The dangers of mainstream media | AspenTimes.com

The dangers of mainstream media

We at the Roaring Fork Coalition for Peace believe that independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging.

For instance, NBC is owned by General Electric. GE is one of the Pentagon’s largest defense contractors. So when a war is about to be waged GE and their shareholders stand to make a lot of money.

So what do you think Tom Brokaw will be told to say by his bosses? Naturally they will be slanting the coverage in order to shape public opinion and manufacture consent for the coming war. (During the Yugoslavia bombing General Electric’s stocks skyrocketed.)

In his novel “1984,” George Orwell explained that “the special function of certain Newspeak words was not so much to express meanings but more to destroy them.”

In modern times we can define Newspeak as Soundbites: National security. Western values. American credibility. War against terrorism. Collateral damage. American interests.

As for the media, Orwell observes, “Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks his whip but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip.”

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CBS’s Dan Rather is a good example. Just as the United States was about to bomb Afghanistan a tearful Rather blubbered to David Letterman on the Late Show, “Just tell me where to line up.”

Therefore, the Roaring Fork Coalition for Peace, along with the Stepstone Center, is sponsoring a lecture by renowned media analyst and talk show host David Barsamian.

Barsamian has written numerous books on how the mainstream media spins war, demonizes voices of dissent and elevates the powers that be. Mr. Barsamian can also be heard on his weekly radio show, “Alternative Radio,” at noon on Sundays on KDNK.

We would like to invite the general public, local politicians, as well as editors and journalists of local newspapers and radio stations, to attend this event free of charge. It will take place on Friday, June 28, at 7 p.m. at Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium.

The topic of the evening’s discussion will be “Media, Terrorism and Propaganda.” A question-and-answer period will follow. There will be tables containing books, pamphlets and information that is nowhere to be found in the mainstream, corporate-owned media.

National security. Western values. American credibility. War against terrorism. Collateral damage. American interests. Do you ever wonder why these Newspeak/soundbites are never clearly defined? Attend the lecture and find out.

One thing we all have in common, no matter what our party affiliation or political background – Greens, Democrats, Independents or Republicans – none of us want to be lied to. Thomas Jefferson said, “The security and freedom of all depends on a free press.”

Martin Campbell

Roaring Fork Coalition for Peace