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One of the cherished rights of this country is the right to a free press. This right is hailed as one of the cornerstones of a democratic nation. The ability of the press to monitor and report on actions of political figures and corporations is fundamental to the ability of the people to exercise their other rights, particularly voting, allowing them to shape the direction of the nation. At least that is the theory, and part of our collective “Mr Smith Goes to Washington” belief system.

In reality the media is not free, nor is it the bastion of biased liberal dogma conservatives so rue. Because the reality doesn’t match what we have grown up believing to be the case, democracy has suffered.

First, what we have in this country is the right to a free press, not a free press. It is not the same thing. The major news organizations in this country are owned by large, powerful corporations. Corporations are driven for profit, not by truth. Corporations have a message to promote and use the media to promulgate the message, and ignore other viewpoints and contrary information.

Second, media is managed in the same way as, and is in fact, entertainment. The news disseminates very little actual information. Everything it does, and all of the stories it runs are designed for an emotional response. This is the reason for the focus on the salacious, the criminal, and the perverse. Equal time is given to a story on soldiers killed in Afghanistan and a story on who some Hollywood star is cheating with. News is a product, it has to be packaged and sold, and so it is. Like fast food, it is brightly colored, and devoid of substance. If news was not a product to be sold, there would be no commercials.
Now on to the myth of liberal media. As previously stated, all major news sources are owned by large corporations. The liberals generally are not corporate friendly, so how would these corporations fail to control the content of the media which they own? I think that the appearance of controversy is cultivated to make it seem as though it is anti-government or liberal. The truth is that the news dutifully reports negative stories regardless of which party has their man in the White House. Notice, I said they report stories, not information. During the entire health care reform debate and drama, there were thousands of hours of tv devoted to the anger, the fear, and the controversy, but there was almost zero information on what was in the bill. All you knew was, depending on which party you believed, either your health care worries and bills were over, or grandma was going to be put to sleep.

If we had a truly liberal media, it would be critical of both the political parties we have. On a world-wide political scale, the Republican party would be hard right, and the Democrats would be considered a centrist party. I know that is a hard pill to swallow for followers of either party, but it really is true. Any country that has a true socialist party would not recognize our “leftist” Democrat party as socialist.

It is easy to demonstrate that the media is not liberal, because of the extreme lack of substantive reporting. There is little, if any investigative journalism. All that would be needed to foment dissent and change in our country’s current situation would be to report the truth, which our media dutifully ignores at their corporate masters command.

A great example of a news story that a liberal media would have jumped all over, but that our media did not, involved a spy program called “Echelon”.

Echelon was a program to eavesdrop on ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world’s telecommunications networks, and was put in place in the 1980’s. Years before the threat of Al-Qaeda.

The story was first run here in the United States, in Covert Action Quarterly, in their winter of 1997 edition. Parenthetically, Covert Action Quarterly was a magazine run by ex-agents of our intelligence agencies that had become disillusioned with destabilizing democratic government, bribing foreign officials, and paying drug cartel soldiers for information. They had started to find the process undemocratic.

Anyway here is the link, http://mediafilter.org/echelon/.  The page is formatted strangely, but it is readable.

I remember when I bought the magazine I expected a shit-storm of controversy. There was nothing. Several months later it did create controversy in Europe and New Zealand. This was exactly the type of controversy and law-breaking, privacy-breaching story that a liberal media would jump on, right? A chance to give the government a black eye, hold their feet to the fire. I mean, they had to jump on this, right? Well, our media did jump on it, kind of, a mere 2 1/2 years later. http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm

What was Echelon used for? Well, amongst other things, it was used to spy on officials in Saudi Arabia, and expose them for receiving bribes from a French company, thereby allowing the American company to get the job. It was also used to expose bribes to Brazilian officials, so an American company could get the contract, and it was used to spy on Japanese officials during trade negotiations, and the information then fed to American businessmen, so they could wring out the best possible deal.

Another example of our government serving the true rulers of this country–the corporations. Even our spies are doing their bidding.

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