Notes From The Overground

Progressive-minded weblog devoted heavily to politics and media with some music and popular culture sprinkled throughout working on the assumption that anything that comes out of Washington or the mass media is bogus propaganda unless proven otherwise.

Created by Tom

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Saturday, January 25, 2003

Not like anyone needed a reason to completely ignore Maxim magazine, but here it is: an ever-so-tasteful description of how to beat the piss out of a peace-lover (in this case, Ghandi). This hot selling waste of dead trees is a true gift to all ignorant, testosterone-driven men who couldn't possibly fathom how to think outside of the box of being an "A-merican man." Next issue will discuss how to plow down Mother Theresa at top speed in your manly high-performance sports-car while swilling some BEER and cleaning your handgun with the free hand that isn't caressing you're phallic gear-shifter.


On Media

Stop watching the news. Boycott it. Everything you know is wrong. The four major sources of American news, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, are all subsidiary factions of multinational corporations run by rich, white men. Television’s sole function is as a conduit for advertising – the rest is just window dressing. In other words, the money that pays for the news and programming you watch comes from the rich and powerful. It is in their best interest to keep you in a perfect state of mind-numbing bewilderment to what is really happening. When an entire medium is devoted to furthering your status as a consumer rather than as a citizen you cannot seriously expect anything too enlightening. All objectivity and public service flies out the window when it comes to the people signing the checks.

Meanwhile, the primary government watchdog for the media industry, the FCC, has been emasculated and assimilated by the rich and powerful ever since Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s. Designed with the intention of keeping representations in the mass media fair, accurate and balanced, the FCC was the only hope for government regulation on unfettered, free-market capitalism in the mass media complex. The FCC created and enforced guidelines that ensured balance of opinion in news programming among other things. However, more importantly, the FCC made sure that one corporation could not own, control and ultimately influence more than a certain amount of media. The hope is over. What little power the FCC did have has been softened or stripped – most notably by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Now, the son of Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell is the head of the commission. Powell has clear and direct ties to a corporate-friendly administration that has only catered to the wishes of the rich and powerful. To him it is all clear: there is no such thing as public service; think of it more as consumer relations.

So what does this mean for you? It means that real "news" is unattainable in the mass media. In order to get a clear picture of what’s going on one must look into independent, not-for-profit sources, and filter through each groups’ propaganda in order to have a full and somewhat informed picture of the state of affairs. What has been condescendingly referred to as the "liberal media" is actually a playground for the viewpoints of the moderate-to-right sectors of society. Anything that is too incongruous with the propaganda of consumerism is censored, "spiked," or ultimately thrown down the memory hole. For instance, a few years back, ABC had a fit when one of their producers tried to run a story on pedophiles working for Disney. Why would ABC be so queasy about such a story? It could be because Disney is a high-paying advertiser. But, in this case, DISNEY OWNS ABC!!! They write the check, they would be paying for their own bad press. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me. Meanwhile the great American Defense contractor GE owns NBC. And it only gets worse while democracy suffers.

I’ve come to a realization that American democracy is a joke. The great experiment failed. And trust me, I’m no less "patriotic" than you. I love what America should be; I despise what it is. Our founding fathers weren’t perfect – they did some deplorable things being rich, white slave-owners and such – but at least they were laying a decent groundwork that better women and men could build upon. Today, we’re moving backwards. American democracy is nothing more than a farce because there is no plurality of voices, equal opportunity for all people does not exist, and the system is rigged in favor of those who wield financial power. Factor these all into a simple equation and you will find that the product is very simple: oligarchy. It’s not only the mass media. Every sector of society betrays whom it is beholden to. However, the mass media are supposed to be the mouthpiece of the people: the manifestation of the first amendment. When American people are given only one side of every story, one point of view, democracy cannot flourish. We end up a society with no choices, a society where your realistic choice of a president is between Al Gore and a spoiled, vengeful child of privilege who never worked for anything in his life yet expected the moon. And, oh how frightening it is when that little boy is given the keys to the kingdom to turn it into his very own empire.

Friday, January 24, 2003

It is bad for you.


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