From the desk of the bastard editor
Journalists wrench their hands and jabber that news is a mission not a job, but those hopeless fucks clutched their nut-sacks and moaned about the terrible danger to us all when Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather got the ol’ anthrax-o-gram.Those howling apes blew the mission and the job when we needed them most, to help us understand what the fuck a biological attack meant for civilization in the west, and instead used their power to turn everyone’s fear into total hysteria. Good job lads.
We expect to hear propaganda from the government, from business, from our rivals and from our enemies. We expect the media to strip away the putrid agitprop of these drooling chumps, so we really aren’t prepared when they deluge us with propaganda of their own. The freakish hyenas that run news organizations these days seem to have totally jettisoned any attempt at propigating the public good, and instead have decided that there is one official version of truth, and they are the sole providers of it.
Appalling as that is, it gets worse. The haircuts on television are leading the agenda on news these days. That’s just great, now the dumbest apes in the business run the show with more money and quicker stories than newspapers, magazines and websites. The bastards ram the Kentucky-fried news down our throats and call it foie gras.
What makes me bay like a wounded animal is the grinning proclamations of balanced and objective recording of history by the media, when in reality bias and circumstance determine the news cycle, not the most valuable and important stories. When a devastating earthquake that kills thousands in Turkey is given low priority in newscast because no tape exists, and video of a fire that kills no one in Santa Monica gets top billing, only an egg-sucking dog wouldn’t hang its head in shame.
News cycle – what does that even mean? Well many of us are too young to remember it, but there was a time when the 24-hour televised news universe did not exist, when the news didn’t chase its own tail in a crazed non-stop effort to be first with whatever was happening.
The first time the news really turned into an entertainment event like the Superbowl or the World Series was May 13, 1981, when Pope John Paul II was shot. You can watch the video at www.6.cnn.com/resources/video.almanac/1981/#pope, and surprising as it is, that 30-second clip from RAI TV blasted into living rooms around the world for three days straight.
I’m going to go out on a limb here to say that our problems started when some genius decided that news and fictional programming ought to have the same type of ratings, and therefore the same commercial value. The classic 1976 movie Network was a terrifyingly funny send up of show-business tactics applied to new-gathering, but its grim message pales in comparison to the puppy dog press of today’s reality. It should be obvious that the cultural impact and value of news is so much greater than some inane sitcom.
The Gulf war was a disaster for news, because it finally proved that the story had nothing to do with the entertainment value of the pictures. The Pentagon strapped it on and the news media bent over. They needed the access more than they needed to get another side of the patriotic struggle to preserve U.S. access to oil. Never mind that a decade later that war is an open sore, for all intents ongoing and devastating to everyone but the dictator whose expansionist actions started the whole thing up.
In the bizarro world of television, the present is used to explain the future, and the past barely exists. Sept. 11 is nearly old news in the cycle, we’ve move on to bombing, the Taliban, Pakistan, and anthrax. In the chase for flashy pictures and ratings galore they gut their obligation to explain the world to us, and rely on other news outlets to do it. TV and radio expects newspapers to pick up the information gap, and newspapers pass that duty on to documentaries and magazines. Of course by that point the audience has drawn a conclusion and only a small percentage of people tune in for a more complete story.
The propaganda of the media is that its version of things is the truth. The truth is an elusive bitch, CNN is in the business of airing live press conferences from every Washington geek and calling it truth. We aren’t stupid, we are fucking pissed off.
People gave up on the church as a protector of their interests centuries ago. The rise of secularism and the nation state lead to a trust in government, that bloody well ended when Nixon got tagged with his hand in the cookie jar. Those spark-plug newsmen were our last bastion, vicious thugs for sure, but they were ours. By choosing stories that propigate news events that score massive ratings, our media have enriched themselves at the cost of our public good. They aren’t malicious, just lazy and slavishly devoted to the markets like their corporate bosses.
And sadly the events of Sept. 11 did not wipe clean this horrible mess, it created a media event of such enormous proportions that it looks like a revolution. It’s not as if the way the bastard’s cover news has changed, they just have the mother of all stories to cover. It’s a bad time to have a legitimate news story outside of the conflict propaganda’s scope, like say the raping of our civil liberties by grossly expanded security and surveillance powers. The news hung us out to dry for the best ratings of the new century. What a God-awful cheap price for their souls.