I love Joe Bageant. He doesn't mince words. Here he lets it fly at Ol Coop, who richly deserves it.
Here he explains why the Media Complex sucks.
And for that I blame Anderson Cooper. That's right, CNN's boyishly good looking, sincere faced, Emmy Award winning Anderson Cooper. Let me explain.
Between the corporate and financial elites and the slobbering masses stands the American Information Class -- the reporters, talking heads, news anchors and pundits. In short, the entire gaggle of meat puppets and journalism hacks who have been cultivated and bred to be clueless by the university industry and others serving our corporate empire. In other words, serving global capitalism, and the national fictions it maintains, including that sizable piece of corporate feudal turf known as America. And that fiction is maintained through la danse des marionnettes de viande.
Not that these meat puppets are to be pitied for their cluelessness. Lordy no! When your employer is throwing celebrity and money at you faster than you can suck up the adulation or blow the bucks, why would anybody pause long enough to get a clue. I sure as hell wouldn't. I'd pull a Bill Clinton, buy me some Cuban cigars and tell the secretary, "Under the desk, baby! And crack open a bottle of of Jack Daniels for me on your way down."
It's certainly an easy gig. Move your lips like a reporter, wear a black shirt and a $600 bush jacket in disaster and war porn spots as Anderson Cooper does, and make at least 4 million a year base salary (plus a few hundred thousand more a year in speakers fees for canned talks. Cooper's agency will provide the list). Anderson's basic message is that the world is a horrific place filled with miserable inferior lives, ridden by want, African machete amputations and the like. The guy in front of the flat screen in Cedar Rapids, Iowa doesn't even have to stop and think to draw the corpo-state approved conclusion Anderson delivers. It's instantaneous into his deep reptilian brain: "Hatians fucked. Iraqis fucked. Greeks fucked. Me live in best place of all."
Attractive, serious and sincere looking, and presented as calm and rational against the backdrop of world terror and misery, Anderson is the perfect robotic mouthpiece, easy on the eyes, poised in the "Anderson Cooper suit," (actually, it's Ralph Lauren, the gay aesthetic goes a long way in his business). And most importantly, despite what he's seen first hand, he remains clueless about the world. Bullet proof to reality. Robot. Then again, that's a job qualification in the entertainment business. American news is first and foremost entertainment. If you happen to stumble onto some accidental truth, be assured there will be a correction in the name of Republican sponsored "fairness and balance in media."
Now this may be a stretch for some more open minded readers, but to my mind, anyone such as Cooper, who actually believes he is worth 4 million, and can put it in the bank without dying of shame, has no idea what's going on in this world -- no matter how much he or she is paid to look like they do. In fact, anyone doing so for over $50,000 is in the same category. Which includes everyone you see on your television screen. It's all just self-absorbed celebrity preening. At the local level the rubes watch you on Keokuk Cable. At the national level, an indoctrinated people read Vanity Fair's writers going down on you, telling you what a brave and saintly journalist you are. And the internet dedicating hundreds of thousands of word to your choice in suits.
There is no way out of our culture manufacturing machinery. We're not in charge. It would be bigger than any one of us because it consists of all of us. It tells us all we are individuals supremely worthy of our silliest notions and desires, thereby making us soft and lazy, infantilized an incapable of truly effective solidarity as a people. Instead, we are fed Tea Party drivel. Even if CNN decided to send Coop to Guiyu to cover the blood poisoned worker women with the deformed children, the result would be the same. The guy in Cedar Rapids would see further proof that "Me live in best place in world. Got Cheetos." Or perhaps a nice Cotes du Rhône if you are a member of the commodity drugged educated faux middle class.
And I wanna say to them: "Not for much longer, buddy. Not much longer. And you can thank Anderson Cooper and a helluva lot of other people like him who do not have a clue, but nevertheless inhabit your very mind, for that."