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The Nurturing of Fundamentalist Ideology
The term “fundamentalist ideology” probably evokes the idea of Islamic fanaticism to many, Christian or Jewish extremists to others, but rarely are the promoters of capitalism associated with the term. Yet, there is clearly a similar level of intellectual dishonesty. Rush Limbo (my brother calls him Rush Limbeck, feeling that someone so monumentally dishonest deserves mis-pronounciation), implied at the time, that the Gulf oil-spill disaster was caused by “whacko environmentalists” and though he polices the hysterical end of capitalism you won’t find a lot of real analysis on the more respectable end either. His job, why he’s a multi-millionaire, is to distract the frustration and anomie felt by his listeners, and funnel it onto targets like the poor, women, minorities, unions, government… anywhere but the likely source of their anomie, capitalism.
It is mostly through the media that we encounter information that we shape into a notion of what’s going on in the world and of course the way that information is presented is hardly neutral. Numerous pundits approvingly report on the “nuclear renaissance” without mentioning Chernobyl, indeed, scrupulously avoiding the New York Academy of Science’s recent claim that nearly a million people world-wide died as a result of that “accident.” Fukushima, on-going disaster, seems not to phase true believers either, superbly capable of withstanding any and all challenge to their deep denial. And my long unanswered question, if we truly have a free press providing a full range of views for an informed citizenry where are the socialist commentators? In my home town newspaper you get Bill O’reilly all the way over to Thomas Sowell. That’s probably true across the country. No commentator consistently pointing out the contradictions and corruption of capitalism and discussing an alternative need apply to any mainstream news outlet. The late Molly Ivins came closest, a token liberal perhaps but even she supported Clinton’s Kosovo war. The AJC dropped her column sometime before she died since she tended to point out the disparity of wealth in these heah United States, violating a free press no-no. Jay Bookman stands in as the AJC’s lone “liberal”. Though he writes many good columns he avoids dwelling on class.
I will use the handy expression “elephant in the room” only once, to point out class as the mammoth subject avoided in the polite mainstream media, under the protection of fundamentalist ideology. The chief beneficiaries of class, the wealthy, are who own the mainstream media of course so no great revelation that they like to keep the rabble distracted. Like criminalizing whistle blowers who expose torture instead of the torturers, those who report class truths are shuffled off to the gulag limbo of silence by the overseers, the over-paid CEOs who run the media in the interests of the owners. The same class who exercises its “ownership” of congress and the political process in the U.S. directly related to how campaigns are financed. The owners disproportionately control policy and media debate and where this leads us is ominously illustrated in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the radioactive epicenter at Fukushima.
- Illustration: By author (Tom Ferguson).