The invisible hand
I wish them luck. ABC is owned by Disney, CBS is owned by Westinghouse, NBC is owned by General Electric, and CNN, probably the most independent major news organization, is owned by Time Warner. General Electric and Westinghouse are the most pernicious of owners, being very large corporations with great dependency on military contracts. Hence, an interest in war.
Disney's interest is in what is good for the Disney entertainment business, and Disney being a large corporation, owning a broadcast network means controlling information, especially about Disney.
Then, of course, we have Fox, owned by one person, Rupert Murdoch, an "Australian" who became a "U.S." citizen in order to legally own the network. Fox News, through its "CEO" Roger Ailes, has advanced itself as a propaganda megaphone for the "Republican" party, the Bush criminal regime, and the corporate power structure.
Fox is a good example of the limits to corporate control of information, and of limits to the belief the public has in what it is fed by the mainstream media. As reported in Salon this week, Fox's ratings are down significantly, and the network's "reporters" and "anchors" have been suffering a number of public embarrassments. By staking so much of its "reputation" on the fortunes of the "Republican" party, Fox is now paying for its gamble, as the "Republicans," criminals almost to a man and woman, are falling into disfavor. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
No matter who owns the TV and radio networks, they are businesses, and have to make profits in order to keep functioning. The way they make profits is to take in more money in advertising revenues than they pay out in salaries, wages, overhead, programming costs, and other expenses.
The growing threat of not just recession, but a complete collapse of our corrupt economic system puts even greater pressure on the criminal corporate news media. If the system collapses, the corporations collapse too. For a primer or two on the likelihood of collapse, click here and here. Here's another good read.
In this overall context, the Sierra Club campaign is worthwhile, but it begs the inevitable. What good is a media infrastructure that lies, distorts, distracts, and avoids in order to maintain a social structure? It's not worth anything. Not a single cent. I mean that literally. It's not worth any money. As our destruction of human lives and destruction of the ecosystem intensifies, no amount of lies, distortions, distractions, and avoidance is going to have any worth. Its worth is already in sharp decline.
It was inevitable that the entire world situation would come to our present predicament. More and more, I see the march of human history as deterministic. George W. Bush was no fluke. The entire progression of human presence on this planet made his accession to power a near-certainty. The myriad of facts that led to this tragic situation is not the important thing. What our real interest should be is the corrupt trajectory of our society that allowed such a criminal to become its "leader," its representative to humanity and to history.
There is a beauty to all this. A grotesque beauty, like Picasso's Guernica, but a beauty nonetheless. So wantonly criminal, so deceitful, so callous, so incompetent, so crude, so obvious, the Bush regime will be a lesson greater than Hitler or Stalin for generations to come.
With Hitler and Stalin, the evil was a full-force, monolithic menace to humanity. The Bush regime took it to a new level - the con game, the combination of greed, lust for power, control of public perception, and euphemization of mass torture and murder. Though the Bush gang is still holding power, it is in decline, and the momentum is not likely to reverse.
This is a real backhanded way of being optimistic, but I marvel at the genius of history. It's another way of saying the genius of "God," I suppose, but I have a growing awe of power greater than the ego of man. We have hard times ahead, but there is an invisible hand at work. Adam Smith had a mere glimpse of the size of the hand.
Here's a tune for the times.