Monday, December 29, 2003

Prettty Damn Evil, an Interview with Ed Herman: "The left is outside the system in good measure because ordinary citizens-the 'average American'--can never hear its message, or if they do hear it, it is fleeting, short, and usually presented in a dismissive context. Effective messages are those that are repeated and attached to friendly symbols. Left messages being unfamiliar they need lots of repetition and lots of space and time to counter cognitive dissonance. They never get that. This of course reflects the fact that the left has no numerous and financially solid power base, so it can't fund its messages and can't provide them to that power base to firm up their resolve and clarify their understanding of reality. The labor movement, the natural power base, has not focused on this and its leaders have therefore helped weaken themselves-for the most part these leaders were cold warriors who even collaborated in subverting labor movements in countries like Brazil in service to the corporate interest in a 'favorable climate of investment'-which called for weak or non-existent trade unions. In the crucial formative years of broadcasting, 1927-1933, the top labor brass even refused to support union-funded and controlled broadcasting, letting a pioneer labor broadcaster fail, arguing that ad-based commercial media would surely do justice to labor's interests...

"This left the workers to watch CBS, NBC, and later ABC and Fox, to get their information and world view, with the results we see in ignorance, depoliticization along with a readily manipulable patriotism, and a marginalized left unable to reach their potentially sympathetic audience with messages that might be quite attractive if seen and heard. The decline and rightward trajectory of the Labor Party in Britain is also traceable in part to the death of a labor-supportive trio of major papers in the 1960s, which had given workers not only news but arguments and principles supportive of their interests. These were replaced by rightwing rags that featured tits, welfare mothers' abuses, and attacks on liberals, the left, and governments (except governments of the right, and the police and military segments of government)."

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