I have pointedly refrained from commenting on the OWS protests now transpiring worldwide, prior to this date.
There is a good reason for this: generally when I write about a topic, I like to know something about it. I like to THINK about it. The early reports and coverage presented us with a wealth of information, but a paucity of knowledge.
Now, perhaps, I can comment more intelligently on certain aspects of the phenomenon (or, more precisely, phenomena). I would adjure the pundit class to follow this salutary example, but one might as well attempt to teach differential calculus to a three-toed tree frog.
You might note the “Fox 5 News reporter assaulted” at the bottom, the dying ember of yet another of the endless attacks launched on OWS in the “mainstream” media during the past week. And I’m not going to touch the “public masturbation” smear with a ten foot poll.
Over the course of the past week, OWS demonstrators have been characterized as “dirty hippies,” “communists,” “socialists,” lazy bums who need to get a job and a life, they are violent, they are Antisemites* (* as noted in Thursday’s “The Monkey Cage“), the ubiquitous “leftists” — a parasitic insult that grows like a tapeworm over time, since the demonization of “liberals” had reached a point that it no longer produced the requisite spasm of pleasure in hating the Other, a viral meme that multiplies a secret message, like “Death Tax” and not “NO heriditary oligarchies” “leftists” being a term formerly reserved for secretly Communist political parties overseas, or guerrillas we didn’t support, as opposed to guerrillas we DID support, known in the parlance as “freedom fighters” — and, the most corrupt and sleazy “mainstream” story of all: are the Occupy Wall Street Protesters like the Tea Party, or aren’t they like the Tea Party, even though the question begs itself.
The smear and slime campaign merely indicates that the Beast has become irritated. The real story was the weeks in which the self-same “Establishment” media exercised a near-total media blackout on the protests. It wasn’t until Tony Baloney pepper-sprayed two young women in the face that the “world” took notice.
We have been here before.
In a week in which we finally announced our final withdrawal from Iraq — remember Iraq? that little war that ceased to be newsworthy in direct proportion to the embarrassment that it caused us — we OUGHT to remember the lesson of Vietnam (which would have kept us out of Iraq, had those in power noticed), and the complicity of the much more diverse media of the age. We only had three networks, of course, but many more radio, magazine and newspaper outlets, bureaus and reporters.
And they danced us down the primrose path to national disaster every bit as willingly as the modern MSM (main stream media) danced us down the razor wire footpath into Iraq.
And we were wrong. Demonstrably wrong, morally wrong and historically wrong.
We went in to take out ONE man (and maybe some of his cronies), but we missed to the tune of at least 100,000 dead and 2 million refugees. The war that got the White House Office of Management and Budget director fired for suggesting that the war might cost $200 billion (because it would “pay for itself”) has cost five times that amount. And when the one man was finally taken through a “trial” and sentenced to death, he was hung by a noose in a warehouse in the middle of the night by men in ski masks.
Thus belieing the whole “trial” notion in the eyes of the world.
Hundreds of thousands demonstrated around the world. And, while we claimed to be “spreading democracy” those selfsame protests failed to ever show up on the “Camelized” media.
“Camelized”? Yeah. There used to be one brand of cigarettes called “Camels.” They had no filters until the late 1960s, and took their name from a supposed blend of Turkish and American tobaccos.
But now, there are a thousand flavors of Camels®: Camel Lights, Camel Wides, Camel Filters, Camel Menthols, Camel Menthol Lights, and a whole line of flavored and specialty Camels that it beggars the mind to keep up with.
The modern media have become Camels: MsNBC, CNBC, NBC, of course, but also The Weather Channel and .. oh wait [Wikipedia]:
The formation of NBC Universal saw the establishment of NBC Universal Cable, which oversees the distribution, marketing, and advertisement sales for thirteen channels (Bravo, Bravo HD+ (eventually renamed Universal HD), Chiller, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, mun2, Syfy, ShopNBC, Telemundo, Cloo, USA Network and the Olympic Games on cable). NBC Universal Cable also manages the company’s investments in A&E, the History Channel, History Channel International, the Biography Channel, National Geographic International, and TiVo. The cable division also used to operate NBC Weather Plus until 2008.
A better name for the media company might well be “Engulf & Devour”:
In August 2007, NBC Universal purchased Sparrowhawk Media Group and renamed it NBC Universal Global Networks. This acquisition gave NBC Universal all Hallmark channels outside the United States, plus the British channels: Diva TV, Movies 24, Hallmark Channel and the upcoming channel, KidsCo. Later that fall, the company also acquired the Oxygen network in a separate $925 million deal. The sale was completed one month later.
In the summer of 2008, NBC Universal, Blackstone Group and Bain Capital announced their intentions to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications. The deal closed on September 12, 2008. Shortly after the acquisition completed, NBC announced that their existing TV weather network, NBC Weather Plus, would be shut down by December 31, 2008.
On November 12, 2008, NBC Universal acquired 80.1% of Geneon Entertainment from Dentsu in Japan, merging it with Universal Pictures International Entertainment to form a new company, Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan.
On March 16, 2009, NBC Universal-owned cable channel Sci Fi announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy, replacing a generic term with a proprietary brand name that can be trademarked. […]
On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks (A&E) merged with Lifetime Entertainment Services (Lifetime), giving NBC Universal an equal share of both Lifetime and A&E with The Walt Disney Company and Hearst.
But they’re all Camels. Same stuff packaged in a thousand different ways.
Not even a fraction of all the “Camel” packaging
And, in the case of media, Camels in joint ventures with Marlboros, as in Walt Disney (ABC) in half share with NBC.
But my point isn’t to delve deeply into the endless profusions of the Same Old Crap.
As in our supermarkets, the media’s “diversity” is more a triumph of packaging than actual diversity. As you can buy the “good” brand of macaroni & cheese, or the store label brand, or the “generic” brand in three different boxes with three different labels that were all made at the same factory (with the store and generic brands intentionally made to a slightly cheaper quality), so, too, MsNBC routinely shows clips of late night comedians Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon (NBC) along with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (CBS), Dave Letterman and Craig Ferguson (also CBS) and Jimmy Kimmel (ABC/Walt Disney that NBC is going halfsies in a couple cable channels with).
The incestuous nature of the old “Big Three” broadcast networks is nearly as ubiquitous as it was PRE-cable. And, well, I don’t have to tell you about radio.
The point is that when these self-same clowns (or their immediate ancestors) danced us into Vietnam, the “counterculture” came up with underground newspapers, and FM radio, and all that remains is Rolling Stone magazine, which seems as oddly anachronistic as Playboy has for a long time now.
The Village Voice and the successor to the Los Angeles Free Press, the LA WEEKLY, are now all part of a national media company. And the newspapers that aren’t going out of business tend to be part of media megachains.
Shades of Wikileaks!
Our media have become one colossal, endless experiment in Branding.
On the other hand, the underground newspapers of today are the social networking that’s put together the OWS movement, that’s organized around the world, and form the only thin, tenuous counterbalance to our imperial media.
And we desperately need countermedia when for years the “official” media have been as conscientious in censoring unpleasant news as they have in following the disappearance of attractive young White women.
Missing for, literally, DAYS!
So, it’s no accident that attempts are inevitably made to silence that media. The lesson of Egypt hasn’t been lost on the plutocrats.
The latest has received little attention :
New Bipartisan Bill Will Allow U.S. Gov’t To Shut Off Any Website, Anywhere, For Any Reason
By KEN LAYNE, Wonkette
4:52 PM OCTOBER 27, 2011
You know how the politicians are always saying we need to be competitive with China? Well, we are about to get super competitive when it comes to internal censorship of the global Internet. Everybody except for a handful of malcontent “privacy activists” is behind the bold new plan to make all Internet service providers in the United States turn off any domain within five days, if Washington says “turn it off.” As usual, this new legislation is cloaked in bullshit terminology about copyright and lost profits for media conglomerates, but the result is exactly the same as China’s “great firewall” — except, this being the land of “corporations are people, my friends,” the ISPs will be responsible for the dirty work instead of some top-level government technological agency….
So: what does Occupy Wall Street say about America?
It says that Americans must, once again, make their own voices heard OUTSIDE of the Establishment media, whose featherbedding requires that they fall into the feather bed of power and influence.
As has happened before.
How is Occupy Wall Street unlike the Tea Party Movement?
Er … OWS is not based on a fundamental misunderstanding of a historical incident?
Or, that a media cheerled by Faux Nooz actively pushed the Tea Party protests, with CNN even getting into bed with one corporate bus tour (or two or three), while I have yet to see any giant CNN-logo signage sleeping bags at OWS.
Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Street agree: media is controlled;
they merely disagree as to by whom.
But they MAY be dirty communist hippie masturbators who violently need to get a job.
At least that’s the way it plays in the funny papers.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.