Posted by: dandelion4good | November 8, 2011

Don’t Get Smart

Does the mass media serve democracy? No. We have to work to be informed enough to participate in democracy. We must become media literate. But we’ll talk about that next week. Does the mass media obstruct democracy? Yes. How, you might ask. In a commercial media system, the media must serve the corporate interest of media owners and media buyers. Media must entertain us. They select what we see and hear. Until very recently, they’ve had a stranglehold on information. I think that even the most enlightened and stalwart among us are still influenced by media. We are such visual creatures. Who has time to analyze the steady stream of information we process each day?

But there is a more insidious element spreading through the mass media system and undermining democracy: an attack on intellectualism. Examples can be found through the many stereotypes perpetuated and relied upon in programming, the framing used by news networks such as Fox news and the very personalities allowed entrée to speaking at the table of the masses. As if Ann Coulter has anything substantive to say. Give me a break. Our media is more likely to recognize the accomplishment of swallowing a gut-wrenching number of hot dogs than winning a Nobel Prize. When was the last time you heard something about the winner of a literary competition?

Paul Krugmen identifies the “Powell Memo” of 1971 as one of the founding documents of this cultural agent that has spread through media, universities and the contemporary mind. The memo was sent to the US Chamber of Commerce titled, “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System”

Henry Giroux explains that the memo informed a, “long-term strategy…put into place in the 1960’s and 1970’s to win an ideological war against liberal intellectuals, who argued for holding government and corporate power accountable as a precondition for extending and expanding the promise of an inclusive democracy. The current concerted assault on government and any other institutions not dominated by free-market principles represents the high point of a fifty-year strategy that was first put into place by conservative ideologues such as Frank Chodorov, founder of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute; publisher and author William F. Buckley; former Nixon Treasury Secretary William Simon, and Michael Joyce, the former head of both the Olin Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.”

To read more of this article, see the link below.

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