By Frank Scott
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jul 14, 2009, 00:15
The performance of both corporate and independent media
reporting the Iranian election should provoke apprehension among news
consumers. When conservative Fox, liberal PBS, and radical Pacifica all refer
to the Iranian president as �hard line,� and uncritically assume a stolen
election, news is not being reported. A party line is being toed.
Whether owned by profits or non-profits, news media do not
originate from pristine sources of truth and objectivity. And when they become
a vast echo chamber in which allegedly competing voices all resonate with the
same story, their lack of unbiased analysis promotes a dangerous intellectual
What news media call objectivity is a point of view which
they so label. Does it reflect prevailing wisdom? Or the idea that what
prevails is wisdom? That�s called objectivity. But even that definition was
degenerated with the Iran story, as most alternative viewpoints only differed
in the picture�s details without questioning the frame in which they were
placed. Whatever their ownership, they bought fiction and sold it as fact.
Despite no evidence other than propagandists telling them it
was so, minority voters in Iran believed that they were entitled to win an
election. Here bits of information were reported even when sources were
unknown, and images open to interpretation were deemed incontestable reality.
Throngs of demonstrators were labeled a revolutionary upheaval of society,
rather than the passionate demand -- however manipulated -- for social reform
which they were.
Polls had predicted Ahmadinejad would win decisively, and
when he did, it was reported as fraud. Then, all hell broke loose. At least
among a roused population of Iranians, and a nation of misinformed Americans.
Those led to believe they were entitled to victory demanded a recount. The
results were supposedly reported too quickly, with no question raised as to
Ahmadinejad�s main opponent calling himself the victor just as quickly. And
Iranians were only voting for one office, with four candidates. How long should
it take to know the winner?
Within minutes of polls closing in America, media
projections forecast victories in hundreds of races. Are these all examples of
fraud? A good case could be made that the Iranian vote was more democratic than
ours, since Independent candidate Ralph Nader wasn�t allowed in the same room
with ruling party members Obama and McCain, while Ahmadinejad debated all three
opposition candidates on Iranian national TV.
None of those demonstrating in Iran, or Twittering in
America, were aware of any reality other than their respective sense that
despite any evidence but their beliefs, a soundly defeated candidate had won
the election. And this story was told in most of what passes for the
alternative media, where with few exceptions, all spoke of the stolen election
and the suppression of democracy in that fundamentalist citadel of oppression.
Most of all, the need to rid the world of �hard-liner�
Ahmadinejad was repeated with disrespectful reference to his supposed lack of
intelligence, height, or proper Western values. Why this bigoted, simple-minded
assault on an elected leader with vast support not only in Iran -- where most
people neither own computers nor speak English -- but all over the world?
Because alone among world leaders, he openly speaks against the injustice
Israel has inflicted upon the Palestinians, and questions the Holocaust while
pointing out that whatever the full story, it was a European crime so why are
Palestinians paying for it? Most of the world finds that common sense, but in
the West, it�s grounds for excommunication from the church of capital, and
dismissal from the human race.
Had John McCain�s voters repeatedly been told they were
entitled to victory, and then that their votes were stolen by Obama, what might
have happened in America? When multitudes of Americans demonstrated against war
in Afghanistan and Iraq, what happened? The war continues, presently expanding
to Pakistan. When students were murdered while protesting the Vietnam war, what
happened? It went on for five more years. It takes infantile arrogance to
swallow a soap opera of online gossip posing as foreign politics, while our
nation�s responsibility for murderous international chaos is apparent to the
rest of the world but continues to evade most of us. Given our mass marketing
of false consciousness, what can a public know or believe?
As new governments demand radical change, imperial power
calls them tyrants and terrorists committed to destroying civilization. They
strike fear in the hearts of profiteers by creating democracy from the bottom
up, and redistributing wealth from the top down. Whether motivated by Socialism,
Islam or Christianity, these movements for social justice are causing panic at
the imperial center. But it is inexcusable for allegedly alternative media to
blindly, and often willingly, follow the party line that portrays foreign
leaders critical of the West as despots, and movements deriving power from real
majorities as criminal for not serving their entitled minorities, which are
socialized to be satisfied on demand without concern for any material reality
but their own.
When such thought pollution flows though channels of
information supposedly presenting critical points of view, only the Internet
offers any relief from total mind management. And it is threatened with
corporate marketing control, as well as the old GIGO problem: garbage in
garbage out. Viewpoints are not diverse simply for being expressed in familiar
language or with acceptable accents. All who wish for a free flow of information
and opinions as a means of achieving democracy need to not only support
alternative sources, but see to it that they truly present viewpoints critical
of the established order, and that they work to transform that order into one
that serves the majority, rather than reinforces minority control. We saw an
almost complete failure to do that among many of our supposed alternatives, and
that must change if we are too have a future offering real hope for humanity.
Copyright � 2009 Frank Scott. All rights reserved.
Frank Scott writes political commentary which
appears in the Coastal Post, The Independent Monitor and on his shared blog at legalienate.blogspot.com.
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