what might modern coverage of Paul Revere be like? Would we be gawking slack-jawed at helicopter coverage of vapid play-by-play? “This just breaking…there seems to be something going on in Boston. There’s a man on horse-back galloping around and shouting. Oh! He’s armed! He’s been fired on by police! He seems to have been taken out…” The next thing we know, we’d be over-run by the British in much the same way we are being over-run by the richest .01% who now control almost every facet of the media and government. Forbes in March of 2012 reported; “Those people have incomes of over $27 million, or roughly 540 times the national average income. Altogether, the top 1 percent control 43 percent of the wealth in the nation; the next 4 percent control an additional 29 percent”.
Today, Dr. King would never have been allowed a microphone or even a bullhorn. While deploying the “peoples mic” in Zuccotti Park, he may have been a victim of NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” and possibly arrested. If the media covered Martin Luther King as well as they cover the Occupiers, they would be fumbling with their carefully crafted corporate scripts, ignoring the crowds being beaten as they crossed the bridge in Selma. We never would have seen the beatings or heard the exuberance and cheering as Dr. King shouted “I have a DREAM…” No one would ever have known of Dr. King’s dream, let alone the dreams of countless thousands. The corporate right-wing that has seized control of the MSM would crushed any hope of civil rights for African Americans, women, and minorities. We might even have descended back into an era of slavery. Indeed we may yet…this time, some poor will be owned by rich, the rest left to live in the squalor of decaying infrastructure, poverty and pollution.
Media has the power to shape history. What kind of history will we look back on? In regards to an article by Miranda Leitsinger of NBC regarding “whatever happened” to the Occupy Movement, she refers to the Occupiers as having been “shuttered”. Really? They came out in droves to occupy Sandy and help those afflicted, yet I don’t recall hearing a word about it in corporate media. Is this because those employed within that system have been so dumbed down by their colleagues that they literally believe that what they are reporting is all there is, or is it pressure from corporate owners who manage their puppet producers…both? Of course there’s the money. So does Ms. Leitsinger think this is what it means to be “shuttered”? Zuccotti Park was bulldozed, belongings, computers, books etc. discarded and trashed and people jailed. The few media who had the courage to try to cover it honestly were in some cases roughed up or beaten and in most, forbidden to do so. The Occupiers are still trying to do what decaying libraries and schools can not. They are trying to provide for each other what those controlling the larger society will not. They are even being kept from doing the very thing the corporate media constantly chastises them for not doing. They are trying to help themselves and each other. With books, make-shift health clinics staffed by volunteer professionals, kitchens where the hungry- and indeed anyone could get a meal, teaching circles, tents and occupied foreclosed homes they persist. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz interviewing Occupiers trying to help someone stay in their foreclosed home? The Occupiers continue to be portrayed by corporate media as nonexistent or violent, lazy, and disorganized, when in reality they are asking quite clearly for 2 things to start with; indict wall street crooks who committed fraud leading to the collapse of the economy and millions losing their homes and jobs, and reverse the “citizens united” ruling with a constitutional amendment declaring money as property- not speech and corporations as legal entities, not persons. Over and over again this drum beat sounds, but the press, being controlled by the corrupt corporations the Occupiers are protesting in the first place, will not do their job. So Media, are you content to let the richest 5% control 72% of all the wealth in this country? Don’t kid yourselves. When the curtain falls, you will be as disenfranchised as the poorest among us. You have the power to shape dialogue and with it, history. Is it worth selling out? Educate us for a change instead of filling the space between our ears with divisive ear candy and half truths or outright lies at worst, and pleasant, well researched but comparatively insignificant anecdotes at best. The Occupiers are in the streets for all of us, including you. Lets go Occupiers. Lets Occupy the FCC! Lets take back the media and give it back to the people. What say you, Anonymous, can you help us take back the airwaves? In the mean time I recommend Amy Goodman and Abby Martin, and Thom Hartmann. Also,Truth Dig (Chris Hedges is awesome!), Free Speech TV and Link TV. Boycott the MSM, especially the “news”.