“Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but statistics are the first.” - Jeff Einstein
By Jeff Einstein
Everyone tells us to follow the money. If we really want to know who the power brokers are, we need to follow the money fearlessly, see where it ends up and speak truth to power. Right?
Not even close. At least not in the Carrollean world of campaign finance reform, a classic misdirect from the political and media elite who want us to believe that who can buy influence is somehow more important than the influence being sold.
Since when is where the money comes from more important than where it winds up? It ain’t like the campaign dollars terminate in the pockets of crooked politicians. Some undoubtedly do, but most campaign dollars buy media these days. So no matter where the dollars come from, they almost always end up in the very deep pockets of the same global media dealers. The presidential election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a battle between a scandal-plagued congenital liar and a billionaire reality-TV buffoon: a spectacular, personality-driven TV drama worth billions to the captains of media, but ruinous to what little remains of our democracy. That’s show biz.
Follow the money and we end up at the Annual Allenco Sun Valley Conference, where media and entertainment titans parrot meaningless platitudes like freedom of the press, transparency and the digital divide while they collude in broad daylight on everything but.
Follow the money and we end up in a Rocky Mountain spa full of media and technology giants with immense bankrolls and reams of common interest — all closed to the press, or at least any press not bankrolled by the by the media and technology giants in the room. Apparently, there’s a reason why those in the room prefer the focus outside the room to remain on where the money comes from instead of where the money always seems to wind up: in the pockets of the guys currently in the room.
This is what happens when we entrust our most valued institutions to television and other screen technologies:
- “Stay tuned,” replaces education.
- “Stay tuned,” replaces the dinner table.
- “Stay tuned,” replaces an informed citizenry with sedated mobs.
- Justice is not only not blind but is increasingly tribal and always for sale.
- Democracy is reduced to fast food, antacid and toilet paper commercials.
- The scoundrels on Wall Street, the scoundrels in Washington, D.C. and the scoundrels in academia are all the same scoundrels at different stages of their careers.