Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hidden agenda: Mainstream media's political coverage

The publisher of this blog has an agenda. The publisher of every blog has an agenda. The producer of every avenue of expression has an agenda.

Whether the agenda is to get you to buy more widgets, or to get you to believe a certain thing or act a certain way, the act of sharing that agenda via media is an expression of free speech and, by extension, free enterprise.

Media Monsters such as ABC/Disney and Fox/News Corporation who, between them, have filled the minds of three or four generations with garbage while making us happy to dig deep into our wallets to fork over money to them, have agendas, too. It's their jobs to "sell" us pop icons like Britney Spears, Hillary Duff, Miley Cyrus, Zack Efron, and whoever next week's darling will be, movie stars, cartoons, theme parks, stuffed animals and toys, teen whores on MySpace, Bill O'Reilly, newspapers, magazines.... The list of mind-sludge just these two companies produce, and we absorb, is astounding.

Do you realize every woman's childhood dream of marrying a Prince Charming in a big, expensive wedding was programmed into her from watching the Snow White and Cinderella movies (which were well-parodied last month by Disney's new movie Enchanted)? How much of your "knowledge" about aliens and government coverups comes from having watched The X-Files (a Fox TV network show where even one of the main characters was named "Fox")? Tie-ins between movies and toys — always a popular enterprise — reached new heights with Disney's distribution of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and now tie-ins are ubiquitous. From source to consumer, cradle to grave; the Big Guys own it all. Did you realize even DIRECTV, the television distribution satellite company, is owned by the Fox/News Corporation conglomerate? Oh, you don't watch TV, but like to go to the movies (made by Fox and Disney)? Fox even tells you what to think of the movies they make... they own, the movie review website.

But why complain? Like reading a blog, our acceptance of the Megacorp Spewage is voluntary. It's freedom of the marketplace. It's American as apple pie. It's what we want and demand.

It is libertarianism in action, in that the entity (even though the entity is a gigantic thousand-armed octopus) has freedom of speech in deciding what materials to present.

So... from a libertarian point of view, ABC and Fox News, being for-profit business operations that indeed do have agendas, have a right to pick and choose which presidential candidates they feature on their own debate programs. Fox News doesn't like Ron Paul, and ABC doesn't like Dennis Kucinich, or Mike Gravel, or Duncan Hunter? Then they don't have to tell us about them.

After all, political debates on a commercial television channel are entertainment. Bread and circuses. The debates aren't designed to give the public insight into the various candidates; the debates are designed to showcase whatever it is that the news media wants to showcase.

CNN, of course, wants to showcase liberal candidates. Fox News wants to highlight conservatives. Wasn't there a debate a while back sponsored by the women's channel Oxygen, or Lifetime, or something, that paid more lip service to Hillary and the other candidates' wives, using them to reach the channel's target audience of women?

All these various agendas of various media outlets are a sign that free enterprise is working in our country.

Unfortunately, it's also prima facie evidence that our entire election process is a sham.

The media — simply by telling us who they favor, for whatever reason — tells us who to vote for through one of the oldest of propaganda tactics, by telling us who others will be voting for. It's called the bandwagon method.

When the campaign for the 2008 presidency began, way back in 2006 or before, the very first thing you heard or read about the candidates was where they stood in polls. Not Hillary is for this, Biden is for that, Obama for the other, but Hillary is at x percent, Biden is at y percent, and Obama at z percent.

As we've seen in the recent Iowa caucuses, and will see again next week in New Hampshire and later in other primaries, polls can be and often are wrong, wrong, wrong. The evil inherent in taking polls, and in paying attention to poll results, is that many people eventually tune out the message of any particular candidate, because "he can't win so why waste my time or my vote?"

I was in a restaurant on the evening of the Iowa caucuses, and for the better part of an hour saw (without sound) Fox News' coverage. At the bottom of the screen, they rotated between the Democratic and Republican results. If I hadn't known better, I would have come away believing there were only four Republican candidates and four Democratic candidates. Even though Democrat Richardson pulled only two percent, he was listed. Ron Paul's 10% on the Republican side was ignored, even though his 10% was significantly closer to Thompson's and McCain's 13% than Richardson's two percent was to next-closest contender Hillary's 29%.

What I'm trying to say is this: The "mainstream press" is no longer (if they ever were) primarily concerned with keeping us informed or with righting wrongs and exposing corruption in order to make things better in society, and they are certainly not at all about being "fair and balanced." The press has agenda... and if you think things through, you might see that their agenda isn't necessarily good for your agenda in the short- or the long-run.

Stay vigilant. Don't be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of the mainstream. Read the mainstream, to be sure, but only while wearing your "high-waders" to protect you from the deep, deep doo-doo.

Read international newspapers and websites. You'll often be surprised at what American news stories look like when you take away the Fox, CNN, or ABC
CBS/NBC network news spin, and see ourselves through a European spinner's eyes.

And read blogs. Lots of them. From writers all over the political, religious, social and "moral" spectrum. Sure, they have agendas. But they're usually obvious agendas, not hidden behind a pretense of being a "public service."

It's your Web 2.0. Embrace it. Utilize it. Treasure it.

Before Rupert Murdoch owns it.

Image: Hidden Agenda

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  1. Excellent post Brother!

    As Masons, we're supposed to be active members of soicety - discahrging our civic duty.

    One of those duties is to become infomred and stay informed. Thanks for expressing it more elequently than I ever could.

    Be Well,

    Traveling Man

  2. As Mason's we are to search for that which was lost. After reading this article it is clear that we have one more thing to search for. And it will probably be no easier to find than the other!


    For Good Info


    For origin of the picture.

  5. Dig the cover of the ILLUMINATI card game for your icon, too dunce. Lots of fun!

  6. "No matter how much you take away, everyone has something that belongs to them, to them and nobody else. Everyone has something and no matter how deep you dig, you'll never get it."

    Tom Veil

  7. The media does make it difficult for a third party candidate to present their message.

    Thank goodness for the Internet and Freedom of Speech.

    Is your vote wasted on a third party candidate? I would say no more wasted than voting for the "lesser of two evils."

    The moving lyrics of Tracy Chapman's song, "Talkin bout a revolution" sums it up much better than I can;

    "Don't you know, talkin bout a revolution sounds like a whisper."

  8. Revolution is just re-evolving.

  9. "The revolution starts now
    When you rise above your fear
    And tear the walls around you down
    The revolution starts here
    Where you work and where you play
    Where you lay your money down
    What you do and what you say
    The revolution starts now
    Yeah the revolution starts now

    Last night I had a dream
    That the world had turned around
    And all our hopes had come to be
    And the people gathered ‘round
    They all brought what they could bring
    And nobody went without
    And I learned a song to sing
    The revolution starts now"

    Steve Earle

  10. Ron Paul's Dilemma - America
    Exists In Two Worlds
    A Major Reason Ron Paul Will Not Win
    By Ted Twietmeyer
    Much has been stated on the web about conspiracies which will stop Ron Paul from winning. Some of it may be true, and some will not. I have informally conducted a small survey of several people I personally know who are intelligent, take an interest in politics and desire to have a new president that won't run us into the ground.

    At an annual luncheon yesterday, there were 14 professional people at the table, all professionals. Over and over when I mentioned Ron Paul to them, the usual response is "Who is he? I haven't heard anything about him." Other than myself, I suddenly found myself introducing Ron Paul's name and platform to the other 12 people when the Iowa event came up.

    Here is what I've concluded the problem is, all conspiracy issues aside. Those of us who use the web regularly and are regular readers of websites like, really USE the web. Not just for email or professional reasons, such as scientists or engineers do who use it for research related to their work to read up on latest papers, find grants, etc... Other people only go online to read about sports scores, get their email or visit a chat room to waste time. Depending on where they go on the web they may never hear or see anything about Ron Paul. Heavy internet users such as those who read this opinion, are in a different world from those who merely restrict their web use to professional reasons.

    There is the world of the well informed who use the web to it's fullest, and the world of the semi-informed who let mainstream media do their thinking for them. Does it take a degree in politics to see who the semi-informed will vote for? And to realize that THIS is the determining factor in Ron Paul not being able to win? It is a fallacy to think anyone can win an election based on the internet alone. Even without conspiracy issues.

    The reason is that everyone in America exists in one of two worlds, and the media already knows this. Ron Paul really doesn't have any excuse to be unknown with 10 million dollars on hand, not to be well known in New Hampshire and to take that state by storm. Perhaps the real question is - will Paul spend a significant part of the money to become well known in New Hampshire?

    Ron Paul has the perfect platform for that state to earn the majority vote there, if only people in NH will get to know about him in time before they vote. He might need a new campaign manager that can see the tremendous importance of getting his name out in the public NOW, not later. People tend to vote the way they see others vote - it's like a hive mentality. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why they re-elect a defective president. After NH, the die may be cast and the pattern set. If he cannot become well known in NH, he might as well drop out of the race.Question remains - what happens to what's left of the ten million dollars?

    Ted Twietmeyer

  11. Paul's showing in the rep. debates was disappointing. I might vote for him if he were running as a Lib.

  12. Excellent post as always. Thank you for so eloquently stating the dilemma we face daily in America. As Masons, we tend to speculate more often the meaning behind words we hear. If more Americans did the same, heck, if there were more Masons, then the intentional propaganda may be lifted and the truth shall set us free.

  13. What ABC and FOX have done to Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel is pretty much an outrage, keeping them out of their televised debates. Corporate controlled media has no right to decide who the valid contenders are with ten months to go before the final elections. It is a network that is robbing Americans of our right to make an informed decision about who our leader should be. Any way you want to spin it, it's just wrong.

    If anyone reading this would like to let the FCC and FEC know how you feel about this, myself and some concerned voters have created a form on our website that will make it easy to do so. Please visit and let us know what you think of the place, or better yet, let the FCC know that what ABC has done is wrong.

    --End of pitch. Sorry for the spam-like nature of this comment, but we got this website up over the weekend, and if we can do any good whatsoever, I had to move quickly. Thanks and take care.

  14. Christine and Drew:

    While I understand your frustration and your belief that Paul, et al's exclusion from the recent debates is an outrage (and I agree!), it is the right of a private business to decide what they do.

    We could argue that the FCC's "equal time" rules say that all the candidates should have been included, but then we'd have to get into the libertarian stance on free enterprise and government coercion.

    Even Ron himself noted, on last night's Jay Leno program, that to complain would open up a discussion of "property rights."

    When you become a libertarian, you gotta be a libertarian, even when things don't go your way.

    — W.S.

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