Don’t Be Distracted by This Bourgeois Drama!

If you have been paying attention to the mainstream media over the last week or two you know that the usual outlets are running around with their hair on fire over Pres. Trump getting dirt on Joe Biden from the Ukrainian government. Now with all the evidence I have seen and read, it’s almost undeniable that Trump is guilty of what he is accused of.

That said, the GOP is now busy attacking the non-Rupert Murdoch owned media outlets of being part of a larger deep state conspiracy against Trump and the Right-wing, in general. And, of course, the progressives refute this argument saying FOX News and their print and online cronies are serving as “state media” in the service of the present administration.

Now this is a great soap opera for all of us to watch (I am guilty, too). But it’s sucking up all the oxygen in the mass media coverage of the world. What needs to be covered by the mainstream press is even being pushed further to the margins. This infighting between bourgeois puppets should not be covered. The real story is socio-economic status conflicts all but ignored by the bourgeois media.

I know that before this latest row the mainstream press has never given the proper coverage to the issues that really matter. I’m talking about issues from the astronomical prices of prescription drugs here in the U.S. to the effects of neoliberal policies on the Third World.

The essence of my argument is that the mainstream/bourgeois media currently have a godsend in the form of a juicy drama between bourgeois actors in a bourgeois arena. But it would be completely outside of that arena for CNN or MSNBC to cover issues in the interest of the people.

All this media coverage is drama, not important news to us. Don’t let it fool you. Keep your eye on the prize: media serving the interests of the working class. The rest is just games.

Let’s Give Them A Push: Americans Already Favor Near Far-Left Policies

As I have mentioned before, I consume a good amount of mainstream news to keep a finger on the pulse of what the American people are learning. And what I have learned is that the American people are much more favorable to far leftist policies than the pundits and “anchors” would have you believe.

Notice these two linked articles below, one from Fortune and one from FOX News:

“Support for raising taxes is widespread, according to a new poll, which found that 76% of registered voters want the wealthiest Americans to pay more.”

http://fortune.com/2019/02/04/support-for-tax-increase-on-wealthy-americans-poll/

“Voters prefer increasing spending on domestic programs over cutting taxes and reducing spending, and their preferred way to finance that spending — is tax the wealthy.”
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/fox-news-poll-voters-favor-taxing-the-wealthy-increasing-domestic-spending


This is completely contradictory to the picture painted by the entertainers on cable news that is brushed every night. These supposed “news shows” would have you believe that such opinions are too far to the left to be held by the citizens of the United States. But as you can see from the objective measures quoted/linked above, one of the main tenets of the rad left platform is favored: redistribution of wealth through a strong state.

Now notice these two linked articles on healthcare policy in the U.S.:

“Six-in-ten Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, including 31% who support a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.”
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/03/most-continue-to-say-ensuring-health-care-coverage-is-governments-responsibility/

“Some 56% of respondents said they favor Medicare-for-all, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan.”
https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/23/politics/kaiser-medicare-for-all-poll/index.html

Universal healthcare is right within our grasp.

As I have put forth in past posts, in Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”, the news media only allows a spectrum of valid opinions and political stances the rich and powerful deem acceptable. That’s why the news media is center-right. The talking heads dismiss polling results that are too threatening to those in power. They are dismissed by political commentators as “pony promises” if endorsed by a candidate.

Sure, these opinions are not exactly pure Marxist reforms, but it shows that the people could be exposed to far-left ideas not too much further to the left than the ones they already possess. Taxing the rich at a high rate, and Medicare-for-All is not too far from the redistribution of wealth and universal healthcare coverage. There’s an opening there.

In conclusion, polls show that the American people are far further to the left than the news media would have you believe. And this is a function of the breath of the spectrum of acceptable political opinions sanctioned by the rich and powerful. The people are closer to a positive view of the far-left than you would believe. Let’s expose them to it through various forms of organizing and propaganda and let’s see what happens.

Expanding the Mainstream Media Spectrum to the Far Left

I watch and read a lot of mainstream news right now because that is what the public consumes. Now there are great leftist media sources out there I like to watch/read, such as DemocracyNow!, Libcom.org, or even the centrist PBS Newshour. But most Americans do not watch or listen to those outlets. What they do read/watch is FOX News, CNN.com, and whatever else flows across their social media news feeds. And the one thing I observe in the mainstream media most glaringly in terms of a leftist movement is the argument made by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in their classic analysis “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.”

Herman and Chomsky argue in MC that there is only so wide of a spectrum of allowable opinions which can be covered and/or expressed by journalists and/or pundits. E.g., The “Medicare-for-All” movement which, I admit, has finally started to squeeze in to the margins of discourse, has been outside of the spectrum of possibilities for decades. The journalists and pundits always put forth the arguments that it would be too expensive, or that it would lead down the slippery slope towards Soviet-style communism. But according to a Nov. 7, 2018, AP poll, nearly 6 in 10 voters said it should be the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage. So, the majority of people want, following that simple logic, a Medicare-For-All law, a public option, or a fully socialized healthcare system. And even though all other industrialized countries have healthcare provided to there citizens by the government, it has always been off the spectrum of acceptable media discourse here in the U.S. until the last few months, I estimate.

Therefore, leftists must widen that spectrum to the left the best ways we can. Rather it be on a blog, or podcast, or through social media, we must provide an alternative to the mainstream news because we mostly control these media. Even though we can complain about FB or Twitter suspending accounts in the name of “proper discourse,” it’s still the Wild West out there. If we spread the word, like what has happened with Bernie Sanders’ supporters who first argued for Medicare-for-All in 2016, we can expand the spectrum. But this will be tough, e.g, the public has supported stricter gun laws for decades, yet NRA lobbyists keep it taboo on the GOP congressional floor. But if we remain tenacious in our efforts, we can affectively expand the mainstream media’s spectrum of acceptable discourse.

The mainstream media is influenced by blog posts and Tweets, if even subconsciously through retweets and responses read by readers, but do not think it is going to happen overnight. Yet it shouldn’t be given up on by good radical leftists all over the world.

Is Rolling-News Outdated?

Sky-news-studio-007A great piece from The Guardians’ Media Blog giving several criticisms and argument points on how rolling-news channels (mainly what we see on cable news channels where it continues with an anchor 24 hours a day) are outdated in a digital world with Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, blogs. A must read.

Read Here.

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Media in a Socialist Society

hannity_oreilly_kelly-620x412A fascinating piece found at Salon.com by Fred Jerome excerpted from the book “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA.”

Featuring a good critique of the modern media landscape, he illuminates how the media serves to ‘fool and rule” the masses. He then follows by painting a picture of what the news could be at it’s full potential when existing in a socialist society.

Read Here.

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“Morning Joe” Attacks Viewers

pdv_morningjoeI enjoy watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC with Republican Joe Scarborough and co-host Mica Brzezinski despite our differences regarding ideological point of views. But this morning they’ve gone too far.

First, both Scarborough and Brzezinski claim NJ Gov. Chris Christie as a personal friend. A true journalist should never befriend a political figure for it’s the press’ job to be in opposition to those in power.

Second, Scarborough has come out as against all critiques of Christie as too strong in comparison with press coverage of Obama’s problems with the Benghazi attack (GOP smoke and mirrors) and the supposed IRS scandal (also GOP smoke and mirrors.)

Third, Scarborough is just protecting his GOP friend he has invested in with personal sponsorship. Scarborough bet on that horse and now he must stick with it, so he is critical of anyone who voices even a half-way dissenting opinion.

And lastly, Scarborough has criticized bloggers and twitter users this morning as being unemployed, living in their parents basements, and being overweight with Cheetos all over us in an attempt to throw a cheap shot at all those online who question Christie’s shutting down of the George Washington Bridge out of political spitefulness.

Shameful and just the games the GOP, and even mainstream political figures in general, play through the mainstream media.

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Greenwald On Al Jazeera America

al-jazeera-america-carousel-largeA MUST-READ op-ed from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian on the upcoming launch of al Jazeera America  (AJAM). He questions whether if AJAM will keep it’s role as a hard-hitting,elite-critical perspective provider, or if  they will just fall in line with the other three cable news stations where there is no room for it ideologically (Fox is on the right; MSNBC is on the left; and CNN is somewhere in the middle).

Also, who knew that both Soledad O’Brien and Ali Velshi will be on AJAM? I didn’t. That may lend the falsely accused “pro-terrorist” and “anti-American” news channel some real clout.

Read Here.

Greenwald: Press too Friendly with Obama Administration

IMG_0646Glenn Grenwald has another great column in The Guardian illuminating how the press, and mainly MSNBC of late, are way too friendly with the Obama administration and should take a more adversarial role.

This reminds me of Chomsky and Edward Herman’s point in their great book “Manufacturing Consent” that the press relies too heavily on White House “official” information and then swallows it whole because of the source (a longer explanation of this point can be found in Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman’s book  “Manufacturing Consent”). The press needs to investigate stories and reports more thoroughly themselves to find a truth that is not influenced by the American powers that be. But you will certainly never find this at Fox or MSNBC.

Read Here.