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3 Illusions of the Mainstream Media (and what government is threatening to do to your milk, butter, and cheese)

Here’s how the expiration of the Farm Bill will affect you.

Controlling the Herd

3 Illusions of the Mainstream Media (and what government is threatening to do to your milk, butter, and cheese)

3 illusions of mainstream media

ILLUSION #1: The Illusion of No Bias

This morning I was listening to coverage of the “farm bill” issue on NPR. Basically, the house and senate agriculture committees have not come up with a new farm bill, and the old one has expired. So now the USDA says they are required to follow “permanent law”. This means that they will proceed to do what they did back in 1949, buy up all the milk, butter and cheese at twice the market value to jack up the price.

NPR attempted to help me uncover how I feel about all this by covering “both sides”. On one side, the permanent law is an “illogical and terrible policy”. But on the other side, it’s a “great lever to compel action”, and it’s actually beneficial because it forces congress to continue extending the farm bill, thus coming up with new regulations to replace the old, broken ones. And I get to decide which one of these two sides I agree with all by myself!

You see, the mainstream media exists to help us decide how we feel about certain issues. “Do you agree with this politician, or that one? Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision.”

And we tend to feel like we’re at our MOST informed when we get “both sides of the story”. So where one network might clearly lean toward the left and another toward the right, both will try to keep up the illusion of being “unbiased” so as to build credibility. They do this by delivering an argument from “both sides”.

ILLUSION #2: The Illusion of Choice

But “both sides” implies that there are only two choices. Choice ‘a’, or choice ‘b’. 

It’s just like the common parenting technique. If you want a kid to eat a vegetable, you ask “would you rather have broccoli, or carrots?” Either way, the kids gonna be eating a vegetable. “Do you agree with this politician, or that one?” “Do you want to establish a policy that benefits this group of people, or that one?” “Do you want your tax money to be spent to fund this program, or that one?”

The coverage of the “farm bill” story is a perfect example. What NPR was basically asking is this. “Do you want congress to push forward a new farm bill, or do you want the price of milk, butter, and cheese to double?”

Of course, there IS no option ‘c’, “I don’t want government involvement in farming at all.”

“I’m often asked what I would do if I were named Secretary of Agriculture. My answer: “I’d shut the agency down tomorrow.” No government agency has been so successful in destroying its own constituency—look at the number of farmers today.”
-Joel Salatin

What did our CURRENT Secretary of Agriculture have to say on the matter?

“I’m going to be put in a position where I have to invoke and implement permanent law. And I will do my job because that’s what I swore an oath to do.”

-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

What about option ‘d’, “Instead of implementing a ridiculous and outdated law on the moral grounds that you ‘took an oath’, how about you DON’T implement a ridiculous and outdated law on the moral grounds that IT’S WRONG.”

I mean come on, are we expected to believe that this guy has suddenly developed a conscience? No, what he wants is for us to hurry up and get the new farm bill into the USDA’s hands so they can start implementing the regulations that benefit them and the corporations they’re affiliated with.

Because that farm bill that NPR is so adamant that I get behind? It will significantly increase the amount of tax dollars used to subsidize farms. Oh, and by “farms”, I mean multi-billionaires, animal feedlot operators, and giant corporations like Monsanto. Just to be clear.

ILLUSION #3: The Illusion of Division

Remember when your mainstream media source demonstrated it’s lack of bias by delivering an argument from BOTH sides? Well, this was most likely followed by strong implications that you should PICK a side. Even your most unbiased mainstream media news sources will do this. It’s not their job to tell you WHICH side to pick, but it is their job to make sure you pick one.

So ultimately, what the mainstream media achieves is the ability to divide, label, and categorize us. It helps us decide where we fall politically, so that we know how to vote. Otherwise, how in the world would we decide which policies and politicians to support!?

Once mainstream media has helped us decide which political party we belong to, voting is MUCH easier. There’s not NEARLY as much research or critical thinking involved, and belonging to a political party is fun! It’s kind of like being in fraternity or having a favorite football team, it comes with it’s own built in comrades and rivalries.  In other words, it keeps us all bickering about option ‘a’ vs. option ‘b’, so that we are collectively too distracted to come up with an option ‘c’.

But remember, there’s ALWAYS an option ‘c’. And division is an ILLUSION. We can all stand on the same side, we can all stand for freedom. Like I’ve said before, “The things we disagree on keep us distracted and separated, when the exact opposite is necessary if we are to ever get our freedom. I would love to see gun rights groups, gay rights groups, etc. joined together in the name of just plain ‘rights’. I would love to hear someone say ‘I don’t want to own a gun, but I’ll fight for your right to own one if you fight for my right to marry whoever I want to.’”

And I’d love to hear NPR report, “Do you want congress to pass a new farm bill so that they can subsidize genetically modified corn and soy while you all argue over whether or not GMOs should be labeled, or would you rather government stay out of your food and farms, and for the love of God stay away from your milk, butter, and cheese?”

About the author: Randi Finn is a libertarian/market anarchist whose mission is to help get health and education out of the hands of the government and into the hands of the people. Her blog, The Grass-Fed Anarchist, is about liberty and human rights. It’s also about food, and what she believes humans should be fueling their bodies with (which is contrary to what your government and FDA will tell you!)

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Contributed by Randi Finn of The Grass-Fed Anarchist.

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