Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Role of Big Media in the Plunder
If Congress surrendered all its legislative powers to the Bush administration, corporate news media would not question it. In fact, whenever the state forces the people to give up the few liberties not yet violently ripped from them, corporate news media promote it.
The Innocuous Tyrant
For every major U.S. government enterprise, ”coverage” is a win-win narrative.
In Associated Press coverage of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, for instance, the reader is put into the shoes of ”U.S. officials.” The prime urgency is what’s best for the vaguely- or never-defined success of U.S. foreign policy. Deadlines and benchmarks being imposed on the occupied Iraqis by the imperial occupiers are the sine qua non of ”democracy.” For every U.S. policy failure, the Iraqi government, al-Qaeda in Iraq, or Iranian meddling can be held to account without an editorial doubt. Or, it’s simply that the policy goals are “taking longer than U.S. officials had originally planned,” usually due to “sectarian rifts” or some other alleged fault of the Iraqi people.
Meanwhile, it’s out of sight, out of mind for the casual observer.
Omitted is even the possibility that the U.S. government never had any business being there in the first place; that Iraqis, even those in government, are right to oppose foreign aggression and imperial domination; or, that it is immoral, illegal, and impossible to make people live the way you want them to live. Never considered is that the U.S. occupation is the prime cause of destruction and misery not only for Iraqis, but for Americans and others subjected to the empire. Never questioned is the culprit; his ever-malignant role is never brought into light. If it is, it arrives via an “anti-U.S.” or ”radical Islamist” or “dovish” point of view, and is thereby easily marginalized.
It all adds up to the suggestion that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is a noble nation-building project born of compassion, and not an imperial binge spurred by mercantilism.
Oligarchy is safe long as any political struggle can be fashioned into the age-old false choice: What must the central government ”do” to save the people (who have no clue how to run their own affairs) from themselves? This indispensible foundation for effective pro-state propaganda is at least as devastating when applied to coverage of domestic federal interventions.
In the days leading up to the initial, September 29 House vote on the “Bailout of Abominations,” the Monopoly-State Media (MSM) carried testimonials from members of Congress on the flood of phone calls, emails, and visits received from their constituents. We learned that nearly all petitions expressed strong opposition to the proposal to ”rescue” failing financial institutions with U.S. taxpayer “money.”
Like other anti-empire truths, this natural rejection of tyranny by the people was reported out of utter inability to hide it.
Outright omission was not an option, so AP et al. resorted to the next easiest way of dismissing it: reason it away from what it was and into a description friendlier to the sensibilities of U.S. policy. (What else?) The defeated bailout plan was simply portrayed as the wrong government action, i.e., the wrong kind of institutionalized violence against every individual, as if any unconstitutional federal action — much less the same destructive means that facilitated the current situation — can be sanely considered a potential solution.
Again: out of sight, out of mind. The state’s justification for existing is that its existence never comes into question. And even if it does, it will not be an encroachment; nor will the state’s actions amount to aggression. Win-win.
To those who understand the most fundamental political struggle as being between the state (central tyranny) and the people (individual liberty), every action taken by the federal (central) government that does not promote individual liberty is an expansion of the state and thus an encroachment on the people. But, to a properly conditioned public,  the Great Central Authority is unquestionably innocuous, infallible, or even salvation.
The condition fostered in the false choice provides the reader a perspective absent of critical (esp. anti-state) thought; comfort is taken in the absence of a people v. state struggle. To suggest no action, or negative (self-diminishing) action, by the Almighty Gubment would be to defy conventional wisdom and deny the corporate state its enrichment, ultimately threatening an effective death for the state. That principled stance is portrayed as fringe or omitted altogether because, furthermore, by not suggesting the state as being part of the solution, it naturally sets the state in opposition to the individual. The resulting moral contrast inevitably casts the state (e.g., the central government, its cronies, and their “ways and means”) as, in fact, the problem.
And when the people see the problem as being the state itself, the people, unlike the state, do not (necessarily) throw money at it.
As an unofficial but nevertheless approved PR agent for the state, a corporate news medium’s unofficial role here is to subtly divert the people’s crosshairs away from the state and toward just about everything else: borrowers, lenders, business owners, the market, Dems, Reps, libs, cons, de-regulation, capitalism, taxpayers, corporations (some of whose practices, though ill-advised and at times criminal, are subsidized and encouraged by the state), and so on.
Following are recent examples.
Fallacy: The 2008 bailouts and nationalizations of financial institutions are unprecedented in the history of U.S. government intervention.
Omission: FDR-era New Deal programs; Lincoln-era economic and military wars against the people; the Wilson-era Federal Reserve Act, the Sixteenth Amendment (Income Tax), WWI, and conscription; the long and slow death of the gold standard and now the dollar (!); Truman’s Korea, LBJ’s Vietnam, and Bush’s Iraq; and so on.
Particularly pertinent to current events is the ”Great Gold Robbery of 1933.”
In March 1933, the federal government declared the existence of a banking emergency that required a swift and sweeping response. It would not be the last time that American leaders used the pretext of emergency to consolidate their power. But the federal government’s actions in this instance—confiscating American citizens’ gold—amounted to an especially egregious power grab. Americans were forced to hand over all their gold, assuming that it would be returned after the economic crisis had passed. The federal government, however, hid its intentions every step of the way, never returned the gold, and began its career of inflation that has harmed Americans ever since. And the average high school student has no idea any of this even happened. 
If constantly told by the supposedly most-authoritative sources that the current looting of taxpayers is an historic “banking emergency,” will the reader not be encouraged to feel that the situation perhaps does require government violence, or, that the tyranny is in fact only temporary, as President Bush has ridiculously asserted and as the MSM never doubt, or, that their money (or their real money, in 1933) “would be returned after the economic crisis had passed”?
Why not? After all, no historical context is provided to challenge the suggested urgency or the assertion of uniqueness; so, as far as the average MSM reader knows, the federal government has never systematically extracted life, liberty, or property from law-abiding U.S. citizens on a mass scale. If they did, they didn’t lie or cartelize to get away with it.
They certainly wouldn’t do that. If they did, well, it was for our own good, right?
Tsk tsk tsk…
And why does an “average high school student” have “no idea that any of this happened”?
As a supplement to the indomitable flood of MSM state-worship, the unconstitutional U.S. Department of Education’s primary function (besides looting taxpayers for services not rendered) is to contract and oversee the production of authorized biographies of the state — a.k.a., textbooks — which naturally (predictably) conceal facts that contradict the phony image of the infallible central government, permeating minds with tall tales of heroism and “patriotism” from ”our great leaders.”
For the remainder of each weekday, corporate news media take over, reinforcing what was ”learned” in the “classroom.”
Fallacy: Politicians who both oppose the bailouts and face an election challenge this year are all hoarding their seats. (Therefore, it is safe to suggest that they are not really voting on any moral or legal principle.)
Omission: Corporatist cronyism, federal malfeasance, and actually-principled opposition.
Dozens of those voting for the bailout have also received thousands or even millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the same financial institutions being bailed out. This whoredom of state is not critically highlighted anywhere in corporate media news reports.
And then there’s the cartel. Even the New York Times (member, AP cartel) had to ponder the obvious web of fascist power being weaved into the U.S. Treasury Department by Secretary Paulson. 
The lengthy article on the front page of the business section names the cronies, quotes their antagonists, and even implies corporatism. But — and this is the key — it never questions the very role of the government and constitutionality of policy. Furthermore, those who would make anything of the obvious malfeasance are “conspiracy theorists” (pp. 3–4). And oh, btw, who are the defenders and promoters of the Paulson-Goldman corporatism? Fellow Goldman-Sachs “alumni” and others from “a very small, close-knit world,” (p. 4) of course. (How rich is it, then, that when a government agency is supposedly compiling evidence against someone — like, say, itself! — it is unquestionably an ”investigation”?)
The MSM are hardly beyond playing the motive-impugning blame game.
On the same day the bailout bill was voted down in the House, AP intensified its bidding for the state, pointing to statistics showing that most members of Congress in danger of losing their seats next month voted nay on the inconceivable act.
Two-thirds of Congress’ most vulnerable members . . . chose to protect their seats on Election Day rather than follow their party leaders and vote for an unpopular economic bailout plan. . . . The pressures those lawmakers faced was [sic] summed up by Rep. Don Young of Alaska . . . Currently under an ethics cloud, Young voted no mostly because an overwhelming majority of the constituents who called his office were against the bailout. . . . Like Young, lawmakers who had the most to lose risked the least on Monday. 
While the data may be true and pertinent on a political level, it can not account for AP’s suspect refusal to quote people like Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), whose seat is not challenged, yet who still voted against the measure on moral and legal (i.e., not political) grounds. (Perhaps Dr. Paul’s career-long principled stand against tyranny provides very little entertainment value.)
Always quoted are those whose explanations for their votes give the MSM a chance to reinforce popular thinking about the role of the federal government. The words of perceivable scoundrels are taken without regard to their party or which way they voted, as long as their actions and words do not cast the pro-intervention position in an indefensibly bad light (i.e., the truth). The accounts of those whose actions reveal fallacies and hypocrisy in the system are politically marginalized (Young) or omitted altogether (Paul).
Take, too, the case of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who opened his bailout speech saying it is “tremendously ironic” that the Senate was where it was, doing what it was doing (voting on such a thing). He then requested that Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, as well as the Tenth Amendment, be entered into the record, pointing out that such federal interventions are unconstitutional and violate states’ rights, respectively. Nearing the end of his speech, he declared, “we’re committing malpractice.”
The “practicing physician” then voted aye.
Still, you won’t find Coburn’s ironically aye-ronic actions analyzed in any AP news report — perhaps because AP might then have to concede that the bailout is immoral and supremely illegal, and that the act of voting for the bailout, therefore, is grossly unethical. All of which would have clashed with the rest of AP’s narration.
Fallacy: The government must ”do something” to “save the market.” Look at the erratic stock exchange!
Omission: Interventionism by the federal government and the federal reserve is the cause.
With every bell at the stock exchange, the hucksters have another lever between the people and the truth. Oh, and, another win-win.
On the day of the failed bailout vote, the stock market dropped 778 points. In came the hucksters to tell us that the drop confirmed that taxpayers will be worse off in the long run if Congress doesn’t “do something” now. A few days later, bolstered by the media-spun hysteria and bound by corporatist cronyism, the Senate voted on a bailout measure similar to the House version, only with an extra few-hundred pages of legal jargon (power grabs) and added “sweeteners” (bribes). It passed by an unconstitutional 74–25.
The stock market dropped another 350 points the next day, prompting corporate media to play PR agent in full damage-control effect, pointing to the drop as another sign that the House of Representatives must act quickly.
“133 House Republicans . . . joined 95 Democrats in rejecting the measure Monday, sending the stock market plummeting. . . . Fears about an economic downturn sent the Dow Jones industrials down nearly 350 points Thursday, three days after Monday’s historic 778-point drop. 
Vote nay and stocks fall? Do something. (The state wins.) Vote aye and stocks fall? Do more of the same. (The state wins.) Hmm. You’d think there might be a better way of ”saving the market.”
How could the bill’s House defeat be responsible for ”sending the stock market plummeting,” when in fact the probable outcome was known for over a week via the people’s unanimous petitioning and subsequent commitments by members of Congress to act accordingly?
A forecast of defeat for the House bill certainly had a more calming effect than did Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s fear-laden connivance (blackmail) a week earlier in front of Congressional committees. What do you expect when the banking cartel has threatened bad things to happen to the people if the people, through the federal government, do not bail them out of their racketeering debts?
It’s easy to criticize the market when the stock market is so erratic: simply omit the cause and divert. But the powerful influence that Bernanke and his “employer” have over the business cycle can not be overstated. Add to that not only Paulson’s crony-corporatism, but also his newly pirated powers over the economy. The mere suggestion of ground-shaking (or “unprecedented”) intervention by this monopoly on the financial markets can be enough to spur on a small recession on its own.
It matters little whether the necessity for the plunder is real or a fraud (which it is), even if Congress rises ethically against the tyranny. In fear, people will ”hoard” (i.e., pull, hold, exercise ownership of) their assets or sell them for fear that theirs, too, will turn illiquid (worthless, destroyed) tomorrow. They know (or, they should be able to estimate, according to the risk) that, either way, some violence will be leveled against them or their property.
When townsfolk find out that their town’s businesses are being extorted by the mafia, they will do things for their own welfare and safety: shoppers will avoid local businesses or sell their property and move out of town; vendors will pull their products and cancel, sell, or buy out of contracts; and so on.
But let’s say that the mafia told all the business owners they only had to voluntarily pay the mafia for “security,” or better yet, if the mafia left town? What would happen to the local economy then?
Never mind! Move along! You’re not capable of understanding these things; that’s why the mafia is around, to tell you that too much economic freedom will bring only doom and gloom in the long run!
The systems by which mafiosi run things is bad enough for a local economy.
But it surely is a boon for the mafia! Oh, and, the government, whose most influential members are fellow mafiosi (a.k.a., regulators) anyway.
The soundest advice for a truly free and prosperous economy — indeed, the advice proved correct, time, time, and again — is for the federal government to stay out of the way.
Voluntary association (e.g., the voluntary contract) is a vital requisite for the health of any free entry, free enterprise economy. This principle is antithetical to the statist agenda and therefore has been dying ever since the Republic was born. The latest accomplices to the death of the free market are the recent ”bailouts” and “buy-ups.” Alas, Hamilton’s Curse is stronger than ever.
But under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government is only allowed to enforce private contracts — not to restructure or void them, or mandate their terms. All government interventions not explicitly granted in the Constitution are tyrannical and cancerous to a free society. The mere existence of a centralized, economy-management force is an affront to economic liberty and free market capitalism.
“Not so,” says the conventional wisdom of the snake oil variety.
It’s the “murkiness of the market for credit swaps,” says AP. “The swaps are completely unregulated, prone to sloppy documentation and traded without a central clearinghouse.” 
And what sources inform AP’s opinion? Christopher Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (regulator); The Wall Street Journal (statist rag); Eric Dinallo, superintendent of the New York State Insurance Department (lobbyist, regulator); Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (regulator); Delora Jee, “a top regulator at the Office for the Comptroller of the Currency” (regulator); and last but not least, “Financial commentator Ben Stein” (pro-regulation statist tool).
Curiously, we are not graced by AP’s advisory opinion of what is the systemic cause of the so-called murkiness. We are just supposed to jump into the arms of the state and its regulators. Why? Because the regulators and their lapdog media told us it is scary out there.
Meanwhile, the real culprits (you guessed it: regulators and tools) retain the lectern as authoritative sources:
The Federal Reserve reported record emergency lending to banks and investment firms, fresh evidence of the credit troubles squeezing the country. . . .
If the [billionaire bailout] plan works, advocates say, that would allow frozen credit to begin flowing again and prevent a serious recession. 
It’s mind-boggling that anyone — much less, the “world’s largest and most trusted source of news and information” — would mention the Federal Reserve, stock plummet, and credit troubles in the same report, yet make nothing of their cause-symptom-symptom relationship.
That AP even includes the words of those whose pet government interventions got us into this mess — while ignoring the few economists and members of Congress who have been correctly warning against these federal interventions all along — should cause readers to wonder whether AP is an arm of the state.
It is from the perspective of the corporate state which comes the implication that those who opposed the national-socialism and fascism are simply either “angry Republicans” (AP) or stray liberals; all of whom need to be reeled in.
Vote-counters in both parties planned to huddle first thing Friday morning to compare notes on coming up with the dozen or so supporters needed to reverse the stunning defeat. . . . Congressional leaders worked over wayward colleagues wherever they could find them. 
Yes. Unfortunately, in this day and age it is ”stunning” when representatives actually obey the Constitution and defend the people with their votes. In that sense, those who voted against the unconstitutional bailout are indeed “wayward.”
“But this is what the American people really want,” suggest corporate news media and other lobbyists who naturally fail to account for their own propagandistic influence over the same American people.
Is there a more nefarious connivance?
To further advocate the plundering of Average Jane and Joe, AP released a report full of testimonials from members of Congress who are switching their vote to aye — supposedly with heart-wrenching reluctance. We’re told that “lawmakers responded to an awakening among voters to the pain ahead of them if stability isn’t restored to the tottering economy.” 
Untruth-to-Reality Translation: A massive majority of U.S. citizens are opposed to the immoral and illegal scam; but the moneyed interests who would benefit from the bailouts are the same ones that have ultimately kept the politicians in power with campaign contributions and the like. Their lobbyists can, and do, vote. So in that sense, yes, there was an “awakening among voters.”
Selective wording is rarely effective as it is with the word voters. The richest and the most criminal are voters. At one point, Charles Manson was an eligible voter. Paulson’s cartel is comprised of voters. CEOs of bailed-out, failed institutions are voters. Poor suckers who buy the MSM’s spoon-fed state-worshiping are voters. U.S. citizens who promote a transformation of the United States into a national-socialist shadow of itself are still voters.
By quoting and narrating only the pro-bailout arguments, and by omitting the inhuman ravaging each state action represents, corporate news media assume a position in favor of immoral and illegal federal interventions at the taxpayers’ expense, against the supreme rule of law and the near-unanimous will of the people. AP is Advocating Piracy.
Throughout U.S. history, government has played the role of reluctant tyrant, acting on allegedly good intentions, only to contribute “unforeseeably” to the demise of the very people they intended to save (and then some). In a sick perversion of justice and reason, each of these so-called blunders is fashioned into the losing end of a false choice, which is then offered as reason for the government to intervene further.
In the bailouts, as with the War on Iraq, the American (and Iraqi) people are told their pillaging is for their own good. In both cases, their livelihoods and liberties are sacrificed for the sake of glittering generalities: “security,” “prosperity,” and “freedom.” Yet, every result sees the people suffering and moving closer to serfdom under oligarchy. In any case, tyranny is easily spun into salvation via the propaganda mechanisms touched on herein.
The state must maintain a veneer of harmlessness if it is to go on enslaving its subjects (i.e., existing) and enriching itself. When the MSM can keep the people unwittingly fighting each other and inhibiting themselves with trivia, it becomes that much easier. But ultimately, the unspoken working relationship between media and government is a matter of self-preservation.
Corporate news media, whose parent and sister corporations are profiting from any government intervention you can name, come and go with the political and economic systems off which they exist and thrive. AP, especially, relies on advertising revenue to stay in the black. A great bulk of that ad revenue comes from the very financial institutions that benefit from these criminal government interventions. So naturally, for their financial lives, AP & Co. would be wise to set the fulcrum where government policy enjoys the most — indeed, indomitable — leverage over its antitheses.
What, you expected them to report honestly, or even critically of the state?
They are the state.
_ _ _ _ _
1. For example, people who sincerely believe that the reason Abraham Lincoln invaded his own country was to abolish slavery or to defend the Constitution, or, that an all-powerful national government is a founding ideal of the Republic. The word majority understates this demographic, thanks to corporately- and federally-funded think tanks [sic] and, more insidiously, the U.S. Department of Education.
2. Thomas E. Woods, Jr. & Kevin R. C. Gutzman, Who Killed the Constitution? (New York: Crown Forum, 2008), p. 83.
3. Julie Creswell & Ben White, “The Guys From ‘Government Sachs,’” New York Times, 10/17/2008