The primary obstacle to real change
Over the past months I became a solid Barack Obama supporter. There's no doubt that he's a breath of fresh air, and that an Obama presidency would bring about a fair amount of positive change. But what we aren't going to get with Obama is fundamental, lasting change.
The problem isn't Washington. The problem isn't ABC, CNN, or Fox. The primary problem isn't what our elected leader will or won't do. The problem is with us.
The vast majority of Americans still give corporations far too much credibility. Somehow they still take the commercial media seriously. As far as I'm concerned, the debate around media credibility was closed with Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent" (the film in 1993 and book in 1988). Commercial media isn't credible simply because it is corporate. Corporations will always have a pro-corporate bias. Why? Because they are corporations and that's what they do. It can be no other way.
So what? Well, naturally corporations favor themselves and their kind over the individual. I simply don't understand why this idea hasn't sunk in on a massive scale. To the contrary, even the most radical political thinkers still tend to place far too much importance on what is reported in the mainstream media. For example, an independent radio show called Counterspin echoes outrage about bias in the media, on cue, every week. We Progressives, with our countless media watchdogs, know that the corporate media isn't on our side. Still, somehow we think that if we cry foul loudly and often enough...if we beg and plead...somehow it will change.
It won't change because it cannot. It is what it is that that's just what it is.
Hugo Chavez, for example, won the support of the vast majority of Venezuelans despite the fact that 4 out of 5 TV stations in the country were private, and were consistently and rabidly anti-Chavez. But people in Venezuela knew the drill. Enough of them simply understood the nature of business, of corporate interests, and they chose instead to get their information about Chavez from the one state TV network.
When the day comes that the vast majority of Progressive-minded Americans either turn off corporate media altogether, or at least learn to take what they hear with an enormous grain of salt, nothing can ever truly change.
In the end, the media will continue to have all the power as long as the majority of us give it this power. As it stands today, they are completely controlling our dialog. We either get outraged by manufactured outrage, or we get outraged by the fact that the outrage is manufactured at all. Either way, we are letting them control out thoughts, moods, and actions. Why?