Tonight’s discussion question began as, “How do we keep the media accountable?” After an hour of definitions, challenges, examples, counter examples and wanderings, we seemed to come to the realization that a small group of people in a remote small city like Bend, Oregon, couldn’t do much. It was suggested that we could observe who CBS was catering to with their money-grubbing pandering to Trump’s newsworthiness, and boycott their products. It is obvious that candidate Trump was grabbing a lot of the public’s attention because of his sick political campaign, and then we could boycott those purchasing those products. That would be a grassroots, bottom-up response, and if it took hold might have an effect, but it was obvious to all of us that those in control of the media would spin that story to their benefit, and not the benefit of those who were being controlled by the media’s propaganda. Thus, even if a boycott did get any media attention, it would probably be counterproductive because they would only report the ugly aspects of a basically good idea.
Margaret Mead’s famous quote came up: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” But, it also was obvious that the small group had to have exactly the right idea, presented in the right way to have an impact. No one there seemed to have a sufficiently pointed idea that would puncture the enormous balloon of obvious media pandering to advertising dollars. This pandering was clearly to the detriment of the American people. We found it to be “blasphemous” that CBS’s chief executive Les Moonves said, “The “circus” of a current presidential campaign and the flow of political advertising dollars to CBS, “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” In 2012 he said, “Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” Clearly he is more interested in making money for CBS than preserving the health, or even the existence, of the United States of America, or the world. He exposed the ugly bottom-line capitalism that values money more than anything and everything. The world and the well-being of every person on this planet is subservient to his making more money.
Perhaps making money is the end game for a corporation, but we must make the well-being of society built into their most important factor, the bottom line as measured in dollars. The automobile industry was forced to add the expense of deaths and injuries to their patrons because of lack of safety features into their corporate monetary bottom line, and now the cars kill and maim fewer people. That same thinking must be built into the media, and the injuries that their destructive coverage is bringing to the public be built into the monetary bottom line of their organizations. If money is the only thing that is of value to the corporation, that is where the action must be made.
Media must be made to pay in dollars for the harm they create with their stories.