Mass Media Propaganda Is The Only Thing Keeping Us From Rising Like Lions

in #propaganda5 years ago (edited)

"Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!"

This excerpt from Percy Bysshe Shelley's "The Masque of Anarchy" was read by Jeremy Corbyn at the 2017 Glastonbury festival before an audience of thousands in what was in my opinion one of the most thrilling political events of last year.

Corbyn's message was about as subtle as a kick in the teeth: The people are many. Their oppressors are few. The masses can rise like lions and force their government to begin acting in the service of the people instead of the wealthy and the powerful.

Easy, right? If you have an ostensibly democratic society in which leaders can't just gun down anyone who steps out of line, and in that society you have an enormous populace whose needs aren't being met by the small number of people in charge, a dynamic should theoretically be created where the sheer numbers of the masses can be used to force the powerful to help the people they are meant to serve.

So why does that not happen?

Why have wealthy plutocrats been given more and more control over the US government while only 39 percent of Americans could afford to pay for a $1,000 setback? Why is the US military budget approaching a trillion dollars a year despite having no actual enemies while thousands of US communities can't even drink the water safely? Why are people dying of lack of healthcare while fortunes are spent dropping bombs on countries most Americans hardly ever think about? Why does congress have a nearly nonexistent approval rating and a near-total incumbency rate? Why is the US government acting in direct contradiction to the will and interests of Americans?

Is it because corruption is legal in America, and money in politics has given the wealthy many orders of magnitude more influence over US policy and behavior than ordinary Americans have? Sure, but why don't the masses rise like lions to put a stop to that?

Is it because America has the worst electoral system in the western world and a rigidly-enforced two-party system in which both parties collaborate in a good cop-bad cop routine to advance the interests of the plutocrats who own them both? That's a major part of it too, but again, why don't the people rise up and force it to change?

Is it because with a political system where money translates directly into political power and a financial system where money rewards the sociopathic drive to do whatever it takes to get ahead, we wind up ruled by a loose coalition of immensely wealthy sociopaths who are naturally incentivized to keep the public poor in order to retain rulership? Absolutely! But why don't the people use their numbers to force this obviously pernicious dynamic to change?

Because they don't want to, that's why.

Why don't they want to? Because they've been propagandized not to.

Mass media propaganda is the single greatest obstacle to meaningful change. Mass media propaganda is why things don't get better and keep getting worse. Not corruption, not a two-headed one-party system, not foreign influence, not gerrymandering, not a garbage electoral system, not crooked politicians, not the stupidity of the public. Mass media propaganda.

The fact that the same elite class which exploits the many for the benefit of the few also controls most of the media means that people can be manipulated into consenting to agendas which benefit the rich and powerful to their own detriment. The way people think, the way they vote, the way they divide themselves against one another, who they support, who they revile, what seems normal and what seems strange, all of these things can be tightly controlled by sprawling media corporations who are naturally incentivized to help create an environment which benefits the establishment that their plutocratic owners built their kingdoms upon.

And this is exactly what happens. Career-minded "journalists" who espouse the establishment orthodoxies about capitalism, the two-party system, war, and the US intelligence community find themselves getting hired and ascending up the ladder, while those who think too critically and ask too many questions quickly find all decent career doors closed to them. Reporters who toe the establishment line are hired by editors who toe the establishment line, who are overseen by executives who toe the establishment line, who are hired by corporate owners who benefit directly from the establishment paradigm. The machine absorbs those who advance the interests of its owners and rejects those who don't.

Establishment reporters who are ultimately owned by oligarchs form relationships with establishment politicians who are ultimately owned by oligarchs, and both work together to advance the agendas of the defense and intelligence agencies who are ultimately allied with oligarchs, often through the mediation of think tanks which are funded by oligarchs. The people are manipulated into allowing the oligarchs and their allies to do whatever they want.

If we're ever going to turn this thing around, mass media propaganda is the very first beast that we will have to slay. It is also the largest.

The people will not rise like lions against war while the mass media propaganda machine is manipulating them into consenting to it. The people will not rise like lions for economic justice while Republicans are being manipulated by the mass media propaganda machine into believing that economic justice is against their interests while Democrats are manipulated into believing it's not quite time yet. The people will not rise like lions against money in politics as long as the mass media propaganda machine is distracting them with nonsense. The people will not rise like lions against the fake two-party system while the mass media propaganda machine is convincing them that it is real. The people will not rise like lions against the corporatist oligarchy while the mass media propaganda machine is keeping them divided and fighting each other instead.

The people will only rise like lions when trust in the mass media propaganda machine has been weakened so severely that the spell is broken and truth has a chance to get a word in edgewise. They can only wake up when they aren't constantly being lulled back to sleep.

So what can you do, as an individual? You can help weaken that trust. Expose the lies of the mass media propaganda machine wherever you see them to as many people as you can. Keep reminding everyone of the lies they sold us that we know about. Remind them how they helped lie us into Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, and Syria, how the Bezos-owned Washington Post ran sixteen smear pieces on Bernie Sanders in the span of sixteen hours at the hottest point in the Democratic primary, how CNN staged a fake, scripted interview with a seven year-old girl to sell interventionism in Syria. Remind as many people as possible as often as you can that these outlets are not to be trusted, using the strongest evidence that you can find.

By throwing sand in the gears of the machine in this way, we can chip away at the trust and sympathy people have when consuming mainstream media until all the narratives they are trying to manipulate us with are treated with the same regard as the words of a known compulsive liar. Then the spell will be broken, and at last we'll have a fighting chance at rising like lions against the few for the good of the many and fixing the ills that plague us without being manipulated into sedation.

Then we can begin telling our own stories about what's actually happening, rather than subscribing to the deceitful narratives of the powerful. We can begin creating a new world out of truth and leaving this old world made of lies behind us. We will abandon the trajectory that these omnicidal, ecocidal manipulators have us on, and turn toward life and beauty instead.

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You and Assange are completely on point.
In particular, the idea of linking a name to these pieces of propaganda is more effective than we think. By hiding under their corporate cloaks of deceit, they're not facing up to the lies being regurgitated on a case-to-case basis. By uncloaking them - their names and, therefore, identity are placed in the spotlight and all that they stand for are metamorphosed into a form that's tangible.
That's not to say that these aren't dangerous people and that the process of unmasking these oligarchs stops right there. Express what it is, specifically, that they are propagandizing and giving the right links that contradict the ''unbiased facts'' being presented. There will be someone out there that will be curious to read more about a given subject and develop a fresh point of view. Sadly, a lot of people enter a ''dream-like'' state where they read a headline and move on, but a lot of people read the comment sections curious to see how others are reacting; this is crucial.

The only danger to the visible two-way communication (currently, but soon to change) between media outlets and consumers is the comment section. As soon as they restrict comments, that could either be detrimental to us as we can't call them out for it or it would unleash a Streisand effect of epic proportions.

As we saw two days ago, a lot of people were outraged that you were restricted from Twitter and on a personal note, made me read through some of the older posts from your blog. There's quite a symbolic quote by Martin Luther King J.R that relates to this: In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Because people don't see the value in being told what to think: the news. We have risen like lions, and continue to, we haven't critical massed yet but the trajectory is clearly there.

On second thought, while it would be satisfying to take the trolls down a few pegs, it probably wouldn't accomplish much. If someone began to report honestly, he or she would be immediately replaced by another troll. It is a real puzzle, what to do. How do we fight propaganda produced from unlimited resources?
Blackballing this or that newspaper or TV show isn't going to work. People still want local news that comes along with the political messages.
Protesters will just get harassed legally, thrown in jail, hosed down, etc. The water protectors didn't get far. Occupy Wall Street protesters didn't get anywhere. The West Virginia teachers got a small raise (5% after 4 years) by striking, but they had the state by the balls. Can you imagine the outroar when parents had to take care of their kids all week? But any kind of nationwide general strike seems unlikely and unwinnable against the government & big business money combine.
What to do?
I keep coming back to the phrase, "Don't play." The words keep popping back into my mind. Non-violent drop out, choosing positive alternatives personally and in groups, seems the best course. Building from the bottom up and changing with soft power like that of rain or flowing water would be maddeningly slow, but it might be the only way. Just don't play their game-- scrabbling for success (money). Worker coops. Block chain communications that can't be altered. Proudly independent, etc.
Private financing. All we really need is the vision and our own means of communication.
What do you think?
The internet would allow individuals to participate from anywhere (I am in Rhodes, Greece, at the moment). A doctor here, a few mechanics there, farmers & gardeners, journalists, home schoolers, people from every walk of life, in ones and twos and threes, choosing honor & truth, exchanging with each other and offering advice at large, a slowly spreading ganglia in the social body, unstoppable in the long run as the center is dispersed and intangible. Education would be fun (lists of recommended reading for all kinds of pursuits). Self administered tests for certificates of learning. In the real world, social & class war considerations aside, no one cares where you went to school. What matters is what you can do, what you know. I personally walked the walk on that one, having paid my son to drop out of high school. He worked his way around the world a couple of times and now does better than I ever did, managing large construction projects.
Don't play their game, play yours.
That is a better way to say it. I don't mean that you can drop into a utopian parallel society. You (just) change internally. If your position (job or personal life) requires you to lie, you refuse, you tell the truth, that's all. If that leads to divorce or mowing lawns instead of managing workers, so be it. It is a win either way: your position, your relationships, improve in place, or a negative situation is left behind and you are free to add your strengths elsewhere.
There is something simple at the heart of things that last. Roundness in the wheel, a read/write binary unit to represent a "bit" of information. Truth is at the heart of human connection, among ourselves and with the universe. When it becomes acceptable to lie, a society is doomed. This can only be changed from the bottom, one person at a time, from parent to child, from teacher to student.
Above, I used the word "ganglia" to describe the spread through society of people playing "their" game, telling the truth. I like the image, but it is too horizontal. Those who tell the truth are also connecting vertically, back through time, to those who also told the truth. So they are also connecting with their better roots. I think that a better image is a tree, spreading.

Wow. I love all of this. Thank you.

Hi JD,
Here's a link to a site that I think is making a terrific use of the block chain technology. See what you think. They have a white paper on the site that explains their progress toward establishing a universal basic income / charity exchange. It costs nothing to join and is very easy. If you register from this link, I get a "manna" reward. You will also be eligible for this reward if you let others know about the project. I've seen many scams and dubious utopian efforts over the years. I think that these people are solid and in it for the long run. It feels good to be involved in a positive effort.
Thanks for reading my stuff. Did you read the post I made about beauty? Have fun, j

This is why I am catching your posts on Steemit now. I am encouraging other organizer types to migrate as well, and build a new platform. Mind you, if we become successful, it may get bought out. So we'll do it again. The only thing that saves humanity is that some of us demand real independence.

Great article Cait! Glad to see you are back with a vengeance.

As a fellow J-School grad (the Dean of my college of Journalism was a former U.S. Press Secretary), I couldn’t agree with you more. Shortly after graduating, I asked the major metropolitan daily I was working for whether I could cover a workfare scam that fingered the County Executive, and was told the subject was too touchy. Objective reporting may have been a myth sold us by the purveyors of false narratives. Even that triumph of Investigative Journalism, Watergate, turns out to have been a Deep State maneuver that used reporters as pawns.

Back in the early days of American Journalism, in the time of Thomas Paine, Broadsheets seem to have been screeds knowingly biased and received as such. The idea that a media outlet could nanny information for us may have been an unrealistic expectation. The thing of it is, back then, narratives were nurtured by folk traditions, song, and word of mouth. They evolved slowly and changed slowly. Now we can shift narratives as easily as changing the channel on a remote. They might be on their way to becoming meaningless, at least to the extent that they are watered, or watered-down, by corporatist mouthpieces.

You can’t separate the journalism from the culture, and culture is a difficult thing to get an easy handle on. Back in the days of the U.S.S.R., when the headline in Pravda read, “Cabbage is Good for You” the peasant readers knew that meant the wheat crop had failed. And yet we in America called ourselves free and them oppressed. We’re not living in the free world, and we never were. Our Freedom wasn’t so free, and their Oppression {wasn’t so oppressive} (

Let’s work together with other cultures like Russia to better understand ourselves and each other, and to fight common battles, like those in the environmental arena, and income inequality.

The point that you had to ask if you could instead of doing what was correct: exposing corruption, is that you didn't care for the truth when you were entrusted with protecting people through the dissemination of truth, let's work together is what you told your boss, with someone that clearly had no interest in reporting the truth, unless it was a murder, rape suicide and the kid is "missing".

Situation 1: the Metaphor

This almost happened in 2005 after Kerry's loss.

I was pretty active on the Daily Kos, and back then it was a pretty solid Lefty rag. We had some amazing writers and the Lefty journos would drop by. Anyway, the mask fell off or they lost the leash after losing with John "There Is No War / Swift Boat" Kerry.

The masses of Democrats were seething. What happened? Obama put us to sleep I think. I don't know.

Situation 2: the Real Deal
I was the guest of a circus act at a Ringling Bros circus. We met the Big Cat guy. He had a problem with a kitty and had to rush the young cat out before he lost control.

As a practical behaviorist who lives with 12+ dogs, it was terrifying. We saw it shaping up for several minutes. Talk about being on edge...

Metaphors Rock

Anway, lovely metaphor. Take it further:
Media as Whip
Media as Chair
Media as Meat on a Stick
Media as Cage
Stockholm Syndrome

lol... that is super disappointing.

Daily Kos ignored the fact that we had actual forensic data on the defrauded Ohio election. We tried going to the blogs when we had on the ground reports of election fraud. They thought we were conspiracy buffs. I never trusted Kos or TPM, or any Dem blog after that. I was an election observer, observed the recount in 2004, and then in Jan 2005 helped organize three ballot justice groups in Ohio. One, the J30 Coalition, went on to photograph ballots and collect evidence from 66 of the 88 counties, We also started the Ohio Election justice Campaign, and we enjoined the District Court case as plaintiff intervenors in the King Lincoln Bronzeville case against Bush and Rove

Just saying Kerry DID win in 2004, the vote totals were flipped in Ohio, which is why Bush won in the morning with the exact % that Kerry was wining by in the evening as people went to bed. 4.5% We had all the data, but it was obviously a political, not criminal, case, and there were a few dead bodies left in the trail before it was over.

I live in Canada now, I saw enough. Never once thought of returning during the Obama period of world peace.

Yea, the pursuit of "respectability" looked like a standard political choice; many political activists see courting corporate media as the path to acceptance. Which is completely the case if your political MO is palatable to management, but completely impossible if your political demands harm anyone of consequence's profits.

I thought this was the case through the first purge and was disabused of that notion over the next few years as Lefty after Lefty was chased off site.

After that first purge I started to sense that it was more than just a political tactic. It looked like the fix was in. Come 2010, there was no doubt in my mind that dKos was a veal pen as far as ownership went.

It's too bad. That place was smoking with energy and ideas at that time.

Thank you! I say the exact same thing all the time! This is the single,most effective way to turn things around: winning the mediawar. Youtube,or Facebook or any other social platforms won't help,they are part of the prpaganda system.Steemit and the blockchain technology will help!Can't be censored,can't be supressed,total transparent.What do you think why Facebook bans all ads about cryptos?Because they are afraid of this technology,but nobody can stop evolution,we will win!

absolutely right! The Rachel Maddow type sell outs should be publicly shamed, perhaps collectively in a rogues gallery list that includes links to examples of their unsubstantiated stories that all tend to the propaganda drive of the moment, that was then followed by calls to organize the push back.

$30,000 per day is what she makes.

What would you say for $30K per day?

"Tell the truth. Do your best every day. Be kind." (I'd take $25K.)

I have a deep appreciation for the toll on anyone's spirit when they push back against the forces of control .... truthtelling is arduous when under constant attack ... I have found inspiration in what you are doing, and I thank you ...

Very nice post

"It's worth remembering that in the press, public opinion is often used interchangeably with media opinion, as if the public was somehow much the same as a group of radically right wing billionaire sociopaths."

-Frankie Boyle

Ha ha ha. Awesome. I think I follow you on Twitter.

I love Jeremy Corbyn. He has re-invigorated my belief that the only way out of this mess is via left wing ideologies. However, as much as the Glastonbury speech was a sight to behold, it was an easy audience. It's say something about his appeal that he could go and do something like that, but I don't think one can place much emphasis on it, sad to say.

We have a tag here on Steemit that exposed the MSM's false narrative- #informationwar (not to be confused with infowars). This is my post today...

I guess I should have edited my title... Please check our tag

Stop. Why are you trying to force the "powerful"?

Really, you as a mass, are like a herd of cattle stampeding over itself at the sign of the very first Predator. Admit that, admit that "coming together" in protest especially is exactly how you create the catastrophe, and they will say "it was too easy, afterwards we blamed them for it". On the other hand, if the mass is organized and prepared why are you forcing these scumbags to do anything? At that point, you write a constitution and you sign it and you divorce these parasites and let them wither away, and you tell your story about how the people will put up with a LOT-OF-SHIT, a little at a time accruing until there is nothing BUT shit and thank those last parasites for giving forth that eek as the last bit of shit which finalized some resolve.

The people will not rise like lions against war while the mass media propaganda machine is manipulating them into consenting to it.

Have you seen Sir, No Sir? It didnt take many, it only took a few and they got it done. I hope if you have you've seen the full-length version not the 48-minute one because there was absolutely nothing that was worth leaving out.

In other words, those are excuses. The people in the terms of the constitution refers to the militia.

By throwing sand in the gears of the machine in this way, we can chip away at the trust and sympathy people have when consuming mainstream media until all the narratives they are trying to manipulate us with are treated with the same regard as the words of a known compulsive liar. Then the spell will be broken, and at last, we'll have a fighting chance at rising like lions against the few for the good of the many and fixing the ills that plague us without being manipulated into sedation.

This is still in the context of Forcing the Powerful to do Good, as if they will listen, but of course even more absurdly as if they are needed or the people cannot do without their power, but the fighting should be over the radio waves, not over trying to change what someone broadcasts on one frequency, but what would you give to the people besides the same old story "evil rich people are fucking over poor people" if there were free radiowaves. We have the best of everything here, in the age of computers in the palm of your hand where the conversation can take place where there's a semblance of reciprocity, unlike the media, where the conversation is buried in 2.3 seconds if you want to fight the people in the tube effectively form your jural assemblies and hold them accountable for transmititng lies, for each lie, and place liens on all their assets, their emloyees and enforce those liens through reports on their credit, kick them in the teeth, if you want honest reporting on the airwaves you better enforce it.


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