5 Replies to “John Oliver on Native Advertising”

  1. Well, I wonder if we aren’t batter without any news at all, and I really mean it. Even under the best of circumstances, the vast majority of “the news” is completely useless for empowering anyone to understand and change the world.

    For example, why do I care that Israel is slaughtering Palestinians? OMG, hundreds of news stories, Israel this, Israel that. First, there is absolutely nothing I can or will do about it. Second of all, I don’t need any news to get the point – genocide is genocide and has been for (soon) almost a century. A good public library is everything a citizen could need – everything else is just plain propaganda.

    Maybe in the early days of print, when newspapers were basement operations run by individuals on shoestring budgets, there has been a brief, very brief, period, when mass media could have been considered to be important in the public communication of citizenry. But as soon as concentration and size begun to increase, I is better not to read anything.

  2. I was going to remain quiet until you mentioned “public library.” Those things are the first bastions of propaganda–a primitive version, but incredibly effective. And they’re still almost as useful today.

    Public libraries are corporate welfare to the entertainment industry. They partner with private publishers, guaranteeing that when a big publisher comes out with a book containing ideas that elites want to spread, every county library in the entire country will immediately order 3-10 copies, and put them up front on the “New Releases!” rack. Kiddie books, histories, pop culture stuff, and novels make their way onto the “bestseller lists” because of public libraries.

    And DVDs, too. Your County dollars subsidize the making of Breaking Bad so that every County library in the free world can have 15 copies of every season standing in reserve for the public to buy them.

    I’m going to do a more detailed post on this someday, and yes, there are some good things in libraries (just like Hollywood occasionally makes a good movie), but those things are marketing fronts just like MSNBC.

  3. *borrow them. Excuse me, excuse me, it’s called “borrowing” when you pay taxes to your local library to fund the purchase of Breaking Bad seasons which you can then use along with other locals.

  4. Fine! Fair enough –> a good personal or university library then (although I’ve seen some of these atrocities in an university library as well).

    But the general point really is that a few “serious books” contribute far more to understanding than all of the news in the world combined. And I’m not even suggesting that there is any deliberate propaganda in news production – it is just the machine talking to itself, a closed system which by definition cannot contribute towards understanding and altering the system, but merely reproduce it.

    If all the news in the world stopped tomorrow, I would not be surprised if the result if some genuine public communication, rather than darkness.

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