view from mars

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

"recent surge in violence"


EarlG at Democratic Underground has the current top spot in Greatest Threads -- for good reason. He googled the phrase "recent surge in violence" and came up with this:

There are a few notable periods where violence is not reported as a "recent surge," (for example, Nov 2003 - Mar 2004) and there are a few notable periods where the violence is much worse (for example, May 2005).

But overall, it appears that there is a "recent surge in violence" reported in Iraq pretty much every few weeks [since September 2003].
I can't say that I'm shocked or surprised. It's that feeling I get daily when I encounter a new outrage -- those of us who bother to get to the bottom of things have become innoculated against this type of outrage. We come to expect it from the current regime. But I was staggered a bit by Earl's findings because it's been under our noses all along and I don't think anyone else has picked up on it before (well, we all have on some level) and presented it like he has. Go read the original post and see it for yourself.

The storyline the corporate media have been laying down since the war's inception is that the occupation of Iraq has been thorough, well-planned, and effective at containing "terrorists." When we have an administration whose primary goal is to create anarchy for the facilitation of the establishment of 'free-markets," their second goal must be to create an atmosphere in which the average citizen can at least partly justify the deaths of fellow citizens. They accomplish this by, well, lying to us via a complicit media structure.

In order to understand how this has occurred, it's necessary to understand that in today's media -- which is wholly controlled by a few uber-corporations with all sorts of ties to the government, GE (NBC) -- one equation constantly underlies the information that makes its way to us: favorable coverage = access.

If you don't understand how fundamentally this norm has infected our media/power structure, you cannot understand how this administration has accomplished what it has.

Because an alternative media structure has arisen in conjunction with the demise of media-as-pure-information -- this alternative, of course, is the internet -- the distinctions between the information provided by each media framework have become clearer. Truth and, well, something else. Truth influenced by some Other holder of truth. Filtered truth, I suppose. Wait, more accurately -- filtered truth that is again filtered by a media framework concerned with its ability to access filtered truth.

Just go read Amy Goodman's Exception to the Rulers. She does this for a living, okay? (And she's coming to McLeod Hall on March 24th.)

We're chipping away at the Embedded Media framework -- notice how many stories lately have either been broken by bloggers (and I'm not talking about Dan Rather, here, that's totally different) or broadcast through the corporate media because it has made a huge impact in the blogosphere? I mean, can you imagine the type of information we'd receive from the embedded media if not for a real and dynamic alternative venue for dissent? What if we had to keep it all to ourselves? Can you reasonably argue that our corporate media would be in the business of effectively digging into the information the Bush regime has been so concerned with filtering?

In the end, our embedded media represents the mega-corporations that own its components. Favorable coverage = access. Access = ratings. Ratings = advertisements.

It's that simple. And Joe-Blow-republican will tell me to my face today, if I asked him, that the liberal media is only out to get Dear Leader.

If they were doing their jobs they would be. Anything else is propaganda.

And now it's easier to understand the significance of Earl's analysis. To present violence in Iraq as they have (as Earl has found) is to simultaneously imply, over the course of the greater multi-year storyline, that things are largely under control. They portray incidents of violence as sporadic breaks from the general calm, or else they wouldn't be modified by "recent" or "surges." It's undeniable. What Earl's analysis clearly reveals is the emptiness of those modifiers. Violence in Iraq is steady, constant, and fierce. But the embedded media can't frame it in that way -- they are slaves to the storyline. Dissent, or critical analysis, breaks the equation.

Favorable coverage = access. Access = filtered stories. Stories = advertising revenue.

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