Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Free Market News
Last night, I tuned into the ten o'clock news to see the election results. That meant the Fox affiliate, because prime time shows were on the other networks (and I lack cable). Fox gets a huge amount of attention on the national scene, but believe it or not, they're worse for local news. Our affiliate should be known as "rape and pillage," because three-quarters of the show is literally devoted to it. Never mind that, with crime as low as it is, they have to run footage from all over the country to pad the horror show.
I knew all of that, and still I tuned in, expecting to get election news. This is, after all, a democracy, and elections are pretty much the be-all and end-all of that process. What we got instead: a 30-second update of three races and then off to rape and pillage for 20 minutes.
It reached an absurd level when they cut away to a crack team of criminals they had assembled to demonstrate just how quickly your SUV might be stripped, should it be happen to be stolen. (Bizarrely, they pointed out that car theft is down 40% since last year. But never mind: BE VERY SCARED.) This is what passes for news in our "democracy." Hypothetical demonstrations of events that are extremely unlikely to happen in lieu of actual news like election results.
If you wished to identify a metaphor for exactly how the free markets (and subsequent media conglomeration--an inevitable result of under-regulated markets) undermine a free democracy, you couldn't do better than this.