By Joe Montero
The way big commercial media reports on what is happening has narrowed down considerably in recent times. This is evident across most developed countries, and in Australia, this is even more true than in most.
Promotion of race-based bigotry is now the masthead. None represent this more clearly than the Murdoch media empire. Take the present sky controversy, involving the Blair Cottrell interview. He is a self-confessed Nazi, propagating white supremacy, anti-Jewish, anti-black and anti-Asian and anyone else he can turn his hateful attention on. Cottrell argues that schools should teach, what he calls the truth about Germany under the Nazis and that Hitler’s book Mein Campf should be issued to every student.
It is bad enough that he is provided a platform to broadcast his hate. But when the interviewer is seen to sympathise with what Cottrell has to say, bad is taken to another level. One could not have imagined something like this happening just a few years ago. Millions died, including Australians, populations suffered horrendously, because of what Blair Cottrell represents.
Because of the uproar it caused, Skye management has since apologised, . Not because they are repentant. This can be said with confidence, because the Cottrell Affair is not a one off. It represents a pattern that has become only too clear and is being replicated across the Murdoch stable, in every country in which it operates.
The Tommy Robinson affair is a current case in the United Kingdom. Robinson has been portrayed as a hero of free speech and lifted to celebrity status. What did he do? He went into a court and filmed defendants. This is not the first time, and the judge jailed him for contempt of the court. Although he has got off because of a technicality, it remains that Tommy Robinson promotes the same political views as Cottrell.
Robinson supporter Steve Bannon is an American counterpart. And he was until recently Donald Trump’s right-hand man.
All of them fit into a big media driven campaign to promote anti-Islam and anti-immigrant feeling. The three mentioned, and others of as similar kind, serve as a manufactured public face. In this respect at least, there is some connection between Blair Cottrell and Pauline Hanson.
This tells us that the problem is much bigger than a handful of distasteful individuals. More powerful forces are behind them.
As a society, we must also come to terms over why this is happening.
Yes, a factor has been the rise of the Murdoch juggernaut, with its defined political objectives. As much as Rupert and his empire are a problem, it is more than this too. Other big media is also mired in the muck, being either part of it, or failing to challenge the narrative.
Trawling through the endless stories and drawing out the economic and political shifts over the period, reveals some things.
Economies are in an ongoing depressed state at best, coupled with rising dissatisfaction from citizens. Developed economies are no longer driven by making things and providing a service to people. They are now driven by finance, making a profit out of the circulation of money through the creation of debt, speculative bubbles, tax avoidance, the raiding of shares in the stock markets and public resources.
We see this is Australia. It is the reason why the bottom lines of the banks and some other major financial institutions have risen to record levels. It does not come out of thin air. When profit is not made through the creation of new wealth, it can only come through the plundering of the rest of the economy and those who live within it.
The rise of finance has led to a phenomenal rise in the extent of private monopoly control over the economy, and this translates into not only economic power. A rise in economic power brings a rise in political power, which is now concentrated into fewer hands. And who are they? The big shareholders and top functionaries behind the well-known brands, over which those involved in the banks and other financial institutions are at the top of the league.
News Corp, for example, is tied into this elite, which exerts a great deal of influence over political parties and brings them to heal through patronage, use of elite’s network of contacts and downright pressure.
The flip side is that dominance creates problems. Profiting at the expense of the economy and society, aggravates an already sick economy and leaves people worse off. This raises dissatisfaction and the risk that the political power will come into question.
Hence there is an incentive to hide this power from prying eyes, and a very good way to do this is to deflect attention somewhere else, by preying on insecurity and fear. Find some scapegoats. Point a finger at them and blame them for all that is wrong.
It is the old method of divide and conquer. When it works, those who call the shots, continue to call the shots.
This is the main reason why we have what can justly be called the promotion of fascism. It has not occurred on the resent scale since the period before World War Two. It was the same them, and we all know where that led. The only real difference today, is that the promoters have become more powerful.
The other side of the promotion of fascism coin, is the portrayal of opponents as undemocratic and against free speech. The anti-fascists are called the fascists. There is purpose behind this too. It is to legitimise the promotion of fascism. Those pulling the strings behind the scenes know very well that they stand on unstable ground.
A parasitical economy cannot last for ever. We are living in the era of the decline of the West and rise of the East, and the circumstances people find themselves in, have weakened the standing of traditional political institutions and those who operate within them.
For these reasons, those who are wielding power have been working for the step by step elimination of what have long been considered fundamental democratic rights. Basic workplace and trade union rights are being violated. So-called anti-terrorist laws have been used to take away legal protections. What journalists can report on and the protection of informants is being narrowed down. The treatment of refugees is setting a precedent that could be expanded to others. New anti-protest laws are put in place. This is the direction we are going in.
History does not just travel one way. There is resistance. At present, much of it is focused on the symptoms. They do need to be taken on. We also need to uncover the head. If society wants to put an end to the drive to fascism, the power of big finance and the big media associated with it, must put in its proper place.