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"When Media Is Master"

Recorded 7-17-11

1) 2:22 When Media Is Master long Mp3

2) 1:57 When Media Is Master short Mp3

 

When Media Is Master
col. writ. 7/15/11 (c) Mumia Abu-Jamal

Years ago, a Canadian professor of popular culture and education rocked the world with his 
astute observation that "The medium is the message." Marshall McLuhan’s books were on every U.S. college campus, not just in classrooms, but on the quads, in the dorms and in the bleachers. McLuhan’s two major books, "Understanding Media" (1964) and "The Gutenberg Galaxy" (1962), taught the 60's generation how to navigate in the new worlds of TV, radio and the telephone, inventions that transformed American life at the mid-point of the 20th Century.

But as brilliant as he was, the best quote belongs to Learned Hand, a legendary American judge, who, in a 1942 speech, commented about media in a way that has rarely been bettered. Judge Hand said: "The hand that rules the press, the radio, the screen, and the far-spread magazine rules the country."

Imagine that--coming from a federal judge!

Now look at the burgeoning scandal bubbling up in Britain, where media magnates bought off cops, hacked into the personal communications of thousands of people, from princes to proletarians, and intimidated politicians from the pubs to Parliament.

The media--by that I mean a privately-owned company--unelected and unaccountable to anyone but the company bosses, decided, essentially, who would get elected to what, and what they would do once they got in power.

And, of course, they pressured politicians to do their bidding--for their interests outweighed 
the public Interest.

And their interest was, and is, power and profit.

To gain both, they committed thousands of crimes, invaded the personal privacy of legions, 
corrupted cops and politicians, and plunged into secrecy to sell papers, and to twist politics 
rightwards.

There will be inquiries on several continents, some politicians will grandstand, and more 
papers will be sold.

But, in the end, what will change of a media culture that serves the interests of its owners-- 
and not the people?

(c) ’11 maj

 

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