by Bea Garth, copyright 2008
Just thought I’d put in my two cents today. Saw this brief report on PBS. Apparently there is a New York Times article that has revealed that the Bush administration has made a policy of manufacturing the news by handpicking ex generals and such to feed us whatever line the administration deems appropriate. This is supposed to be against various anti-propaganda laws first set up in the 1920’s.
Of course PBS only barely covered the story; although they could say they did report it unlike the other major news outlets on TV. However, the McNeil/Lehrer Report on PBS implied the government was just doing its job; they didn’t seem interested in looking at the dark side of all this and kept interrupting the reporter from the New York Times. However it was clear to the New York Times reporter (as well as to the observant viewer) that without creating and orchestrating propaganda as the Bush administration did with its hand picked so-called “objective expert commentators” falsely influencing public opinion its unlikely we would have gone to war in Iraq.
This in turn gets me to thinking about how exactly do we create public opinion these days? It seems we as a people have allowed ourselves to be overly influenced by the so called experts trotted out on our news programs. But who are they?
The days of independent journalism seems to have passed. Managed corporate news has taken its place. In my observation the news folks and the so called government experts have been in cahoots to not present us with the real news since the first Gulf War in the early 1990’s. I remember back then it being up for debate as to whether it was OK or not to have this more “managed news” that in effect was like propaganda. It was decided back then that it was OK–so instead of pictures of the war we had briefings. The implication was that if they freely reported the news as they did back in the Vietnam era there would be more protests of government policy — which was deemed both “bad” and avoidable. This is not the old USSR folks! I believe this was right around the old “fall of communism” period of time by the way.
Since then the public has not demanded a change. We have accepted this sanitized version of the news as some kind of “reality” instead of realizing we have actually co-opted Reality.
Reagan had already helped give the final boot by raising the postal rate for small journals. Now in addition we have fewer and fewer independent radio stations not to speak of newspapers and television stations. All large conglomerate or monopoly owned.
Our country was after all founded by its tradition of an informed public by its free press. Its right there in the Constitution for a reason folks. Thankfully the Internet Blog forum is starting to take the place of the now mostly defunct independent journals that flourished until twenty or thirty years ago depending on how you look at it. And certainly the various blogs have made a difference. Though again is it too little too late or not? More has to be done to make it more contextual and real. I certainly hope that this idea of true political change will sweep in in a positive way. With that too we need that change to extend into our news organs. Somehow we need to reinvent ourselves into being a more discerning people again or some could say for the first time.
It is in my opinion also our job as artists, writers, healers and thinkers to help create this change too. We cannot ignore what is going on in the world around us. We after all help create the interior space where the need for change is reflected first in this and all cultures throughout time. We have a connection with our wisdom body that others may lack through our more direct connection with the emotional body, the earth and the soul. At times the responsibility of this can seem overwhelming; but if we take it on one bit at a time it does it does help make a difference — by creating more space in “inner space.” Plus keeping a close eye on what all is going on!
Categories: social and political commentary by Bea Garth