A televisual fairyland: "On Thursday, the fairy king of fairyland will be recrowned. He was elected on a platform suspended in midair by the power of imagination. He is the leader of a band of men who walk through ghostly realms unvisited by reality. And he remains the most powerful person on earth.
How did this happen?...
You can say what you like in the US media, as long as it helps a Republican president. But slip up once while questioning him, and you will be torn to shreds. Even the most grovelling affirmations of loyalty won't help. The presenter of 60 Minutes, Dan Rather, is the man who once told his audience" "George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions and, you know, as just one American, he wants me to line up, just tell me where." CBS is owned by the conglomerate Viacom, whose chairman told reporters: "We believe the election of a Republican administration is better for our company." But for Fox News and the shockjocks syndicated by Clear Channel, Rather's faltering attempt at investigative journalism is further evidence of "a liberal media conspiracy"....
These stories, in other words, are illustrations of the ways in which the US media is disciplined by corporate America. In the first case the other corporate broadcasters joined forces to punish a dissenter in their ranks. In the second case a corporation captured what was once a dissenting programme and turned it into another means of engineering conformity.
The role of the media corporations in the US is similar to that of repressive state regimes elsewhere: they decide what the public will and won't be allowed to hear, and either punish or recruit the social deviants who insist on telling a different story. The journalists they employ do what almost all journalists working under repressive regimes do: they internalise the demands of the censor, and understand, before anyone has told them, what is permissible and what is not.
So, when they are faced with a choice between a fable which helps the Republicans, and a reality which hurts them, they choose the fable. As their fantasies accumulate, the story they tell about the world veers further and further from reality. Anyone who tries to bring the people back down to earth is denounced as a traitor and a fantasist. And anyone who seeks to become president must first learn to live in fairyland."
4 years ago