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UG#682 - The Commercially Controlled Media (Shadows Of Liberty)

Robin Upton | 11.05.2014 02:09 | Analysis | History | Social Struggles | Sheffield | World

This week, a look at the CCM, how the corporate media is commercially controlled - how large money successfully shapes its output. We adapt Jean-Phillipe Lemay's Shadows of Liberty, followed by an excerpted speech by Jeremy Scahill on war crimes carried out by the US but unreported in USA by the large media corporations.

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We begin this week with a radio adaptation of Jean-Phillipe Lemay's film on the degeneration of the US ma$$ media, from the selling off of the radio spectrum to the highest bidder, the dogma that large corporations would somehow be more efficient at serving the public interest, the relaxation of cross ownership rules to Obama's abandonment of net neutrality. The film is more of a retrospective than anything else, and alongside a brief summary of the historical importance of the free press in the development of America, it presents a number of illustrative episodes that characterize the reality and history of the CCM in the last century. It opens with CBS chief correspondent Roberta Baskin's investigations into abusive labor practices at Nike sweatshops in Vietnam. She tells how after her first investigation sparked controversy and opposition to the company, her subsequent efforts were buried amid massive sponsorship by Nike of the CBS Olympic coverage.

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To illustrate the concept of media "black holes", we examine the case of TWA Flight 800, which fell out of the sky at the same time as unexplained live fire exercises were being carried out by the US Navy in the sea below. We hear how at the first press conference when it was announced that the navy were in charge of the clean up process, when a man asked why a possible suspect had been given such a responsibility, the speaker simply pointed and said "Remove him!" and he was hustled away by a team of men. Kristina Burjesson tells how she was quickly prohibited from investigating what happened and her career was rapidly terminated when it became known that she disbelieved the government's claim it was an accident.

The film looks in detail that the case of Gary Webb, whose Dark Alliance reporting was the first by a local paper to effectively use the WWW to set the national news agenda. As we hear, the truth of Webb's reporting was eclipsed by a tangle of other factors, and his newspaper backed away from it and caved under pressure from the establishment.

Most of the speakers are new to the show, but some are regular speakers on the show such as whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds who speaks on how the CCM failed to report her evidence that a US government official was selling nuclear secrets to Turkey & Chris Hedges who speaks on the especially cozy relationship between the media and the government in times of war, and deconstructs how his paper sold the war to the US public.

We conclude with Jeremy Scahill on the murderous ways in which the US military enriches the elite who control it. Scahill tears back the curtain behind the stage managed infotainment conflict to reveal not just individual murder by US troops on the ground, but systemic abuse and corruption and complicity at the highest level.

Thanks to Kenneth Dowst for pointing me to the film, Shadows of Liberty

Robin Upton
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