Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Media, and Karma

It couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow

I've been writing this for more than a year now, but in the way of things, I got distracted :) because the story wasn't complete. It started with the revelations of criminality at the world's largest media corporation, News Corp, and the disgrace of its chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Now, with the fall of Murdoch and another right wing media magnate, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, this seemed even more timely.

If you had told people a year ago that the most powerful man in mainstream media (MSM) would be called upon to resign in disgrace from News Corp, the $40 billion media conglomerate, they would have laughed.

Keith Rupert Murdoch's influence was so great that he and his media companies literally helped move the electorate to a more right wing point of view. All 173 of his newspapers supported George Bush's invasion of Iraq, which led to over a million deaths, and immeasurable costs to the world economy.

He could and did help elect right wing governments all around the world. He was also a blind supporter of Israel's foreign and domestic policies. And his media outlets were at the forefront of calling for even more war around the globe.

Yet it is in Murdoch's ill fated attempt to purchase shares in BSkyB, the British Satellite TV company that would have made him even more rich and powerful, that we see the hubris and self destruction that is evident in all his ilk, and the promise of what is yet to come.

In the end it was a grassroots campaign of hundreds of thousands of angry British people that delayed the sale of the BSkyB shares. Then news came of his cosy relationship with the new government, sleazy tactics in wiretapping the phones of murder victims families, the arrest of close associates who worked in British PM David Cameron's circle, and the mysterious deaths of the whistle blowers who'd revealed the wiretapping, and that led to his downfall. That he is now considered to be a liar as well, for his testimony before the British Parliament, is just icing on the cake.

This is why I love the British people. Britain is my second home, having lived there since almost after I'd been born. I've written about my extensive visits and spiritual work there, and for the fact that two million marched against the war in London, 2003, that it is a headquarters of the non-GMO and anti-war movement; yes I love them very much. I wrote about how my 2007 trip there would presage the huge shifts taking place now.

But, the revolution that toppled Murdoch didn't just happen there, it has happened world wide. The revolution in Egypt that I wrote about, the spiritual changes I promised would happen, are all harbingers of the change we are right in the middle of. Right wing governments all over the world are under threat, the Japanese PM had to resign for his handling of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and in Canada, we have a real left wing alternative as the official opposition.

People see quite clearly now, that corruption lies at the heart of the political process, but also, the handmaidens in the media that facilitated that.

And one last word about our Rupert. After WWII the victorious allies hanged Julius Streicher, the Nazi publisher who demonized Jews. Murdoch, on the other hand, whose Fox News and acolytes have been demonizing Muslims, gets to retire and enjoy his $7 billion (est) net worth, and that's how it is.

But it isn't he that merits any attention at all. It is the media, and its role in subverting democracy, that needs to be examined, and, changed.

The 19th and 20th centuries was the era of trade, communications, and rational thinking. New theories of Psychology were used by the media. It is in the ideas of psychologist Edward Bernays that we see so clearly how this was achieved.

From Wikipedia: "Edward Louis Bernays (1891 – 1995) is considered one of the fathers of the field of public relations along with Ivy Lee. Combining the ideas of Gustave Le Bon and Wilfred Trotter on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays was one of the first to attempt to manipulate public opinion using the psychology of the subconscious.

He felt this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct' that Trotter had described. Adam Curtis's award-winning 2002 documentary for the BBC, The Century of the Self, pinpoints Bernays as the originator of modern public relations.

Bernays's public relations efforts helped popularize Freud's theories in the United States. Bernays also pioneered the PR industry's use of psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns. "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits." (Propaganda, 2005 ed., p. 71.) He called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the "engineering of consent"

In 1913, Bernays started his career as Press Agent, counseling to theaters, concerts and the ballet. In 1914, (former) American President Theodore Roosevelt engaged George Creel and realizing one of his ideas, founded the "Committee on Public Information." Bernays, Carl Byoir and John Price Jones worked together to influence public opinion towards supporting American participation in World War I"

Apologies for the long transcript, but it is Bernays own words that best describes the relation between the media and power, be it communist, fascist or oligarchic.

Propaganda
by Edward Bernays
Ig publishing, 2005, paper
(originally published in 1928)

p37: The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons-a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million-who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.

It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.

It is not usually realized how necessary these invisible governors are to the orderly functioning of our group life. In theory, every citizen may vote for whom he pleases. Our Constitution does not envisage political parties as part of the mechanism of government, and its framers seem not to have pictured to themselves the existence in our national politics of anything like the modern political machine.

But the American voters soon found that without organization and direction their individual votes, cast, perhaps, for dozens of hundreds of candidates, would produce nothing but confusion. Invisible government, in the shape of rudimentary political parties, arose almost overnight. Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at most three or four.

In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion without anything.

We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issue so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public question; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time"

And if this invisible government should militate against our best interests, who then will report on that?

The media and their paid psychologists can be counted on to call such speculation "conspiracy theory", of course, with lots of theories about why people believe this. There even is a book called The Influencing Machine by NPR media columnist Brooke Gladstone http://www.amazon.com/Influencing-Machine-Brooke-Gladstone-Media/dp/0393077799 which acknowledges "the manipulations of contemporary journalism" but denies the power it has to influence our psychology.

By using as its title a 1919 paper on Schizophrenia, where sufferers believe that external forces work to shape our perceptions, it, funnily enough, denies what Edward Bernays himself wrote in his 1928 paper "Propaganda". Keep in mind that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels acknowledged he learned his techniques from Bernays "American" techniques and you get where I am coming from.

The media operates through the energy of the throat chakra, the mind. I sometimes think it exists only to distract us so that instead of working for real change we focus on visual distractions and mindless entertainment. But, that's ok. The power of the media to shape us is now coming to an end, as we look at forming smaller, more coherent societies and groupings.

This is how I started the article. But now, as I look at the bloated evil being whose actions led to the murder and suffering of so many millions of people, then I know what I really want to say to all the people like him.

No matter how rich you are, or how powerful, or, how long you got away with it. Sooner or later, your karma will catch up with you.

1 comment:

Kathleen Kempker said...

This I have known, but it's nice to read in a concise form.

I like the final sentence.."No matter how rich you are, or how powerful....sooner or later your Karma will catch up with you".