In the latest episode of Act Out! Eleanor Goldfield looks at the origins of our modern corporate-owned democracy and one of the key supporters of Citizens United.
In an era of gross inequality, total surveillance, global war and rampant lawlessness of state powers, the role of the media in this escalating tragedy has come under increasing scrutiny, with media ownership by giant, interlocking conglomerates now concentrated to an extreme degree. A Wikipedia diagram from 2004 presents a clear picture of the conflicts of interest that cannot fail to arise.
To illustrate: on this list alone, with only four media companies represented, board members of major arms manufacturers Boeing and Northrop Grumman can be found. [Note: a more recent diagram was not available, but nothing has changed in 2015 aside from a re-shuffling of personnel]
A clear understanding of the role and methods of the corporate media is therefore essential for interpreting the (often confusing and conflicting) narratives put forward 24/7 for mass consumption.
In his recent State of the Union, Obama made many bold statements which people have said were “progressive” and hopeful. These include: his support for paid sick leave for American workers, a pathetic increase of the minimum wage to $10.10, meant to hurt the ‘Fight for $15’ movement; a promise to veto legislation that overturns deficient Wall Street “reform;” support for “affordable” quality childcare; minimal raises in taxes for the wealthy, which isn’t nearly enough; sorta free community college ; supposedly protecting “a free and open Internet,” and so on.
Obama also made a number of ‘firsts’ by mentioning transgender and lesbian people in his State of the Union, claiming that the United States government protects them (oh really), which seems great but ignores the fact that not only is Obama “a born again” evangelical Christian, but he has, during his presidency, allowed federal money to fund groups that supported the anti-gay bill in Uganda and “conservative faith-based groups affiliated with the Family Research Council, anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers and an entire network of evangelical abstinence-only educators,” according to an exhaustive investigation in The Nation.
It is important to focus on other parts of the speech, often missed by other analysis, which emphasize American exceptionalism , including a section where he hypocritically criticizes Russia for actions that the US has done in the past: