September 28, 2002
MediaLand Turns Up The HeatSenator Edward Kennedy became the latest Democrat to show some spine and come out against Bush's moronic war plans. (see yahoo news ) That was moderately positive good news, so what does Big Brother AOL Time Warner put up in its little news window? Pure coincidence of course! A headline link saying that the Kennedy name has lost its luster.
Kennedy mystique fades -- name no longer political asset
Ugh! Please! Spare me such blatant propaganda. They treat us like baby ducks. Do we really look that stupid? This is one of a tiny handful of news stories AOL selects to put on its front page and present to its 90 zillion customers. These news professionals, whoever it is that makes this selection, cannot have been utterly unaware of Kennedy's statement today. But rather than even acknowledge that it happened, they put in this innocuous People magazine-style gossip blurb offering an opinion that might be at home in a very dull Long Island cocktail party, but in a news context, it's lame. "Oh the Kennedy name has really lost its mystique, don't you think Angelina? It's all so boring now."
Obviously the point of the blurb is to discredit Kennedy himself, to discredit what he said, without having to acknowledge that he said it.
We have the world going up in flames -- there is surely no shortage of urgent news that needs reporting. Where does this fit in? Whether or not it is true, or if you agree with it or not, who cares?
Old Kennedy, however, did deliver an important message today reflecting growing concern about this harebrained adminstration's steamrolling war agenda, and that was really important, whether he has any damned mystique or not.
I heard 600 people were arrested in Washington D.C. today because of demonstrations. (see Austin American Statesman and in The Guardian, Quotes from D.C. Protests. For breaking news check out DC Indymedia.org.)
Why didn't AOL tell me something about that?
Looking at the corporate mass media is interesting only if you watch it to discern what it is trying to make you think, in what way it is trying to direct public opinion. If you watch it as a source of information you are lost. But if you use it to understand the corporate agenda, it can be very useful.
Obviously the corporate/Bush oligarchy wants its damn war right now and if thousands of people demonstrate and hundreds are arrested, it isn't even a matter of whether or not AOL Time Warner agrees with it, or will portray it with a negative spin. They don't want to admit its existence. And to people who live within the media reality and take what they see there to be a faithful reflection of the world, it will not exist.
-- By David Cogswell