Michael Parenti's 1986 expose of the press media ("Inventing Reality", St. Martin's Press, NY) seems even more relevant today. As corporations merge and the oligarchy grows in power and influence our outlets of information are falling more and more under the watchful eyes of the editors and owners. Parenti points out, time and time again, the subtle stranglehold conservative ideologies maintain over a staggering percentage of our printed information. |
Parenti's logic is uncannily simple: capitalists own the mainstream press, the owner(s) executes final power (however indirectly or subtly) over the paper; therefore the press is ultimately pressured by capitalist tendencies which have the effect of stifling certain types of information that could be deemed anti-capitalist, as well as other types of "destructive" information. This tendency to stifle certain types of voices has incredible influence on the masses, who, in turn, sway the electoral process, which then in turn determines economic policy. Basically, there is a conflict of interest in the mass media in the benefit of the rich. There is an in-built cycle that increases the power and money of the few at the top of the hierarchy.
"Inventing Reality" has a similar approach and modus operandi as Rachel Carson's benchmark look at the pesticide crisis, "Silent Spring". By supplying the reader with an impressive number of figures and sources these authors provide a formula and reasoning for reaching their conclusion and the ability to research the information back to its origin. This is in drastic contrast to the tactics of the mainstream media, which, as a general rule, relies on "government sources" and other depersonalized sources of information, effectively blocking any research into stories.
Those interested in alternative media (and if you're reading this then that's probably you) should find "Inventing Reality" and keep searching via Parenti's sources. It's a great place to start trying to understand how things went wrong in the mass media and what we can do to change it. We're just beginning to change the press for the better and now we need to learn how a healthy and organic media system functions. Thinkers like Parenti will help us do just that.
Michael Parenti Interview on Independent Media
The Terrorism Trap
Michael Parenti Presentation at Portland State University