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Only a generation ago the global beast (human mass) had to live under the constant bombardment of the state and the large private-for profit media. In those days it was only these two entities that could muster the necessary resources, technical or otherwise, to operate large scale broadcasting media, especially TV networks. In the case of the private media, again it was mostly the big corporations of the West, particularly the Americans that developed the required capacity for extensive worldwide coverage. Technical knowhow, formidable regulations and humongous resource all conspired to prohibit many non-state and non-profit actors from entering this inherently lopsided communication project.
Naturally, the state operators had everything at their disposal to fully engage in blatant propaganda. At the height of such activities (by the state media), the privately run ones came up with slightly more attractive format and content. Theirs became an entertainment laced indoctrinating undertakings that spawned the whole globe. First and foremost, their coverage of events/programming took the temporal whims of the global beast into serious consideration. It is well known, (at least since the time of the Roman Empire) that it is bread and circus that keeps the beast sedated. The difference between the two media outlets gradually became only a matter of style; the private ones were more sublime in their propaganda/brainwashing while the state ones were simply raw in their pursuits!
Ultimately though, both were interested in the complete subjugation of the global beast to their own specific ambitions. In the case of the private media, it was to make obedient zombies of the global population, so that it will be hooked, on a permanent basis, to a life of incessant consumerism. To this end and to date, it is the wishes of the real bosses of the media–the advertisers and the corporate owners that carry the day. The case of state media was best portrayed by the former USSR and its satellite states of yesteryears. Refreshingly though, we now have the likes of RT (Russia Today) coming out of Russia. RT is by far much more independent and more in the business of truth- telling than any of the dominant western media, including their latest surrogates, Aljazeera, etc. The difference two decades can make!
From the look of things, the global private media has remained fixated in its archaic ways and stands to lose its traditionally obedient audiences. This shortcoming has become even more pronounced as the new informatics continue to empower citizens in all aspects of communication life. Unadulterated coverage of real events in real time by the protagonists themselves, without the need of unreliable proxies, is now a global reality, thanks to the countless websites in the Internet. The likes of ‘youtube’, ‘twitter’, ‘facebook’, ‘wikileaks’, etc are lending their helping hands in countering the monopolistic tendencies of the traditional private for-profit media.
Here is an interesting example that clearly shows the state of play between information vs. misinformation. The dominant Western media, both state/private, never tires of portraying Venezuela’s Chavez and his administration as the incarnation of evil and dictatorship. How about this for a change: ‘A study which measured the approval ratings of 20 leaders in the Americas by compiling public opinion polls from their respective countries, ranked Chavez at no 4 and Obama at no 10.’[Correa-Ecuador at no 1, Funes-El Salvador at no 2 and Perez-Guatemala at no 3.] Also ‘speaking at an annual event last week in Atlanta for his Carter Centre foundation, the politician-turned philanthropist stated’, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States of America, See the articles on page 50.
Recent poll/survey verified that over 60% of the US audiences don’t trust the private media anymore! By any measure, this is a serious indictment and dwindling revenues from advertisements also give credence to this findings. See the articles on page 50. Misinformation/ twisting of facts, which was a longstanding tradition, is now confronting a more enlightened and angry generation determined not to stoop down to the diktat of the media ‘big brother.’ On the other hand, governments like the US have come up with all sorts of legislations to help them mow down ascending grass root democracies. Gross distortion of facts/systemic promotion of untruth, mostly instigated by the influence of greedy money will ultimately face its day of reckoning. Admitted or not, traditional media is now on the ropes. See Clark’s article next column. As one bumper sticker clearly put it: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Good Day!