Published on November 15th, 2013 | by Todd Smekens0
Glenn Greenwald; The Myth of a Free Press; and Truth
MUNCIE, INDIANA – As most of you know, we are a harsh critic of the corporate owned media in this country mainly because they’ve neglected their duties given to them by our Constitutional framework. They are actually whining about the decline of the industry when they are the ones who have brought it upon themselves by choosing to join the private sector.
It’s hard to be an antagonist of the private sector when you’re a member. Once the large appetite of capitalists devoured the free and independent press, they also found it helpful to consume our government. Thereby, leaving nothing to check its incessant need for power and growth. This corporate media state uses the press to protect itself from criticism by destroying anything critical of its methods. The press also serves to promote different versions of the truth meant to appeal to a targeted demographic.
In order to properly assess what is going on within a system so corroded with collusion and corruption, it must stay free and independent. We understand the exact words of our framers when they wrote about the importance of the free and independent press and what the consequences would be to our democracy should it fail its mission.
Let’s not be subtle, it has failed its mission. James D. Wolfensen echoed these sentiments when he was the president of the World Bank:
A free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development, because if you cannot disenfranchise poor people, if they do not have a right to expression, if there is no searchlight on corruption and inequitable practices, you cannot build the public consensus needed to bring about change.
As we’ve seen with many changes in Indiana being forced upon us by right-wing republicans in the statehouse, and once the public gets a taste, they begin pushing back. We are seeing this across the country. Change comes from building a public consensus which then demands changes by elected officials. As we’ve pointed out in many articles, our elected officials aren’t listening.
Listen to Justice Thurgood Marshall in the 1974 case Procunier v. Martinez, “The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit – a spirit that demands self-expression.”
The Constitution’s framers provided the press with broad freedom for a specific purpose. This freedom and authority was necessary to set up a strong, independent voice referred to often as the ‘fourth branch” of government. An independent press can offer citizens a variety of information and opinions on matters of public importance.
So, as we’ve said, what happens when this “fourth branch” of government becomes acquired by industry and information is contrived or journalists are told what they can or cannot say. It’s not really free speech, so what would you call it?
See the difference between a “free press” and “public relations”? The father of modern public relations was Edward Bernays, or Sigmund Freud’s nephew. We’ll discuss the relevance of Mr. Bernays in a later article.
The role of the press is to seek truth and report the findings, where the role of public relations is to manage the flow of information.
We had to bold the above sentence because it is extremely important – a free press is meant to inform while the role of public relations is to control or shape the flow of information. The key difference is management of the information occurs from the top down.
Executives in a boardroom can actually dictate or control the message thereby influencing public consensus. They simply tell us what they want us to hear to get a specific response. It’s called control.
If you’ve followed the Edward Snowden case, you’ll understand the distinction by the reactions of members of the press. Edward didn’t go to NBC, Fox, CBS or ABC. He didn’t call in to the Today Show or 60 Minutes. He didn’t call the Washington or Huffington Post. He specifically contacted Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian.
He couldn’t trust any of the other media outlets – the ones Fox News calls “liberal because they side with Obama on everything”.
The truth is these media outlets are all part of corporate owned media controlled by the 1%. A total of six companies own 80% of all media outlets. They control the “spread and flow of information”. Corporate media is nothing more than a public relations firm for the same 1% who buy and sell politicians – consisting of all republicans and many democrats.
Wikipedia describes the United States a corporatocracy as a tacitly coordinated collective composed of corporations, banks, and governments.
The concept has been used in explanations of bank bailouts, excessive pay for CEOs, as well as complaints such as the exploitation of national treasuries, people, and natural resources.It has been used by critics of globalization,sometimes with criticism of the World Bankor unfair lending practices, as well as criticism of free trade agreements.
Glenn Greenwald is an adversarial journalist – tough on the corporatocracy which owns politicians and media alike. If you’ve listened to any of the interviews with Glenn, his colleagues treat him more like a criminal than a peer. Here is a great example of a BBC on-air reporter who tries to drill Glenn for writing about GCHQ and NSA spying on citizens, but it backfires.
For nearly thirty years, this Elite Ruling Club has found ways to keep journalists operating as public relations officers by acquiring them into their fold where our government is simply a division of private enterprise, thus, preventing them from doing their job… “You tote the corporate line or you’re out.”
Due to the information age and social media, the tide is beginning to turn. Journalists don’t need a major platform to publish their articles. They can blog and share on social media. The corporatocracy is losing control of the information flow. The information age has also put the power of information into the hands of people, but most don’t realize they have it yet.
As for Glenn Greenwald, he’ll be doing more than blogging since he has found a financial backer in Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay, who committed $250 million for NewCo. Glenn, along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill [author and national security expert] will be building a completely new platform for investigative journalism. This should be fun to watch.
Edward Snowden has been called many things, but you’ll have to agree it took a lot of courage to retrieve those documents and share them knowing it will cause serious embarrassment to the United States, causing a strong threat for retaliation and lengthy detainment if captured.
It took less courage for Glenn Greenwald to weave them into manageable articles, but it involved tremendous sacrifice knowing that your job as a journalist will never be the same. In fact, there are many journalists and elected officials seeking his detainment as a conspirator of Snowden’s for writing about the NSA in the Guardian. It’s bad enough to stifle and control journalists, but to actually request they be jailed for doing their job goes beyond scary. It means our society is closing – our democracy is failing.
When journalists are challenged for doing their job like Obama has done during his presidency, and trade agreements are made in secret without representation of the people, we don’t have a democracy. When Gov. Pence ignores the will of Hoosiers about education reform in Indiana by setting up his own “educational board”, our democracy takes a hit.
When a journalist for the IndyStar tells Glenda Ritz to stop the “political bickering” then he is failing us citizens – the entire weight of a free and independent press should be thrust at Gov. Mike Pence for circumventing Indiana law and ignoring the will of Hoosier voters. Instead, the Gannett owned IndyStar diminishes their role by cowering under the power of the governor’s office.
As opposed to democratic principles, we see mostly autocratic rule backed by the corporatocracy. Despite the large monolithic controlling interests, we can’t ignore “the spirit demands self-expression”. We expect a tremendous shift of power with Glenn Greenwald’s NewCo enterprise backed by Pierre Omidyar. This new journalistic enterprise has the potential to shed a very bright light on the monied interests who collude with our governments to prevent meaningful change benefiting the greater good.
With good information in our hands, we can build a solid “consensus for change” which Mr. Wolfensen spoke of at the grassroots level. The only thing keeping the 99% from coming together in this country is intentional mass disinformation campaigns perpetrated by the Elite Ruling Class through their public relations firms (newspaper and media).