The corporate media has become such a vast wasteland it is impossible to watch. If you just lump together the nightly news on MSNBC alone, it is a collection of celebrity worship, quoting of rap lyrics as if they were great literature, political gossip, endless discussions of things that MIGHT happen on Capital Hill. Added to that are long winging narratives designed to demonstrate that the Republicans are hypocrites (we would have never guessed) and (I’m sure that will stop them). There is also the moaning and hand-wringing about how the Repubicans can be the authoritarians they are. In case you haven’t noticed, a great proportion of the nightly news is also composed of “breaking news” about investigations, or potential investigations. Then, after a few days, these investigations are dropped like hot potatoes and we never hear of them again.
I could go on for hundreds of words, but…podcasts are the only answer for those of us who are intensely interested in politics and see the corporate news for what it is – a means of “cooling out the mark.” The mark is us.
Heather Cox Richardson co-hosts a really good podcast covering various interesting subjects. The podcast is called “Now and Then.”
If you would like to listen to a discussion of the history of cults in the U.S. and the implications for the current cult we see developing, this podcast is really good.
The corporate news media is a vast wasteland, a mental fidget-spinner of trite nonsense. It’s purpose, as far as I can tell, is to keep the lid on, to convince the population that the “institutions are holding,” and to stupify the public into believing that nothing is really wrong.
There is the endlessly repeated both-sidesism enmeshed in the discussion of every topic. Tonight, for example, in covering the allegations that DeSantis, Governor of Florida, participated in making it possible for rich campaign donors to skip the line on vaccines, Ari Melber felt it was necessary to show photographs of Cuomo and note for the audience that the show also covered Democrats who were accused of wrongdoing.
And, there are the jokes, the uplifting People Magazine stories, the fashioning of narrative to make heroes out of every person who just behaves with normal human decency.
Essentially, the corporate news media is a waste of time.
But, there are other places to go for news. There are more podcasts than one person can listen to in a lifetime, and there are a few TV channels. Freespeech TV is one of them.
Richard Wolff hosts a program called Economic Update. There are no guests, no video clips, no commercials. The program is adult news, discussion.
These are notes on the episode from 3/3/21
History Lessons on Capitalism’s Failures
• Even if you argue that the present economic system works in normal times, it certainly has not worked in a crisis like the pandemic.
• Freemarket capitalism produced no warehouses of supplies (masks, ventilators) waiting to be distributed . There were no facilities in population centers stocked with testing equipment. There was no plan for dealing with the dislocations that a pandemic would cause. There’s no money, no profit in it.
• Private enterprise isn’t going to provide a plan or products, or logistics for dealing with a pandemic before it happens. Only government can do that.
• The signs the system isn’t up to the job of dealing with a crisis are everywhere. Take, for example rising food prices. The evidence is that globally food prices are increasing. Private enterprise is not going to function to ensure the distribution of food in a pandemic. Secondly, under the current system of capitalism, the eviction crisis will only exacerbate the pandemic problem. In a pandemic people need to stay at home, but with evictions uncontrolled by the government, that’s exactly what we will not get. Thirdly, only 5% of private schools are having internet learning due to the pandemic. Private schools can afford to take measures to ensure safety. They can have smaller classes, move people to other buildings. 65% of public schools, however, are not meeting students. They are forced into distance learning. The students on the bottom of the economic scale are taking the hit of the pandemic.
• As Richard Wolff notes, the problems are so evident that the question is really: “Why are there people not understanding this still?”
• Wolff goes on to discuss the settlement of a criminal case against Boeing in which the company that makes most of the planes we travel in, was allowed to pay its way out of criminal prosecution for $2.5 billion dollars. Boeing, the settlement said, lied and put “profit before candor.” But, in a capitalist society, profit is put before everything. The people who run Boeing make careers from profit, not from candor.
This is by far the best podcast out there. I know the corporate media is seductive, but your time would be better spent giving this a listen. Sam Seder puts together some of the most interesting and pertinent interviews available.
“Sam hosts writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton to discuss his new book, American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World But Failed Its People, and why the foundational myths of American Exceptionalism have such a hold on the populace.
Sam and Jared explore the stories Americans told themselves throughout the country’s history, from how the process behind writing the Constitution to how the “Mound Builders” stories helped justify indigenous Americans’ slaughter. The two consider how these stories have shaped the populace’s thinking and why it’s essential to reject politics as a spectacle.
As the corporate media becomes more and more useless in covering the Trump/Republican administration and the coronavirus crisis, we must seek alternative sources of news.
Try the “Trump Watch” Podcast.
In the April 16 episode, they do an interview with John Nichols from the Nation Magazine about the attempt by the Republicans to control voting in Wisconsin in order to assure the election of their hand-picked Supreme Court Judge. They failed, but only because people came out with home-made masks and stood in lines for hours to vote against the Republicans.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the corporate media had covered this win for regular people in Wisconsin? Wouldn’t it be nice if the corporate media actually talked about the attempt by Republicans, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, to thwart democracy and manipulate the voting process?
They won’t do it and we have to go elsewhere for our news. The corporate media has ceased to cover any international news at all. They are obsessed with interviewing everybody in the country about the minutiae of the Coronavirus issue. They are obsessed with covering every minute of Trump’s propaganda sessions every afternoon and then talking endlessly about what he says. They are obsessed with providing us inspirational stories about the “heroes” of the crisis and informing us of how we can entertain ourselves while staying at home as if we were children.
The Trump Watch podcast, starts every episode by saying that they cover what Trump DOES not just what he TWEETS.
The Republicans are using the Coronavirus to install a Christo-fascist one-party authoritarian state. While the press is asking Trump is it is a good idea for Americans to congregate on the mall in Washington, D.C., the Republicans are stealing us blind. After this is over, they will tell us we can’t afford Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Head Start…because of the pandemic, not because they robbed us blind and gave the money to their buddies.
I would love to hear of other podcasts you find useful and any comments you might have.