Friday, February 12, 2010

Not News, But...

I know this isn't news to most of my readers, but the corporate television "news" is overrun with corporate shills who are portrayed as "expert analysts" by the corporate media. There's a Great article in The Nation by Sebastion Jones about this:

Tom Ridge, was on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews, offering up his own recovery plan. There were "modest things" the White House might try, like cutting taxes or opening up credit for small businesses, but the real answer was for the president to "take his green agenda and blow it out of the box." The first step, Ridge explained, was to "create nuclear power plants."

As Ridge counseled the administration to "put that package together," he sure seemed like an objective commentator. But what viewers weren't told was that since 2005, Ridge has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power company. As of March 2009, he also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock, according to SEC filings.

Moments earlier, retired general and "NBC Military Analyst" Barry McCaffrey told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require an additional "three- to ten-year effort" and "a lot of money." Unmentioned was the fact that DynCorp paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone. The government had just granted DynCorp a five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9 billion to aid American forces in Afghanistan. The first year is locked in at $644 million, but the additional four options are subject to renewal, contingent on military needs and political realities.

(there's a whole lot more examples in the article; well worth reading. But you get the general idea.)

This is how public opinion gets manipulated to the point where a large percentage of the populace will believe something that is flat out false. Remember the run up to the Iraq war? Remember talking to friends or family who absolutely believed the assorted lies about the need for war? I certainly do.
And the manipulation is only going to get worse thanks to the SCOTUS Citizens United decision. Beyond having paid "experts" lobbying as "news" on issues, they will expand directly into lobbying for candidates. Because the disclosure rules are so weak, most of the public will not be savvy or motivated enough to discover who is manipulating them. And more and more lies will become publicly accepted as "facts".

No comments: