Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ghost in the Machine

In 1967, Arthur Koestler wrote The Ghost in the Machine, focusing on man's general tendency toward self distruction. The premise of Koestler's concepts is that throughout our evolution, our brains have developed, esssentially building over the top of their more primitive elements. Koestler suggests that these more primitive elements, remaining though not at the forefront, are the "ghost in the machine," and are responsible for what many consider our baser impulses, such as hate, anger, love, happiness or lust. These "ghosts" are responsible for driving those urges within us that overpower our cognitive logic, driving us toward our self-destruction.

Over the past year, it appears we can perhaps extend this theory of philosophy of the individual to another organism, one made up of a multitude of indivuals. That organism is, as a whole, the media. Throughout the history of media coverage, there has always loomed the overriding principle of
Journalistic Integrity. In countries with an established Freedom of the Press, as newspaper reporters have written, as radio and television reporters have spoken, the overarching theme has been that of honesty and integrity. According to the Society of Professional Journalists:

...public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility.

Much has already been made about the now long running bias in the media toward Barack Obama over the past year. Ann Coulter is making the rounds for her new book, and well-read blogs like HotAir and Little Green Footballs have made it part of their daily duty to attempt to corral the mainstream press back into the realm of honesty and credibility. Unfortunately, over the past year it has not seemed to have helped. The ghost in the machine within the media seems to have risen up and overpowered the typical cognitive logic that drives the press, perhaps driven in part by Charles Krauthammer's now infamous Bush Derangement Syndrome, and in part further by their attraction to the charasmatic Obama. In the end, the buzzsaw of momentum generated by President-elect Obama was never slowed, and many times greatly aided by the press, prompting Orson Scott Card ultimately to famously ask, "Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?"

The question staring the mainstream press in the face at this moment in time is simple. Has the ghost in the machine driven them toward their own self destruction? The mainstream press now finds itself in a very dangerous place. Already
Tavis Smiley, a host on PBS, paid by our tax dollars, says it is the responsibility of the press to ensure our incoming President is successful. Yesterday, Newsbusters reported that Fox News, whom many feel to be one of the better sources of real, actual news on television, has been directed by its executive Robert Ailes that they have an obligation to "not derail Obama's transition."

The first of these examples is outright taxpayer-funded propaganda. The second is an example of the mainstream media flat-out losing its spine, carried out in practice by FNC's own Bill O'Reilly as he
flat out refuses to "cheap-shot" Obama by second guessing a $775 billion stimulus plan that not only cannot stimulate a repayment, but threatens our liberty itself. Considering where Obama is coming from, a spine is what the mainstream media most assuredly needs to grow in order to survive his presidency.

There can be no mistaking that Barack Obama has risen to the Presidency as a result of his connections to Chicago machine politics. This is no less evident in his dealings with the press, now that he has been elected. He is in the position of power, and now he'll be dealing with the press the right way. And what is the right way? The Mayor Daley way, of course.

For those unfamiliar with the mayor's dealing with the press, the concept is very simple, and we have already seen it enacted by the President-elect on the national stage. Quite simply, whenever Richard Daley decides he doesn't like a certain line of questioning, he either
berates the press for being so stupid as to ask it, or he decides to move on to the next line of more convenient questioning. I'm sure this probably sounds familiar. If not, feel free to enjoy Big Brother's exploits:

As long as the mainstream media's ghosts are driving their coverage of our government, they are, as an entity in the whole, at risk. Already two of the media's largest outlets ever are at risk. The Chicago Tribune is bankrupt and the New York Times' stock has been reduced to junk status, while it appears they will be bankrupt by March.

Will the media continue down its path? Will they simply become ghosts to the Chicago Machine?

Or will the media regrow its spine and once again represent our Liberty, seek the truth, and be the foundation of our democracy?

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