Last time, I proposed the notion the two major political parties merely offered the illusion of choice to distract the electorate from realizing they both answer to the same master— be it a corporate oligarchy, the ultra-wealthy one percent, or the Illuminati. Today, I feel I should revise that hypothesis by adding the media to the mix.
When I was a reporter, back in the glory days of Woodward and Bernstein, the press was truly independent, so much so it was often referred to as the “Fourth Estate.” Irish statesman Edmund Burke coined that phrase, referring to the three estates of Parliament (the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, and the Commons) but we Yanks co-opted the phrase to refer to our three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, making the press the unofficial fourth branch of our democracy. The three branches were created by the Founders with specified Constitutional checks and balances on each other, but that left the question, Who Watches theWatchmen? Enter the free and independent press to serve as watchdog over government.
My, how things have changed. Today, the news media are owned, literally and intellectually, by the same corporate overlords that control both political parties. (Eight media conglomerates dominate US news media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, and television). Two weeks ago, Americans were abuzz with the revelation by National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden that their government was spying on every citizen, intercepting and storing every email sent, phone call made, and Website visited. The public was rightfully outraged, and I detailed why it should be here and here. One week ago, the co-opted national media slyly changed the national narrative from the issue of our government spying on us to the faux issue of whether Snowden was a hero (i.e., whistleblower) or villain (i.e., traitor) for leaking the information. This week, the controlled, no longer independent media again changed the focus, devoting hours of airtime and print to speculating to which country Snowden had fled. All discussion of the outrageous, unconstitutional government spying on US citizens, an invasion of privacy on a scale never before seen in a democracy – or alleged democracy – was buried, replaced by an international version of “Where’s Waldo”.
Democrats and Republicans, who have been unable to agree on anything the past decade, now march in lockstep chanting the whistleblower is a traitor who must be apprehended and punished for his actions. Forgotten is the fact his actions revealed horrendous actions by our own government against you and me. And that’s precisely the intent of the Powers That Be.