June 14, 2007 - Issue 233
Keeping It Real
The US Mass Media:
Tool of Disinformation And Control
By Larry Pinkney
By definition, the word "media" is the plural of the word medium which is, in relevant part, defined by The American Heritage Dictionary as, "An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred."
For purposes of clarification, in this instance, reference to "the US mass media" is including not only corporately controlled newspaper, radio, and television so-called "news" outlets, wire services, and information sources, but also most of the schools, colleges, and universities throughout America, where those of our Black youth who are not dead or in penitentiaries are calculatedly and callously miseducated.
When closely considering the above definition of the word "medium," we must ponder precisely what it is that the mass media of white America exists to "accomplish," and how - what is to be accomplished- is actually "conveyed or transferred," as it pertains specifically to the economic, political, and cultural disposition of Black Americans past, present, and future. From its very inception, the institutions of that entity which became known as the United States of America, made it crystal clear that the lot of Black people on this continent was to be one of collective inferiority, destitution, and subservience. However, what is often missed is that this position of collective inferiority, destitution, and subservience of Black people was and continues to be rationalized, maintained, and perpetuated by a US mass media whose objective is to misinform, disinform, and miseducate Black people and other people of color. A people who do not know, collectively, who they are, their enormous past achievements, or their incalculable contributions to humanity as a whole are incapable of attaining or even aspiring to attain the heights of greatness reserved for all human beings and their rightful and equal place in the human family. Thus, the ongoing and despicable role of the US mass media, be it in the form of so-called "news" and information or the miseducation of Black and other people of color in schools, colleges, and universities in the 21st Century, throughout America.
Contrary to alleged conventional wisdom, it is not "the medium that is the message" or vice versa; it is the debilitating and vile intent of the medium that is the actual ongoing powerful and crippling message to Black people, sometimes in overt form and at other times, insidiously subtle. The US mass media of white America and its surrogates is to Black and other people of color, akin to a virus that horribly weakens and debilitates the body. It is reminiscent of how true history reminds us that deadly disease-infested blankets were distributed by certain whites on this continent to Indigenous so-called "Indian" people in the name of honor and helping them. Such is the reality of the US mass media, both past and present.
Black America knows, from continuous and deeply painful first-hand experience, that those politicians and "journalists" who, for example, feign surprise and ignorance at there having been no so-called "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq are, in fact, part and parcel of what the US mass media and "educational" system have always been about: deceit and disinformation [see Black Commentator-American Democracy: Legacy of Hypocrisy & Deceit]. In this vein, it is stunning to the point of being absurd that the US "news" media, which represents the only nation in the world to have actually used nuclear weapons - having dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities - dares to schizophrenically portray America as if it has never used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, and as if other nations (particularly of color) throughout the world are not keenly aware of this fact.
We must steadfastly refuse to succumb to the deliberate disempowering, inaccurate, and wholly misleading terms and expressions used by the US mass media, including "educational" institutions and so-called "news" and information outlets. An example of this is the misleading and inaccurate term "third world debt." There is absolutely no such thing as so-called third world debt. Rather, the accurate definition and description is actually "first world" (i.e. European and US) extortion. Yes, it is extortion by European nations and the US (through thievery of natural resources, amoral subjugation, colonization and neocolonization) of the peoples of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Central & South America. To reiterate: There is no such thing as "third world debt;" there is, quite bluntly, US and European extortion of these nations.
We must endeavor to be discerning. The US mass media is not, nor has it ever been, the friend of Black America. We must constantly educate ourselves and our youth to this reality, realizing the folly of allowing the US mass media to miseducate us. We must support and create those sources which serve our political, social, and economic interests. Nothing less will do as we remain determined to persevere and keep it real in our struggle alongside the rest of humanity.
BC Columnist Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.