The Coastal Post - November 1999

Mediacratic Politics

By Frank Scott

"Anybody who sees increases in cable rates, phone rates, mergers and lack of competition clearly knows that the special interests are protected in Washington and the public interest is submerged."

Republican John McCain may foam at the mouth on military matters, but his honest appraisal of our system makes him unique in the fund raising contest called a presidential race. The recent $115 billion Wall Street media deal, the largest in history if it goes through , may soon mean even higher long distance rates. But the pattern of massive monopolies dominating the political economy is an old one. This latest capital caper merely highlights the increasing speed and size of the process. As bad as its affect on our economic life is its affect on our political life.

Major candidates for public office have long been creations of finance and media. For the most part, our mind managers treat money and image far more seriously than issues and ideas. The current Gush-Bore bazaar has more to do with how the two leading ciphers look, sound and fund raise, than what they stand for or against. This is nothing new, but it gets worse as the domination of the political economy tends toward smaller groups, and larger financial entities.

With fewer people and organizations making decisions about global issues that often affect billions of people, the reality of democracy seems as remote as knowledge of the origin of the universe. Of course, major candidates usually profess direct relationships with whatever it is that created the universe, a spiritual force most of them seem to think has a penis. But the mystery of the origins of life may offer more promise of solution than the mysteries of achieving democracy in a world dominated by an anti-democratic system of political economics.

The major information systems have always been privately owned, and profit accumulation has always taken precedence over public service, but never as devastatingly as in the present. The situation in media is no different than in other industries, only more serious in that control of what the public sees, hears and ultimately thinks, is in the hands of the same interests who gain from all that is dangerous and corrupt in the global system.

News of the economy's affect on the natural and social environment must be gleaned from alternative sources, and they are always under severe financial stress. Major media is filled with rationalizations of pollution and war, tales of celebrity gossip, and stories of the inane and the insane. What passes for news and commentary is often even dumber and less relevant than the lowest common denominator media shows about celebrity divorce or people who have sex with their furniture. These at least have entertainment value to those who wish to escape reality. It is when there is a supposed report on reality that the worst job is done.

Globalization is really laying waste to the natural environment, while financially mortgaging the future of humanity. If all debt were removed from the casino economy, we would be in a chaotic depression. Of the two trillion dollars a day gambled in foreign currency and exchange markets, more than 95 percent is pure speculation, having nothing to do with creating products or trading tangible goods and services. How much of this is discussed, or even mentioned by major media? The domination of information flow creates intellectual pollution the way the domination of manufacturing flow creates environmental pollution.

The sewage we drink and the foul air we breathe are perversely balanced by the distorted words and pictures entering our minds. Corporate capital rules not only by its control of the manufacturing process, but by its greater control of the information process. Thus, we see, hear and think about celebrities, shopping, kinky people, shopping, scandals, and more shopping. The scandal of media politics dominated by money and the economic destruction of social and natural systems is almost exclusively dealt with by poor, low circulation alternative media .

The already obscene financial process of politics threatens to get even worse, with some forecasting a total expenditure of more than three billion dollars by the time next November rolls around. For what? A host of intellectual non-entities who are always the major candidates for high office, plus a few even dimmer bulbs among the low lights who will be there simply because they are rich or famous.

There may be a few serious minds involved, but they will have to fight for notice from major media, which will parrot whatever the chosen leaders say and treat them as serious candidates. Why? Simply because they are rich or famous, but also because they represent absolutely no threat to the established order of things.

Mediacrats teach us that democracy and market forces are one and the same, that our ability to choose a product is like the ability to choose a candidate. But buying commodities has nothing to do with democracy, except in its perverse market form. Rich people can afford to buy more commodities than the great majority, and they can buy more power in the political marketplace, to the disadvantage of the disorganized mass.

Market forces make destruction of air, water, land and people, free and profitable for corporate capital. But this damage is expensive to the public sectors which must either pay for and clean up the mess, or be buried in it. That process is reinforced by the continued domination of our minds and our politics. This financial election may be the most expensive in our history. If the Mediacrats are allowed to maintain their control much longer, it will cost humanity more than just money.

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