Back in the Sixties and Seventies, before wealthy conservatives launched a massive crusade to reshape political thought in post-Vietnam America, the ongoing Wall Street protests would have been all over the news. Not today.
Today, you will read and hear ad nauseam about the “controversial” fate of convicted cop killer Troy Davis and the release of those two dumb-and-dumber guys who hiked across the Iraq border into Iran. But you won’t get any updates in the mainstream media from the ongoing Wall Street protests.
The pattern has become all too familiar.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets a few months ago to protest the union busting policies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – and attracted scant attention from the corporate-owned press.
Thousands more have been massing to protest America’s endless wars – without drawing much more than a yawn from American “reporters.”
Back in March, Think Progress noted:
While the tea party demonstrations – which were estimated to have been attended by 1,500-2,000 people according to Capitol Hill police officers – received an enormous amount of press coverage, a larger demonstration took place. A crowd estimated to be 2,500-strongby Capitol Hill police officers marched through the streets of Washington to mark the seventh anniversary of the war in Iraq and to call on Obama to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and focus all of his efforts on domestic priorities like health care and education.
The news media did not find the second, larger march to be as newsworthy as the tea party demonstration. Using the media data-mining tool Critical Mention, a search by Think Progress of the keyword “protest” of the three major cable news networks – CNN, MSNBC, and Fox – found that the tea party protests were covered 31 times between March 19th and March 21st, and the antiwar demonstration was only covered twice.
Haven’t you wondered why the nutty Tea Party gets so much attention while “liberals” get so little?
I see it as a tactic of a war so pernicious that it is hardly believable yet so obvious it cannot be denied. For decades, super-rich conservatives have been founding “think tanks,” endowing university departments, buying up and bullying media outlets, and funding an army of right-wing bloggers in a coordinated crusade to dominate public opinion – and ensure their accumulation of ever-increasing wealth.
In “The Origins of the Overclass,” Steve Kangas describes the crusade this way:
The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine’s creators had CIA backgrounds.
During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA’s expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
(Today, the richest 1 percent of Americans have hogged more than three-quarters of the nation’s wealth.)
This massive propaganda initiative has spread from traditional news media to the Internet. Hired flaks write blogs and anonymous “comments” to create the impression of popular support for Republican “talking points.” It has even spread to the email carriers. Recently, Yahoo admitted blocking emails urging support for the Wall Street occupation.
It’s no wonder the Republicans can get away with the atrocities they commit. The American public sees them through the prism of the media. And, by and large, they own the media.
The din of conservative chatter has permeated America’s collective consciousness with undeniably dire results, and the other side of the crusade – shutting out opposing views – could prove even more disastrous.
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?
And if progressives take to the streets in protest but nobody knows, can the protests spread?
We shall have to wait and see.