Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A very important question

Chris Hedges has called attention to a looming crisis for what's left of our democracy. Namely, is the corporate-owned mainstream press willing to challenge the official narrative and provide citizens with the truth anymore?

The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Monde and Der Spiegel giddily printed redacted copies of some of the WikiLeaks files and then promptly threw Assange and Manning to the sharks. It was not only morally repugnant, but also stunningly shortsighted. Do these news organizations believe that if the state shuts down organizations such as WikiLeaks and imprisons Manning and Assange, traditional news outlets will be left alone? Can’t they connect the dots between the prosecutions of government whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act, warrantless wiretapping, monitoring of communications and the persecution of Manning and Assange? Don’t they worry that when the state finishes with Manning, Assange and WikiLeaks, these atrophied news outlets will be next? Haven’t they realized that this is a war by a global corporate elite not against an organization or an individual but against the freedom of the press and democracy?
I believe many journalists still want to perform the vital function of a free and independent press, yet they are (rightly) very afraid of the corporate/state power to crush them if they reveal embarrasing truths. Many people I know say they now rely more on Colbert and Stewart for information than the traditional "hard news" outlets. This is a sad reflection on how far we have drifted away from democracy. In traditional monarchical societies "court jesters" were often used by the regime as a sort of safety valve. The jesters were allowed a surprising amount of freedom to indirectly criticize the regime through satirical humor. The most they could hope for, as a real result of their clever and subtle critiques, was to accomplish what Hamlet desired: to "catch the conscience of the king." (Hamlet II,2)


Ulysses said...

For those who may not remember the whole Shakespeare quote: "The play's the thing/Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." (Hamlet, II,2)

dbshotz said...

You know Ulysses, I hadn't thought of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as "court jesters" before! That's exactly what they are, though, and it shows how we are truly in a "post-democratic" age. Thanks for this interesting post!

mlee33 said...

Love the picture... the only useful kinds if information I get from corporate media these days are sports and entertainment stories, :(

vpaz84 said...

I think it's past time for the people to start demanding not only a free press, but justice too: