Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006: Biggest Stories of the Year?

This is the time of year when we get swamped with those end-of-the-year, retrospective, what-does-it-all-mean kinds of stories. But with the split-screen schizophrenic nature of America’s news coverage, it’s a question of which news items we think are the most important.

Is it the stories which have been repeated endlessly on magazine covers and the TV news? Rumsfeld, Brangelina, McCain, Mel Gibson, Mark Foley, Britney, Obama, Tom and Katy, Hillary, Iraqmire, threats from Iran and North Korea…

Or maybe some of the lesser-known stories are actually more important and far-reaching. How about the close relationship between Big Oil and Ecuador’s military forces? Or the Bush Administration’s plan to eliminate research funding in 2007 for the Environmental Protection Agency. Or the indigenous tribes in Peru whose way of life is being decimated by an oil pipeline being forced through their land. And don't forget the global water crisis which is getting more deadly all the time with no solution in sight.

These stories didn’t appear in any newspaper headlines, but does that make them less important than missing hikers or Mel Gibson’s latest blubberings?

The issue of Net Neutrality is probably the most glaring example of the gap between that staggering reeling Brontosaurus known as the Mainstream Media, and the real news coverage provided by thousands of online news sources and bloggers.

If you read political blogs and/or receive political e-mails, you’ve probably seen the words “Net Neutrality” enough times to make your head spin. Millions of people have signed online petitions and sent e-mails to Congress (and to telecom executives) asking them to preserve Net Neutrality. And yet I’ve never seen those two words appear in a daily newspaper; never heard them mentioned on a TV newscast.

Are we on the same planet? It’s like two different worlds living side by side. This will probably get worse before it gets better (if it ever does). There seems to be a smaller and smaller minority who’s well informed and duly alarmed by what’s going on in the world and inside our own government. Meanwhile the steadily increasing majority is being happily mesmerized by the endless parade of celebrity gossip and corporate-controlled “news” headlines.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, we don't get told the important things for the most part; it gets even worse if you talk about those current affair shows that your parents probably watch (well, mine do) - I really don't care about the best kind of shampoo, or the nutritional content of frozen vegetables.

December 29, 2006 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

David: True, the media's priorities are totally turned around. They keep bombarding us with trivia and/or restating the obvious over and over, and keeping the real news buried.

December 29, 2006 at 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The death of Saddam must surely rate?

December 30, 2006 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kumiko: Yup, Saddam's hanging is a huge story. I posted this before they hanged him.

December 30, 2006 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

More and more two Americas are developing:

The America that still feeds on and buys into the mainstream TV programming, news, and entertainment and The America that seeks out alternatives to what the Corporatocracy wants to shove down our throats.

I hope that those rejecting the corporation's view of what "mainstream" is continues to grow but somehow I doubt it.

December 30, 2006 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PoliShifter: Yeah, there really are Two Americas when it comes to news coverage. I hope the well-informed minority will grow, but like you say it doesn't seem hopeful. It's too easy for most people to just turn on the TV or glimpse at the headlines and be spoonfed.

December 30, 2006 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

NOTE: I'm traveling today and tomorrow (one hotel and 3 airports during the next day and a half), so e-mail access will be pretty spotty. So please leave comments, but if it takes a long time for your comment to appear, it won't be because I censored it :)

Happy Festivus!

December 31, 2006 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the growing coporate control of everything is a very important story that gets little coverage for obvious reasons. Unchecked corporate power warps the legislative agenda. While this did get some publicity, the leftward lunge of Latin America hasn't been given the coverage it deserves. But why waste resources covering unsexy stories like that when there is Brittany Spear's divorce to digest...right?

January 2, 2007 at 4:39 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Paul: You're right, the corporate control of everything, including the media, is a growing problem. Since they own the media, they're pretty much their own watchdog. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.

January 2, 2007 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Or maybe FOX raiding the henhouse... heh... though FOX "News" does not have the strong ratings it once had. I do like to believe people are waking up, smelling the crap, and deciding not to eat any more of it.

January 5, 2007 at 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't be surprised if Rove got his hands on nude pictures of the Olsen twins, just in case.

January 6, 2007 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, I'm glad fewer people are watching Fox News. Maybe there's hope after all.

People In The Sun: I wouldn't doubt that at all. Maybe Project Censored will do a story on it.

January 6, 2007 at 1:13 PM  

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