the man behind the curtain
(sent this to Common Dreams; we'll see if it gets published)
There have been and continue to be many critiques of the mainstream media and rightly so. Most of the critiques have focused on the MSM simply repeating the current administration’s talking points, their lack of challenge to the run-up to the Iraqi war, their lack of journalistic integrity, etc. The following is a critique of a different kind (although related to all of the above). It hopefully will demonstrate how much more complicit and insidious the MSM (and others who employ the same strategies) is in maintaining the status quo as opposed to challenging it.
As we all know, the cost of oil has reached obscene proportions. It seems to reflect the surreality of life over the last 8 years; just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it skyrockets to new heights. Those of us who observe human behavior as a profession are oftentimes amazed at how the general public fails to seem outraged at what is happening. Indeed, they may be privately fuming, but publicly, collectively, they are invisible.
I began thinking about this the other day when reading that oil was now $130 a barrel. The next day, on an internet news site I frequent daily, there was an entire story devoted to saving gas. The day after that, there was an article on different ways that we waste gas while driving. The following day, there was an article on how tires contribute to gas guzzling. All of these stories at first glance seem to be helpful; but herein lays the insidiousness. Indeed, the MSM are attempting to help us save gas, but what they should be doing is asking very hard questions to government and industry leaders about why we need to save gas, why the cost of oil is so perverse, and why no one seems to be doing anything about it. But, they aren’t. Instead, they are being paternalistic and complicit by simply telling us how to save gas.
The MSM always seems ready to give us advice on how to respond to changing social conditions, but rarely, if ever, give advice to those who manipulate the social conditions. They claim objectivity about reporting, but apparently feel no compulsion to be objective in dispensing advice; the selective dispensing of advice, that is. They only give advice to those who they know can do nothing in response; they never give advice to those who can and should do something.
So, why aren’t people in the streets? Why aren’t truckers blocking highways as in Europe? Why aren’t people refusing to go to work at oil companies until the cost of gas comes down to manageable levels? Because we have been, and continue to be duped by the MSM and others into thinking that we are the problem. If only we would slow down on the highway, if only we would fill up our tires more, if only we would shut our vehicles off when waiting for someone, then the bite at the pump wouldn’t be so bad.
By making the problem about us, the real source of the problem is obfuscated; the status quo is maintained, oil prices continue to rise, profits continue to be made…and all is well. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.