Monday, July 9, 2012

Mainstream Media And Corporate Neoliberalism

By Manifesto Joe

Biased toward the left -- and biased toward the right. How can both be true?

Leave it to America's Mainstream Media -- they have somehow managed to give both impressions to different groups of activists, and I think I can explain why.

I will preface by saying that I have a very admitted and open bias toward the left, at least by American standards. And, that's the very reason why I'm writing this blog, as it is clearly a consistent expression of opinion. After nearly 56 years on this planet, I know that the "left" has no monopoly on the truth or on facts. But I find myself agreeing with their world view at least 70% of the time, so I chose sides long ago.

But what one finds upon close examination of the American MSM is a sort of "neoliberal" mind-set that can seem downright radical to a right-wing evangelical Christian, and then like 19th-century apologists for robber barons to progressives and liberals.

Evangelicals tend to be focused on social issues -- and generally anything that has gained much social acceptance since the 16th century or so is something they view with suspicion. To them, abortion is murder, pure and simple, with no gray areas. Women should be content to be second-class citizens and strictly obey their husbands and fathers. Cultural diversity is liberal hogwash, as it in their view ignores the simple "fact" that one's own group, church, race, etc., is always presumed superior to any other.

My bias toward the left tends to include an open mind, at least of sorts, regarding social issues. It runs contrary to my experience for someone to propose that my group, race, or whatever, is in some way intrinsically superior to another person's. And considering the vast holocaust that our society carries out against our partner animals daily, it's hard for me to consider ending the life of a first-trimester fetus that has a tail (and little brain activity) to be the same as homicide. It's a sad and even gruesome thing, but legislating one's religion seems inherently much worse.

Something one does routinely see in the MSM is a mind-set that is center-left on most social issues, at least by American standards. The basic corporate MSM line is:

Diversity ... GOOOOOD

The MSM accept racial equality as a given, are usually sympathetic toward abortion rights, and tout cultural diversity as a thing that people must have been mentally ill cave dwellers to have not embraced decades or even centuries ago. These are assumptions now, and in the eyes of right-wingers, an ironic form of liberal dogma.

And, the MSM won't get too much argument from me about all of the above. True, as a working-class white male, I was passed over for decades for jobs and promotions so that women and minorities could get their feet in the door of the middle class. (And meanwhile, the good ol' boys who REALLY belonged to the club were quite unaffected, because they always had their OWN affirmative-action program.)

OK, fair enough -- the viewpoint of women and minorities would likely be, now at least some of you white male SOBs get just a tiny taste of the kind of shit we had to eat for centuries. I understand that viewpoint well.

But the typical working-class, white American male listening to Rush Lardbaugh doesn't generally share that world view. They cream their pants with glee when Herr Lardbaugh launches into tirades about "femi-Nazis" and continues with barely masked exhibitions of racism.

To them, the MSM have a liberal bias, if only for the reason that Herr Lardbaugh lies just a bit outside of how the MSM usually defines the political mainstream.

Personally, I have few problems with the MSM's mind-set in this regard, whatsoever.

But that's not the whole story.

In particular, study the pages of the U.S. business press, and lots of us can quickly detect a very different sort of bias:

Capitalism and free markets ... GOOOOOOD. Labor unions and big government ... BAAAAAAD.

I remember being asked once if I thought that the MSM outlet that I work for has a liberal bias, because obviously the person who asked the question believed that to be so.

My reply was that, well, if they're so liberal, perhaps they'd let me try to organize the staffers into a union shop. I ventured that I didn't think I'd last very long.

The man asking me the question had no response to that.

The key word here is neoliberalism. It is essentially an acceptance, as a given, of 20th-century attitudes toward social issues -- but accompanied by a strict adherence to 19th-century "classical" economic theory.

Upon close inspection, it becomes apparent that America's business media are generally in the hands of people who grew up in solidly middle-class homes, at least. They and their families could take for granted being able to afford good colleges, and their climb up the journalism ladder was never in much doubt, because they probably knew people who could and would help.

The articles I've seen have referred to an average haircut as costing $45 (where are these people getting their golden locks trimmed?), and about how the thrifty habits of people like Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett have done so much to aid them in amassing vast fortunes, and so forth. Like, they still live in relatively modest homes that they bought decades ago, and some of them don't even own private jets! Wow, such deferment of gratification!

Thinking of such people as being the least bit "in touch" with the lives of ordinary Americans is not unlike portrayals of Mitt "Slick Willard" Romney as some kind of Man of the People.

If you've never been in a grueling, low-paying, exploitative situation with Eddie Haskell types for bosses, then I suppose you would have no reason to understand why someone would want to give 4% of their paycheck to a labor union. (For one thing, you can bet that in a union job, the paycheck would be much bigger even after one pays the dues.)

But you don't find people with that kind of labor experience in the business press, nor does one generally find them among U.S. news executives. From what I've seen, those offices are mainly populated by people who have led very charmed lives. They don't end up being the "grunt" workers of the industry, and they always knew that was never what the profession would hold for them.

So, folks like this get to feel just, oh, so enlightened on social issues, while toeing a primitive company line on anything that's work- or economics-related.

And that, boys and girls, is one of the big reasons why righties call the MSM "liberal" and believe that it is biased that way, while lefties can clearly see that they would quickly land in the unemployment line if they dared to bring an organizer onto the property.

And that is how different groups can somehow call the MSM biased in opposite ways. "Neoliberalism," anyone?

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

You have given a masterfully accurate summary of the MSM in my view, my good and thoughtdul man!