Opinion

Media battles to control my mind | OPINION

Judging from recent voting patterns, clever propaganda blitzes convince people to believe just about anything. Poor people have been convinced it’s in their interests to award tax breaks to the super-rich. Workers with no pension plans are conned into voting against Social Security. What a strange world.

I’m not buying it. No amount of bovine feces can convince me that up is down or black is white. I like to think my mind is independent and I intend to keep it that way, unlike senators who sign pledges to vote someone else’s agenda. Not like ditto-head commentators grown rich peddling ideological lies. The divergence of opinion and independence of thought that were once thought to be good and useful has waned as we all became “connected.”

In fact, today’s miraculous communication devices parasitically possess us. Dumb users of smart phones are assailed by what stirs guts, not what stimulates minds. TV and mobile IVs, I-Gadgets drip skewed views into brains 24-7. It’s inescapable.

Try sorting what passes as news into four piles. Make one pile of dubious interest — items that don’t much matter in the big scheme of things, like why was Paris Hilton busted last night. Second are oddities like Man bites Dog. Third are real news items you can’t do much about — like tornadoes. Fourth are reports of actions or proposals that might impact lives. These deserve attention.

There was a time when a body of investigative reporters dug up real front page news by sifting minutia and snooping through garbage until significant patterns of dots took shape. That was the era of independent press when publishers gave reporters no-strings-attached encouragement to dig up and publish the kind of straight skinny that kept movers and shakers’ shenanigans somewhat under control.

Investors have shrunk those news-staffs. Take the Chicago Tribune for example. Owners expecting over 20 percent return on their investments engineered a double-digit percentage cut in staff when profits sagged. That worship of the bottom line leaves readers with flavor-of-the-day “news” that requires little time-consuming leg-work. It’s why we endured three weeks of non-stop coverage of Casey and Calee Anthony while too few worked to expose a for-hire Congress or the lobbyist pimps who prostitute that organization.

In today’s world, with Rupert Murdoch’s press tilting opinion toward his personal ideology and with ownership of the airwaves concentrated under a shrinking number of axe-grinding oligarchs there is still a proper way to respond to “today’s news.” Answer every proclamation with, “Oh, yeah?” And then hit the books to ferret out the truth. Beware, because given the amount of ink pernicious propagandists use to mask the stink of their agendas, otherwise discerning people can be taken in. Here are a few themes that merit more space on front pages.

(1) What’s good for business may not be good for the economy or nation. When corporations pad their bottom lines by outsourcing jobs and dodging tax obligations by sheltering operations in offshore havens, or when they criminally manipulate markets to block competition, what’s good for business is definitely not good for the economy. When big business has Congress in its pocket — or visa versa — only greed is served, not the national interest.

(2) 21st Century party politics is hurting the nation. Politicians have become so involved with campaign-funding from special interests that Congress’s agenda has become a cash-cow for a profit-motivated shadow government. When a party’s senators and representatives slavishly echo their party’s whip, there is no government of the people, by the people and for the people.

(3) Tax-breaks for the super-rich are a poor way to create jobs. Anyone in the economic stratosphere is automatically a big-time investor. In good times or bad times they dump billions into investments promising highest returns. Right now some of their best options are Exxon-Mobile stock and snapping up foreclosed housing, opportunistic moves that don’t launch new businesses or stimulate new technology. Cutting top-tier taxes to make them richer does only that — it makes them richer. Improving the climate for small business will create far more jobs than continuing tax breaks for the rich.

(4) Unrestrained Capitalism actually embraces Socialism. Unrestrained profit-takers have rigged the system to win by both privatizing profit and socializing loss. Take the failed WPPSS reactors. When investors’ bonds failed, investors prevailed on government to have taxpayers bail them out. Same with TARP funds that bailed out the banking industry. While vested interests enjoy good-times profits, they expect taxpayers to cover their losses.

(5) The antics of ambitious Christians and militant Muslims serve as roadblocks against social harmony and world peace. Should there be any doubt, check the off-target and un-Christian responses of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham to the 9-11 disaster.

Keep a critical ear on the rhetoric to discern who is for or against the use of hate and fear to lessen opportunity and hope for ordinary citizens. People of faith might watch to see who is for or against “love(ing) his neighbor as he loves himself,” And then Vote accordingly.

Comments may be addressed to robertgraef@comcast.net.

 

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