The following is from a post I made at zcommunications’s Chomsky forum, outlining program ideas for an internet-based media replacement that bypasses corporate and government influenced gatekeepers. I currently don’t support creating the following, as a Day 1 media bypass implementation, unless big $$ appear, first. Instead, as a Day 1 media bypass implementation, I recommend just creating new “uncommercials”, which replace the standard commercials. Later, when the new system takes off and there is a significant revenue stream, it can be funneled into creating democracy-friendly, cutting edge content, of the sort that I indicate after the flip.
From my notes, the following is what I posted at zmag’s Chomsky forum. The Randi Rhodes forum is no more, and apparently my paper “Putting the NY Times Out of Business” is no more, also, unless I have a backup of it, somewhere.
I would appreciate it if Professor Chomsky commented on my proposal, linked to below. I apologize for it not being more coherent. The emphasis on replacing main stream TV is more developed in the attendant thread than the original proposal, itself. Yet, if you just read the proposal, proper, you will miss this belated emphasis. Consequently, I would ask that Professor Chomsky read through the entire thread before commenting.
Rather than reproduce the proposal, or even the entire thread here, I will simply link to it. Additionally, after my boilerplate, I will copy my last post. The reason for doing this is to emphasize a strategy which, I assume, in an environment like zmag, may not receive sufficient appreciation. In my view, excess idealism can be as irrational and counterproductive as cynicism and resignation. We clearly have a problem in the US of too much entertainment versus public-minded citizenship. However, I don’t think it’s optimal to expect a sea change in the public towards more serious concerns, such that John Q. Public reminds one of Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky in terms of their level of commitment. If the incipient recession turn into a nasty and prolonged depression, that might be feasible. But I certainly don’t want to count on misfortune!
Instead, I think it’s optimal to provide some of what the public is alredy used to – viz., fluff (i.e., pop fiction) along the lines of ‘Desparate Housewifes’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ – coupled with serious programming, with suitable ‘uncommercials’, in part to advertise the serious content. And all on the TV sitting in the living room, not just on a computer screen. I also think that the system, while being open and relatively non-hierarchical, should also be for-profit. Part of the inspiration for my proposal was my observation of the lack of financial support necessary for public-minded citizens to pursue their activities optimally. In my view, serious proposals for addressing any problem of any society should not ignore financial aspects. Professor Chomsky often reminds us that governments often fund various needs at a loss, such as parks. That’s fine and dandy with me. However, I am looking to bypass the mainstream media, and quickly, and I can’t imagine that convincing a corrupt Congress to fund an alternative media has a snowball’s chance in hell of coming to pass in my lifetime. My solution is a for-profit system, supported 100% by subscribers with most of the revenue being directed towards content creators, and thus free of government meddling as well as corporate myth-making. So, with exceptions only for large projects (such as movies) that may require investors, most of the profits are essentially wages for individuals intimately involved in researching and creating the various media productions.
Please see my proposal “Putting the NY Times Out of Business”, and please check out the attendant thread.
“Putting the NY Times Out of Business”
Proposal to replace ALL corrupt media
I have posted a proposal on the Randi Rhodes show forum for replacing our current media with a new, sustainable media that facilitates the selection of “filtering agents”. You can think of these as honest gatekeepers that YOU trust – and that keep out trivial information, rather than very important information that groups with economic and other hidden agendas prefer to hide from you.
Broadband access is now up to 53% in the US ( see http://www.websiteoptimization… ), so it is quite possible to target TELEVISION, which is how about 48% of Americans get 30+ minutes of news per day (as opposed to only about 9% over the internet). See http://people-press.org/report…
The thread is entitled: “Putting the NY Times Out of Business”
The thread is subtitled: “Proposal to replace ALL corrupt media”
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYBODY WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED
my last post
Serious Programs, Fluff, and the Uncommercial Glue that can bind them in IM
As I’ve mentioned, some fluff is good. By fluff I mean pretty much what fiction you’re getting on the tube now – Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. The main reason fluff is good is because the public demands their fluff, irregardless of any idealistic notion that you or I may hold about how other people should prioritize their non-working hours. Capturing the attendant revenue stream that satisfying such a demand can generate means that part of that money can be used to fund more serious, public-minded content. Secondly, getting people into the habit of viewing their fluff through an IM system means that they are that much more likely to ‘turn the channel’ from one IM source to another. That’s certainly better than them switch from ABC to CBS or NBC. They will eventually want to check out the serious content, and if it’s compelling enough, they may become educated on serious matters, in spite of themselves.
Fluff needs no more elaboration. However, before discussing some suggestions for serous content, I want to talk about the glue that can bind them. The ‘glue’ is non-commercial commercials. (Sorry! I can’t think of a better term. So, I’ll just refer to them as Uncommercials.) The best graphic (non-video) analog I can think of are what you see in Adbuster magazine. (See adbuster.org. I think you can pick up a copy of the magazine in big bookstores such as Barnes and Noble) Adbusters has some videos at http://www.adbusters.org/abtv/… , which I haven’t watched, yet. Some uncommercials I have seen that really impressed me were from moveon.org. (See http://www.obamain30seconds.co… which shows some ‘Bush in 30 seconds’ ads that they made).
Of course, IM Uncommercials should not only be on various public-interest issues that can be commented upon in 30 or 60 seconds. They should also advertise serious IM programs. Although IM forbids advertising, not only can an exception be made for Uncommercials, they should be made for them. If subscribers want to, they can simply opt out of them. However, if the ads are interesting enough, I don’t think many will do so. In this way, we may be able to turn large numbers of clueless “idiotes” ** into public-minded citizens, over a period of time. As always, it would be better to allow subscribers to choose their own filters for uncommercials, also.
I wish I had more time to make a polished list and presentation. However, this will have to do for now. The format for the following is either a suggested program name (in quotes), followed by an indented description, or else it’s a category of programs, followed by either some description and/or named programs which fall under this category.
“Then and Now”
Various aspects of people’s lives now vs. how they were in the past, AND HOW AND WHY THEY DIFFER. In many ways, our lives are better. We also need to understand why this is so E.g., I’ve met old-timers who regularly worked 70 hour work weeks. Not because they chose a demanding profession, but because they basically had little choice. Those of us who don’t have to work crazy hours should appreciate what we have. And those who do, should understand what has happened to the US economy to make us regress (e.g., unions being decimated).
“Here and There”
Various aspects of people’s live now vs. how they are in the present, here (in the US) and abroad, AND HOW AND WHY THEY DIFFER
As I have previously mentioned, a key example of this is health care. All adult American citizens should have good idea of what health care options and cost are like in modern, European countries, at the very least. It should not have required Michael Moore to do this (though thank goodness he made a start.).
“Follow the Money”
Who paid for various technological developments, and who profited
Secretive Public/Private entities as described by Walter Burien. See also works of Catherine Austin Fitts
Why only 2 or 3 (or 5,6) dominant companies in various industries (Cola, Gasoline, etc.)
Special Interest Triumphs via Legislation, and the infrastructure (PR, lobbyists, revolving door*) that make this possible
“Buck the Trends” (speaking out at work, church, school; following how activists are treated)
“Doer vs. Drinker” (i.e., activist vs. idiote/party animal). These two need to be related in terms of the Activist doing something which would materially benefit the Party Animal/idiote. The idea is to show how the idiote is so negligent ito
their civic life that they are hurting their own future, and making the effort of the activist which would help the Party Animal, less successful.
“Kicking the habit” (follows people who undertake some program to make significant changes in their life – lose weight, quit smoking, get a job that they like, change from idiote -> Activist/Doer)
“Ebony and Ivory” In this reality show, you pair up Rush Limbaugh dittoe-heads with similarly obnoxious liberals, who have to live together X months without killing each other. Or, you could pair up educated, polite conservatives with educated, polite liberals. There’s all kinds of possibilities. To really make it interesting, you also throw in Green, Anarchists, Joe-six-packs (who couldn’t care less about politics), etc.
How positive forces for good, historical and potential, were/are coopted by elites
“Control of Language”. Which phrases commonly in use short-circuit critical thinking. E.g., “Support the troops”.
“Gatekeepers of Power” (and how they came to their positions of power). Mostly focussing on politicians (who are, in fact, the ultimate gatekeepers, which is why they should get the most scrutiny by the public), but also on regulatory agencies, courts, and opinion-makers such as talking heads and scientist-whores. Additionally, there needs to be more coverage of interlocking boards of directors of major corporations.
“Public vs. Elites”
inspired by http://video.google.com/videop… (see about 15:00 into the BBC interview) Noam Chomsky makes the claim that on issues in which the public is at odds with the elites, the public’s viewpoint is simply not seriously discussed during elections. (He’s actually says that the issue “doesn’t arise”, but I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
“Cooption” This is bolded for the simple reason that it is a subject that I find particularly fascinating. What the hell happened to the environmental movement? The unions? In short, other aspects of civil society that are supposed to represent non-moneyed interests. Were they simply ineffective due to a jaded public, opposition by vested interests, etc.? Or were they also undermined from within, deliberately, by their enemies? IMO, trojan horses are worth their weight in gold, as a tactic for taking down honest activist or more public-minded efforts. Thus, even if I had no facts on the matter, I expect them to be there. However, the point of a “Cooption” program is to ascertain the facts of the matter, document them, and present them.
What are the characteristic of Imperial Overreach, historically? (especially in more modern times, when there was an intelligentsia serving as apologists for ruling elites). Which of those characteristics does the US share? Contrast with commonly accepted collective self-image.
This could be one or many futuristic shows. Themes might include:
Lower Manhattan going underwater, due to the effects of global warming
Another Great Depression, due to foreign lenders giving up on the notion of ever getting their T-Bill purchases fully honored
Americans soldiers, captured, then tortured by “terrorists” , who cite the US approved torture as their justification. After all, if Geneva conventions don’t apply to them as victims, why should they apply to them as perpetrators?
Dissidents “disappeared”, due to the decimation of Constitutional protections in our drift to fascism
Public Assets Sold Off, since the public is too broke, having been impoverished by uncontrolled borrowing on the one hand, and a “free market” on the other.
Satire News (semi-fictional)
Should allow guest ‘newspeople’ (also satirical) from various political perspectives – Left, Right, Green, Socialist, LaRouchean, you name it. Saturday Night Live news skits often feature guests. The real difference here is that all newsreporters need to have a serious bite, not just be entertaining. So, I guess Jon Stewart is more the role model in terms of, hmmm, what to call it? ‘Pointedness’, I guess.
Day by day reporting on what various governments and institutions SAID, versus what is true, or probably true. We recently found out how many hundreds of lies the Bush Administration told to get us into Iraq. We should have had a daily update, so that this orgy of lying have been widely known in it’s early days. What else is the government lying about, and how many total lies does it have to tell before it can be reported?
Day by day reporting on the ‘debates’ of the day, as experienced in mainstream media, and what viewpoints were not represented
Day by day reporting on what the elite media did not report, or how their reporting was skewed (this is already done by FAIR (fair.org) ; it’s been a while since I’ve listened to them, but my vague recollection is that they were a bit dry, were gatekeepers, and were only presenting a left viewpoint. My apologies if I’m mis-characterizing them).
Video-ized Book Serializations.
There are many excellent books which will never be read, for various reasons. If they were condensed and serialized, jazzed up with interviews and video so that they looked more like PBS’s “Frontline” rather than, say, just a talking head reading from a book 100% of the time, I think there’d be a huge audience for this. Audio-only versions could also be created, for non-premium IM subscribers, as well as high-end subscribers who simply want to consume the information away from a TV set.
What is the foreign media saying about the US, and about international affairs? We can watch BBC, but I’d like to see summaries, with quoted excerpts, from various foreign media. I’d also like to know details about any corruption in their media, as well the range of opinions which get expressed in their media. One of the disturbing things about the US population is that there’s many Americans who are so dumb or propagandized that they think that there’s only two sides to a story – a “liberal” and a “conservative” one.
* what happened to the phrase “revolving door”? I remember encountering it quite ofter many years ago. I have wondered whether it’s been deliberately suppressed.
** The word ‘idiot’ come from the Greek ‘idiote’: From wikipedia:
A good example of the contempt the first democrats felt for those who did not participate in politics can be found in the modern word ‘idiot’, which finds its origins in the ancient Greek word “idiotes”, meaning a private person, a person who is not actively interested in politics; such characters were talked about with contempt and the word eventually acquired its modern meaning. In his Funeral Oration, Pericles states: ‘it is only we who regard the one not participating in these duties not as unambitious but as useless.’