Thursday, April 26, 2018

Corporate Grip On Media Tightens As I Break My WaPo Boycott For A Moment

I heard from a journalist friend today that her work to bring light to the darkness of corporate government has been noticed, with the result that her local NPR station called and said: turn in your recording equipment -- due to views you have expressed, you are no longer welcome to report for NPR (which my other friends call National Pentagon Radio.) The views this reporter has expressed tend to be critical of the increasing role of corporations in directing the actions of local and state government officials.

That was sad, but what happened next was downright creepy.

The head of a major news organization in her state immediately approached and offered her a job paying $50k to be a full time reporter if she would "tone it down." This was after saying that nobody is doing better reporting than she is.

She turned him down.

Source: The Root "The New Lynching Memorial and Legacy Museum Force Us to Bear Witness to Our Whole American Truth -- Dirt taken from the sites of lynching. Some of the victims are named, some will forever remain anonymous."
Photo: Human Images (Equal Justice Initiative)

I was reminded of this story this morning when I temporarily broke my vow to boycott the Washington Post, well known stenographer for corporate government (and owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, by the way). I won't link to stories in the corporate press anymore. Why help them drive up their ad revenues? But a friend who I'm writing a book with sent me a link to a post by the Rev. Traci Blackmon who was on her way to view the lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alambama; it is the first such monument commemorating the many, many black people killed by vigilante violence.

And WaPo had a virtual tour of the chilling installation of hundreds of steel columns hanging from the roof, engraved with the names of victims.

Source: The Root "Lynching memorial, corridor 3" Photo: Human Pictures (EJI)

I was was watching as a videographer walked through the monument, unpeopled, and silent except for her footsteps. It was early morning here in Maine, and birdsong outside my windows provided a sound track for my solemn consideration of white people's history of racial violence.

Imagine my surprise when the loud sound of a jet tore through my quiet morning. WaPo was serving up an ad for Lockheed fighter jets in a probably unintentional juxtaposition of state-sanctioned violence that we are meant to admire even while condemning quasi-historical violence (quasi because black people are killed every day in extrajudicial assassinations, often by police or other state actors).

This is the type of content I have come to expect from NPR: sanctimonious condemnations of historical violence side by side with cheerleading for whichever current expenditure of weaponry is making shareholders wealthy.

So maybe it should properly be called National Propaganda Radio? I've written recently on the tightening grip of corporate control over information, and there is one more example I'll end with today.

At the gathering of people who organized to oppose the state of Maine's corporate welfare tax giveaway to General Dynamics,

Professor Orlando Delogu told us that he had just been denied publication in The Forecaster, a weekly newspaper he's been a contributor to for the last five years.

His content is no longer welcome, for unspecified reasons. Maybe because his interview bashing the corporate welfare bill played widely on Maine's community t.v. stations? Maybe his editors also got a call from General Dynamics or one of their lackeys?

The local daily Times-Record had already cancelled its monthly opinion piece by Peaceworks of Greater Brunswick, and rejected a submission from Bruce Gagnon on his hunger strike against the bill.

This after repeated objections by the editor of the opinion page, John Swincoceck, that columns submitted were not local enough in focus i.e. don't write about resistance to military bases despoiling Jeju Island, Korea or Okinawa. Even if Mainers go there to join the local people's efforts to save their coastlines. Only write about things that happen locally.

The fact that five ships built in Bath by General Dynamics were used to launch missiles at Damascus does not make war on Syria a local story. Right?

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