I once thought Joe Scarborough was a voice of courage. Alas, that was during a phase of my life where I was a political parrot. My view of the world was distilled through the prism of partisan fidelity; I was a “proud Democrat” and a hater of all things Republican. So when Scarborough rebelled against George Bush and the neocons who were using “freedom and Democracy” to bleed Iraq and countless countries globally, I quickly accepted Joe as a truth teller and an honorable journalist. Now, after shedding partisanship and political tribalism, I see that Scarborough is just another vacuous pundit and a shill of corporatism.
I write this article in light of Scarborough piously lecturing us about the dangers of Donald Trump. In his new Op/Ed titled “A Gathering Storm”—which is a take on Winston Churchill’s book about the two World Wars—Scarborough warns about the ominous path that Trump is leading America and the world on. Scarborough has perfected the art of pretentiousness as he artfully he presents himself as a post-partisan Southern sage. In reality, he is part and parcel of the chattering political crass who are paid handsomely to present injustices through political lenses.
Scarborough notes in his write up that Donald Trump is a reckless president who is tearing apart institutions and norms which threatens to throw the world into chaos. Joe goes on to detail in his article the excesses of the man who resides in the White House:
It is difficult to pinpoint the nadir for a man who has savaged Mexicans, Muslims and Gold Star mothers while fat-shaming beauty queens and face-shaming female news hosts (disclosure: in the latter example, my own fiancee ). But the low moment in this presidency may have occurred four months ago, when Trump claimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and those standing against them. Or perhaps it was three weeks ago, when the president told Americans to vote for an accused child molester who had called our country the focus of evil in the modern world and once suggested opposition to the constitutional amendments that ended slavery and gave women the right to vote.
I don’t disagree with Scarborough’s indictment, there is something deeply disturbing about Donald Trump in ways that makes Kanye West look modest. Donny is Rasputin with less charm and scruples. Our president is an extreme narcissist who can’t go one day without stroking his ego and promoting his brand. He is willing to do anything in order to have people talk about him as he burns our collective psyche in order to stay on our lips—Trump is the herpes of America. Yet, Joe Scarborough should be the last person ranting about the virus that is Trump. After all, Joe is one of the principle pundits who infected our body politic by injecting brand Trump into the public conscience. Donald Trump catapulted to the forefront of the Republican field last year because he was given over $200,000,000 worth of free ads by way of “earned media”. Earned media is a way to quantify the value of media outlets discussing a particular person or a brand in their news segments. Instead of paying millions to broadcast commercials, corporate media effectively gave Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in “in-kind” campaign contributions by way of news mentions. Donald Trump stayed in the corporate media news cycle in ways rarely witnessed in the history of politics. As stations like MSNBC and CNN were pretending to be shocked and disgusted by Trump, they kept leading each segment with the latest outrageous Trump statement and breaking news with yet another Donald faux pas. Each time they did so, the editors and news executives were popping champagne and counting new bucks.
Donald Trump was and is a boon for corporate media. He is like a carnival beast who draws the attention and eyeballs of readers and viewers alike. That is why Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski could not get enough of Trump and why they kept interviewing him on a regular basis. The more corporate media bashed Trump, the more Trump gained credibility with his base. Likewise, the more outlandish things Trump said, the more it incentivized corporate journalists like Scarborough to talk about him. The left hand was washing the right hand even as both hands pretended to be pointing at one another in disgust. No matter how much corporate media pundits pretend to be outraged by Trump, when the cameras go off and the lights are dimmed, they glee as they stack their checks in their Schwab accounts and thank their lucky stars for the lunacy of Trump.
It’s not only the repugnant hypocrisy of professional blowhards like Scarborough that is malicious, their situational morality is even worse. The pundits on the “left” who cater to the liberal group thinkers make it seem as if the ills of the world started on January 20th. The other side of the political divide, the corporate hacks who populate Fox News, Wall Street and the rest of the conservative outposts, spin news to counter the narrative of the liberal leaning establishment. Both sides are engaging in duplicity and outright disinformation. The idea that corporate media represent a “free press” is about as laughable as Sarah Palin teaching rocket science at MIT.
Scarborough talks about how the status quo maintained order and world peace from the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia are but a few of the endless stream of nations that the military-finance complex keeps blowing apart in order to steal resources from countries around the world and transfer wealth to the oligarchy who have hijacked our government. This is what the perpetual outrage and sensationalism that corporate media sells is hiding; they are preventing us from seeing the invisible bloody hands of globalists who are strangling billions to nourish the tentacles of corporatism. Remember when right leaning publications were up in arms over Benghazi? Not a peep from that mob when Trump had his Benghazi moment in Niger a few months ago. Did you see the left leaning pundits up in arms over Trump’s immoral $1.5 trillion tax cut to the wealthiest 1%? These same “liberal elites” were quite as church mice when Obama funneled $14 trillion to the same neo-aristocracy.
Corporate “journalists” pretend to be fighting for the public interest when they are only pursuing self-interest and partaking in corporate propaganda that is meant to confuse the public. Take for example the Federal Reserve, corporate media loves to present this most powerful “agency” as a federal entity. The truth is that the Federal Reserve is not a government agency at all, they are a conglomeration administered for and by multinational banks. The board of governors are are banking executives and almost all of the Fed Chairs have been Goldman Sachs officers. By law, neither Congress nor the President can interfere with the inner workings of the Federal Reserve. In other words, the Federal Reserve is a private corporation that has the sole power of setting monetary policies and they do so without any accountability. We are being governed without consent and repressed without representation; meanwhile MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and the rest of the yellow press wastelands that call themselves “the fourth estate” are busy reporting about Trump’s latest Tweet and colluding to stifle real news.
This is why Scarborough earns this week’s “Hackery Honors”, he talks a good game as he pretends to be speaking truth to power. But the truth is that Scarborough and his ilk are the ones who wrought us Trump. Joe is attempting to be the hero firefighter even though he is the pyromaniac who set our nation on fire by pushing the infantile septuagenarian who can’t get enough of seeing his name in headlines. It is high time that we disconnect from corporate media and find ways to support independent media. In fact, let me wrap this up with doing just that. Let’s start off the new year by pushing an effort to cut the cord to corporate media and empower independent media and non-affiliated citizen journalists instead. Let’s make January 1st through January 8th #IndependentCitizenJournalismWeek (shout out to Zach Haller, an independent citizen journalist, for the suggestion to include citizen in the campaign). If you are sick and tired of hacks like Joe Scarborough and the hypocritical shills who populate corporate media, I ask you to join in this hashtag and encourage others to be a part of this movement. Let us leave it up to individuals to determine who is and who is not an independent citizen-journalists, but let us all agree that personalities and pundits who work for media companies that are owned by publicly traded (Wall Street) corporations are definitely not citizen journalists. Instead of turning to corporate media to lecture us, let’s turn to citizen journalists and hear from people who walk our walk and know our struggles.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
In this Ghion Cast below, I discuss the imperative behind disconnecting from Corporate Media and empowering independent citizen journalists.
I hope everyone bands in and unites and gets behind #IndependentCitizenJouranlismWeek. I hope we don’t get into an argument about who is and who is not an independent citizen journalist, as long as we agree that those who are working directly for corporate owned media entities are not independent citizen-journalists, we can leave it up to the reader who they prefer to count as independent citizen-journalists. The point is to highlight the medium and not necessarily the personalities.
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.