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An Alternative View

by 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).

Alternative Laduma?

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.

An Alternative View

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

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RESPONSES (7)
  1. danie k says:

    as wickus vd merwe would say, julle is almal kommie vokkers!

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  2. G says:

    Spot on, good article. Not sure those unfamiliar with Chomsky will get it though.

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  3. carlos says:

    More quality from Mr Edmonds. Keep it up good sir.

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  4. Graeme Feltham says:

    Are you really so naive as to assume that the IMF, World Bank and the rest of the gang would allow the online media to exist if it posed the slightest risk?
    You have also, in your academic-speak, glossed over the fact that almost all – to the point of all – digital innovations emanate from the Military-Hollywood Entertainment Complex. Certainly the fundament without which present digital innovations would not be possible. But, hang on, perhaps here we can find cause for joy in merely personally receding from the so-called established firmament? More than this should be relegated to the rubbish-heap of Logical Positivism.

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  5. djf says:

    Hey Graeme, perhaps you are naive enough to think that the public would continue to turn a blind eye to the exploitation of the military-industrial complex if they didn’t have constantly new innovations such as online media to keep them distracted?

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  6. bubba Hotep says:

    graeme, i understand its lonely being an undergrad philosophy major (oh if only the girls would notice that i’m a habermassian deontologian with pretty good hair) but rather go squeeze your dog’s nuts than blurt your barely literate frustration out here…

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  7. WTF is Logical Positivism? says:

    Bubba Hotep – top comment.

    djf – I think you mean ” the exploitation of the public by the military-industrial complex”… ?

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