Did you want to get the gist of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s master work ‘Manufacturing Consent’ but not have to read that long, dryly informative tomb? Have I got the book for you. ‘Why are we the Good Guys?’ by David Cromwell runs on essentially the same thesis but is many more times engaging and yet at the same time, marginally less academically verbose than Manufacturing Consent. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire work and would like to share a pertinent excerpt on how media coverage perpetuates the destructive cycles (the financial meltdown of 2008 et cetera) we see in our society.
“All the media samples we’ve seen so far in this chapter are indicative of the narrow spectrum of permitted corporate and political opinion on the financial and economic crisis. Viewpoints are heavily biased toward the status quo, with only occasional fig leave of mild dissent. This spectrum of news reporting and commentary is systemically biased; it avoids scrutiny of an economic system that is both fundamentally flawed and stacked against the majority of humanity.
As Shutt notes, one of the most striking features of the ongoing crisis is: “the uniformly superficial nature of the analysis of its causes presented by mainstream observers, whether government officials, academics or business representatives. Thus it is commonly stated that the crisis was caused by a combination of imprudent investment by bankers and others […] and unduly lax official regulation and supervision of markets. Yet the obvious question begged by such explanations – of how or why such a dysfunctional climate came to be created – is never addressed in any serious fashion”. Shutt continued: ” The inescapable conclusion […] is that the crisis was the product of a conscious process of facilitating ever greater risk of massive systemic failure.”
With a few ruffled feathers here and there, Western leaders and their faithful retinue in the media and academia continue to deceive the public about the global economic crisis and its root causes; because power and profits demand it. Otherwise these elites run the serious risk of a huge slump in public confidence in the current system and even in what passes for democratic policies. As it turned out, the chair of the prestigious US law firm Sullivan & Cromwell was not far off in his prediction that ‘Wall Street, after getting billions of taxpayer dollars, will emerge from the financial crisis looking much the same as before the markets collapsed.’ Indeed it was strengthened, as explained by Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF: ‘Throughout the crisis the [US] government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here.’ Moreover, the ‘elite business interests … [who] played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse … are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive’ while ‘the government seems helpless, or unwilling to act against them.’ As Chomsky notes: this is ‘no surprise, at least to those who remember their Adam Smith,’ and adds, ‘The outcome was nicely captured by two adjacent front-page stores in the New York Times, headlined “$3.4 Billion Profit at Goldman Revives Gilded Pay Packages” and “In Recession, a Bleaker Path for Workers to Slog.”‘
-David Cromwell. Why Are We The Good Guys? pp 174 – 175
Cheery stuff I realize, but its good to know who is doing what to who. Perhaps during the next collapse we’ll hold the bastards accountable.