Eric Harrington – Power in a Corporatocracy

I can remember vividly, my growing amazement during the 2000 election, when the mainstream media consistently (and in my experience erroneously) portrayed Al Gore as “stiff.. uncomfortable.. a liar..” so much so, that I was expecting any day to see the headline “Al Gore held up Monica’s Black dress during the act!”   Simultaneously, I listened to them repeatedly portray Bush as “misunderstood” and “underestimated.”  His faults, his crimes, his misstatements, all were patently ignored by the mainstream media to my growing amazement.


Having seen Gore many times prior to 2000, I knew him to be a passionate, highly intelligent, and quite charming man, if possibly a little politically naive. Even a reasonably good speaker.  And interestingly, now that the election is over, he is the Al I remember, passionate and articulate, the know-it-all I knew and loved. But back in 2000, I painfully watched him melt down before my very eyes, for as his confidence in himself became increasingly shaken by the unsubstantiated (and unprecedented) bad press, he began to listen to the polls, and the news, and the advisors, instead of his heart, and he ultimately lost his sense of self. And it almost cost him the election.


And during that fateful month following 11/07/2000, I began to question my very sanity, because from the very first premature call for Bush, and subsequent retraction, the big question was always “Should Gore concede?” Never once was the legitimate question, “should Bush concede?” asked.  Not once.  Even as Gore’s lead nationwide grew to larger margins than numerous “uncontested” presidential elections, still, the question on every corporate shill, I mean newscaster was “should Gore concede?”   And I had to ask myself, am I going crazy?  ALL the news channels including CNN can’t possibly be in cahoots with the Republicans!  


I was reminded of the outrage shown by the many skeptics and conservatives I had argued with for months about this “impossible” suggestion.  They said, “how could they possibly orchestrate such a huge plot without some patriotic newscaster coming forward?”  “It’s nothing but conspiracy nonsense to suggest that the huge corporations who own the major media outlets, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, and CNN could all get together in dark smoky rooms and plot the spin of an election.” Yet there it was, and who was I going to believe, them or my lying eyes?


Then I read a very revealing expose that suggested documented evidence of such an actual meeting, sans dramatic lighting and smoke, between the corporate parents of the major media players, where Jack Welch of GE presented the Republican offer of extensive favorable legislation in exchange for a victory.  It is verifiable fact that Welch was personally poised in the CBS news studio the night of the election and personally monitored the “first” call of the election, for his candidate, and his corporate bottom line.  But this was just an article, right? Just a bit of fringe journalism.  But as the months wore by, numerous other articles by even highly respected journalists and writers came out on the internet, detailing not only the dramatic anti-Gore bias of the media during the election, but during the recount as well, but NEVER in the mainstream. And as we all have seen, the media has continued to refrain from attacking Bush, even with scandals and a cavalcade of lies that would have destroyed any president, Democrat of Republican prior.  Conspiracy again?  Pretty obviously not.  So then, how can they pull it off? 


Actually it appears that it is as much a product of shear laziness and cowardice on the part of the industry as a whole and basic profitability, as the all too likely conspiracy.  If a news corp. can make the same money just printing the press releases of the administration they have been instructed to support, it not only preserves their jobs but also their local bottom lines, because they don’t have to spend money to actually investigate anything.  It has been documented that over 90% of all news releases during the 6 months prior and during the Recent Iraq war were published unchanged and unverified from their original source — pentagon press releases. 


But believe it or not, I am not writing this to try to convince anyone that the mainstream media is blindly supporting the bulk of the Bush agenda and ignoring their transgressions, regardless of the reason. If you do not see this by now with your own lying eyes, then you simply are not looking.  “Open-eyed blindness” the Indians called it.  No, my purpose here is to address the remedy.


How can we fight these big corporations? How can we, the little guys, fight the power of billions of dollars and their influence?   Where is our power?  Certainly not in the voting booth. 2000 not withstanding, the advent of computerized balloting with no paper trail could be the final death knell of real democracy. We are now officially a Corporatocracy. 


No, the unfortunate reality for the new millennium is that the only power the average person has in this Corporatocracy is the power of their purchases.   The best weapon we the people have against these capitalistic machines is to hurt them in the only place they care about….their corporate bottom line.  How?  BOYCOTT!  Boycott their products. Boycott their advertisers. Boycott their subsidiaries.  Write them and tell them you are going to boycott them and why. Write their advertisers and tell them why you will boycott their products as well.   Even a minor surge of bad will against these companies will catch their attention much faster than any law, lawsuit, or protest march.  It only took one year of a pervasive “Buy America” campaign by the US automakers to force the Japanese to begin to assemble their cars in the US.


Believe it or not, a thousand vehement letters pledging (not just threatening) boycott will command the attention of even the largest corporations, immediately. Because the only thing that travels faster than good news is bad news.  And in a market driven by brand and not value, bad press can be devastating.  Look what happened at the New York Times, one bad journalist is unearthed and their whole tone has changed for the better.


I have wanted to start a web campaign to provide people with the information to make intelligent choices to boycott, but given the legal attacks on much less threatening entities like Take Back the Media, I now know that any site which actually mentions names, and has a real effect, will be inundated with law suites. I am not wealthy, and cannot support it personally against such a potential.


But the answer is up to you and I.  We know what’s up.  And I think the perfect place to start is with the mainstream media, because they, unlike than the average corporate raider, have been charged with the public trust, and have a responsibility to be the watch dog of democracy, a trust they have flagrantly (and in my opinion treasonously) violated.  So this is the first step…


Use our real power and BOYCOTT the corporate shill media!  It is the only really effective method of protest in a Corporatocracy, and it will get results.  I am at this point not even a Dean fan, but I say we start with Newsweek, and it’s pathetically partisan cover this week.  Boycott Newsweek and its parents MSNBC and Microsoft, as well as any other media outlet who demonstrates blatant partisanship or journalistic irresponsibility.  Write them and tell them you will cancel. Write them and tell them you will write their advertisers and boycott them as well.  Tell them you will tell all your friends and ask them to tell their friends. Let them know that, (to quote the prophetic fictitious news anchor in “Network”) “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it any more!” And watch what happens…

~ by Eric Harrington on September 2, 2008.

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