Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Myth of Liberal Media

Fascism is such a strong word. I think the USA is drifting towards a fascism. We aren't there yet, there is still hope. We are still a democracy (the last election proves that things will pull back the to the center eventually).

However, I am quite concerned about the media. It's in the title of my blog somewhere I think. Certainly this bit of news gave me pause. I find this analysis (scroll down please) to be useful in understanding the author's underlying message.

When we consider the rise of fascism in Italy before world war II, it is important to remember that Benito Mussolini began his career as a journalist, but his coverage drifted from a neo-leftist to what we identify as fascism today. His rise of power occurred because of the overwhelming support of Italian industry, because he was decidedly pro-business. Consolidation of the media was immediate, as it was the media that was the message. Even back then there was an implicit understanding of the concept.

When we think of coverage today, consolidation is a key term. Media outlets are multi-faceted; print, radio, television and the internet (to a lesser extent given the lack of limitation on access to medium of delivery).

We assume that the Government will be the one to control media, but I think it could be argued easily that it is the corporations that control media. The message is one that is a confluence of different opinions, but the often the result are division. Things are painted as either/or because it is too hard to give a realistic portrayal given the timeslice nature of television and radio programming.

We learn over time to mistrust media, the message is the same from the left and the right. The sense of ambiguity, lack of authentication, what is the agenda overshadows what is the message. A democracy requires that the participants be engaged; being jaded promotes a sense that it does not make a difference one way or another, so why bother?

This is why I am worried. It is becoming harder to have an adult conversation about our country and where it is headed. We can't be realistic about things because opinions get in the way. If you read the Wikipedia entry on Fascism, understand that that is exactly the right environment for this to occur. People get tired and want the answer. This not a good thing.

Sometimes I get comfort from history.


Moment of clarification

This is the day after christmas, and I fortunately have some time to work on things that I have been delaying for the last few months.

Taking a break from writing here gives me a moment to do some self-examination. I write here for myself, but I am conscious of the potential for pomposity and self-congratulation. I try to be focused less about myself, and more about issues that are important to me. It is a public record of private thoughts.

This is why I have two blogs. "Hal Meeks Slept Here" is about the things I do for fun, the random kvetching. I try to spare people this personal chatter (really, who really cares what wine I like, about my car, etc).

So, I forge forward. I have no illusions of hundreds of enthralled readers. This in the tradition of the academic journal. My other blog keeps it light.

Hope Santa visited you too.