Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fat wallets buy free speech. How do we improve the situation?

George Monbiot zooms out for a wider view of the Murdoch scandal:
The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multi-millionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.

So the right-wing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.

The corporate media is a gigantic astroturfing operation: a fake grassroots crusade serving elite interests. In this respect the media companies resemble the Tea Party movement, which claims to be a spontaneous rising of blue-collar Americans against the elite, but was founded with the help of the billionaire Koch brothers and promoted by Murdoch’s Fox News.
Monbiot believes that the solution is for journalists to take an oath, similar to the Hippocratic Oath. That may be a good idea, although I can't help flashing on the image of a roomful of streetwalkers raising their right hands to take a Hooker's oath.

Here's an interesting thought. Newspapers are having a hell of a time financially, right? Let's consider a 50 cent tax on your monthly payment to your ISP. That money would go to local newspapers, with the proviso that any media organ receiving this stipend provide non-partisan investigative reporting which adheres to a higher-than-Murdoch level of truth-telling. A journal which tells outright lies would no longer receive that stipend.

Do you have any other ideas how to resolve the contradiction between Big Money and free speech?
Yeh I do. Listen to Burroughs who says that the media is in the business of perpetuating itself. Whatever worked yesterday is what they will do today. I am paraphrasing.

The media has never been otherwise. What else is new? The power/knowledge matrix explained so carefully and fully by Foucault will eliminate your suggestions.

On to McLuhan The Medium is the Message. Begin to see into the media this way. What are they really saying underneath what they are sayig. It is on the surface and right there. For example what am I saying about Obama in my post on my http://guerrillablog2.blogspot ? And what am I really saying? And if it goes viral, what do millions of people think it says? Nobodyknows.
Bitching about the issue is not solving the issue, Seymour.
Net neutrality would be a good start.

So would enforcing anti-trust regulations on ownership concentration. Public interest criteria.

The old stuff really. This isnt a new problem. There are plenty of solutions that we have already enacted in the past. Its just that the owners of media lobby to have the removed, and people have no memory. How does one deal with a Beaverbrook?

Same goes for the rules that came in just after the Pekora Commission. Create an SEC. Regulate issuers. Separate banking and speculation. Its easy really. The better question is who took the old rules away and why. I often wonder what you will find if you have a little snoop around.

How is Dr. Phil Gramm these days? Still working for UBS?

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