Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
When the Media Manages US
WHEN THE MEDIA MANAGES US
[Col. Writ. 12/5/04] Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
"The medium is the massage." -- Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980)
Everyday, when we watch the day's news, listen to the hourly
update, or read the nearest scandal sheet, we are being managed
by the nation's powerful media machines.
Some of us, who believe we are well-informed, will doubtless
dispute that claim, and point, perhaps, to the number of papers
we read, or the number of news shows we watch, as proof that
we consume a wide range of news, and therefore are able to
escape the claws of the news managers.
Perhaps they are right. Let us see. I'll bet that it is rare
for most of us to see, or hear, or read of the continuing Iraq
War, as an "occupation." We also rarely hear about Iraqi
fighters against this occupation as anything but "terrorists",
or perhaps, "insurgents."
Indeed, the very words, "Iraq War" are rarely used, at
least in the present tense, for, according to the bought-and-sold
voices in the corporate press, the war *is* over, for hasn't
the Grand Lord Emperor, George W., so decreed it? And, lo
and behold, like the meanest serf in feudal Saxony, like
scribes to ancient princes, -- voila! -- so be it. It is fact.
It matters little that, if deaths, of either Iraqis or even
Americans count, the war, a guerrilla war, rages in a dozen
cities in Iraq.
The media manages us with words; like 'coalition forces',
like 'terrorist', and finally, and perhaps most fatally, like
Not since the Vietnam War have we seen such myth-
making by the media, for did they not then try to spin the
web of 'democracy' over the eyes and minds of millions?
Did they not then proffer assorted imported toadies to act
as presidents and prime ministers, that the Vietnamese
people regarded as strangers and, worse, traitors?
Only in the rare, underground and radical press could
those truths be spoken, for the major dailies, the three big
networks (back then, there were only three), and corporate
radio told the government's side of the story. And that
story was a lie.
Americans weren't told that it was a People's War; that
everyone from children in the villages, to prostitutes in the
hootches, to guerrillas in the jungles, to intellectuals in the
cities, was waging a war against the Yankee foreigners,
as they had waged against the French colonialists a
generation before, and the imperial Chinese centuries
before. They were people who fought for their own
country against the U.S., and those the U.S. imposed.
They were fighting for the right to decide for
themselves what kind of government would rule.
The Big Secret today is that, increasingly, the same
thing is happening in Iraq. It's not exactly the same.
It never is.
They know that the 'freedom' promised by the
Americans and the British isn't their freedom. And
they know, all too well, that Americans don't give a
hot damn about them; they have seen the pictures
from Abu Ghraib (and perhaps, hundreds more that the
U.S. government and American press hasn't allowed
you to see!). They know, in their guts, that the Anglo-
American objective is the black crude that courses
below their dry earth.
They know that the [Ahmed] Chalabis, and the
[Ghazi] Al-Yawers, have sold themselves, to the CIA or
M16, and are there to sell the wealth of the nation.
But most Americans don't know, and don't want to
'Americans are fighting for freedom.' Uh-huh...
It is their corporate, sell-out media that is
responsible for these public illusions. They have
betrayed their craft as journalists, and signed on, to
the highest bidder, like slaves, who sell their faces
and their words, to power.
Luckily, as in the '60s, there exists a growing
alternative media, that *is* performing its function,
and driving the big TV and cable networks, into
irrelevancy. May it only grow.
Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.