For those who read my stuff you know this is a message I come back to with some frequency. This short statement proffered by Professor Marshall Mcluhan of Toronto University in the late 1960s. My interpretation of this is that how reality is portrayed in the media (eg TV, radio, podcasts, print) becomes the reality that people perceive.
The media world is giving us a great example of how it creates the reality that the populace perceives. We are hearing that President Biden’s approval numbers are going down. This despite some major accomplishments on everything from fighting the pandemic to putting people to work with better pay to major efforts on the climate front to victories on the diplomatic front.
President Biden in his first 11 months has already made great strides in pulling this country from the previous administration’s morass of corruption and major recession that culminated in an actual attempt to overthrow the government. Back last January when Biden took the oath of office I doubt few would ever had imagined that the country would come so far so fast under his leadership.
But with an almost 100% corporate media, many citizens are not getting the full story or are getting a very distorted picture of what is actually going on. Big stories this week include the lowest number of new claims for unemployment insurance since 1969 – 52 years. I am sure this story will only be mentioned in passing if at all by corporate media.
Last week employment numbers for the month of November at 210,000 were reported as “disappointing.” Similar employment numbers in the previous administration drew praise as strong. We are in the midst of the fastest economic recovery in history, well ahead of other first world countries, and all the corporate media can do is whine.
Vice-President Kamala Harris has also been the target of ridiculous stories. Why did she spend $300 dollars on a pot in France? Are she and Biden have major difficulties? Is she unable to handle blue-tooth technology. Strange stories with no substance. The only reason such stories are being written is to undermine Harris. Why would the corporate press want to undermine the country’s first black, female member of the executive branch?
What is really laughable is how the press is trying to blame the current Covid virus upswing on the Biden administration. Job #1 for the Biden administration was to put the pandemic behind us. With that in mind the administration greatly ramped up vaccinations, making them easily and widely available. Vaccines rolled out at an almost dizzying speed until they hit a wall of people who refused to be vaccinated for political reasons.
Those people are now the people who are for the most part getting covid. They are also almost exclusively the ones that are dying. President Biden would do almost anything to get people vaccinated. He can’t do much if they refuse. Those unvaccinated are in fact public health risks. Right now laws and courts are being used to stop the administration from getting those folks vaccinated. How is this Biden’s fault?
So the reality is that we have perhaps one of the most spectacular and successful beginnings to any presidency in history. However corporate media is acting as if they are a unified front to make it appear that what is going on is a disaster. Inflation and supply chain problems – neither of which Biden had any control over – were blamed on the administration by the press to bolster their vilification of the President.
Meanwhile, Iowa continues to spin deeper and deeper into the Covid pit as Governor Reynolds continues to mismanage every aspect of the pandemic in Iowa. Add that to misspent Covid relief funds and refusals to comply with open records requests. Yet most of this is little reported in the state and Reynolds gets fairly good approval ratings. Here again, the media (or lack of media) is the message.
I am an optimist. I still am foolish enough to believe that doing a good job will be rewarded by voters. But when the good work if filtered through a machine that muddies it up before the story gets to the consumer (voter) you have to wonder.