PPI-004-ESSAY>Media Lies


Richard Moore

 - a public service of CADRE (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance) -

                    - all stories copyrighted -
                 republication permission given for
              non-commercial and small-press use only

                     004-ESSAY>Media Lies.txt

                       * BACKGROUND ESSAY *

                      (C) Wade B. Ward, 1998

                       CADRE, 4 April 1998
                Wade B. Ward <•••@••.•••>
                        Sr. Editor, CADRE

Afraid of losing the support of the business community, no
newspaper in California would print what was happening.

It was the "Dirty Thirties" -- the Dust Bowl era.  Erosion had
rendered Middle America barren.  Winds swept the fertile topsoil
away and crops couldn't take root in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and
other agricultural states.  So the struggling farmers packed up and
headed for California.

Like the Gold Rush of 1849, the fruit orchards of California
promised work to the desperate Okies who flooded into the state.
And like the 49ers, the Okies found the stories greatly

Not only could they not find work, the Okies had no place to live.
Thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- of men, women and
children were starving to death, succumbing to the diseases of
malnutrition, even turning to crime to improve their lot.

But no responsible newspaper in California would tell the story.
If the media presented a negative picture of what was happening in
California, it might scare away business.  The people who advertise
in the newspaper control the content.  If a paper offends
advertisers, it finds itself without revenue.

The businessman, the Chamber of Commerce, even the Governor refused
to acknowledge what was happening.  The only way the story could
reach the rest of the world was through fiction.

Although we don't always use the term "lie," fiction is exactly
that:  Made-up stories about made-up people doing made-up things.
John Steinbeck took a fictional families of Okies -- the Joads --
and sent them to California to experience the very things that were
happening in real life.

The book was a hit and has become a modern classic.  The motion
picture also received many awards and is considered a classic.  The
story the newspapers refused to tell swept the world, and now
almost everybody knows the dirty details of the Dirty Thirties.

Another example of a novel that exposed horrible practices and
resulted in reform is "The Jungle," by Upton Sinclair.

Sinclair, a political radical who aspired to political office,
wrote a moving account of Lithuanian immigrants who worked in the
meat packing houses of Chicago.  The brutal conditions, long hours,
low pay and dangers lurking in menial labor awoke Americans to the
evils of management feeding off of unorganized and powerless
laborers, the unsanitary conditions of food production, and the
prejudice and cruelty immigrants suffered.

The story was first serialized in a radical newspaper, then
released in an abridged edition as a novel, and -- many years later
-- released unabridged.  But from the very first, it created a

A saying attributed to Picasso -- Art is the lie that reveals the
truth -- could fit these literary works, also.

The mainstream media claims to reveal the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth.  But the supposedly free press of
Democratic nations is controlled by the moneyed interests who
decide what is good for business.  Thus it is up to art -- in all
forms -- to reveal the truth.

The End

... That was the book...This is the movie. (Kubrick on The Shining)


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