The national media has been lost to corporate profits and the Washington machine. We know this. Yet we still watch them, read them, listen to them.
Why? Because we’re addicted to them and we refuse to kick the habit.
On June 1, I posted “ShortFiles #5” in which I (rather quickly and kinda sloppily) broke down that night’s “Anderson Cooper 360” and the rhetorical strategies he employed that night as he “reported” on the rose garden address from President Trump and the following actions the President took in going to St. John’s Episcopal Church to take a series of pictures. Like I did on that video, I will not go into the political, cultural, or social implications of the actions President Trump used that night. Instead I will draw you back to the very strategies that CNN and their 8 pm anchor used to completely and instantly create a specific version of the story to spin the actions for their audience in an extremely biased and partisan way. I take issue with this because that is not journalism in the slightest. And though I am a fan of Anderson, what he did that night did not separate him from his counterparts on MSNBC or Fox News.
There are three important points I want to make about our current media landscape with the smallest hope that anyone reading this may be able to peel back the layers of their favorite cable news host and see that they all work from the exact same template. These points are meant not to curve you from one network to another, but to raise some observational awareness about how all three networks are in fact the same as they work for the same mechanistic group of elites who, in tandem with these networks and their personalities, strengthen and enable a cyclical narrative that feeds off of our fears, hatred, anxieties, and securities. We do not live in a cynical culture but the cynical culture lives in us, and it is reinforced every day by the national media institutions.
The first point I want to draw your attention to is the lie that opinion is fact. Since the birth of Fox News in the mid-late 90s, cable news has pivoted away from delivering objective, well reported news and instead induced what is known as the “Fox Effect” – meaning that the news outlets have turned to sensationalizing stories in an ever evolving ratings war. They have sacrificed the real power of fact checking editors for quick, knee jerk reactions with large colorful banners and rhetorically charged headlines designed to grab your emotions and stoke as much of your own fears and anger as possible. Social media has helped aid this turn away from traditional news reporting by offering liable free material that the networks can then turn into a three panel 10-minute discussion. It is not uncommon at all to see at least 5-15 mentions of tweets or Facebook posts during a regular 30-minute block on any of the cable news networks. Opinion driven hearsay has become the basis for their headlines, and the more important the person, the more validity they heap on to the post.
Which leads to my second point: they all work from the same talking points given out every morning from their political leaders. There is a great 2004 documentary titled Out Foxed that became one of the first long form critiques of how this works. Although the subject of the documentary is primarily Fox News, the tactics employed by the network described in the film have been adapted by the other two major networks. Each morning, the network, directed by their political leaders in DC and their corporate owners, are given specific talking points for that day. When an event happens live, within minutes the official spin of that event is quickly handed down, and (like clockwork) all of the affiliates tow the line immediately. The example I used in the “ShortFile” from June 1 was the phrase “photo-op.” Proof stood the next morning as every major and minor liberal outlet was hammering that phrase over and over from CNN and MSNBC to The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Washington Post. Whether you agree or disagree with what Trump did that night, the term picked up and employed by the liberal news networks was continuously repeated over and over until you the viewer understood that what Trump did was not only wrong, but unforgivable. That, dear friends, is how you brainwash your audience, and they all do it every single day.
Which leads to my final point for you to consider: the liberal left and conservative right are figments of your imagination. They don’t exist. If you want to see the real division in our country, simply go to your local grocery store and watch. Everyone who walks into the store is divided into two groups: the group who can afford name brand products, and the group who can only afford store brand products. That is the division – it is an economic one.
Slavery is not the only sin of the South. The other is the perfect and hidden implementation of class division hidden behind political and social fear mongering. The nation learned how to divide the populace off of the very template created by the aristocratic white plantation owners who convinced the poor whites that anyone who was not white were out to kill, destroy, and rape their way of life. Simultaneously, the white aristocrats created and maintained an economy that not only kept blacks bound to slavery, but kept poor whites too confused and scared to realize that they too were economic slaves that lived within a feudalistic culture that lives to this day. When the war was over, and the North took control back, they did not lose this lesson of economic control. And how do they continue this ruse? Through the national media. The focus of every outlet is political. Liberal channels vs conservative channels. If Trump wins again, you will never be able to be openly liberal again without fear of being killed. If Biden wins, he will have abortion clinics on the very alters of our churches. If McConnell continues as leader of the Senate, he will starve you and your children and your dog. If Pelosi doesn’t get removed, she will make all men wear skirts for a week so they know what its like to be a woman.
They also punish you if you step out of line with this narrative. Being politically correct in every way has become a tight rope walk that if you break from it, you will be destroyed publicly. If you do anything to criticize Judeo-Christian values, you will be shunned and publicly humiliated. All to draw attention away from the economic war on the middle and poor classes that was won decades ago in board rooms all over the country and now the world.
I can only hope that the next time you look to Hannity or Maddow, Hayes or Carlson, Cuomo or Cooper, and you defend them because “at least they ask the right questions” or “they use better facts from better sources” you realize that those “facts from sources” and “right questions” are designed to do two things: keep you locked into their prescribed circles of interest and continue to shove that wedge of imaginary political divide in this country. Like I said, we do not live in a cynical culture but the cynical culture lives in us as long as we allow the national corporate media to dictate how we feel about each other.