Before Octopus inks the aquarium, let me start this diatribe with a quote from Noam Chomsky:
“Personally I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level (…) Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.”
Before the seas turn black from enraged cephalopod ink, let me quote myself from this comment thread under Captain Fogg’s recent post, Regulation is bad for business:
All too often we forget that cable news is a product of media conglomerates … in other words “corporatists” … that depend upon other corporations for their advertising revenues. Thus, our news services do not serve the interests of citizens and voters, merely the interests of corporate advertisers.
Here is what happened today - CNN Refusing To Run Health Care Ad Critical Of Insurance Industry:
Americans United for Change [UAC], a top White House ally in the health care wars, tried to book time on CNN and MSNBC for the ad, which hits the insurance industry for wanting to preserve the status quo and levels harsh criticism at insurance giant Cigna’s CEO, Ed Hanway.
“Why do insurance companies and Republicans want to kill health insurance reform? Because they like things the way they are now,” the ad says, and then slams Hanway’s annual salary of over $12 million and golden parachute retirement package of over $70 million.
Jeremy Funk, the spokesperson for AUC, points out that CNN would be more than willing to accept paid advertising from Cigna; yet CNN turns down paid advertising critical of the company for their role in trying to kill health insurance reform.
See where I am going? Last year, we worked hard to elect a new president who promised change, who promised healthcare reform, who promised investments in alternative energy to free us from dependence on OPEC.
This year, the Empire strikes back. Our health management insurers want to protect their greedy franchises. Our fossil fuel suppliers want to preserve their filthy energy infrastructure. Corporations don’t vote but citizens do. Yet, corporations have the means to manipulate public opinion, and there are always idiots ready and willing to oblige.
Manipulating public opinion is easy … when you are the CEO of a corporation with lots of money and lobbyists and crooked politicians in your pocket ... and you can always count on an ignorant rabble all too willing to sell themselves short, sell-out their own interests, and serve as sycophants on behalf of their corporate masters.
Corporations need not dirty themselves when they can hire proxies like Dick Armey to do their dirty work, when their proxies can recruit goons, malcontents, and nut jobs to stifle public debate. This is how corporations assert their interests, nullify the popular will, and derail democracy.
The hooligans have taken over; the corporations have won. The American experiment in democracy is dead. Does anyone reading this diatribe doubt what I say?