democratic media please - real democracy requires the end of the for-profit media-advertising system

murdoch debacle, australian government media convergence review — elephant in the press gallery remains undisturbed (no poke whatsoever)

published

observing the conversation in our public sphere (as carried forth by the respectable and credible professionalistical expertisiests within our mainstream media), it seems everyone is okay with the corporate/capitalist media/advertising farce as long it it subject to two restrictions:

(1) no media company shall break the law during the assemblage of their steaming piles of crap (especially, no more police-bribery and phone-hacking)

(2) the media companies that control/define/arbitrate our public sphere discussion should be limited in their market share (for the sake of ‘diversity’ amongst the ‘variety’ of corporate/capitalist providers, of course).

when it comes to the reality of how fundamentally fucked-up the whole corporate/capitalist media system is for global democracy, by it’s very structure, the silence is deafening (i actually just can’t help but to stop listening/reading, or if i keep ‘reading’ i can’t stop ignoring the collective meaning of the words i’m ‘reading’ and drifting off into thoughts of deep disappointment and astonishment)€“

to restate my position briefly: in a time when the biggest threat to democracy, nationally and globally, is the interests of corporate/capitalist organisations, it is totally absurd to allow our mainstream media to be run and funded by those very interests — the absence of the echo of this opinion anywhere is almost unbelievable and extremely depressing.

i don’t know why i’m still shocked/disappointed/depressed by this phenomenon,€“ our public sphere has always been devoid of the expression of the sort of thoughts i am (rather intensely) experiencing — the complete absence of these thoughts, as well as the importance i’ve attached to them through simple consideration, are the reasons i am going to the extreme lengths i believe will be necessary to get any kind of cut-through (to use a business marketing term).

even online news media source crikey (australian for independent journalism, its about page reckons) is disappointing — reading their analysis of the murdoch debacle and the australian government media convergence review is what has prompted me to write this shit.

the whole public sphere conversation, even amongst the independent crikey folk, is predicated on the unquestionable continuity of the dominance of corporate/capitalist media in our mainstream.

our media, our ‘fourth estate’, is operated by profit-driven companies in a world in which profit-driven companies and their favoured ideologies present the biggest obstacle to global democracy and justice, yet total condemnation of the whole sordid affair (as the obvious and untenable conflict of interest it is) or the idea that it cannot be improved (short of disbanding and totally replacing it) only shows up in traces that should sensibly be regarded as negligible.

there was a spark of hope-inducing sense-talk in the crikey pages, when david salter (veteran journalist and former media watch executive producer) labelled the whole media convergence review ‘as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike’, even giving shit to the crikey staff assigned to analyse/explain the review for ‘taking the whole thing much too seriously’.

(don’t ask me why the government media policy review is called the convergence review, i guess its the future now, so, of course, everything is just kind of, you know, converging, must be the internet’s fault).

david salter did, however, stop short of suggesting what sort of measures could actually imbue our media with liberal democratic values, possibly for want of continuing to be regarded as sane, you know, mature, experienced and realistic (i.e. cynicism = wise and hard-nosed, hope = naive and unable to deal with the ‘real world’/cry-baby-dreamer).

in another, mostly positive crikey article entitled ‘Rundle: the other media story that dwarfs the News fiasco’, guy rundle writes: ‘Quietly this week, while the UK was in uproar about the activities of the last big media company in a dying industry, something of far greater import happened in the world of media and information. The UK government announced that it would be making all research papers generated within its public universities available openly, online, for free.’

the good part of that story is that some bad capitalist things are in the process of being undone (possibly) in the academic world.

the bad part is that it’s possible for someone in the media industry to state that the media industry is dying without apparent alarm or pause for reflection (at least that i’m aware of, and i don’t look very hard/at all).

guy rundle has questioned the unquestionable continuity of corporate/capitalist media that forms the base of the ‘public’ sphere discussion and declared the whole media industry is dying, that’s radical man — but still, where’s the discussion of far-superior and easily imaginable alternatives if it is true that no capitalist/corporation will have an interest in operating the media of the future?

it is true that the long-established corporate/capitalist media system is in some sort of technologically-induced decline/transition, but i think the profit-motive company will most probably continue to be the main driver of our mainstream media (including news) unless something broadly positive and international in foundation is undertaken.

maybe what guy rundle meant was that big media companies are the dying industry, and if by that he means big media dynasties, then i guess he could be correct, too obvious that form of media manipulation — amorphous capitalism, without thinking or consulting itself, will have a much better system set up soon without those clumsy, wrinkly, megalomaniac figure-heads and their demented offspring.

this period of decline/transition in the grand old media would be a great opportunity to push for really meaningful change before the next generation of corporate/capitalist mainstream media assumes its hi-tech, multi-platform mantle of deciding ‘all the news that’s fit to print’, and of fostering the consensus of the future — only i think we’ve already missed our chance, oh well, maybe next time.

stupid predictions of the future aside, whether or not the corporate news media industry is dying, or if it can make the transition and continue to dominate the news mainstream, we have a huge problem on our hands,€“ why the fuck can’t we deal with this? address the living shit out of it? talk about the great media we desperately fucking need?

even amongst people who are (somewhat) intelligent, (somewhat) critical and (somewhat) progressive (such as surround crikey, the age, the abc, the bbc, guardian, pbs, the new york times, the washington post, etc.), there is almost total acceptance of our corporate/capitalist dominated media and no talk of alternatives, i don’t understand how people can allow this to happen and it drives me insane.

why the fuck do people give a shit about making sure our mainstream media is controlled by, say, 15 major companies rather than 2? these major companies all have the same psychology, all have the same self interests — it is like trying to solve the ‘drug problem’ by ensuring a larger number of major dealers rather than having one or two organisations dominate trade –€“ why do i feel like i am the only one who believes that sort of ‘media regulation’ all these people are talking about recently is totally missing the mark?

as long as the media industry remains a competitive business of profit, it will be funded by for-profit business advertisers and run by business types with pro-business ideologies, i.e. it will be pro-business-profits — the only way to develop a real ‘fourth estate’ is to separate it completely from the profit-business world, because the profit-business world itself is a huge power (the huge power) that must be checked, along with that of the executive, legislative and judicial powers.

the idea of bringing about a global liberal media system requires a shift in political thinking which is at least as important as the media changes themselves: we will have to stop thinking about politics in the ‘realist’ fashion of international relations, i.e. nation-state-centric and nation-state-as-sovereign.

we have to combine our not-so-sovereign-at-all powers and reach common ground or we are fuckety fuck fucked — we’re going to make it together or we’re not going to make it at all, etc. etc.

whatever combination of reasons has caused our political thinking to heartlessly stagnate on business-as-usual acceptance, fuck all of those shit reasons, to whatever extent the corporate news industry continues in our mainstream, even if it miraculously disappears completely, the abolition of corporate advertising in public space/media and the establishment of a well-resourced, credible and moral public news media will certainly help a lot with the adjustment of our political thinking, and our world.