Capitalism, Hope, Tribal Sovereignty
"But Goldstein, Miller and Tyndall all questioned CBS News' judgment in going with Rather's report in the first place, even if the documents had turned out to be authentic. "It's another WMD, another weapon of mass distraction. That's what this whole campaign has turned out to be," Miller said, adding that "somebody out there is trying to keep this running."
That's a great point, I was watching Fox news over the weekend and the talking heads were all asking, "why are we even discussing this?" I saw that sentiment on more than one occasion. So who is the "somebody out there?" If Chomsky is right it's the government and corportations.
If he's wrong, it's just ratings driven fluff presented to a scandal hungry viewership. And that seems to be the major criticism of Chomsky, he claims the media is manipulating us but maybe we are on average naturally apathetic and not conditioned to be that way by the powers that be.
Chomsky is known for being cynical but hopeful. But by being hopeful is he overlooking the possibility that some people simply won't care to know the "truth" even if the media was not bent by corporate interests? He doesn't believe that capitalism and democracy are the emergent resultants of human nature unlike Reagan and Thatcher. I guess I'm hopeful too but for different reasons. Chomsky said in reply to my question "I'm an innocent as far as the internet is concerned." His problems with democracy lie in the fact that the media holds a distribution monopoly. The Internet, in my opinion, is the answer to that monopoly. Bloggers and BitTorrent are the catalysts needed to break it down. So what happens when news isn't biased anymore? Will people even care? I guess we'll find out in the next twenty or so years.
Unfortunately I think conservatives tend to watch Fox News because they like the bias, same goes for liberals and CNN. The danger is that TV will turn into talk radio. No journalists, just one person re-inforcing the juicy, misguided bits of human nature. Is it possible that the media monopoly could actually work if it had an army of critics in the form of bloggers fact checking? It worked with the Rather flap at CBS. This is also the theory behind the belief that Open Source software is more secure. "Many eyes make all bugs shallow" the quote from the Cathedral and the Bazaar might apply here. The many eyes aren't coders they are the bloggers, bugs aren't software problems but false information reported by the media. The many eyes theory might just work for journalism though, there aren't hackers looking for security flaws in a weekly column.
Speaking of Thatcher, here are a couple of interesting quotes.
"It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think that they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge." -- Margaret Thatcher,
"Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a — you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004
Forget for a minute that he's talking utter nonsense. To say that tribes were given sovereignty was a slap in the face to Native Americans because "American Indian tribes hold their status as sovereign nations with an almost sacred reverence; an inherent standing as self-governing, independent bodies dating back millennia, something that's always existed."
Bush thought he knew what sovereignty meant but he was mistaken. He then acted by opening his mouth which was dangerous to his re-election bid. Bush does not know what he does not know.