by William Skink
What the media reports on, and how it is reported, has been the subject of a few local posts worth looking at. Last Best News has this anecdotal story reminding LBN readers why newspapers still matter, while Intelligent Discontent’s main blogger throws another tantrum regarding the ease in which the MT GOP can exploit the media to engage in a political hit-piece against Bullock. The title of that post includes a naughty word, so you know that blogger means business.
The sorry state of our media is a very serious problem. To understand this problem it might help going back 20 years, when the Clinton regime paved the way for corporate consolidation with the telecommunication act, passed in 1996. Here is a portion of a Truthout piece examining this sad Democratic legacy:
Twenty years ago this week, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act, signed into law on February 8, 1996, was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.”
The negative impact of the law cannot be overstated. The law, which was the first major reform of telecommunications policy since 1934, according to media scholar Robert McChesney, “is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important federal laws of this generation.” The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world.
“Never have so many been held incommunicado by so few,” said Eduardo Galeano, the Latin American journalist, in response to the act.
Twenty years later the devastating impact of the legislation is undeniable: About 90 percent of the country’s major media companies are owned by six corporations. Bill Clinton’s legacy in empowering the consolidation of corporate media is right up there with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and welfare reform, as being among the most tragic and destructive policies of his administration.
Yep, and despite the persistent tantrums from a partisan blogger who doesn’t like how his candidate is being treated by corporate media, candidates like Hillary Clinton do benefit from this corrupted media landscape:
Hillary Clinton’s supporters often argue that mainstream political reporters are incapable of covering her positively—or even fairly. While it may be true that the political press doesn’t always write exactly what Clinton would like, emails recently obtained by Gawker offer a case study in how her prodigious and sophisticated press operation manipulates reporters into amplifying her desired message—in this case, down to the very word that The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder used to describe an important policy speech.
The emails in question, which were exchanged by Ambinder, then serving as The Atlantic’s politics editor, and Philippe Reines, Clinton’s notoriously combative spokesman and consigliere, turned up thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in 2012 (and which we are currently suing the State Department over). The same request previously revealed that Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Ambinder’s emails with Reines demonstrate the same kind of transactional reporting, albeit to a much more legible degree: In them, you can see Reines “blackmailing” Ambinder into describing a Clinton speech as “muscular” in exchange for early access to the transcript. In other words, Ambinder outsourced his editorial judgment about the speech to a member of Clinton’s own staff.
While bashing Lee Newspapers is a perennial endeavor for some partisan bloggers, the broader implications of media corruption are not given the proper context. Instead, those of us who value alternative media have been the subject of ridicule from those same bloggers who throw tantrums when they feel their candidate is being treated unfairly.
Counterpunch is one of those media outlets that I have come to rely on, and that reliance has been a point of contention with a few commenters in past posts (on past sites). But Counterpunch has been incredibly important for me when it comes to understanding what is happening in the world.
When you understand how corrupt our corporate media landscape has become, relying on it would be irresponsible, because it might lead you to make wild claims, like the one made five years ago by Don Pogreba regarding the intervention in Libya being another example of rational humanitarian foreign policy. No, it was not, and five years later we can assess how wrong this statement now appears, in hindsight:
In the end, the US and NATO did an admirable job. They used a relatively inexpensive mission which gave the rebels breathing room in which they could defend themselves against a despot. And then the people of Libya did the rest. We can’t know what kind of government or future Libya will have, but I think we can be sure that it will be better than the past two generations.
Geez, who could have anticipated that regime change in Libya would create a vacuum of power that jihadists and extremists would exploit, necessitating more military scheming from the Pentagon and more American tax dollars used to intervene, again? Certainly not some lowly blogger relying on alternative media sources for his information, right?
Well, thanks again to Counterpunch, those of us who claimed back then that humanitarianism had nothing to do with enacting regime change in Libya can now point to conclusive evidence from Hillary Clinton’s emails that this sociopathic architect of Libya’s destruction knew what motivated France to join the destructive melee in Libya, which we now know unleashed chaos and created a safe haven for ISIS. Here is Ellen Brown exposing the Libyan agenda with a closer look at Hillary’s emails:
Of the 3,000 emails released from Hillary Clinton’s private email server in late December 2015, about a third were from her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the attorney who defended her husband in the Monica Lewinsky case. One of these emails, dated April 2, 2011, reads in part:
Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver . . . . This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French franc (CFA).
In a “source comment,” the original declassified email adds:
According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
1 A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
2 Increase French influence in North Africa,
3 Improve his internal political situation in France,
4 Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
5 Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa
Conspicuously absent is any mention of humanitarian concerns. The objectives are money, power and oil.
When it comes to media corruption, what is more damaging, a local story that criticizes the Governor of Montana or a corporate media campaign to mislead the American people into thinking that monsters like Hillary Clinton have humanitarian reasons for destroying sovereign nations like Libya?
I think the answer can be found in the fact that Hillary Clinton is running for president instead of standing trial at the Hague.