Since the end of the FCC Fairness Doctrine, we have been subjected to a massive propaganda campaign led by Fox News Channel and the loudmouths on hate radio. But that’s just the propaganda that’s most noticeable.
Billionaire plutocrats have funded a less noisy, much more sinister effort. It involves the use of so-called “think tanks” – conservative organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and Americans For Prosperity that generate research studies to “prove” the worth of conservative ideas.
These studies are then shopped to the media, to Congress and anyone else who might be willing to listen. Too often, those who listen include the mainstream media looking to fill airtime in our 24/7 culture.
As a result, viewers and listeners are convinced (with the help of media pundits and commentators) that cutting taxes for the wealthy will create jobs; that providing tax subsidies for multinational corporations are a panacea for fixing our struggling economy; that privatization of schools, prisons and other institutions are more efficient and cost-effective; that shipping manufacturing jobs oversees actually benefits our economy; that “entitlements” such as Social Security and Medicare are no longer affordable; that private retirement accounts are better than pensions; etc., etc., etc.
Most of these studies are phony science – intended to benefit only the plutocrats who funded them.
Of course, there is even more to the propaganda machine. There are the lobbyists who have the ears of Congress. There are the plutocrats who contribute to political campaigns in order to gain influence after the candidates are elected. And most sinister of all, there are corporate-sponsored organizations such as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that write legislation to benefit their sponsors then push legislative members to vote it into law.
The only way to combat such highly-organized and well-funded propaganda is to be very skeptical. Seek out information from a large variety of sources. Look at the origin of the studies. Follow the money. And be particularly wary of anything that benefits the well-connected and the well-heeled. Then get involved. Let your representatives know that you are paying attention. Ask them difficult questions. And hold them accountable.