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When Good People Believe
Bad Information

By Timothy V. Gatto

08 September, 2008
Countercurrents.org

In the last five years, the media has become the stomping ground for corporate mouthpieces that not only own most of the media outlets, but also control the advertising revenues that keep these television, radio and newspapers afloat. This is a direct result of the “fairness doctrine” being scrapped by the FCC and also the placement of Michael Powell (the son of Colin Powell) to head the agency. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 also added fuel to the fire. According to Network:

The Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under the 1934 Communications Act, everything was clear and precise - there was NO option but to regulate - and the Commission did what the Act instructed it to do. The 1996 Act, however, introduced the so-called forbearance doctrine, where the Commission could, on its own initiative, refrain from regulating an industry segment. That's when things began to collapse. In its haste to create local exchange competition, the FCC went either too far or not far enough in the early days. Three methods of local competition were introduced: (1) Local resale, but the discounts were not deep enough and so hardly anyone chose that option; (2) Unbundled Network Elements (UNEs), where discounts were probably too deep, so everyone jumped in; and (3) Facilities based competition, which has not taken off because of the UNE discounts. Chairman Powell, who strongly favors facilities-based competition decided to "fix" the problem by moving too far too fast in the opposite direction by essentially deregulating UNE price regulation for the Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. The result: Policy disarray and chaos!

The sordid truth is that too few owners dominate the media, and therefore too few points of view are presented to the public. This has led to the media short changing the people on vital areas of information that they have a right to receive.

On the other hand, the government has interfered with the people’s right to know information vital to them by intimidating the press. The Bush Administration once said that “You are with us, or against us” in this so-called, “Global War on Terror”. This GWOT, much like the “War on Drugs” is an open-ended attempt to solve a problem that will never be contained solely by passing laws that effectively limit American Citizen’s rights under the Constitution nor will the objectives ever be reached. Terrorism and drugs are unfortunately never going to be eradicated completely. Education in the case of drugs and a more benign foreign policy towards the rest of the world will go a long way as far as eliminating the causes of terrorism from abroad.

There is so much information that is omitted from the media that the information the average American receives is insufficient to make informed decisions about who to vote for, what policies they should support and whether this nation is heading in the right direction. One case in point is the recent military confrontation between Russia and Georgia. In this particular example, if one were to completely rely on the mainstream media for their information, it would appear that Russia invaded Georgia in order to flex their military might, to intimidate the former Soviet Republics that desire alignment with NATO, and to secure the oil pipeline that runs through the country and supplies Western Europe. The truth is that while Russia could conceivably desire all of these things, it was the South Ossetia’s “peacekeepers” and Georgia that initiated hostilities. Common sense would dictate that Russia would have destroyed the pipeline when it had the chance, yet the pipeline still exists and is still pumping oil. The facts are that Russia has many pipelines entering Europe and the pipeline that runs through Georgia would not be sufficient to fuel Europe in the event Russia ceased delivering fossil fuels to them.

Another false story that appears in the “mainstream media” is that the missiles that are being installed in Poland are “defensive” in nature. The truth is that like many “defensive” weapons systems, they can also be used as “offensive” weapons. The pitch that the government is using, claiming that these missiles are for the protection of Europe from Iranian missiles is a complete fabrication; Iran doesn’t have missiles that can reach Poland. It will be many years before they will. The truth is that these missiles which are just a few hundred miles from the Russian border will prevent Russia from responding to a nuclear attack on them by the Untied States and leave them vulnerable.

These are just two items that I mention to expose just how fraudulent the mainstream media really is. At this time in history, when news can come to us from every corner of the world in seconds instead of days, the networks are actually cutting their news staffs in offices around the world, depending on wire services for the bulk of their reporting. This chain of events, from the deregulation of the media, the reporting of only news that follows the American governments policies and the reliance on just a few wire services for the bulk of its stories, leaves most Americans out in the cold when it comes to honest, accurate reporting of the news. Most people in this nation don’t even realize that this is happening. This is not just a problem that the media faces; this is a problem that affects every one of us.

I have met people, good people, from all walks of life and from just about every educational level, from every economic class. I’ve talked to janitors, doctors, lawyers and business owners. The one thing that the majority of them have in common is their basic ignorance of what is really happening in the country and the world. When I mention events that have transpired, they are unaware of any view other than that of the mainstream media. I inevitably ask where they get their news and the answer is always the same, from reading the newspaper and watching television. The truth is that if I only read the newspaper and watched television, I would be just as ignorant as they. Most people don’t have the time that I have to actually take the time to go to alternative media sources. When I mention alternative media sources, I’m usually referring to the internet, where one can get a left-wing view, a right-wing view, a view from another nation, or from a website run by magazines that I couldn’t possibly afford to subscribe to.

Today, in this nation, everyone should take some time from their busy day to actually ferret out the truth. One pressing problem that needs to be faced, and faced quickly, is who to vote for in this Presidential election. We have heard so much from both political parties that release information disguised as fact. We hear from the so-called “independent” media that really isn’t independent at all, most networks have a bias towards keeping the status-quo. Most people don’t really understand that there are views that might be more to their liking than the ones that Democrats and Republicans have. Unless the candidates are Democrats or Republican, they are virtually ignored by the media. There are many people in the United States that decry this two-party corporate duopoly, but they don’t stop and think about why it is so difficult to have a third or a fourth political party that actually can win elections. They don’t realize that the game is rigged. Unless publicity is given to candidates outside of the mainstream political parties that have for all intents and purposes morphed into one corporate party with two divisions, the problem will never be properly addressed. The truth is that both McCain and Obama have stated that they will continue to field armies to battle the “Muslim Fundamentalists”. This has been the policy of the Bush Administration and it will continue under both the Democrats and the Republicans.

Americans are not aware that many of the Bill of Rights that are part and parcel of what most people believe is the bedrock of a “free society” have been completely negated under The patriot Act, The Military Commissions Act of 2006, The John Warner Defense Bill (the revamped “Insurrection Act”) and the recently restructured FISA Bill that was just passed with the help of Senator Obama. The government can spy on and wiretap Amertican citizens, designate them terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and therefore take away any Constitutional rights that are left, and force newspapers to “sit” on stories on violations of law that the government initiates in the name of “national security”. Everything I have written about here is easily verified.

The crux of the matter is that I believe that if more Americans actually knew what has been taking place, they would be outraged! The truth is that most Americans “trust” their media, and this is the root of the problem. Most Americans “trust” their government too, and this is something that they should re-evaluate. The media, from its abysmal performance in the last 8 years, and the federal government in the last decade, has proven over and over again that the citizens of the United States are not their main priority. The facts are that there are so many Congressmen and Senators that have investments in war-related corporations; they are getting rich through their connections! The average median income for a Representative is $675,000.00 a year and a Senator’s median income is $1,200,000.00 a year. This should be fodder for every news outlet in the country, yet they choose to ignore this (http://opensecrets.org). The question is why? The truth is that the very same people that own the media and advertise on their networks don’t want this information public. This is what is meant when critics call this government and media the oligarchy.

If Americans really knew what is being done in Washington with the help of corporations that have as their only motive profit and power, they would demand that government reform the FCC and take power away from the few groups that control the information being fed to them as “news”. The majority of what they label “news” isn’t news at all; it’s pure propaganda being spoon-fed to a population that looks upon dissenters as “unpatriotic”. This un-patriotic “dissenter” spent almost 21 years in the United States Army. Go figure.


timgatto@hotmail.com
http://liberalpro.blogspot.com



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