What the Fluck

This article by Adam Curtis (of Century of the Self fame) explores the evolution of journalism, abuse of power and the conflicts which arise when we demand transparency to expose corruption while abhorring the surveillance state - the right to privacy from prurient intrusion verses investigative reporting in defence of democratic freedom.


Hat tip to Ronan for this.

Curtis gives the impression that hard hitting journalism such as that of McClure's Magazine was effective in ensuring monopoly power was curtailed with the breaking up of Rockefeller's Standard Oil. But the robber barons of yesterday weren't kept at bay for long. Their fomenting of the 1907 banking crisis facilitated the creation of the privately owned Federal Reserve which gave banking dynasties, such as Rothschild, Rockefeller and JP Morgan, effective control of the US government. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing depression did lead to curbs on their power but not for long. Having profited from the Second World War, banks sought to remove limits on their activities imposed in the wake of the '29 crash and by the end of the twentieth century held the world in their hands, a situation which prevails today.

Curtis calls for a new phase in journalism which contextualises the pattern of news stories in order to identify the power structures at work. This is what we are doing in the Critical Thinking project along with a growing number of bloggers and alternative news outlets. But the web of power which controls media isn't likely to capitulate any time soon without significant pressure from an outraged populace. As the crises come thicker and faster, that outrage will build to an irresistible force for change. Until then, Occupy and the groups and activities it spawned are keeping the flame lit by McClure's Magazine.

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