America has a “lying press” problem. And it’s not the “enemy of the people” condition our president has asserted.
Think about the largest threats America faces right now.
Abrupt climate change is happening around the world as a result of our usage of fossil fuels. France 24 reported on February 18 that half the population of Somalia is facing famine because of an extraordinary, climate change-driven drought that’s spreading across north and central Africa, while the United States is whipsawed between record weather extremes because there’s 6 percent more moisture in the air than in 1950, feeding these massive storms. The list goes on from the Arctic, which was up to 50 degrees warmer than it should be, to the Antarctic, where sea ice is also reaching lows not seen since humans came out of the trees.
Have you seen the story on American network news? Probably not!
While Canada has acknowledged the internet to be a “fundamental right for all” and is strengthening its version of net neutrality while extending high-speed, low-cost (and often free) broadband internet service to all Canadians, the new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has said right out loud that he wants to end net neutrality in the U.S. This would mean:
- Increasing costs for Americans;
- Potentially limiting access to websites;
- Pay ISP’s extra for “fast access.”
Have you seen the story on American network news? No, probably not.
Fracking is triggering an explosion of earthquakes in Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania (among others) and devastating water supplies around the nation, while fossil fuel giants hand so much money off to Republican politicians that they’re willing to deny that human-caused climate change is even a problem or that fracking is unsafe. The fossil fuel industry has now largely grabbed control of the EPA.
Have you seen the story on American network news? Doubt it!
CONSOLIDATION OF CORPORATE
A flare-up of merging corporates in America started in 1982 when Reagan successfully stopped the enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The last real enforcement was by Nixon against AT&T, which resolved under Carter with the company breaking up into 7 “Baby Bells” to improve competition, but those companies are now all re-consolidated.
Reagan’s deregulation lead to the merging and acquisition craze from the 1980s to today, emphasized in the movie Wall Street with Michael Douglas famously echoing Michael Milken’s emotion that “Greed is good.” The latest industries to recently hyper-consolidate are Big Pharma and Big Health Insurance. But media consolidation is the most pernicious when it comes to a “lying press.”
Have you seen the story on American network news? Never!
LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES
An American landscape that used to be filled with local, independently owned businesses has become so homogenized by the handful of companies that control our retail, restaurant, and travel sectors that you could parachute from space to any random area of the country and have no idea where you are because everything is the same. It makes billions for the billionaires, but locks out anything approaching the local competition that used to be a trademark of American business.
Have you seen the story on American network news? No, no you haven’t.
CRIME IN CHICAGO
While pundits rant about crime in Chicago, nobody mentions the likely:
- 100,000 people who die every year from workplace-related diseases;
- 65,000 who die from mostly fossil fuel-related air pollution;
- 400,000 Americans killed every year by the tobacco industry.
At the same time we hyperventilate about street crime and drugs, corporate criminals and banksters destroy working class families with much higher frequency than burglars or robbers but are almost never, ever jailed.
Have you heard a single complete word about any of these issues on the network news? Odds are the answer is “No,” and when you have, it really is the rare exception that proves the rule, and usually presented in a frame that is very narrow that doesn’t include corporate malfeasance.
RADIO AND TV PRESS
Our radio and TV press is not keeping us up-to-date about things that actually matter to our everyday lives and economy, and in its place focus on things that drive up ratings (including, but not limited to, the Donald Trump Reality Show POTUS Version, which they cynically hit us over the head with throughout 2015 and 2016 because it was, as CBS’s Les Mooves famously said, not good for America but great for CBS).
In a word: Profits. Profits over truth! Profits over “news”! Profits over the planet! Profits over human survival!
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