This is an open letter to journalists, pundits and media personalities who chose to pursue journalism as a profession. This is your conscience speaking to the inner idealist that once sparked your interest in the fourth estate. This memorandum is also aimed at the consumers of news that is being injected into the public arena. Though I have been quite harsh in past articles on the mainstream media as evidenced by some of my writings, I’m toning it down today for the sake of dialogue in order to foster a rational conversation.
In all honesty, I understand the rock and the hard place most journalists find themselves. The industry of journalism in the age of social media gives little space to nuance as outrage and sensationalism are what sell papers and drives clicks. Whether the mainstream media is driving this paradigm or is just meeting the demand of the marketplace is a discussion for another day—in candor I am aligned with the former sentiment. My purpose today though is not to bash but to reach the conscience of those who are receptive to hearing this assessment.
Not too long ago, I was an associate working at Booz Allen Hamilton. By this, I mean I was a consultant at a defense consulting company. For those of you who read my work, it is evident that I am repulsed by the military-financial complex. My native land Ethiopia has been a victim of this monstrous industry whose sole existence is to bleed nations around the world, including America, and transfer wealth from the masses to a few. Even before I started the Ghion Journal and way before hardship taught me to stop looking at life through binary prisms, I’ve used the little voice I had to speak against a system that weaponizes humans in order to steal from the masses.
Indignation and principles sure have a way of taking a back seat to convenience. I had no problem accepting a six figure salary from a defense consulting company only to turn around and protest the Iraq war on the weekends that I was supporting as an IT professional on the weekdays. Let me state this for the record, this write up should in no way be construed as a criticism of those who put on the uniform in order to serve their nation (read Blessed are the Peacekeepers to see how much I revere veterans). It was only after my dance with indigence that cognitive dissonance set me free from the hypocrisy of excusing my actions as I judged others.
I convey this story as a way of saying “I understand” to those who take part in the continued fracturing of our nation vis-à-vis the agenda setting ways of the mainstream media. I did not realize this before, but I see with perfect clarity what the news industry has become and the intention behind the never ending stream of sensationalism and outrage. There is a reason why billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and Jeff Bezos snap up archaic conglomerations like the Washington Post and Fox News. From a purely economic perspective, the plutocracy are committing financial malpractice by investing in companies that are barely profitable. Opportunity cost demands that their money is better spent in ventures that have a better return on investments.
However, there is one thing that the rich value more than pure profits. Those who are able to monopolize and then control information become gods on earth. Information, you see, is the most powerful weapon known to mankind. The lethality of nuclear weapons pale in comparison to the potency of words. Weapons can only kill people; information can subjugate billions in ways that escapes cognition. This is why the aristocracy opened up their wallets to gobble up one legacy publication after another. Irrespective of their P/E ratios, media entities like the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal and their ilk still have the cache to move opinions and shift perception.
The age of social media was supposed to democratize news and empower citizen journalists like me. Sadly, the complete opposite is true as six corporations now control more than 85% of the information that is is shared and consumed. Taken another way, six people have direct control of more than 85% of the news and media industry. Just think on that for a moment! Six people are able to dictate policy, push their agendas and incite the public at their whim. This is power that is astounding in ways never witnessed in history. This is how nearly 8 billion people around the world have become indentured servants to a few thousand who leverage their wealth and clout to subjugate us all.
What we are observing before our eyes—though few really understand the true scope—is this power being unleashed on us in ways that Joseph Goebbels during Nazi Germany could have never imagined. Godwin’s maxim be damned, comparing our current zeitgeist to the era of Hitler is very much appropriate for we are being marched to our collective holocaust if we do not wake up to this nefarious scheme that is being foisted upon us. The election of Donald Trump was no accident; the same way Obama was selected to resurrect a system of cony capitalism which should have imploded in 2008 by sacrificing Main Street in order to feed the wolves on Wall Street is why Trump was selected by the same oligarchy.
The brilliance of the novus ordo should NEVER be underestimate. If you doubt their cunning, turn over your dollar bill and read their motto above the pyramid—they made us submit to the mark (currency) of the beast. They know that we won’t abide another cash transfer from the 99% in order to perpetuate the pyramid scheme that capitalism has become. So we find ourselves at the precipice of the abyss; the Federal Reserve and Treasury no longer have Keynesian policies at their disposal to stimulate growth when business cycle unleashes a bear market. The next recession could induce a tail spin the likes of which have not been seen since 1929. And because there is no political will to borrow our way out of deficits, the laws of economic gravity could unleash the unthinkable on the world.
So the rich and powerful decided to push a carnival barker Trump in order to drive us into derangement as a means of distracting us from the coming shit storm. For my conservative friends who believe that Trump is against the globalists, for God’s sake stop drinking that red kool aid! Trump is the same man who was and still is Hillary Clinton’s best friend in Chappaqua (please watch this video of Trump praising Hillary in 2008). Trump has been the liberal’s liberal for decades in New York; all the sudden this alternative orange human is supposed to be against the very same world order which made him a billionaire? Don’t you see that Trump is doing to the right what Obama did to the left? He gave voice to the anger of his base the same way Obama whispered grievance to his side (read the Grand Deception of Cyclical Change).
This is how the rich and powerful get us all the time. The game of divide and conquer has worked for centuries to conquer foreign lands; they are now using it against us right here in America in order to suppress us. There are two things that the .01% do that enables them to keep their seats at the table of power: a) they only invest in ventures that maximize their profits and/or power and b) they ALWAYS mitigate their risk. My fellow human beings, we are the risks that the plutocrats are trying to mitigate. They fear a united people because unity means that we stop fighting each other and instead turn our ire at those who have been oppressing us all along.
In case you think the urgency behind this article is a bit hyperbolic and extreme, take a gander over to the corporate news websites and observe what the various mainstream media outlets are reporting at this exact moment. Sec def Mattis—who is even more unhinged than Trump—just laid down a marker for a war with North Korea by alluding to a potential WWIII as “game on”. It’s all a game to the ones who get to declare wars without having skin in the game. I guarantee you the war hawks who keep pushing wars will not have their children at the front lines and will be safe in their bunkers while the rest of us churn and burn in the event of ICBMs start being fired. Where are the adults in the room? Where are the reporters who have the courage to stand up to this madness that can end us all? Are a few more followers on Twitter and access to the stage more important than listening to your conscience?
I thus circle back to the journalists who are partaking in this pernicious game of agenda setting and peddling outrage as a means of inducing strife and dissension among the public. For those of you who have an ounce of human decency and whose souls have not been irreparably corrupted by fame and fortunes, ask yourself if you are willing to continue perpetuating this rancor and discord to its logical conclusion. Is this what you went to college for? Is this why you chose to pick up the pen and pad–to be used as pawns by corporate interests as demagogues, propaganda peddlers and diversions? Are lavish homes and expensive suits enough to cover up the guilt you will bear if society plunges into an open conflict?
This is going to end one of two ways based on the trajectory we are headed. Rwandans never thought it possible that a million of their fellow country men would end up being hacked to death; but when tribalism and hatred is ginned up to a fever pitch, human beings can become monsters. Revolutions seem fun until our children start dropping like flies. Be careful of the friction and animosity you feed into the airwaves, you are adding wicks to the fire that can one day engulf us all in infernos we can’t imagine (read Unity or Dissolution).
I beg you stop falling for the “us versus them” paradigm for we are all in this together. I count the very same journalists who are taking part in this yellow journalism racket as part of “we”; you are doing the same thing I once did as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton so I can’t in good conscience vilify you the way I rightly condemn those who are actually pushing this malicious system of divide and conquer by way of weaponizing mass media.
The other way this can unfold is one that the elites should shudder over. Be careful of this continued strategy of pitting one against the other. I refer you to the horrors of the French Revolution if you forget what happens when an incited mob finally train their animus on those who are inciting them. The most brilliant ideas don’t unfold the way they are designed—the first victim of a war after all are the war plans. The very same people who are guarding your wealth and protecting your assets have family members too, they too are one of us. Do you really want the masses to turn to solutions by way of guillotines?
There is another way, it does not have to end in bloodshed. God’s green earth has enough resources to sustain 20 billion let alone eight billion. The only reason we have insufficiency in this world is because capitalism requires scarcity in order to nourish the opulence of the elite at the expense of the rest. Enough is enough! You can only take so much before the people finally catch on to the hustle. Before we wake up and rise up, stop and think what you are doing. The same message goes to the journalists, pundits and opinion leaders who are being paid to sow friction and factionalism among the masses. You chose journalism to speak truth to power not to be beholden to power—find the courage to speak up before the unthinkable happens.
For the rest of us, the consumers of this garbage that is continually peddled to the public, I am begging you to stop falling for the bullshit. The struggle has NEVER been about left versus right, black versus white, man versus woman, gay versus straight, believer versus non-believer or any of the innumerable ways we are splintered as a people. The struggle has ALWAYS been about the powerful versus the powerless. Stop focusing your anger at co-victims and acting like crabs in a barrel—stop aiming sideways and aim up! Injustice is flowing from the top and is drowning all of us, before mushroom clouds become the hardship that induces cognitive dissonance for the masses, please pause and reflect.
You can’t fight hatred with anger, you can’t drive out injustice with fire and fury. I know this is going to sound trite but love truly is the only way to overcome this system of global oppression that is hobbling us all into never ending economic anxieties and many more into pervasive indigence. Our strength is in our numbers; the strength of the elites is in our disunity. Next time you want to take to the social media and use antipathy to take on injustice, reflect on what you have read here. Or we can keep traveling on this road and end up in Hotel Rwanda. #BreakingNewsCommunique
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
If you appreciate the message behind this write up and you too have enough of being played for a chump by the powerful, share this aritcle on social media using #BreakingNewsCommunique and while you are at this use Twitter to send this article to various media personalities, politicians and pundits.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss how unity was the key to overcoming injustice and the common thread that allowed Ethiopians, Haitians and Americans to overcome their oppressors.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019