01 April 2013

Chris Hedges On the Power of the Modern Media and Fox News

“He who dictates and formulates the words and phrases we use, he who is master of the press and radio, is master of the mind. Repeat mechanically your assumptions and suggestions, diminish the opportunity for communicating dissent and opposition. This is the formula for political conditioning of the masses.

The big lie and monotonously repeated nonsense have more emotional appeal in a cold war than logic and reason.

The continual intrusion into our minds of the hammering noises of arguments and propaganda can lead to two kinds of reactions. It may lead to apathy and indifference, the I-dont-care reaction, or to a more intensified desire to study and to understand. Unfortunately, the first reaction is the more popular one...Confusing a targeted audience is one of the necessary ingredients for effective mind control.

The eternal demagogue will arise anew. He will accuse others of conspiracy in order to prove his own importance. He will try to intimidate those who are neither so iron-fisted nor so hotheaded as he, and temporarily he will drag some people into the web of his delusions. Perhaps he will even wear a mantle of martyrdom to arouse the tears of the weak-hearted. With his emotionalism and suspicion, he will shatter the trust of citizens in one another."

Joost Meerloo M.D., The Rape of the Mind

Hedges specifically discusses Fox News, and deservedly so,  because it has set the tone for the modern news programs. There were never more ironic words than their slogan, 'fair and balanced.'  But he could have included a few other corporate copycat channels as well, including the financial channels which have become little more than infomercials for Wall Street and the one percent.

Most 'news shows' in the states have become extended op-ed's where paid professional hucksters and 'strategists' spout slogans and sound bytes at one another, with a fairly cavalier attitude towards an intelligent exposition of the facts. 

Emotions are more powerful than facts in the modern mass media. Frighten the people, anger them, give them an object for their fear and anger, and in their rage you can move them in whatever direction you wish.

And you can look to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, the weakening of the FCC, the proliferation of cable channels with hours of programming to fill, and the concentration of the media in the hands of a few corporations, or perhaps more correctly global conglomerates, for the cause of this terrible decline in what is lightly these days called journalism. And in the destruction of a literate news media, thereby lies the deterioration in public and political discourse.

This is not about right versus left.  It is about politicians, financiers, and intellectuals of a predator class who think they can strike a Faustian bargain, and unleash the will to power, and control it for their own ends.

But the madness serves none but itself.