Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An announcement from Sprawling Ramshackle Compound

Effective immediately I am no longer going to refer to, or use the phrase "mainstream media" or "MSM".

Instead, I will refer to is as "Corporate Media" or, simply, "CM".

A friend of mine recently forwarded this editorial to me, and I'll quote a little bit of it here to give you a taste:

As we stumble toward another presidential election, it’s never been more clear that our political process is being warped by a corporate stranglehold on the free flow of information. Amidst a virtual blackout of coverage of a horrific war, a global ecological crisis and an advancing economic collapse, what passes for the mass media is itself in collapse. What’s left of our democracy teeters on the brink.

The culprit, in the parlance of the day, has been the “Mainstream Media,” or MSM.

But that’s wrong name for it. Today’s mass media is Corporate, not Mainstream, and the distinction is critical.

Calling the Corporate Media (CM) “mainstream” implies that it speaks for mid-road opinion, and it absolutely does not.

There is, in fact, a discernable, tangible mainstream of opinion in this country. As brilliant analysts such as Jeff Cohen, Norman Solomon and the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) organization have shown, the “MSM” is very far to the right of it...

Never in our history has the control of the nation’s sources of information been more centralized, or more at odds with what the country as a whole believes.

This divergence is not limited to the attack pack fringe of far-right bloviators who dominate the Corporate opinion print columns and talk shows. Virtually all “personal” opinion expressed on the corporate airwaves and in the syndicated big newspaper columns is significantly to the pro-corporate right of moderate American opinion.

The “news” pushed by the major radio/TV networks and newspapers slants unerringly toward the interests of the five major corporations that own the bulk of them. They bury stories of vital importance while spewing endless hours and column inches at the mind-deadening likes of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears...

Well, you get the idea.


The other day I got an email from a coworker. This was the header:


The answer, not surprisingly, was a resounding "no." I had gotten earlier versions of this email over a year ago, but this one had something different at the end:

And Barack Hussein Obama,
a Muslim,
wants to be our President?
You have GOT to be kidding!

I hit "reply all", and
sent this link to the page on false claims regarding Barack Obama, politely stating that he was not a Muslim. This promptly endeared me to the 25 other people on the email list who just want their prejudices reinforced and to see lots of porn and funnies when they open their email every day.

Barack Obama is not going to win many police votes in Illinois anyway, based on his sponsorship of some racial profiling legislation years ago. But I've been amazed at the number of people, educated, decent, good people with whom I'd trust my life, who believe that:
  • Barack Obama is Muslim (and probably a radical one at that)
  • Barack Obama wants to be sworn in, or was sworn in, on a Koran and not a Bible
  • Barack Obama refuses to say the pledge of allegiance
  • Barack Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart during the national anthem (this one is the result of an unfortunate photo from the Iowa campaign, where he's the only one on stage without his hand over his heart)
What is up with this?

What's up is that they've all been soaked in a steady stream of Fox News, talk radio and forwarded emails.

Forwarded emails? Yes. The forwarded email is probably the most brilliant sleazy political tool ever invented. If someone's political frame of reference has already been skewed rightward by his intake of corporate media he becomes that much more open to forwarded angry emails, especially ones coming from people he trusts. The collected emails, absorbed against a steady background hum of corporate media, forms a body of common knowledge, stuff that "everyone knows" even if it is, ultimately, false.

Think about it. I'm sure you all have someone who persists in sending you chain emails and FOAF stories no matter how many times you whip out your dog-eared copy of The Vanishing Hitchhiker or send them links to

I recently heard of this website, and you gots to go check it out immediately:

My Right-Wing Dad

It's a blog started by a fellow who was overwhelmed by the volume and intensity of the forwarded emails he got from the eponymous dad. Seriously, check it out. It's an excellent companion to the always useful Urban Legends Reference Pages (

My friend Bawb the Revelator taught me an interesting history lesson about a cheerful conman sleaze named Roger Stone. Roger Stone is a freelance political operative, the youngest of Nixon's dirty-tricksters. He's actually got a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back. He would love the frugal efficiency of these easy-to-produce forwarded emails. Most recently Roger Stone has set up an anti-Hilary Clinton 527 called "Citizens United, Not Timid." Basically the 527 exists to market and distribute merchandise that puts Clinton's name right next to the "C" word.

So, where was I going with all this? Fuck if I know. I had a point when I started, and I was going to tie this all together somehow, but my poor attention span and editing skills caught up with me once again.


Johnny Yen said...

These idiots who are presumably mostly middle and lower middle class keep following their ignorance and prejudice and keep electing people who further erode their already-tenuous place in the middle class. To quote Adlai Stevenson, "In general, people get the government they deserve." Too bad they keep taking people like us for the ride.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Boy howdy, that's a pile o disturbing info. I need a minute to let it all settle.

awwwww, my wv is youqp!

Mnmom said...

Johnny Yen - well said.
Thank God for Snopes.
Don't you think we'd be better off splitting into 4 or 5 nations? Sometimes I think we're just too big. Corporations are Satan.

SkylersDad said...

I don't care if you lost your train of thought towards the end, this is a wonderful collection of good information to have.

Well done!

Grant Miller said...

I've gotten those emails too. And always reply back with the snopes links.

But porn and funnies in my email everyday? That'd be nice.

Anonymous said...

Stubborn and stupid are just two sides of the same coin. The baby Jeebus himself could come down and set the record straight, and these idiots wouldn't believe him.

Anonymous said...

Aw, Bubs. After reading this mash up of info, I've got one thing to say.

I love you.

But not in a way that should make you uncomfortable or make Miz Bubs come to Georgia and kick my ass.

Just yeah! I love that Bubs! He gets it!

Thanks for doing your part to education the email forwardering idiots. They should just stick to porn.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I am with you on the Corporate media moniker. It's disgusting how Murdoch and Ted Turner and a few others control virtually all media in this country.

That Obama is a Muslim slur has reached epic proportions down here. Sparky's mom who is a staunch Democrat said to me that she just can't vote for a Muslim so she may not vote at all. I told her that Obama was a Christian and that she needed to stop listening to morons with axes to grind.

Great post my friend.

Erik Donald France said...

Bubs, oooorah! I've also been getting an uptick of right wing smoke aimed at the lowest common fears -- fear of immigrants, especially.

Fight the Power with blogs and flour.

lulu said...

You know, maybe I'm just a misguided liberal, living in a Godforsaken Muslim country, but why should it matter what religion he is?
I mean, I know why, but I would rather have a mainstream Muslim running the country than Huckabee. People have to get over this stereotyping thing.

FranIAm said...

Holy shite- great post here my friend.

Corporate media sums it up perfectly.

And that Obama is a Muslim shit has to stop.

Like now.

Splotchy said...

It would be a coup if the CM started referring to themselves as CM instead of MSM.

Bubs said...

Splotchy, would that they had that much candor.

Fran, thanks. I didn't print the entire email, but another thing I found interesting was that it also stressed that his mother was an...ATHEIST! The only slur worse than calling someone a Muslim in Jeebus-happy America.

Lulu, really. It must be pretty interesting watching our primaries as an American in a foreign land. I remember how strange it was watching the Iraq war break out while we were in a hostel in Cork, Ireland.

Erik, yes indeed.

Dr MVM, it's wacky isn't it? And you show people proof that Obama isn't a Muslim, and you watch people nod but as you look at them you KNOW they still think he's a Muslim. Sheesh. Thanks.

D-Cup, thanks. The email forwarding has gotten to be a little bit of an obsession with me. I find it especially fascinating among law enforcement--people who describe themselves as cynical, seen-it-all skeptics, suspicious of everyone and everything. And then they'll just fall for some bullshit that they get in an email from someone. Provided, I guess, that it reinforces or supports an existing belief or assumption.

Kirby, you're absolutely right.

Grant, you don't get porn and funnies every day? I can fix that for you.

Skylersdad, thanks. I try. It can't all be booze, dame and pork products.

Mn, I've seen various futurists talk about the shape that the US could take that's just what you describe.

Barbara, are the forwarded political emails a big deal in Canada? I get lots of conservative emails because of some of the lists I'm on, and I wonder if you get those too. Or does our uniquely American-style paranoia and anger stop at the northern border?

Johnny, it reminds me of What's the Matter With Kansas. Seeing people support policies that are directly injurious to their own economic well-being.

Hot Lemon said...

the whole CM thing gives me CP (Chest Pains)

As for Obama-- I am flatly refusing to read anything about the candidates. it may make me a bad Amerikun, but as an Independent I can't vote in primaries anyway and the whole thing is such a ridiculous sham that I don't wanna waste even one brain synapse on it.

As for stuffing my INBOX full of porn, you're welcome to do THAT, however. Call me a filthy chauvenist pig, but I like watching people screw. Can't help it.