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The misery of corporate media must be our mission in life

by Dan Burns on November 1, 2016

One of our missions, for sure. The title of this is paraphrased from a line of dialogue in a famous movie. 2:50 in this clip:

I’ve been known to fantasize about somehow being Harvey Keitel in that scene, and the bosses of corporate media (CM) are Brad Pitt, and I’m miraculously in a position to get in their faces and make it clear that they are g*d-damned well going to shape up, right now. But like I said, fantasy.
One of the infuriating things is that CM is so smug. They know that they own the airwaves and the newspaper printing presses, and as far as a majority of the populace are still concerned they’ll get the last word, and there’s nothing we progressives can do about it.
But the reality is that they have been getting consistently worse for decades, continuously more and more nothing but a shameless, despicable fount of plutocratic/war pig propaganda, and their behavior during this election cycle has plumbed depths more deep and vile than ever before. Is there a way to make them shape up or go under? (Is them going under even really desirable, given all of the livelihoods at stake? And most newspapers do still have worthwhile content here and there.)
I haven’t been able to come up with a way. Here are some musings.

I’ve never made up my mind as to what extent CM acts as they do because they want to, and to what extent they feel they have to. “Have to” as in their base, like the Republican party’s, is conservative old people, and if they start losing them, it’s over. So they pander.
But do they really have to pander? Most viewers of evening broadcast news, for example, are old people who are watching because that’s what they’ve done every evening for decades. Old habits die hard, and old, bad ones hardest of all. They’re unlikely to quit watching just because the news moves to become more fact- and reason-based, which is its only chance of expanding viewership among younger people.
I suspect the execs know that. Therefore a big part, perhaps the biggest share, of why they keep focusing on right-wing propaganda is to influence how people vote, and to whom they send money. At the same time, your typical network/cable news exec presumably is still stuck in Milton Friedman dogma about short-term profit uber alles. But I have no idea if most corporate media entities, especially broadcast news, even are profitable any more as stand-alone enterprises. Certainly what’s been going on with daily newspapers is no secret. Remember what was noted above about the mostly elderly viewership, and then note that advertisers consider putting a lot of resources into reaching that age group to be about as useful as dead air.
The general idea of this is that maybe by understanding where corporate media owners are coming from we can get more insights on how to get them to change, if that’s possible. And that’s about enough from me. Plenty of others have written, and are writing, about this, only better. My main point is that from a righteously progressive perspective I do think that corporate media are influencing voter behavior for the worse, and we have to put an end to their ability to do that. Somebody has to think of something that will work, and so far I haven’t.

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