cj#464> Use of the media (fwd)

1996-02-12

Richard Moore


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Originally To: •••@••.•••

Allen Lackey wrote:
>What we need is proof that would
>convince the uninformed that this is what is
>happening, that our very personhood is being
>threatened by the growing power of these financial elite.
>Can any of you provide me that proof, so I can begin
>putting together educational documents?

I believe William Greider addressed this issue accurately in the opening
sentences of his "Who Will Tell The People?":

        "The decayed condition of American democracy is difficult to grasp,
not because the facts are secret, but because the facts are visible
everywhere.  Symptoms of distress are accumulating freely in the political
system and citizens are demoralized by the lack of cohereent remedies."

There are shelves of well-written books in every bookstore dealing with
corporate power & abuses, the decline of democracy and civil liberties, the
failure of the electoral system, the hegemony of corporate propaganda, the
increasing gap between rich & poor, etc.  In addition there are hundreds of
good articles which have appeared in magazines like the Nation which
provide articulate "examples and proof" in any particular area we might
want to educate people about.

The _real_ "education" problem, I submit, is to get an enlightened
viewpoint in front of the general public regarding corporations and
democracy -- if they get interested in the topic, the substantiating
literature can be easily obtained.

Ronnie Dugger's Call is a good example of a useful educational piece, for a
paticualar audience: it recounts the scope of corporate power, makes a case
against corporate legitimacy, describes the threat to democracy, and issues
a credible call to action.  He didn't emphasize proof, because what he was
saying was self-evidently true to the Nation readership.

The number of people out there in the more general public who are ready to
accept such a message, if presented appropriately, is I think very large.
The outreach problems to be addressed are not deeper proof, but:
        (a) getting the message in front of larger audiences
        (b) customizing the message for different audiences
        (b) achieving credibility as a politically effective orgnanization

The good folks leading the Alliance seem to be addressing point (c) with
all due haste, and more power to them.

Point (a), reaching larger audiences, presents some real challenges.
Grass-roots organizing is one important part of this, and again, is being
pursued already with due diligence.   Networking with other organizations
will need to be accelerated, but there's no point in rushing that while
still setting up shop.

---

So what about using the media for outreach -- magazines, newspapers, radio,
etc.?  The Call was of course an example of media usage.  But since the
Nation is a leftish journal, that article was preaching to the choir -- it
was easier to write than would be an effective article in most other
venues.

Pieces for a union newsletter, a teachers' association bulletin, the
Readers Digest, a student newspaper, or a PBS special -- to pick random but
real examples -- would each need to address different concerns, and take
into account a different mind-set in the audience.

Each piece would need to identify principal concerns of the audience, and
show how corporations and their corruption of democracy are major
contributing factors to those particular concerns.  It would also need to
address itself to the political assumptions of each audience, which in many
cases includes strong if unexamined beliefs in the efficacy of "free
markets", the unsalvageability of government, the uselessness of
politicians, and the final failure of socialism.  After getting through to
the audience, there might then be ears ready to hear and understand what
Dugger has to say.

It is important to note that the public is NOT living in a vacuum, as
regards political/economic propaganda.  If we look only at the rhetoric of
politicians and Demo & Repub spokesman, we observe a lack of substance, an
absence of agenda, a shallow insincerity -- and we may reach the mistaken
conclusion that there's an ideological vacuum out there, just waiting for
our message.

        But political leaders are not where people get their world view of
politics and economics.  They get it from corporate-managed mainstream
"news", from phony setup expert panel shows, from choreographed 60-Minutes
exposes, and from the world-view assumptions smuggled in with
corporate-sponsored prime-time entertainment.

        There's a continual stealth bombardment of Corporate Mythology --
cross-reinforced daily from every direction -- all of which hammers home a
consistent world view which equates:
        -  deregulation with personal freedom
        -  government with uselessness
        -  social services with waste
        -  free-trade with prosperity
        -  taxes with theft
        -  corporations with efficiency
        -  U.S. military with justice
        -  civil rights with criminal indulgence
        -  globalism with inevitability
        -  two-party elections with democracy

Anyone hypnotized by this party line would have a hard time with Dugger's
Call.  They might think it has good points, but then they'd say - "Well
corporations do have some drawbacks, but can that be fixed through politics
(yuk!) ?  And do we need another splinter group?  Another batch of parties
and politicians?  And wouldn't these ideas lead to more taxes and more
government intervention?  I think I'll pass."

Allow me to suggest that challenging the Corporate Mythology / Media Party
Line / Consensus Reality is our first task of public education -- specific
"deprogramming" must be accomplished before useful information can be
conveyed.

Different constiutencies have different levels of awareness, and those who
are the least hypnotized will find The Call most accessible as is.  For the
others, we could develop some punchy OpEd pieces that could be placed in
various media.  Perhaps something along the lines of a MYTH vs. REALITY
piece, such as show up all the time in (shudder) the Readers Digest.  If
appropriate "wake-up-to-reality" pieces could be placed in conjunction with
The Call in targetted media venues, we might stir up some widespread
support and achieve some public name-recognition.


Solidarity,
Richard
•••@••.•••

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 Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     •••@••.•••  |  Cyberlib temporarily unavailable
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