The incestious relationship between the Bush White House and Fox News has emerged from it's transparent closet. Former speechwriter for Bush senior, Tony Snow, has left Fox News to resume his intimate position within the Bush family. He will now work as Bush junior's press secretary.
Only the most naive of the American population can take Fox News seriously. They lie, they spin, and they bully. Even their claims about themselves, claims such as their view of world affairs as unbiased, are utter lies. This does not fall within the realm of opinion unless we want to toss out dictionaries and agree that words, such as 'bias', have no meaning. They claim that they are not conservative, an utterance that only further confirms their lack of integrity. Fox makes many such utterances.
Created by ultra billionaire Rupert Murdoch a decade ago, Fox has developed a slick system of bells and whistles to capture the attention of those with severe attention deficits. They make plenty of pretty sounds and shifting visuals and the analysis is never anything that the average ten year old can't manage. They present the world in cartoonish hues of black and white. They present a world view where the good guys are fighting the bad guys and proceed to cheer on the good guys and hackle and jeer the bad guys. They wave plenty of flags and hype up war and patriotism. They are a dog and monkey show the likes we have never seen before.
They also have a host of manic hyper-conservatives that would make Gobbels blush. Names such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have become synonmous with the raving loonie right. They also have prepetual guests like William Kristol that appear to patiently urge the Bush Administration to attack more countries - NOW.
For all its financial might and connections, the quality of what is delivered by Fox appears to be dredged up from the bottom of the barrel. They have plenty of stories about runaway brides, a missing teen in Aruba, and various other personal dramas that appear to be quite meaningless. But even in those stories there are implicit mesages. Messages that suggest that even though hundreds of murders occur within the USA each week, this particular girl is more valuable. If she were Black or poor, she would never have been paraded on national news ad nauseaum.
On the political front they are nothing more than vulgar apologists for all things right wing. Their news and opinion shows operate within such a tight frame of reference that the term, 'exlusive' takes on a much more literal meaning than is common. They exclude all but those that don't question assumptions that reflect mindless justifiations for the brutal policies of the Bush Administration.
There is a method to their madness beyond cheering on and hyping up endlesswar and neo conservative economic policies. The folksy good old boy political opinions that had been relegated to barber shops and dimly lit pubs have now found a slick outlet to provide them an air of legitimacy. This not only serves to entrench those backward right wing ideas but it also serves to convince vulnurable souls that the answers are contained within that lumpen outlook. Fox is nothing more than a prvatized, contracted out, wing of the Bush Administration and the appointment of Snow into a key White House stint will lend Fox an apparent guise of credibility.
In America there is very little in terms of credible media. Ted Turner's CNN had been operating as the number one simpleton apologist for the neo-con right but Murdoch shoved his elbow in Turner's face and is benefiting the rewards for unquestioning loyalty to the madmen that rule the planet. The American media operate within a very tight box and there isn't a lot of space in there. Outside that box lurks terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, communists and liberals, and foriegn ideas. The cozy realtionship between Murdoch's baby and those with power sends the mesage to the more 'liberal' outlets like CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC that cowering and begging and tossing away objective credibility pays off.
THE FUNCTIONS OF MEDIA
Ideally, the media functions to inform the public. If there is a danger that a dam might burst and destroy your town, the media have a respnsibilty to inform you about it. Mainstream media however function to spin and to operate slick smoke and mirrors games. We must be aware of this to keep from being seduced by it. We need to understand the nature, not only of Fox, but of the whole kit and kabootle. The past few years they have been screaming that there is a dam about to burst a barrage of terrorism toward the West but as they cry wolf over and over again, we respomd with a collective roll of the eyes. If we really want to know about fragile dams, we must turn to the ever growing world of alternative media.
The functions of mainstream media are not what they appear to be. They are not simply out to make profit. They are that and much more. The marriage of the corporation to the state complete, it is natural for the corporate media to mouth the interests of both. Mainstream media has become a tool of those that want to tell you that the Western world is in deep, deep danger. In a similar vein to Hitler’s fire in the Reichstag, the oil/ arms billionaires that run the White House want us to be terrified. They want a green light to make war and they want a green light to funnel billions of tax dollars into their own pockets through the sale of weapons systems. As a result we see very agitated talking heads that spew drivel about the threat of the month. At the moment it is Iran that threatens to turn the USA into a charred pile of nuclear dust. It also serves their sinister designs to remove the rights and freedoms that have been built by successive generations of progressive organizers and thinkers. Political opinions are now being criminalized. In the past few years politicians have been telling us that extremist views cannot be tolerated and they pose a threat to us all. This, coming from the most extreme of all, the neo cons. Welcome to the Matrix. Wecome to Fox et al.
The corporate media is working diligently to indoctrinate the citizenry, especially in the United States. It is in the United States where this process is magnified and as a result, people outside the USA may be affected to a lesser degree. This is not aimed to slight the citizens of America. But it the Americans that have the misfortune of inhabiting the deepest recesses of the belly of the imperialist beast.
CORPORATE CONTROL OF MEDIA
The probem is that there is a single special interest group that have control of the media. That interest group is the billionaires that not only own the media, but they also control weapons maunuafacturing, oil, and most states on the national level. The most significant being the American State apparatus.
Here, Chomsky explains who sets the content and the agenda for mainstream media:
“...The New York Times and CBS, for example. Well, first of all, they are major, very profitable, corporations. Furthermore, most of them are either linked to, or outright owned by, much bigger corporations, like General Electric, Westinghouse, and so on. They are way up at the top of the power structure of the private economy which is a very tyrannical structure. Corporations are basically tyrannies, hierarchic, controled from above. If you don’t like what they are doing you get out. The major media are just part of that system.”
Chomsky also makes the point that the media has a specific motive and that motive is the audience itself. That is why news stories are very short and their patterns are quite simplistic. Short attention grabbing sound bites or pleasing optics are important. The main thrust of the business is not to inform, the business is about grabbing an audience and people are the product. Chomsky continues:
"Take the New York Times. It’s a corporation and sells a product. The product is audiences. They don’t make money when you buy the newspaper. They are happy to put it on the worldwide web for free. They actually lose money when you buy the newspaper. But the audience is the product. The product is privileged people, just like the people who are writing the newspapers, you know, top-level decision-making people in society. You have to sell a product to a market, and the market is, of course, advertisers (that is, other businesses). Whether it is television or newspapers, or whatever, they are selling audiences. Corporations sell audiences to other corporations. In the case of the elite media, it’s big businesses." (Lifted from: http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9710-mainstream-media.html)
According to Peter Phillips, “The eleven largest or most influential media corporations in the United States are General Electric Company (NBC), Viacom Inc. (cable), The Walt Disney Company (ABC), Time Warner Inc.(CNN), Westinghouse Electric Corporation (CBS), The News Corporation Ltd. (Fox), Gannett Co. Inc., Knight-Ridder Inc., New York Times Co., Washington Post Co., and the Times Mirror Co. These eleven major broadcast and print media corporations now represent a major portion of the news information systems in the United states. For many people their entire source of news and information comes from these eleven corporations."
General Electric is in the business of making battlefield computer systems. Their director, former senator Sam Nunn (who also directs Chevron/Texaco) isn’t likely to promote journalists that research his connections or to report any stories that work against the interests of NBC. He is not likely to be happy about his reporters making anti war statements either.
Steve Mizrach points out, “Opinion in our society must be carefully shaped and molded within certain careful boundaries: those who transgress those boundaries are libel to wind up "extremists," "ideologues," "fanatics," or "agitators. Now that dissidents in the U.S. can no longer be labelled 'fellow travellers' of the Moscow-run Commie conspiracy, the task has become more urgent. And how is it that consent, that most valuable of social products, is manufactured?”
The following tactics are employed by what we may regard, realistically, as the enemy (mainstream media) They shape opinion and employ sycophant mouthpieces that have been schooled within the hallowed halls of the university of corporate indoctrination.
These are bolstered by spin doctors, or, PR devils. “PR managers, known as "spin doctors" when working in government, are able to carefully craft speeches and advertisements which evoke powerful images in the American psyche, frequently using "power words" such as freedom, fairness, liberty, justice, and peacekeeping for policies which dominate, discriminate, imprison, exploit, and terrorize much of the rest of the world.” (Mizrach)
Mizrach also points out the real purpose of public opinion polls is not so much to measure public opinion as it is to shape it. They also use scholars and think tanks to tell us what and how to think.
Together, these tools are used against us. They are more threatening an enemy to the citizens of Western nations than an army of bin Ladens. They are used not only to shape public opinion. They are used to lie to us and to indoctrinate the impressionable and the young. They are being used to send young people to go overseas and kill and they are being used to strip away the freedoms and rights so many have died for.
The importance of alternative news outlets and the provision of real news and opinion that has not been programmed can't be overestimated. There is a lot happening in the world at the moment and there will be a lot happen over the coming years and decades. We are in a fight and this media ground is a battle we cannot afford to lose as common citizens. Fortunately, we have the technology to wage this war and we have the smarts, the soldiers, and the energy to defeat Fox News along with the rest of that bourgoise rabble. Here in the world of alternative media, we are free and their isn't a damn thing Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch or George W. Bush can do about it. But we can't underestimate their power either. If they are stupid, they are stupid like a fox.