a “debate” confined between two false poles

There’s a fascinating post on Dissident Voice about the battle going on in the UK between the BBC and corporate media who are apparently threatened by the breadth of the Beeb’s online offerings.


"The Murdochs of this world are naturally unable to conceive that corporate sponsorship compromises news reporting, showering pound and dollar-shaped sticks and carrots that inevitably cause journalism to slither in corporate-friendly directions."

"In his dystopian novel, 1984, George Orwell described the art of thought control called “Newspeak”:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

We are offered a “debate” confined between two false poles: the claim that the BBC is a threat to the “independent news” provided by commercial interests, and the claim that the BBC is a rare source of “independent, truthful” reporting. Modern journalism acts to “narrow the range of thought”, thus serving the powerful interests that control the mass media."

This idea about "a debate confined between two false poles" is something that Chomsky has been talking about for decades. In the West, we’re told that we have a ‘free press’ but, in reality, we have a press that’s owned either by wealthy individuals (Packer, Murdoch, Stokes, et al) or the Government… whose hold on power is often regulated BY those wealthy individuals and their control over the way the population thinks due to their media assets. And so what tends to happen is that our media discusses the happenings of the day in a limited fashion, always confining the debate between two false poles, making it LOOK like we have choice and healthy debate, where in reality we’re only given a small range of options to discuss.

My favourite example in Australia is to look at our election coverage. What is the range of debate and discussion given in the Australian media, during election cycles or any other time for that matter, to alternatives to our consumerist capitalist economic model? Where is the open discussion about the benefits of Socialism or Communism? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the aforementioned wealthy owners of the media companies don’t want the people thinking about Socialism or Communism unless, of course, it’s to talk about the failures of those alternative models. The reason they don’t want us thinking about these alternatives is that if we moved towards them, they would lose their wealth, power and privilege.

This is why we need a NEW media that isn’t controlled by corporate interests.