Sunday, August 6, 2006

TELL ME WHY


Why is it that it's okay for these dustbunny scumbag insurgents (a polite term for organized terrorists) to behead Americans on live TV and the Internet, to kidnap American soldiers, kill them, and booby-trap the mutilated bodies, to kill civilian contractors & burn the mutilated corpses, and hang the remains from bridges so more of these assholes can beat them with sticks like a piƱata, but if an American says something about the Koran or some Iraqi prisoners get embarrassing pictures taken of them, the media explodes like it's the second coming of Hitler?

Why is it that the media never shows images of US troops feeding starving villagers, or air-dropping thousands of food packets, or building schools, or giving inoculations for cholera to people who shit in their own water supply, or training police officers to take care of their own country, and instead only focuses on the rare occurrence of some dipshit who snaps and kills a civilian? Why is it only the bad things get hugely publicized while the good things get forgotten?

Why is it that most junior enlisted troops, who have to do the bulk of the shitty details the military gets tasked with, are so poorly paid that they qualify for FOOD STAMPS? Why do so many troops have to take second jobs delivering pizza and stocking shelves at night at Wal-Mart to make ends meet? Why is it that it took a Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering to design a plane, a Master's to build it, a Bachelor's to fly it, and the millions of dollars of electronics, avionics, and weapons are maintained by a high school graduate who is paid less than the drive thru clown at Hardee's, and isn't old enough to even by a beer yet to toast the news that he's again getting deployed to some Third World shit hole where every day angry people will do their level best to kill him for trying to help them?

Why is it that troops have had to beg Rumsfeld for armor kits for their vehicles and in many cases have had to scrounge steel plates from trash piles to weld onto their vehicles for protection from people who strap explosives to pregnant women & send them into wedding parties to blow themselves up?

Why is it that we have Israel, Lebanon, the Hezbo's, and every other Jallallahoolabooladurkadurka jihad teetering on the edge of potential nuclear war, and the biggest story in the news is what Mel Gibson said about a Jewish cop during a DUI arrest? At this rate, Israel will get wind of the anti-Semite remarks of Gibson and start bombing Hollywood. No big loss….

Why is it that the average American has no clue that Venezuela, whom we import an assload of oil from, is on the verge of going communist, but knew that last night was the series premiere of Celebrity Fit Club and Flavor of Love?

Why is it that the average American will gladly tell you that he lives in the greatest country on earth because we're free and can vote for our leaders, but that they have no idea who their elected representatives to Congress are and didn't vote in the last election? Why is it that more Americans voted for American Idol than in any American presidential election, ever?

Yeah...can you tell me why?

1 comment:

John said...

Because most of the "people" in this country are SHEEP, which is why I normally use the term "sheeple" to refer to the entire body of unwashed masses whose day-to-day existence revolves around who's next to be voted off the island on Survivor, who's next to be knocked off of American Idol, whether or not Maury says that TraShawn IS the father, and whether or not Luke and Laura are going to get back together. There are more people out there who can tell you who Ruben Studdard is than can tell you who their representative in Congress is, or how they voted on any given issue.

And that's sad.

So many people grew up with the television as their primary source of entertainment and information... so many people learned what little they know about politics by listening to, and blindly believing, whatever they heard on TV- whether it was "Good Morning America" back in the day, or "Fox and Friends" today, people's ways of thinking are being molded by what the media companies choose to say or not say on the air, and how they choose to say it.

I honestly think there's been a deliberate process over the years to use the media companies to "dumb down" the American people, to get them so focused on things like Survivor and American Idol that they don't think about what their elected officials are doing. It's like a stage magician, directing your attention toward one hand while the other hand pulls the missing card out of his back pocket.

Why, you ask, would the media companies do this? That's the simple part- because the OWNERS of the media companies are telling them to do it. Okay, so why would the owners do this? Before we can answer that, we need to see WHO those owners are, so we can tell what their motivations are.

So who are the owners of the big media companies? People like Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner come to mind, and you would be right, but not in the manner in which you are probably thinking. Remember that these companies are all publicly held, which means that the real owners are the stockholders. You can call up a stockbroker and buy some shares in NewsCorp or Turner Media Group, and become one of those owners yourself if you want. (C'mon, all the cool kids are doing it!)

I'm going to use NewsCorp as an example here, but keep in mind that the same things can be said about Turner, Disney, Universal, CBS, or any of the other media conglomerates out there.

You may think of Rupert Murdoch as "the owner"... and he does own a larger share of stock in NewsCorp (a little over 14.6 million shares) than any other individual person, certainly more than you or I will probably ever own. However, he's not the biggest shareholder- in fact NewsCorp's five largest shareholders are all investment companies, the largest of which holds almost two and a half BILLION shares. (These numbers are from page 131 of NewsCorp's 2006 annual report, downloadable through the "Investor Relations" part of their corporate web site.)

Think about that one for a second. The real owners of NewsCorp are investment companies. What is the primary job of an investment company? To make money, pure and simple. And legally speaking, the number one job of ANY publicly held company, including NewsCorp, is to make money for their stockholders. So no matter how you look at it, NewsCorp's number one job is to make money.

So how does NewsCorp make money? They sell advertising. And people who buy advertising want their ads to be seen by the largest number of people, so if NewsCorp wants to sell those ads, they need to produce media (movies, TV shows, web sites, whatever) which appeal to the largest number of people.

Stop and think about that one again. NewsCorp has a legal responsibility to produce media which SELLS- much more so than they have any responsibility to produce media which INFORMS. And since "Fox News" is one of their largest, most visible properties, it would logically follow that the number one goal of Fox News is to sell advertising, and to make sure that those ads are seen by the largest possible number of people.

It means that they're going to pick and choose news stories which make people want to keep watching, and they're going to present those stories in such a way as to keep you watching. They're not going to show something boring, like how my brother spent a goodly portion of his second tour in Iraq helping to rebuild two elementary schools and a medical center in Mosul- instead they'll show you the aftermath of an insurgent bomb attack, because they can show images which "might be disturbing to some viewers", and that sells. They care more about keeping your eyeballs attached to their media than they do about keeping you informed.

They also concentrate on cross-selling other NewsCorp media outlets. Have you noticed that you can be "MySpace friends" with the Fox News on-air personalities? NewsCorp figures that if you're going to be on the computer instead of watching TV, they want you to be on a web site that they own, such as MySpace, looking at ads which generate money for them. (Try visiting MySpace sometime using Firefox, and the "NoScript" and "AdBlock Pro" plug-ins. It's a TOTALLY different experience to see it without all the ads... almost nice.)

Again, the same things can be said for other companies like CNN, except that they push you toward other Turner media outlets (and they don't own MySpace.)

And after years of being bombarded with the constant streams of mindless drivel generated by the media companies, people have reached the point where they don't know what's really going on in the world, the country, or their own neighborhood.

And PEOPLE LIKE IT. It's EASIER to sit there and let the media companies show you things than it is to have to actually search for information about the things which you might think are really important. It's EASY to find out about Sanjaya, just turn on American Idol (a NewsCorp property, by the way.) It's not quite as easy to find out about bills currently in Congress, which ones will have an impact on your life, how your congressman voted on similar issues in the past, or how to get in touch with him to tell him how you (as one of his constituents, and therefore "his boss") think he should vote on the current bills.

Perfect example- how many people know that there is currently a proposal in the House of Representatives, HR 333, calling for the impeachment of VP Richard Cheney? Did you know? Do you care? (Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the representative for Ohio's 10th district (Cleveland and the surrounding area) proposed it back in late April 2007, and has a page on his web site where you can read the actual proposal, along with his supporting documentation for the charges.)

If you want to find out what your congressman is doing, you actually have to look for that information yourself, rather than have it blindly pushed at you. You have to look at the Congress's web site, your individual congressman's web site, web sites which track their voting records, and so forth... You have to actually THINK FOR YOURSELF instead of letting "Fox and Friends" tell you what to think.

And that's hard.

But what if you're willing to make the effort? What if you actually WANT to break free of the cycle of mindless media consumerism and start thinking for yourself? How do you begin?

The first trick is to find news outlets which aren't trying to sell advertising, and whose goal isn't to keep you watching or listening to their content all the time. You'll be hard-pressed to find such an outlet in the US, but there are a few. However, the best example in the world is the BBC. No advertising means there's no pressure to increase viewership, or to slant their content in any particular direction- their operating revenue comes from the British "television tax". In fact, their original charter from the crown charges them with being as impartial as possible in the news they report. Their job isn't to turn a profit, their job is to provide truthful information. In fact, the BBC World Service alone makes it worth paying the $13/mo for XM radio (it's XM channel 131.) You can also read their stories on their web sites, www.bbc.co.uk and www.bbcnews.com.

However, while the BBC isn't trying to lock you into their own content, they ARE somewhat biased toward the British point of view, which in many cases is buddy-buddy with the US Gummint™. You owe it to yourself to find other news outlets, with other viewpoints, and read what they have to say as well. You may not agree with it, and in many cases it will be pure propaganda with no real informational content, but there are other viewpoints out there, and some of them will tell you things which the US media just plain won't tell you about, because it won't sell advertising or keep your eyeballs glued to Fox News.

Then there's the educational system, which has slowly been conditioning our children to become good little media consumers and not try to think too much for themselves, especially when it comes to politics... but that's a different rant entirely.