Friday, January 7, 2011

    Transmountain Road, El Paso

The Truth Leaks Out

As young Bradley Manning rots in prison under conditions that are now being called torture, debate continues over whether it's right for WikiLeaks to release the secret documents Manning is suspected of having handed over to the whistle blowing web site.

Nut cases on the right including the Top Nut, Sarah Palin, have called for Julian Assange, head of WikiLeaks, to be assassinated. The government has trotted out its usual condemnations and entirely unsubstantiated claims that releasing the documents puts people in harm's way.

That's the right. That's conservatism, and despite the appearances of a two party system, our government is essentially conservative. Our government represents the interests of Capital, and its foreign policy is designed to make the world safe for Capital, not democracy.

The further Left one goes the more support there is for WikiLeaks, and Assange, and Manning. Some on the Left have pointed out that this information shouldn't be secret in the first place, that we the people need to know what our government is doing. That government is quick to publicize anything it does that it's proud of, and that it keeps secret only what it's ashamed of. That it fears the people, and what might happen if the people ever found out what our government is really all about, which is to further the interests of the wealthy, feed their voracious appetite for profit, to do what's expected of them by those they are beholden to.

What is worrying and bothersome is the position the mass media takes on the issue. It's hard to find a ringing endorsement of WikiLeaks or Julian Assange, let alone Bradley Manning, in the mainstream media. Instead of the widespread support one might imagine from a profession whose purpose is to inform the people, and whose mission is to act as the watch dog of government, you get condemnation, lukewarm support, or nothing.

There are three reasons for this. One is the internet, and the threat it is to the media. Almost as many people now get their news from the internet as they do from TV, and more get it from the internet than from newspapers or radio. This has caused havoc in the media business. Thousands of reporters, editors, producers and others in the news business have lost their incomes because of it. Web sites like WikiLeaks, and web logs, have done an end run around Journalism. They don't need the media. They are the media now. They are part of the media.

Reason two is that the media is embarrassed by the leaks. Where were they when these things we are finding out about were happening, and why didn't they find out about them and inform us?

The third and most nefarious reason the media doesn't like WikiLeaks is that it is showing them for what they really are, mouthpieces of government and handmaidens of the ruling class. It is showing the media to be a partner with government in maintaining the illusions the ruling class needs to maintain if they are to keep on taking the huge shares they take of the wealth of this country, wealth that is created entirely by our labor.

You hear a lot of talk about how the media can go after someone, end their career. You hear how, when someone considers running for president, one of their primary considerations is whether or not they want to subject themselves and their family to the inevitable onslaught of media scrutiny.

The media does all that, but it never questions the basic premises of Capitalism. It peddles the old myths about free and open markets and never points out that Capitalism is a rigged system. It never points out, for example, that time after time the government's own census data prove that there is no class mobility in the United States. There is a very rare exception here and there, and we hear about that, but what we don't hear is that in the vast, vast majority of cases, the economic class you are born into is the same one you will be in when you die. The media simply ignores that, and it never asks why.

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