Communist Party USA

  Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials. —Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death In a capitalist society, the bottom line is the bottom line. All media content is driven by the market — the more “eyeballs” you can snag the more money you make. People get hung up on whether the content is right, left, or the middle. In fact, the dominant ideological agenda is entertainment in the service of capitalism. The true purpose of most media content is not to reveal or educate. The true purpose is to deliver you to the advertisers, the marketers, so they can sell you things and enhance the bottom line. An obvious example of this is FOX News. Rupert Murdoch looked at the market and realized that advertisers didn’t have easy access to an influential portion of the market — politically conservative viewers. So, he created FOX News to deliver content that would appeal to these viewers, capitalizing on the lack of conservative voices in the marketplace at that time. Of course, media consumption habits are much more complex than that. There are a lot of people who sample opposing viewpoints, as an interesting 2014 Pew Research Center study explains. Still, regardless of politics, the goal of media content is to deliver you to the advertisers. Whenever you view any media content, you should keep this in mind: the ideological agenda is capitalism. To oppress people or progressive movements, governments have used violence in many forms, whether calling out the army to suppress a strike, using the police and dogs to attack civil rights marchers, or threatening neighborhoods of Black and brown people with militarized police actions. But a physically nonviolent form of suppression exists, and that’s often the media we consume. Distracted by media, too many are unaware of what is happening in the world and the oppressions of capitalism occurring every day. An important first step toward saving ourselves from ourselves is to embrace the challenging but rewarding work of media literacy. Now more than ever, we need to marshal our critical thinking skills and make a full-on assault on the cloying, vacuous media environment that threatens to rob us of our capacity to think. If we don’t act, we will find we don’t need to worry about oppression. Our media of choice will distract us from the worry by offering engaging entertainment instead of serious discourse addressing serious issues A recent Pew Research Center survey (2021) suggests that 40% of Americans believe social media is an important source for news about COVID. So, if I am going to demonstrate how media literacy skills can rescue us from the oppression of mindless entertainment, I should begin with social media. This is one of the reasons I chose a YouTube video to show how to critically examine what you consume. I spent at least nine hours researching Kim Iversen’s lecture on the “facts” about COVID treatments.  She begins with another social media source — a clip from “The Joe Rogan Experience.” So Iversen’s lecture is a video within a video, and I’ll be deconstructing both. The topic is important stuff considering some hospitals are reporting a death a day from COVID. So, clarity, context, and accuracy are crucial. Now my job here is not to debate the efficacy of COVID vaccines or offer competing “scientific papers” to further confuse the issue. My intent is to offer some tips on how you might navigate the media…

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Exposing vaccine misinformation on social media