Mass media madness

“Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”—Jim Morrison

“The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There’s really five companies that control 90 per cent of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy.”—Ted Turner

Television anchors and their guests waste hours of viewer’s time.

Topics of limited importance should not be broadly covered at the expense of the most important issues.

Guesswork predications of potential 2014 and 2016 political candidates waste time.

The presidential elections are three years away and pundits are already taking polls and showing how much they know about potential candidates.

The sexual misbehaviour of a San Diego mayor and a New York mayoral candidate have been recent favourite timewasters when there are more important matters to discuss.

Hours and hours, day after day have been devoted to the trials of defendants who might be guilty of hate crimes.

Useless discussions and congressional attention has been wasted on attempts by a Republican Congress to repeal the American healthcare bill.

This is typical of the present do-nothing Congress. And the media reports it.

Gay laws in the military or states allowing gay marriage have received inordinate attention at the expense of concerns affecting many more people.

Further to how legislators spend their time, the media has been attempting to out-do congressional timewasters.

The public in a democracy deserves more than time wasted reporting on relatively unimportant events and concerns.

Neglected important issues

Results of climate change—droughts, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, polar icecap meltdowns—deserve much more public attention than the media provides.

Much greater efforts are needed to reduce the factors that scientists have clearly identified as disastrous for the future of the planet.

Ecology issues—extinction of species, atomic plant and oil spill damage to the environment—receive miniscule momentary attention and then are forgotten.

Much still needs to be done.

Corporate control and profiteering, including NAFTA agreements that cost one country jobs and do little for other countries, need to be discussed and regulated.

American government involvement -unreasonable, unwelcome and unsuccessful—in other countries’ affairs, their politics, their civil wars and their economies not only leads to hatred of America, but result in terrorist plots.

The deaths and blowback from killing innocents with drones makes America the world’s empire that the victims want to bring down.

The issue gets hardly any attention from the mass media in America.

Treatment of secretive US constitutional violations, like those of the National Security Agency (NSA), deserve immediate examination and transparency.

The issues raised by whistleblowers require closer attention.

“Many documents have nothing to do with terrorism or national security,” reports Glenn Greenwald, “but have to do with competition with other countries, in the business, industrial and economic fields.”

Instead of being tried in military courts, whistleblowers like Bradley Manning should be celebrated for exposing war crimes committed by the US military.

Those who commit the crimes should be tried as criminals, no matter how high up they go in the chain of command.

Programmes to repair bad infrastructure—bridges, highways and public buildings—are desperately needed before neglect results in more deaths.


The mass media gives nothing but momentary lip service to important issues while wasting time giving greater attention to concerns of much smaller interest groups.

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”—John F Kennedy

Paul Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the GULF DAILY NEWS . Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month.

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