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.
FW: Fw: CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?
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,
wants to be our President?
You have GOT to be kidding!
I hit "reply all", and sent this link to the Snopes.com 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'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 Snopes.com.
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 (Snopes.com).
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.