Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Depraved Money Hungry Media Is Distorting What We See

From AlterNet:

Money, they say, is the mother’s milk of politics.  Also of news, sports and the rest of the entertainment industry. Three recent stories drive that home. 

When Reince Priebus pressured Comcast’s NBC to drop a miniseries starring Diane Lane as Hillary Clinton, the hostage that the RNC chairman threatened to snuff was the network’s access to the 2016 presidential primary debates.  When the NFL forced Disney’s ESPN to pull out of a documentary about concussions jointly produced with PBS’s Frontline, the league’s leverage was its deal with Disney’s ABC to air Monday Night Football.  And when Time Warner’s CNN hired Newt Gingrich for its exhumed edition of Crossfire, its motive wasn’t political journalism in service of democracy; it was stunt casting in service of ratings.

More here.

Historically, this sort of thing, big monied interests manipulating mass media content for their own advantage, or media corporations themselves going for the money at the expense of their own integrity, for the most part, has played itself out informally and behind closed doors.  There's always been an aspect of "plausible deniability" about the process.  "Why, we're just giving viewers what they want," they've always told us, "We would never let ANYBODY tell us what to program."  Or, even better, with the news media, they're always hiding behind bogus journalistic "ethics" and whatnot, lecturing us mere mortals about how we can't possibly understand what's best for us.  And to some extent, as Chomsky and Hermann have observed, a lot of these media spokesmen and apologists actually believe what they're saying--after all, you don't advance up the corporate ladder into positions of power if you don't buy the corporate bullshit in the first place.

But things just keep getting worse.  Media consolidation, mergers into ever larger corporate entities, has gotten so concentrated that they don't even seem to be trying to project a veneer of responsibility and honesty anymore.  They're just doing it openly now, without explanation, without apology, as though everybody agrees that this is the way it's supposed to be.  I knew it was going to get worse, but even I'm surprised by the brazenness shown here.

Something else to consider.  Does anyone give a shit?  If not, it's even worse than it seems at the moment.