Sunday, April 18, 2010

Defeating the Corporate Pro-Wealthy Propaganda on TV

Mark Karlin of posted an interesting article on that site today.  He argues that a media owned by corporations and the wealthy are producing programming on radio and TV meant to keep the viewers/listeners tuned in to propaganda meant to support the wealthy and increase their wealth.  Network and cable news covers trivia more than serious issues as nothing more than a vehicle for advertising - often the most important story you need to know about scrolls by on the bottom of your screen as the people on it discuss First Lady Michelle Obama's hairdo or today's version of the Balloon Boy. 

As liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes once said (while testifying before a Congressional hearing held largely by Democrats during the Bush era that was forced to be held in the Congressional office building basement by the majority-at-the-time Republicans), "The news is closed."

Of course, this article produces the expected handwringing and cries of  "What to do?  What to do?" from its readers.  Well, I have a suggestion to combat this:

Become your own news media.

Here's how I do it.  When I wake up, the first thing that goes on is my computer - not my television.  Thanks to, I have a page set up there that's the first thing I look at.  On it, I have news headlines from Yahoo (which covers everything from national news wires to Politico), the Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, the New York Times, Washington Post, local/state news plus blogs I follow.  I get national and international headlines as well as entertainment news.  In five minutes, I have a pretty good idea what's going on in the world and am a click away from reading more about what interests me.  You can set this up for yourself by using their My Yahoo feature. There are other sites that do this too, I just happen to use that one.

I have news and opinion sites I regularly go to bookmarked and get breaking news from ABC, CNN, NYT and WaPo via email.   I even have rightwing sites bookmarked so I can browse through them to see what the far right's talking points for the day will be.

The real message to all this is don't rely on your TV for newsI too have noticed how bad it's gotten on the tube so I don't rely on any network or cable show to inform me.  I don't even watch the talking head shows that I agree with as in Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow.  Fox Noise never goes on my TV.  Ever.  About the only time I turn on a news network is when there is something going on that I'd like to see as well as read about.

Noticing a trend here, like what's the biggest tool we have to defeat the corporate propaganda and infotainment that fills our TVs?  If you're reading this, you're on it. 

Care has to be taken when you rely on the internet for your information, of course - for every nugget of wheat there are tons of chaff.  My suggestion on how to weed out the crap is to stick with what you know and trust  that has a reputation for reporting real news, be highly suspicious with blogs (if they have no links to back up what they say, ignore and delete) and remember anyone can have a website or a blog and most of them do.  Take no one's word on anything, including me - when in doubt, look it up for yourself.

We have what Michael Moore once said is a "fearsome force for democracy" right here on our computer monitors just a mouse click away.  Use it well and you can be the best informed person on your block.  Use it badly and you end up screaming about socialism carrying a misspelled sign.

Use your TV for entertainment.  If you want news, read a paper or magazine or go online.  This way we win.

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