American Samizdat

Sunday, June 27, 2004. *
"This question contained the first of [Jeremy] Paxman's Media Herd Clichés -- a banal idea mindlessly repeated by the media. There were several over the course of the 8-minute interview (with Noam Chomsky on BBC Newsnight, 19 May).

"In this case, the implicit idea is that leaders are primarily responsible for formulating and directing policy. Focusing on individuals in this way obscures the reality that destructive policies are deeply rooted in structures of power subordinating people to profit. This helps justify the media's failure to examine the consistent brutality of policy goals and means over many years and decades, and the kind of mass popular awareness and opposition that would be required to reform them.

"Focusing on individuals, particularly rogue 'bad apples,' promotes the idea that the status quo is fundamentally benign -- with Bush and Blair gone, all will be well under John Kerry and Gordon Brown (just as all was supposed to have been well under Clinton and Blair). In the real world, the institutions of power that dominate society remain unaffected by such minor alterations, providing little reason to expect significant positive change. Result: we keep focusing on, loving, hating and changing our leaders -- and the institutions pulling their strings keep bombing and exploiting Third World countries."

This is the most important concept that was (somewhat indirectly) presented in F9/11. George Bush was never capable of authoring and implementing the destructive and exploitative policies we now see at work. He is simply the doorman who greets and serves those who want to increase their profits and power.

Part One of the MediaLens commentary on Paxman's interview... and this is Part Two
posted by mr damon at 2:09 AM
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