Is cleaning up government and media women’s work?

Aug 11, 2021

Most of those who brought us this Anthropocene 
age are white, grey, male, and stale. It is now the virocene, the envirocene,
 and the pyrocene age too, thanks to the younger and even richer men who are taking 
over from them.

Ingenious white men invented the printing press, the newspaper, radio, television, and
the internet. While some claimed that these were tools for enlightenment and
progress, media moguls of the past like William Randolph Hearst, Lord
 Beaverbrook, Robert Maxwell, and the Murdochs used the power of the media to
their own advantage. Their media, far from comforting the afflicted by
 afflicting the comfortable, could control governments, which controlled the
 taxpayers, who read the newspapers.

The
 wealth of each of the world’s seven richest men is now greater than the GDP of
several countries. Men like these, all but one of them Americans, can take 
joyrides to space, feel no pain from billion-dollar divorce settlements, and
 then buy baubles for the next wife, like the multi-carat tiara that recently 
appeared in Murdoch’s Wish magazine. Several of these men have used
 their wealth to acquire power, by owning and shaping the information, the 
publicity, and all the narratives that most of us meekly accept. Thus the
 propaganda controls us. It scapegoats and scorns anyone who objects.

Governments 
and media have the power to inform us or withhold information from us. In the 
internet age, that power enables them to invigilate us and control what we say,
 write, and think. It enables them almost effortlessly to sell us one bill of
 goods and then exchange it for another if they want a particular government
 elected, if they decide the leader of a different country should be demonised,
 or if they want to change enemies. This is happening before our eyes as the old
enemy terrorism, becomes the new enemy, China.

Australians
 have had their consent manufactured in this way for so long, by the Murdochs,
 Packers, Fairfaxes, Stokes and others that we accept it with barely a murmur. We
can write stinking letters to editors who bin them as soon as they see the
topic or the writer’s name. We can register our disgust by not paying
 outrageous prices for (literally) incredible, shrinking newspapers, but do they
 notice? Are any of their conformity-celebrant columnists replaced, the DLP 
hangovers, or even the anti-feminist women?

Government
 treats us no better: it only takes longer. We can file cumbersome, expensive
 FOI requests and the result is the same as from the newspaper editors. The 
Defence Department has been instructed by its Minister, Peter Dutton, to respond
 to requests from the public with the minimum information. Yet Attorney-Generals’
officers seeking some ‘foreign influence’ laboriously discover the conferences Australians have been to and ask even Gareth Evans for details. Whether their
 research includes the Australia-America Leadership Dialogue, or politicians’ 
invited trips to Israel, or Tony Abbott’s work on trade for the UK government,
 is not revealed, probably to protect ‘national security’.

We’ve
 known since at least 1988, when Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky wrote ‘Manufacturing
 Consent’, how the mass media can perpetuate market manipulation, censorship
by omission, and ideological propaganda. Disinformation is what both governments
 and mass media produce, in their own interests. What they object to is people
 turning to alternative sources of information, making up their own minds about
it, and causing political embarrassment by sharing it with whomever they like. That’s
 why for years Edward Snowden has been in Moscow, Julian Assange in Belmarsh, and
 Witness K, Bernard Collaery, and David McBride before the court in Canberra.
 That’s why it will take anguished years to find any Australian guilty for what 
happened in Afghanistan, or for the alleged rapes of ‘Kate’ and of Brittany 
Higgins.

Why 
do we let governments and the mainstream media control the narrative and people’s
 lives, and how can we put a stop to it?

A 
feisty Melbourne woman, who’s unlikely to displace any of Murdoch’s anti-feminist
 columnists, proposes some answers in her widely-read blog.

Caitlin
 Johnstone accuses the mainstream media of focussing on technological, and hence
profit-driven,
 solutions to climate collapse, which are unlikely to succeed. She says this is because the global model values
 growth and making more things (‘men’s work’) over cleaning things up (‘women’s
work’). That’s also why so much of the work done by women – including many writers – is unpaid.

Johnstone goes on to argue that unmaking things is 
what is needed now: ‘The oceans are our planet’s best carbon sink, for example,
 and their ability to do that is being choked to death by plastic’. Removing
 plastic from the oceans is expensive, not profitable. So the push to do this is ignored. The solution is clear, but it 
doesn’t attract (white male) billionaires, says Johnstone.

Media
 consumers in China now have an alternative to white men’s media. The global dominance 
of Western narratives has been stalled by Beijing’s huge investment in media, in
 China and worldwide in many languages. Journalists from non-compliant countries
 have been sent home; academics accused of spying have been imprisoned; if Apple,
 Google and the like don’t comply with the rules, they are shut down. Outlets
 like the China Daily and Global Times recite point by point the
 shortcomings of Western countries, particularly Australia, as does the Chinese
 Foreign Ministry spokesman.

By
 whatever means Chinese consent was manufactured, in June some 20 million of
 them reportedly protested to the WHO about the origins of COVID-19. They called
 for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort
 Detrick to be investigated, along with laboratories doing biological weapons
 research elsewhere in the world. It was a shrewd move: an American refusal
 would disempower Washington’s demands for access to the Wuhan Institute of
 Virology and would suggest that Fort Detrick had something to hide. Only in
 the Chinese non-white men’s media do we find the suggestion that Murdoch’s
 Sharri Markson has written the Chinese half of the story, but not the American
 half. Watch this global space.

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