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Dirty little secrets. Dirty little lies

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
March 2, 2005


"Whoever controls the media- the images- controls the culture." — Allen Ginsberg

In the Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde wrote "The truth is rarely pure, and never simple." That, my friends, sums up my reaction to the latest media circus in the continuing saga of Michael Jackson. To be honest. I don't care. I don't care about Michael. I don't care about Whacko Jacko. I don't care about the kid, his parents, Corey Feldman, the Jesus juice, or what Geraldo Rivera thinks about any or all of the above. I just don't care.

Michael Jackson is insane. That has long been clear. As for the molestation charge, I think it goes to intent. If Jacko is really whacko, then intent is not there, and the King of Pop should be institutionalized until he is able to leave Neverland and join the rest of us in the real world.

Yes, it's sad a child prodigy has morphed into a sick joke. But I hardly think the lunacy of a damaged pop star warrants the attention of the world's media. When there are so many other things going unmentioned, under reported, or actively covered up.

This is not to say pedophilia and child molestation should be ignored. Crimes against children are global problems, sexual abuse is but one example. Genital mutilation happens to children every day. Millions of little boys, infants really, go under the knife every year in the United States to rid them of foreskin. No news there. Millions of children live below the poverty line, no news there. Kids being fed a diet designed to cause cancer later in life, isn't considered child abuse by modern culture. Why is that? Toxic breast milk in women of North America should surely warrants as much attention as Adventures in Neverland.

The tabloid titillation of the Jackson trial is not news. Freak fodder for couch potatoes, it does nothing to address the real issues of child abuse and exploitation. Do we as concerned citizens get facts and statistics regarding the treatment of children nationally and locally? No.Do we get academic discussions regarding the social factors contributing to the debasement of children? Of course not.Instead we are inundated with non-stop, up to the moment "reports" on Michael Jackson's moods and fashions statements.

It blows my mind to think coverage of Michael's martyring is now a billion dollar industry. And that's just mainstream media. Court costs must be staggering. But dirty laundry sells, makes careers, and creates jobs, so NBC, ABC, CBS, BBC, CNN, Fox, Court TV, E, Bravo and all their international counterparts, give the people what they want.

Unfortunately, what people want, is what corporate media wants the people to want.

Most Americans get their "news" from television. what media consumers tune in to is infotainment, encouraging consumption of consumer goods, intermixed with superficial coverage of wars and other natural disasters. Corporate media giants dictate reporting. So instead of in-depth coverage of unnatural disasters, like the amount of auto exhaust polluting the lower atmosphere and how auto exhaust contributes to the build up of "Greenhouse" gases and global warming, we get car commercials and shows like Monster Garage and Pimp My Ride.

Child abuse comes in many forms. One of which is air pollution. Michael Jackson may be a threat to children, the courts will decide, but the connection between carbon dioxide and asthma has. Yet major "news" outlets nearly ignore environmental reporting in favor of a loony pop stars, and celebrity meltdowns.

Coincidence? I think not.

Every time a talking head starts babbling, I recite a litany of environmental realities that fails to qualify as news, while the bubble headed bleach-blond serves up the latest dish offered by the Team Jackson. It is not in the best interest of the multinational corporate media industry to shed light on the ecological cost of the lifestyle perpetuated by televised mass media. Truth is bad for the bottom line so the media selectively decides what is news and what is not.

It was Marshall McLuhan who warned, "The medium is the message." Look at television from that frame of reference and it is clear. There is more going on than the tawdry tale of Michael's madness. Imagine for yourself all the news you would like to see covered, that isn't.Then ask yourself why.

Airing the dirty laundry of the rich and infamous is one way of concealing their own dirty dealings, and those of cozy corporate politicians, corporate industrialists, and other corporate interests. The term ‘Lies of Omission' comes to mind.

Dirty little secrets indeed.

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