mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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greed & arrogance index


8.29.04 Hope? Counterforces Against the Corporate Planet

In my last rant, I wailed about corporate consolidatation and the squeezing off of independent voices in Big Media. Then I picked up this month's "Wired" magazine (the one with Arnold on the cover) and found it full of hope.

First of all, I guess you have to admit there are still plenty of independent and progressive voices in the print media. I still savor reading "The New Yorker." I'm tempted to say, "But who reads anymore?" Yet I hear that sales of political books are soaring -- Al Franken, Michael Moore, John Dean, Richard Clarke...

And then it's interesting to see "Wired" change its political voice. Oh, maybe I'm wrong -- "Wired" has always been the voice of the technocrat, generally against anything that stands in the way of technical development, usually government regulation. This would usually mean "conservative." I just thinking out loud here. The Bushies are certainly deregulation fanatics -- if it benefits corporate cronies. But they have also proven themselves to be phone-tapping anti-science ideologues, a technocratic no-no. So "Wired" too is looking at the alternatives.

In the September issue "Wired" talks a lot about the power of the internet to change the political landscape. Joe Trippi, the Howard Dean mastermind, claims the 2008 election will be entirely fought over the internet. Technology plus grassroots activism can yield the phenomenon of MoveOn.Org (though it can also spawn evil mischief-makers like Swiftboat Veterans for Truth).

And everyone is talking about the power of thousands of bloggers to affect Big Media. Death by a thousand pinpricks? I doubt it, but we can always dream...

I think there is some hope in the print and electronic media -- even though they are also ultimately owned by a few corporations, who would be happy to turn off the spigot if they saw profit in the action.

But I'm still worried about the news sources. Alternative analyses and progressive screeds are one thing -- but aren't we all still using the same narrow and Big-Media-controlled collection and distribution channels? Who will pay reporters and investigative journalists to get independent versions of the news and make it available to us armchair analysts? Maybe there are independent news sources if you carefully scour the world press. I keep meaning to do that...





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