Strange Attractors is funded in whole or in part by the Genovian government
No one said being a psywar planner was an easy job, but it certainly is a profitible one
|Joseph Marhee||Aug 20, 2020||1|
The immediate conflict presented by, for example, Jeff Bezos owning a company like Amazon while also owning a newspaper like The Washington Post, is an apparent one; when a progressive politician propose taxing a billionaire’s corporations, and the media tasked with coverage of those politicians stands to benefit (or lose) decides to cover, favorably or not, or not cover said politician or charitably interpret these policies, represents the the reason corporate-backed media is unquestionably problematic. We hear a lot about the ways state-run media is a machine for propaganda, and whether or not this is true, it’s beyond time for one of these to tell us who owns our American media outlets:
We speak about the Vietnam-era as the pinnacle of American journalistic enterprise— everything from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate was given to the public by journalists to expose deep corruption within the federal state- but the relationship has never been as adversarial as this would suggest, and ultimately, the Washington Post has always been complicit in this style of limited hangout to suggest a public interest agenda, while the ownership has had deep ties to the halls of power. Unfortunately, as the United States continues to make, not only an ideological shift towards far right-wing ideology institutionally and on a bipartisan basis, it has also made a corporatist one; what used to be the domain of elites within the government, has also become the domain of billionaires with an interest in influencing the government, and one manner of doing this is to hijack the means by which the public informs itself. It is, to be clear, propaganda with an obvious, insidious motive (at best, profit; at worst, weaponizing democratic processes to, ultimately, profit).
To be clear, again, the thing to understand is that we’re not any more, or less, free than we were then, and neither was our press, at least from the standpoint of how it’s produced, only how it’s consumed, and perhaps rightfully, people are quick to question a source, but not critically evaluate them. Throughout the Vietnam-era, for example, the double helix of think tanks like the RAND Corporation and its relationship to the US government in shaping policy through a bogus, gamification of scientific militarism, and the corporation running an outlet like The Post or the New York Times relying on sources official, and unofficial (like that of the Post’s which led to confirmation of a source for the Pentagon Papers) exposed, not that the media were heroes for publishing it (the individual reporters, yes, but not the publisher or the paper as an institution), but that elite hobnobbing with McNamara, the Kennedys, etc. left the editors and owners of the Post and NYT ill-equipped to report on the fact that they not only were lied to and then editorial policy was influenced by their relationships’ commitment to the lie, but that they allowed it to happen.
Fast forward a few decades, and now the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, a billionaire who pays little in taxes, being targetted by the political left for profiting immensely from the taxpayer while returning very little, and only contributing to the economy in the form of a wage slavery state that materially harms its workers and makes the economy a much more precarious place for people living in poverty; when the Post says a tax on the wealthy and/or corporations like Amazon is ill-advised or somehow not appropriate or that the effort is insincere, that is not only unethical, but propaganda for the corporatist state that the United States has become in the absence of state-funded media.
In an article that cites that Amazon paid nothing in taxes, while giving their workers the bare minimum Bernie Sanders, for example, specifies for large corporations, they go on the attack— a comparison to Trump’s criticism of the level of coverage (not Sanders’ assertion), noting that the campaign had a labor dispute (which, unlike, Amazon was settled by a workers’ union and the campaign management), and then an assertion about its own relationship to Amazon. If this strikes you as something worth interrograting further, you’re right; I am not suggesting that the Post does this openly, or that its reporters support these things, but the mentality of going to work for such a paper without factoring in these sorts of editorializations is of a certain mindset to begin with. Cosigning those who do believe these things (the editors, the ownership) in even producing a piece like this one is a good example of how American press is held to a different standard than that of other countries.
The relevance to this discussion is that, if the state merely funding a media source, not running it, is problematic enough to tag prominently, as you see with RT America above, why is it not a prominent part of the discourse to question who owns American papers and speculate about motives as we do with foreign-funded (again, not run or even owned) media? The undiscussed behavior here is that this is a very visible example of the creeping corporatism in this country that I’ve discussed a few times before.
In our public consciousness, we’re constantly normalizing the idea that corporations can be a valid replacement for social services, and many support this knowingly, with the idea being that, somehow, a profit motive makes a corporation want to do a better job or face the consequences of the market; this would be fine if their solvency weren’t also largely composed of tax breaks, subsidies from taxpayers, and other scams that ensure they never have to act in anything less than a totally self-preserving manner, and this get defended on that basis, totally self-awarely. What is this disease?
We’re looking for solutions from those with the most to lose by doing the job competently and fairly. This is why I don’t think mainstream liberals understand what fascism is; handing off responsibility for a crucial (as in, this is how our state is supposed to operate) state function to a multinational corporation that pays no taxes, lobbies legislators against voters substantially, thus has a vested interest in the outcomes is textbook corporatism. That many corporations in the public imagination as being powerhouses of efficiency are engaged in outright violent, parapolitical activity in their own interests already demonstrates this is anti-democratic, and makes the public demonstrably less free from hegemonic corporatist rule.
Historically, the goal of corporatist fascism has been to consolidate power for the corporations, where the economy becomes managed by these leadership bodies of these corporations, and in the case of the United States where workers, as individuals and members of unions, are more disempowered than ever, this translates directly to outright authoritarianism, and in the case of American corporations, ones with a vested interest in broadening these deep economic divisions, and furthering the goals of imperialism, which already (at least since the second world war) was to protect the interests of multinational corporations which already control much of our legislative processes. With the Citizens United ruling, this has codified that their voice already matters more than the average citizen— the elites become the sovereign ruling class under this framework, accountable to no one.
The goals of corporatism, for example, can align along ideological or religious lines as well; we’ve seen this in societies where the Catholic Church, for example, exerts a great amount of influence on politics, but even this largely relies on the (at least, performative) populism of its congregations— even beyond forming guilds for industry and types of workers, what we’re developing here is not a commitment to different commercial interests leading different factions of our political system, it’s simply the ability to be and maintain a conglomerate that is the unifying motivation for this leadership model, and why not only owning the media, but the lens through which media is delivered and processed is a particularly insidious type of fascistic intent that has been far too normalized in the modern American era.
Zooming back into the discussion of the media, this is an industry that has, both historically, and in its current obfuscated form about who owns what, and to what end, the ability to understand who owns a given information source is imperative, but as a practice today we’re seeing more and more examples of casually xenophobic implications (i.e. ties to Russiagate, itself an exercise in baby brained reasoning that only advances an anachronistic misunderstanding of the Cold War onto today) made to disenfranchise completely legitimate sources of information while ownership of media conglomerates in the US is not so easy to find, and this is willful on the part of the corporations, both, producing the news, but also the sites like YouTube packaging these fact check services, etc. to determine the suitability, not the truth value, of reported information. This should be an untenable conflict of interest for anyone claiming to be concerned about propagandization, but typically, the aesthetic/pseudodoxic nature of liberal critique of the media aligns along so broad a binary that the distinction is practically meaningless; this is to, purposefully, cast non-corporatized media as under scrutiny by the corporatist state. It doesn’t mean there’s an agenda, or even something necessarily nefarious, but it suggest that there’s a curative effort to manufacture integrity checking for the media.
The end result in all of this, whether you trust billionaires or not, is that they are the generals in a psychological war with the public— this is beyond dispute, whether or not the public can ever truly have a free media from under this particular boot is the question at hand.
Recent things I’ve read, listened to, or watched that I am now recommending:
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