Increasingly, people are finding alternatives for daily information than the traditional route of print and broadcast journalism. What will follow are a few of my favorite sources of information, shattering the image generally presented in the MSM for a stark view of the way the world really works.
If you haven’t read Chomsky, and are at all interested in international relations, Chomsky is Real World 101. Widely ignored by mainstream media, Chomsky refuses to adhere to simplistic “good vs evil” PR narratives imposed by governing elites to keep the masses on an ideological tether.
Instead, he calls it like he sees it. Terrorism exists, but Arab or Muslim groups don’t have a monopoly on it, contrary to the image created by MSM. In the book Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World, he writes:
In the “City of God,” St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, “How dare you molest the seas?” To which the pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.”
You won’t get that type of thinking in mainstream discourse. In fact, in one of my 4th year level seminars in undergrad, it took our Prof. about a half an hour for us to include government actors under a definition of “terrorism.” Why most people seem to think military assaults on civilians are any more justified than militia ones is explainable by the canard oft-parroted in the media: “We (the military/govt etc) don’t try to kill civilians, while they (terrorist groups, usually Arab/Muslim) do.” Do any of these believers ever stop to consider that maybe these “terror groups” would fight a fair fight against military targets if they had the weapons the militaries did? After all, when the CIA gave Afghan Mujahideen Stinger missiles and other advanced tactical weaponry, those “freedom fighters” (most of whom were religious fanatics) used them on Soviet Hinds, and didn’t send them to Moscow to blow up marketplaces.
If the IRA can be adapted into Irish politics after achieving their goal of resisting English colonization and oppression semi-successfully, then any militant group can. The reason militant groups exist in the first place is a rational response to perceived political injustice. In short, they don’t “hate you for your freedom.” If they did Nordic European countries (some of the most liberal in the world), would be the worlds biggest targets of terrorism. They aren’t because they don’t bully others for geopolitical and economic reasons.
Chomsky is also well known for his book “Manufacturing Consent”, which argues that media is a tool used by government to construct narratives which garner public support for otherwise reprehensible endeavors. The current “war on terror” is a current example of this.
Final note on Chomsky: intelligent people refer to him with reverence, many others refer to him scornfully. You may not agree with what he says, but that merely proves what he is saying in the first place.
Rage Against the Machine
The contemporary thinking-man’s rock band. On Ashes in the Fall, Zach de la Rocha raps: “like the priest that fucked you as he whispered holy things.” This was recorded more than 10 years before the Catholic Church abuse scandal became well-known, and goes to show how prescient these guys are on social issues.
Rage are a vibrant and belligerent protest in a song. Conveying complex themes and issues in a matching emotional tone encapsulated 4-5 minute song is an act of political and artistic genius that serve to illustrate how powerful and important a role artists can play in broadcasting social commentary.
They are intellectually advanced and often philosophical. Eurocentrism is a common theme. Where else do you hear popular music refer to post-colonial theory? Good stuff.
They are the embodiment of “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not taking it anymore.” And if you were aware of the massive injustices they document, you’d be screaming at the world too.
Naomi Klein- No Logo
I remember reading this book shortly after graduation from University and being put off by its theme. Why shouldn’t corporations be able to pitch their products to consumers through public and private mediums? I thought. What I did was create a straw man. The reality is, advertising is infesting the public consciousness. Ads are everywhere. From the blinking “LOOK AT ME!!” ads on your web browser to massive billboards, annoying radio jibber-jabber ads and 4 minute TV pit stops for every 10 minutes of content, we as a society are drowning in sales pitches.
I find it curious how many people would slam a door in a Jehovah’s Witness face, who at the same time immerse themselves in a 4 minute TV ad break. And by the way, ever notice how the best products tend not to be advertised? I’m into cars; if I want luxury, the pinnacle is probably Rolls Royce. Hardly any ads anywhere. If I want a sports car, I look to Bugatti, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Again, ads are rare and definitely not found in newspapers or TV. The point I’m trying to make it corporations advertise to compensate for products which are inferior to existing ones.
No Logo does romanticize the vandalization of billboards, something I disagreed with then and now. But the book is an important jolt of reality to a society brainwashed by corporate consumerism. Were more people to be wary of advertising and other content in broadcast communication, we might start thinking critically about important issues, rather than have thoughts artificially created and dictated to us.
Thanks to its revelation of the US military’s civilian massacre in Baghdad in 2003, Wikileaks has emerged as a new front in the war against corrupt and incompetent journalism. Wikileaks operates by giving whistleblowers an avenue to securely report on sensitive information of interest to the public. The information is often so crucial to illustrating the reality of the way the world often works that governing elites fight tooth and nail to keep under wraps.
Wikileaks exists because the MSM have failed to report the truth. The recent Rolling Stone article on General McChystal and the MSM’s reporting on the fallout only underscores how the MSM has sacrificed public interest for the sake of enjoying comfy access to governing elites and dutifully parroting their PR lies.