By Tyler Brand
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 30, 2002
The mass media has never been my favorite corporate monkey.
In my more foolish days, I would spend hours in a CNN/Fox induced coma, waiting zombie-like for any semblance of relevant information so I could go back to drawing on myself or some similarly productive task, confident that I was still a stud in the pasture of current events.
Likewise, I never really minded the talk show hosts. It was probably my morbid curiosity that led me to watch Larry King swing from nodding blankly and drooling to passionately sucking the buttocks of his guests, gape at Hannity and Colmes as they disgrace their respective ideologies, and see Alan Keyes flaunt his collection of sweater vests.
I learned very little from these bubbles in the media sewer (except how everyone spins everything and how al Qaida "hates us for our freedom"), but was continually drawn to the discord like a moth to a candle.
But then I realized something: Everything's the same and nothing's relevant. Immediately, this startling conclusion distracted me from my campaign to name all our carpet stains and set me to thinking. I would really have no idea what goes on in the world if I follow what the syndicated news tells me. I mean, to spend hours flying in a helicopter over Robert Blake's house (How many of you care about this? Let me see your hands #· I thought so) while there are such relevant situations to cover as the desperate situation in Congo, sweatshops in Asia, or even the speculation that plastic surgery causes brain death in both patients and society as a whole (study subjects: Michael "artist of the millenium" Jackson, Cher and Anna Nicole Smith)? Blasphemy!
But even more disturbing is that our "fourth branch of government," the job of which has been to check the exploitation of the nation since the days of Zenger and Paine, has fallen eerily in step with the government itself. Every now and then we see protests (such as this weekend), but only hear about the arrests and vandalism, not the legitimate grievances that they bring to the table.
But then again, views protesting statist (not capitalist) corporate exploitation in the G8 and World Bank being explained by the same corporations being protested would seem a bit ridiculous, like expecting a dog to whack itself on the nose with a rolled up newspaper after peeing on the carpet.
The real problem is that there is no independent press, no independent broadcast (thank you FCC) and no independent opinion.
In Switzerland, arguably the least corrupt and most intellectually diverse country on Earth, there are literally dozens of independent news sources, while our nation funnels what information is deemed appropriate through less than ten major channels, all of whom are about as honest as a United Way solicitor.
What worries me is that money is obviously the center of this.
Even if the media outlets weren't pimping us out to their corporate sponsors, in interest of marketability, they'd still not present any stories that could possibly make their "ho's" question their stances, turn off the propaganda machines and do something constructive, such as small scale vandalism (as CNN found out when they were accused of pro-Palestine stances and lost broadcast ability in Israel).
They support the war in Iraq (and if they are brash enough, their character takes a bullet ÷ see Scott Ritter) because it is big money.
Since CNN discovered in the Gulf War that people think explosions and death are cool, they've consistently exploited it such as in the solid month of plane crash images and repeated shots of us laying evil over the barrel in Afghanistan.
You can only expect them to exploit the war in Iraq (did Bush think we didn't figure that out months ago?) for additional millions in advertising revenue.
So here's a plan: Instead of allowing our merchants of death to feed us the "truth" (I don't know the truth, do you?), why not go to independent news sources to get what's really happening?
I highly suggest checking foreign newspapers online. You'd not only get an independent view of the world, but those squirrelly Brits have been known to sneak in a good amount of smut every now and then, too!