(h/t to Little Green Footballs)
My first troll was someone who responded to a less than flattering Tweet I sent out about the Koch Brothers. His essential point was “They have one voice, you have one voice, equal contest.”
It amazes me still that people who have the intellectual dexterity to get on Twitter can’t grasp the fact that, no, the Kochs don’t have “one voice”. Their voices are multiplied by their money, their power, their influence. The fact that they’re trying to increase that power by buying The Tribune Co. only accentuates that fact.
Those same people will howl to the moon about the “liberal media”. Some percentage of journalists may be “liberal”, however you care to define that word. But the idea that media conglomerates are “liberal” in the accepted modern usage of that term is laughable. Just this weekend we were treated to Melissa Harris Perry tearfully apologizing for daring to offend the Romneys, even though the offense was mere manufactured outrage. (Perhaps to distract from this.) Meanwhile, Phil Robertson served a suspension of 0 episodes for his racist, homophobic rant in the pages of GQ. Meanwhile, a Fox News contributor waxes philosophically about the possible necessity of “extra-judicially” dealing with President Obama. You shouldn’t wait to hear apologies from them; you’ll grow old in the doing.
I carry no water for Rachel Maddow. I haven’t watched MSNBC even semi-regularly since soon after the beginning of President Obama’s first term, when the network decided that sniping from the “left” was a good business strategy, now that the unifying hatred of G.W. Bush was gone. But, better an independent voice with whom I disagree on the air, than a bought-and-paid-for stooge of money-men of the Right who will try to convince you of the fact that water is dry and the sky is pink. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald bray about “Big Brother” being here; if they had bothered to read 1984, they would realize that the media landscape in which we find ourselves now is more redolent of George Orwell’s warning than anything the NSA has done.
The old truism of “the press is free for those who own it” has become glaringly obvious in our latter days. Five corporations which don’t exactly have the interest of the broad commonwealth at heart now control 90% of all US media, both news and entertainment. The “synergies” of which they speak are merely obfuscations for controlling what gets piped into our homes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They’re fighting Custer’s Last Stand against the hordes who want to curb their privileges, whether in tax policy or in the outsized influence they wield. The world they want to create is the “corpocracy” envisioned by David Mitchell in his novel Cloud Atlas, where corporations have dispensed with ruling through elites and have merely taken over for themselves, as the Earth rapidly dies about them.
But, the same technologies which allow you to watch reruns of Two and a Half Men on the CBS website allow sites like this to flourish, serving as a counter-narrative. This is, no doubt, a guerrilla war we’re waging. But it’s one gaining traction, as the coming generation owns TV’s merely to watch streaming content from pirated sites. The conglomerates don’t care that their news arms hemorrhage money; as long as they drive the narrative, that’s all that the Big 5 care about.
However, human beings have this funny antipathy towards being lied to. The fact that news ratings and approval are down around those of chlamydia is one indication. The media has lost its gatekeeper role. It lost it the moment it broadcast its first car chase. It will just take a few more years for the death to be accepted.
And in the meantime, we all have to throw the Kochs’ script back in their faces. Our voices are no less worthy than theirs.