The Day Establishment Media Became the Story

With each and every new spasm of violence, in its aftermath, comes the rush to judgment.

Actually, that's putting it mildly. Establishment media love a good story, particularly a violent one. It temporarily satiates their appetite for destruction. Immediate judgement, and the so-called rush to it, is their model.

The best (read : most lucrative) tragedies can be turned into ongoing sagas, snippets of woe crammed between advertisements. A saga could consist of detailing ongoing human suffering. For example, chronicling the physical and psychological scars endured forever by terror's victims – in all its forms, wherever it occurs. Or reporting how  Americans die violently everyday, often in preventable circumstances. At least, more preventable than randomly placed bombs. More below.

The best ongoing sagas contain significant doses of fear. It's the critical ingredient used to create the main product : the audience that media congloms obsess over, then flip for profit to advertisers. Major media conglom revenues, that in turn, get deposited into Wall Street accounts. From where they can be structured, restructured, managed and sold by the Lords of Finance. Whose liquidity needs drive the engine, while simultaneously funding news-gathering operations.

To expect journalism under such conditions may be at best overly optimistic. Outlets instead feature well-groomed, overly made-up actors who perform the news, akin to Adam Sandler's Opera Man.

Which is not to say the once fourth estate doesn't serve a necessary function - they do. In the early moments of attacks, extreme weather, or other situations demanding immediate information, we need to know what the hell is going on. Problems arise when we need further understanding, in those next few moments and anguished days, as we move from “what” to “why?” And that's where establishment media is as lost as we are. They are geared, strictly, to “be first.”

While they and their experts can't provide the answers, much less the guidance and direction most citizens search for, they stay talking at all times. This creates problems.

So human cost and tragedy momentarily must take a back seat as the performers become the story. Compelling none other than the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be the grown-up in the room, issuing a statement that tells establishment media, in essence, to shut the fuck up. NY Times

The statement is released late Wednesday, and is directed at the usual Midtown culprits. Of course, they could still end up being right. After all, much of the globe could be described as dark skinned. We would expect John King, Dorchester born and bred, with surely some kind of emotional tie to the Boston Marathon, to display a shred of journalistic integrity. But egged on by the interplanetary Wolf Blitzer, he gets it wrong, perhaps terribly so.

King, by all appearances, is a by the books kind of guy. By which we mean : doesn't challenge people in power, sticks to safe, non-controversial waters. So he's probably feeling lousy this morning after spreading rumors of the arrest of a “dark skinned male.”

The blogosphere pounces, offering stern rebukes and analysis. Comedian Jon Stewart notes the description classifies anyone from self-styled North Korean ambassador Dennis Rodman to tanning icon George Hamilton as a suspect dailyshow

It's tough for the folks at midtown, though, what with the industry risk of – gasp – being late, rather than getting it right.

Maybe they're not quite at home in our brave new information world.

The irony is stiffened as CNN honcho Jeff Zucker happens, at that very moment, to be dispensing media advice to the Atlanta Press Club.

Zucker tells sponsors at the club anyone can post a story "next to a cat on a skateboard and think they're a journalist." pbs


Naturally, this space will not be shocked when the perpetrators are brought before us and heralded as the new great threat to our democracy -whatever hue their skin tone may be. Nor when the media congloms ensure that other, more real threats, which claim far more American lives, go virtually unreported.

Like on the job deaths caused by safety hazards. Or the approximately 13,000 US citizens per year whose pursuit of happiness ends abruptly when they're gunned down in America – usually by someone they know. Not to mention those who, under stressful circumstances, turn the gun on themselves.

Gun violence is most prevalent among low income communities.

But in the fantasy ad world that sponsors the information we digest, this has little to do with the soaring income inequality that creates a vast underclass of Americans. All this amidst a growing national security state that disregards the Bill of Rights, in the name of protecting us from the barbarians at the gate.

Boston gets moved even further down the page due to an un-inspected plant which houses highly explosive compounds and hasn't been inspected by OSHA in years. This is because government funds go elsewhere - like to the Lords of Finance. Or endless foreign wars. While leaving dozens of non-organized workers, too afraid to speak up, dead and injured. Wall Street Journal

For workers caught up in the madness, Texas Governor Rick Perry offers sage advice : “get out while there's till time.” Regrettably, those words are uttered in an advertisement that he places in a Chicago newspaper - to urge local business to pack up and head to the Lone Star State. Citing its unregulated, er, predictable regulatory environment in an attempt to steal business and put other states' workers on the dole bizjournals

Probing further into the ramifications of Texas' favorable business environment is Amy Goodman with In These Times labor reporter Mike Elk democracynow

Returning to Boston, Peter Hart of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) points out that establishment terrorism experts frequently cite the Marathon Massacre as the first terrorist attack on US "soil since 9-11." But Hart notes a series of attacks that have taken place in the United States since 2001 launched by males of the extremist political persuasion that somehow avoid the terrorist designation - as well as the "light skinned male description."

It’s especially true if we adopt the Prez' definition of terrorism, which he says applies “any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians.” Presumably it also applies when one of your own drones hits civilians. Salon It's left to Iran's “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who condemns the Marathon Massacre, to points out the glaring discrepancy in concern for terror's victims. Christian Science Monitor

Since 2001, domestic terrorist attacks in the United States include :

The anti_IRS Austin 2010 attack – using a plane as a bomb by disgruntled Joseph Stack

The mowing down of Sikh worshipers by a white supremacist at a Wisconsin mosque, motivated by anti_Islamic hate

Nadal Hassan's attack in the Fort Hood shootingroutinely categorized as a terrorist action though so far the government considers ti workplace violence

Knoxville Unitarian Church Shooting classified as a politically motivated shooting

Holocaust Memorial Shooting

Countless other attacks, committed by ideologically-fueled lone gunmen are omitted here, such as the gruesome Alabama school bus shooting, as well as aborted plots such as the Seattle MLK Parade attempted bombing.

These also do not include the worst attack prior to the Al Qaeda attack of 9-11, the political extremist bombing of Oklahoma City, nor the bomb which exploded in 1996 Atlanta's Olympic Park  - both committed by extremist males. The above list, with the notable exception of Hassan, a US Soldier, does not include dark-skinned individuals.

The blogosphere, while quick to pounce, sometimes forget that they didn't invent journalism with the internet, and are prone to their own mistakes - just like we are. They at times take a holier than thou attitude toward the old guard. Huffpost

Hanna Rosin goes deeper on the use of catch all phrases like “dark skinned male.” Slate

Specifically, critics of Establishment media forget how broadcast images from Vietnam served to mobilize end the war sentiment, and that old-fashioned newspapers like NY Times provided American citizens critical access to documentation of their government's lies and fabrications in the Pentagon Papers.

But those were, we admit, the glory days. It's a tall order now that there are thousand voices crying at once in the town square.

Expect the days that follow to be filled with a few mea culpas along with plenty of pledges to do better next time.

Meanwhile we will post articles on the enormous human cost of the Second Boston Massacre.

Submitted by M-Bed

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