An Alternative Viewby Brandon Edmonds / 15.09.2009
Watching the national news and buying the Sunday papers seems natural enough but in ten years or less, it’s going to seem as quaint and obscure as historical re-enactment clubs or using your index finger to dial a phone. We’ll be getting our daily spatter of news, events and stuff online. If you can afford it. This is a good thing. Mostly. The unwired poor, as ever, will just have to go on living in ignorance. It’s a good thing because online media outlets have less of an onus to service the status quo and appease corporate advertising interests. There’s a greater spectrum of outlooks and slants which encourages onlookers to look around and delve a bit to stay informed. The personal effort to stay informed is essential to participatory democracy. Traditional media tend to shut down complexity (engaging a wide range of takes on an issue or event) by imposing a very limiting horizon. Especially now that TV news and broadsheets are doing far less foreign and in depth reporting as budgets shrink. Relying more on Reuters and other boiler plate news feeds. Broadcast TV news and the Sunday papers are laughably circumscribed by a narrow range of consulted views: experts, officials and spokespeople. People salaried primarily to toe an institutional line. The people ‘supposed to know’. This is Chomsky 101 of course and central to ‘manufactured consent’. The elite take holds sway. Which immediately shuts out popular reality and helps explain why official policy seldom chimes with public opinion. The Iraq war happened against the will of the US majority. 16 billion has already been spent on 2010 in this country (for the local elite to show the global elite how ‘investor friendly’ we are) and barely a quarter of that on public health (a searing priority for the majority).
Mainstream media is a debased morass of greed, desire and fear. You’d think this would be gripping but it isn’t because the framing of potentially fascinating events and actions is so repetitively cautious and conformist. So there’s always a ‘3rd force’ behind popular protest (rather than genuine social awakening). Entrepreneurs have always ‘made it’ by hard work and imagination (rather than inherited wealth or low cunning). Zionist Israel must be ‘allowed to defend itself’ no matter what. Freedom fighters are always terrorists. Chavez is dangerous. Obama cares. Women are hot or not. Strikes harm investment. This is Chomsky’s ‘media filter’ at work. The steady erasure of alternative takes and slants. So business is about profit and loss not social costs. Shopping is relentlessly promoted. Banks need to be saved not jobs. And so on.
The mainstream media is a shop window. Okay I’ll stop, I’m getting a little dizzy on this high horse!
So anyway in the interests of speeding up the decline of traditional media outlets and encouraging alternative media sources, Mahala urges you to check out these sites.
Add them to your media fix –
anarkismo.net has a strong consistent reading of the ANC as standing in the way of local development rather than enabling change. It is great on local events in South America (a key frontline of popular resistance to globalism). It also highlights struggles from across the planet. And does cool shit like promote anarchist six-a-side soccer tournaments (on Henry Nxumalo street in Newtown under the M1 highway in Joburg) “intended to disrupt the normal flow of traffic…hijacking the street for creative and political intentions.” One team co-ordinated their
t-shirts to read ‘Fuck 2010’. A gesture you’re unlikely to find reported anywhere else!
apf.org.za is the home page of the anti-privatisation forum – really the heartbeat of the radical left in South Africa remaining outside ‘the tri-partite Alliance’ (ANC/SACP/COSATU) which has been bad for workers and the poor while proclaiming the opposite. The site keeps you up to date on protests throughout the country from participant’s rather than bosses or minister’s perspectives.
It’ll hopefully change your mind about ‘social unrest’ being ‘bad for business’ and champions people’s struggles for access to water and electricity and justice in neighborhoods near you.
All images courtesy and © anarkismo.net