By Peter Bauer
In the United States, media serves the function of alerting Americans to the world around them without leaving the their homes. It provides people with the illusion of a shared cultural political experiences that would otherwise be impossible due to geographic constraints. Demographics are bought and sold like cattle between major advertising and media corporations as people stay glued to the tube to find out how to think next.
The media are also deliver normative cues about how society allegedly should be. Leave It To Beaver conveyed the false hopes of America in the 1950’s. In our generation, Reality TV does the same thing, not reflecting reality, but rather to deceiving the masses like a funhouse mirror…..
The combination of these two functions of media allows it to be the single most influential part of our daily lives. The media becomes downright dangerous, when they become more interested in celebrity gossip and the fantasy of fame. Headlines aren’t of substance: ‘If it Bleeds, it Leads.’
With the blossoming of 24 hour news channels in the late 1990’s, political punditry and talking heads have become more lucrative and appealing than traditional once a day print and news journalists. The constant access to content of these news channels advertise do nothing to truly inform the population.
What’s worse, as entertainment value supersedes truly newsworthy journalism, the media machine becomes more interested in higher ratings, advertising dollars, and access to “information” than really serving the good of the public at large.
And who provides the information anyway? Do we really trust these people who hypnotized us into war with their terror alerts and in-depth interviews with four star generals and chicken-hawk politicians who skipped out on our nation’s last quagmire?
As more and more journalists are becoming members of America’s elite professional class, they grow out of touch with their constituents: the public at large. What is more troubling than the infotainment they report are the major stories that they leave out… questions that remain unanswered because they go unasked.
Take for example the Valeria Plame leak scandal, which as suppressed by NBC, or the secret wiretapping story that was suppressed by The New York Times. Who are the media here to represent? These stories were reported over a year after they were initially discovered in the fall of 2005. In both instances, two major media outlets chose to not report on major stories.
Both of these events happened during an election year, and it can be hypothesized that they could potentially have an impact on the outcome of the election. Why? Who are the media here to represent?
We’re being lulled to sleep, slowly and softly, with the televised war hissing in the background.
The rhetoric of the centers of power are irrelevant.
The major media message is irrelevant.
The cards are stacked.
It’s a fixed game.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.