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Reply #41: What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream [View All]

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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-18-08 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream
...

The real mass media are basically trying to divert people. Let them do something else, but dont bother us (us being the people who run the show). Let them get interested in professional sports, for example. Let everybody be crazed about professional sports or sex scandals or the personalities and their problems or something like that. Anything, as long as it isnt serious. Of course, the serious stuff is for the big guys. "We" take care of that.

What are the elite media, the agenda-setting ones? The New York Times and CBS, for example. Well, first of all, they are major, very profitable, corporations. Furthermore, most of them are either linked to, or outright owned by, much bigger corporations, like General Electric, Westinghouse, and so on. They are way up at the top of the power structure of the private economy which is a very tyrannical structure. Corporations are basically tyrannies, hierarchic, controled from above. If you dont like what they are doing you get out. The major media are just part of that system.

What about their institutional setting? Well, thats more or less the same. What they interact with and relate to is other major power centersthe government, other corporations, or the universities. Because the media are a doctrinal system they interact closely with the universities. Say you are a reporter writing a story on Southeast Asia or Africa, or something like that. Youre supposed to go over to the big university and find an expert who will tell you what to write, or else go to one of the foundations, like Brookings Institute or American Enterprise Institute and they will give you the words to say. These outside institutions are very similar to the media.

The universities, for example, are not independent institutions. There may be independent people scattered around in them but that is true of the media as well. And its generally true of corporations. Its true of Fascist states, for that matter. But the institution itself is parasitic. Its dependent on outside sources of support and those sources of support, such as private wealth, big corporations with grants, and the government (which is so closely interlinked with corporate power you can barely distinguish them), they are essentially what the universities are in the middle of. People within them, who dont adjust to that structure, who dont accept it and internalize it (you cant really work with it unless you internalize it, and believe it); people who dont do that are likely to be weeded out along the way, starting from kindergarten, all the way up. There are all sorts of filtering devices to get rid of people who are a pain in the neck and think independently. Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience; if you dont do that, you are a troublemaker. So, it is kind of a filtering device which ends up with people who really honestly (they arent lying) internalize the framework of belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society. The elite institutions like, say, Harvard and Princeton and the small upscale colleges, for example, are very much geared to socialization. If you go through a place like Harvard, most of what goes on there is teaching manners; how to behave like a member of the upper classes, how to think the right thoughts, and so on.

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http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9710-mainstream-m...
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