Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media Enemy
By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
February 21, 2017
“Donald Trump and the corporate media are locked in mutual hostility, but they are both enemies of the poor and oppressed. Media tell non-stop lies about foreign leaders abroad and Black people here at home. As servants of corporate power, the media usually kow-tow to whoever wins the White House. They’ve made an exception for Trump, but that doesn’t make them honest journalists — just flunkies for the other party.
“When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.”
Every day Donald Trump exemplifies the contradictions of this era. He may make a statement that the left can agree with, but not because of shared political beliefs or motives. That is the case with his latest twitter statement regarding the media. “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
The corporate media generally go out of their way to make nice with presidents and promote their agendas. The feeling is mutual and presidents make nice right back. Even George W. Bush, who like Trump lost the popular vote, enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.
But Trump is different. He cannot say the words New York Times without adding, “Which is failing.” He can’t stand criticism and apparently doesn’t like to work for praise either. We can add his continued fighting with the press to the rest of his list of firsts.
“Even George W. Bush enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.”
The fact is that the corporate media in this country are our enemies. Media consolidation has left us with a handful of newspapers and television networks which are all controlled by international conglomerates. They hoped they would make neo-liberal heroine Hillary Clinton the next president but Democratic Party failures and her own weaknesses put Trump in the White House.
The news has been fake long before Donald Trump used those words. The cozy relationship between Bush and the press gave him cover to invade Iraq and kill 1 million people. The correspondents’ dinners and the private briefings create media haves and have nots, and taint the journalism that comes from this collusion. Obama made the private briefing a standard operating practice and kept Democratic pundits in his thrall, not that he had to work hard to win them over.
Trump considers anyone an enemy who doesn’t love him. That is why he is no friend of the press. But the rest of us should not rush to defend them either. After all they do not defend us. In 2016 they stood with Hillary Clinton while Bernie Sanders, despite his political failings, revealed the weaknesses in the Democratic Party. He was mocked, the desire for change was ignored and as a result Trump is the 45th president of the country.
“The corporate press never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions.”
Presentation and politesse are everything to our press overlords, so they never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions. They repeated lies about foreign leaders who fell into Obama’s cross hairs. They said nothing about job stealing trade deals or the dishonesty which gave us more private health insurance when we needed Medicare for All.
When Hillary Clinton picked up on a Marco Rubio talking point and accused Donald Trump of being a Russian agent and/or dupe, the media followed right along. When her strategy failed they kept repeating it instead of asking why she lost to the person they all disregarded. When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.
Do the media report on the inhumanity of mass incarceration? Do they tell their viewers and readers that half of all Americans live on $31,000 per year or less? Do they reveal the devastation created by American regime change or give voice to its victims?
They do none of these things. They engage in a mutual admiration society and having covered up great wrong doing they now act as gate keepers against Donald Trump. But let us imagine if Trump were to suddenly have a change of heart and personality. Suppose he stopped calling the New York Times “failing.” Suppose he decided to make friends.
“If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability.”
Suddenly we would see stories about his under appreciated brilliance. The planned wall on the Mexican border would be called a master stroke, the travel ban of citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations would suddenly be deemed a legal breakthrough. If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability. Such is the power of media imprimatur.
No one should deny that one plus one equals two if Donald Trump states this easily understood fact. When he calls the press the enemy one must remember that the Washington Post was purchased by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Bezos then used Amazon’s cloud technology as means of getting a $750 million contract with the CIA.
Late in 2016 the Post runs a fake news story calling outlets like Black Agenda Report agents of the Russian government and begins the process of making repression a reality. To complicate matters further, Bezos is one of eight billionaires on the planet with as much wealth as half of humanity. Anyone with a fat CIA contract who literally controls the world is certainly no friend of the people.
No one should be fooled by Trump’s bloviating, nor should they be fooled by phony outrage from guilty parties. The media are in bed with the rulers and that makes them enemies of the first order.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com.