Monday, September 05, 2011

Are the media really that powerful?

They say that the media are really powerful tools for social change. Is that really true? In my opinion the media are not powerful in effecting anything. Newspapers, and for that matter other media, do not in effect cause social change because in today's climate they have become organs for corporations, churches, political action committees (PACs). The media bow to the highest bidder. The media are merely the reflection of who can pay more. It is almost impossible to find out who pays what when to the various entities. But most of what we get in the news nowadays is tailored to reflect the highest bidders' viewpoints.

Gone are the days when a newspaper article could cut down to size a pharmaceutical company as happened with Chemie GrĂ¼nenthal in Germany when the Thalidomide scandal broke. Gone are the days when, led by Harold Evans, a group of Sunday Times journalists wrote a book "Suffer the Children" that gave a needed voice to the tragedy that was perpetrated in the late '50s and early '60s. The book discusses the attitudes of the pharmaceutical companies and their greed that came before conscience.

How could it happen that the media became so thoroughly dependent on the payments by those interest groups? It came with the rising power of the corporation. The culmination was reached with the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. The corporation has become "a person", and all we are now waiting for is for a corporation to run for President. How would "Monsanto for President" sound? The way to do advertisements and how to effect interest groups was laid out very well in "Propaganda" by Edward Bernays, nephew of S. Freud, somewhere around 1929. It was a book that influenced Hitler for one in his quest for power.

Can the media regain their power? Not until they realize that they have to earn their money again honestly without using special interest moneys. I hope that happens. But I am not holding my breath.


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