My Epitaph

If you don't question everything, you will know nothing and believe anything!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

An essay concerning the major media outlets

Luckily, I suppose, some dreams do not materialize.  When I was 18 (1989), I wanted to get involved in the business end of radio, and was planning on having telecommunications as my major with a business minor at university.  But, that was a different era and that medium of communication seems as distant as smoke signals being the first "cloud" of "stored" data was to even AM radio.  By the time Bill Clinton signed away the intention of a free press and freedom of thought/speech our founders fought a revolution to achieve in 1996, I was glad that I would not have had to compromise myself to continue working in the business side of radio.

You see, dear reader, I had been instructed in the fall of 1989 in a Telecom 101 (at a, then, top 5 undergraduate telecom program in the USA) course about proposed changes in media ownership regulation that had been in place since about 1932.  The professor had just lectured over the, then, current ownership restrictions that had been in effect for over 50 years by 1989 and told us that those were the legislated media rules, regulations and restrictions that we would be tested upon for the class; then, the professor presented the text of a bill still in congressional committee that would radically overhaul the media as we then knew it.

We discussed this bill and especially its changes in ownership clauses later that fall semester when it came out of committee.  Again we discussed it as it was being debated on the Senate floor.  And once more those ownership changes and what it meant in the impact of "free press" was discussed when it passed the Senate.  I hadn't paid any attention to it until I heard on the news in 1996 that a new Telecommunications Bill had just gotten through the House and was awaiting Bill Clinton's signature to enact these radically relaxed restrictions on how many media outlets any one owner could possess in any single market, as well as how many markets could one owner possess a presence.  It became obvious that this was the same legislation discussed in that Telecom 101 course, and, unfortunately, the predictions discussed in said class seemed to have transpired over the past two decades since Bill Clinton effectively killed the founders' intention of a free press.

Now, dear reader, don't be confused and think I am proclaiming that the media of 1980s and 90s was without its flaws and biases.  However, if you compare the investigative journalists at the major newspapers at the time, and the books they would write about the scandals they helped break as news: I have several of these types of books that relate either directly to Iran Contra, or to the other scandals and scams of that era that I typify under the blanket term "Iran Contra" or, more particularly, the names of people written about as active conspirators to each scandal/corruption as being among the Republican or Democrat "Iran Contra Players" so that I can provide the proper context for the scandals associated with Bill Clinton's administration - the same context as Raygun and Bush's corruption.  So, at least in terms of print media versus television reporting, before Bill Clinton signed the superhighway allowing a handful of multinational conglomerates to gobble up a, relatively, free press/media via mergers and acquisitions in 1996, there was a world of difference between the coverage of the Iran Contra Hearings versus the 9/11 Commission's Hearings.  Sure, both were live feed on C-SPAN, but how many people had the time to watch most of both?  I was 16 the summer the Iran Contra Hearings were held, and was in my seasonal layoff during most of the 9/11 Commission's Hearings: I watched most of both!

Why can I be harsher on television than the print media ante-1996?  I will use one example of something I watched live as it happened all day on cable news and how what broadcast live as news that day during the event in question was never mentioned again as the official story was narrated., especially in the criminal trials for said incident.

Having graduated university in December of 1993, I spent most of 1994 discovering that I was not effective at closing a sale.  I don't recall how many differing attempts I made to make living off of making sales, but by springtime of 1995, I was ready for an honest paycheck for honest work because trying to earn commissions hadn't done much for an income for me the previous 15 months.  So, as spring approached, I began working as a landscaper (truly doing "work" as in moving a force through a distance living an equation/formula from physics).  Sure, you wouldn't want more than 2 rain days a week, but it was always nice to get to the shop and have the day called because of rain.  You would still get some overtime for the week, most likely, but at least you get a day to rest in the midst of keeping up with grass growing in springtime.  One of these rain days in the spring of 1995 for me was the 19th of April.

When I was doing this manual labor, I would carry my marijuana on me all day, but never consumed any while at work because I would have become immediately more prone to sitting in the shade watching the grass grow than to working my ass off from basically sunup to sundown.  I would wait until the day was over and take a few hits on the way home to, hopefully, have enough light left to play with the dog I had at the time (3/4 black lab, 1/4 golden retriever).  However, on rain days, I could get high and then take a nap and have the whole day to do indoor things, like playing guitar, read, watch tv and take a couple of lazy, rainy day naps.  If I recall correctly, I was home from the shop by about 7:30 EST (Indiana had not yet succumbed to the local solar falsity of Daylight Savings Time in 1995), and was likely asleep in front of the television by 8 AM.  When I awoke from my nap and surfed the channels, the cable news networks were all onsite via local affiliate reporters in Oklahoma City because the Murrah Federal Building had been attacked, supposedly with a truck filled with a fertilizer bomb.

This event occupied the live feeds of the cable news (and it might have only been CNN and Headline News at that time for the local cable provider) because it deserved to be the news of the day.

However, those of us in the nation that had all day to do nothing but (get high and) watch the terrorist attack unfold throughout the day were privy to things that were broadcast live and never mentioned again, for whatever reason(s) there might be to obfuscate the truth of that day by withholding this critical data from the public after the live feeds.

I suppose I could invest the hours needed to find the video I specifically recall from that day: the bomb squad's diffusing/controlled explosions of the other two bombs found in the parking garage's support structures (exactly where the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 was trying to place that van: next to a support column in the parking garage), but I do not have the motive to invest that time and effort.  I don't need to see them again for me to know what I witnessed that day watching the attack unfold on live television.  I remember well the bell shaped device the bomb squad used to safely detonate the other bombs found, and as the clip I did find above repeats, the news that day talked about two other bombs being found and safely contained.

So, before Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, live television feeds of a terrorist attack in the Heartland clearly reported that two other bombs were found in the underground parking garage and safely detonated (at least one of the two was detonated on live TV, but I remember seeing two be detonated, even though it could have been a replaying of one being detonated... it has been 22 years since that rainy day in Central Indiana).  However, it wasn't until after the way was paved for the media consolidations and mergers that have narrowed the breadth and scope of available news originating from a handful/half dozen of global media conglomerates that the trials of both McVeigh and Nichols were held just after the two year anniversary of the bombing.

I was back in Central Indiana when the McVeigh trial began on April 24th, 1997, but I was only back inside the Black Hole for about one month (maybe 5 or 6 weeks) and April 24th would have been about halfway.  I had spent about 6 weeks working in Ft Lauderdale after getting off the first of the small cruise ships I worked aboard (the Nantucket Clipper) before I entered the Event Horizon in time to see my father for his April birthday and stayed about a week after my May 4th birthday before flying to Alaska to board the Yorktown Clipper.  I did not closely follow the McVeigh trial, but I did follow it close enough to know that the two other bombs that were found near support columns on April 19th, 1995 were never introduced as evidence into his trial, at least according to the media reporting on it that I was privy.

I may not have been privy to Operation Mockingbird in the mid-90s, but I sure had learned from being in a top-ranked "business school" (I really consider it more a corporate indoctrination center because it was more about indoctrinating us into being unethical to "fit in" the corporate cultures that came recruiting) pretty much exactly what's wrong in the world (primarily the entire corporate economy because of several Supreme Court decisions granting immortal life to fictitious "persons" - pretty much the main thing I have deduced since being 20 is that the corporation exemplifies every necessary component needed to give "the breath of life" to the golem both literally and figuratively).  In my cynicism today, and if you ever read the plot of "My First 100 Days"  (maybe included in what's for free I don't recall offhand) you will see me refer to the media as CIABCNNBCBS Fox.

I was already a bit leery of the corporate owned media outlets before I was accepted into said business school, but once Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act, and especially how the the media allowed the prosecution's failure to introduce the other two bombs discovered in Oklahoma City after the "truck bomb" exploded into evidence (because they proved a conspiracy more than McVeigh and Nichols?) to slide into oblivion without confronting the false-to-facts prosecution about the total number of bombs found that day being limited to the that wasn't safely detonated by the bomb squad(s).

My first real encounter with "fake news" was this suppression of evidence of two more bombs safely removed from the parking garage under the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that had been broadcast live on April 19th, 1995 and apparently never mentioned ever again except by "conspiracy theorists" like yours truly must be for having had the day off in 1995 to watch the news of the day unfold on television and not forgetting what was broadcast that day that those incapable of watching it unfold all day might never have known in the first place.
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