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Identification with the State

Jan 31, 2006
by
Michael Hogan

It begins in the schools.  Xenophobic, jingoistic belief in the State replaced pragmatic education I America long ago.  Rather than responsible citizens, American education’s new mandate is producing cannon fodder for the State.
 
Students soon make the seamless transition to mass media as their new cultural parent.  Fifty years ago Professor Wilbur Stramm became the biggest name in the analysis of mass media.  It was Professor Stramm’s view that the Fourth Estate’s primary mission was to provide readers with criticism of the State.  Today, corporate media has become cheerleaders for government.
 
We can see media genuflecting to government in small town America.  When a reporter for a local newspaper reporting on 9 towns in the Pascack Valley in New Jersey began to report on the Township of Washington, the former police chief is alleged to have written to Community Life newspaper to complain.  In an act of betrayal, the Borg Family (owners of 31 papers in North Jersey withdrew their reporter, Eric Obernauer and did not replace him with any reporter for a year or two.  The Borg Empire simply betrayed the people by walking away from responsibility.
 
Several reporters for local newspapers have told me how they vie their work.  In order to get news stories, many young reporters feel it is their job to become friendly with members of government.  There are two aspects to this:  reporters, educated in our schools, have been taught to identity with government (The State) at every level; and reporters view government as the only source of news about The State.
 
This is hardly heroic journalism.  In fact, it isn’t journalism – at all.  It is the complete identification with the State.  Where is such journalistic cowardice leading us locally and as a nation?
 
Much like Germany of the 1930’s many towns in the Pascack Valley and beyond are dominated by one party.  The leader of the Township of Washington has held One Party Power (OPP) for far longer than Hitler’s mere 15 years.  Ubermeister Rudolph Wenzel has been the OPP candidate for 25 years.
 
In that time, the people have come to identify with OPP, Ubermeister Wenzel and other members of the OPP.  Anyone with the temerity to be critical of Ubermeister Wenzel or the OPP will be routinely attacked: vile gossip, language as poison and physical threats.  Suburban bully boys are the fascist Brown Shirts of our day.
 
Such bully boys are built in our tony schools in a program reminiscent of the Hitler Youth.  Sure now, it has been reported by a  local historian and councilman that Nazi Bund camps existed in River Vale and Old Tappan in the Pascack Valley.  Newspapers report adjacent Ridgewood was the American headquarters of the Nazi Party in America in the 1930’s.
 
Our national passionate identification with the State was easily implemented in the half century of dominance of the cultural screen by corporate media.  Professor Noam Chomsky, of MIT, writing in “manufacturing Consent”, 1989, asserts we are the most propagandized society to have ever existed.
 
It was all easily done.  Social psychologists tell us acceptance by the group is one of the greatest motivating factors in life.  Group acceptance may be a great motivating force than sex or money.
 
By dominating the group bullies control acceptance by the group.  Who are the master bully boys who terrorize the people?  Corporate media meisters view it as their job to “manufacture consent” for the policies of the State.  One of America’s finest journalists, Walter Lippman, made this observation in the 1930’s.
 
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