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Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media’s Mass Hypnosis

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    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Delivery systems and platforms for information may proliferate at blinding speed, but most Americans have no access to anything resembling the truth. They may know the names of the dead – like Trayvon Martin – but have no clue why they died. “Lies and nonsense are the standard fare for the most read and watched news sources in this country.”


    Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media’s Mass Hypnosis

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    When Jay-Z and Beyonce show up at a rally, a movement has bitten the dust.”

    What would a hypothetical person know after diligently reading the newspaper, watching television news and reading online news sources for the past week? That person would know that someone named Trayvon Martin had been murdered and that he looked like or could have been or would look like the son of the president. This anonymous man or woman would know that Al Sharpton, Jay-Z, and Beyonce were sad that Trayvon was dead. The news follower wouldn’t know the ugly truth of why Trayvon was killed, the real reason his murderer went free, or that the man most able to bring justice probably would not.

    The anonymous viewer/reader would know that a rich woman in London gave birth to a baby boy. He or she wouldn’t know that the rich woman and her husband and baby had their immense wealth as a result of great theft which took place over many centuries and which continues at the expense of millions of people. Despite the enormous amount of coverage, the news consumer wouldn’t know how many people were really interested in the rich family at all.

    Capitalism itself had destroyed a once thriving city which provided high wages to generations of workers.”

    The concerned citizen would know that the city of Detroit, Michigan was declared bankrupt. They would know that the city’s art collection might be sold off, but not that pension obligations had already been subverted and workers and retirees who ought to live a decent life were instead on the road to being impoverished. The imagined news junkie would see images of dilapidated buildings and empty neighborhoods but would not be told that capitalism itself had destroyed a once thriving city which provided high wages to generations of workers.

    This person who made efforts to be informed would know that America was in the midst of a searing heat wave. Some of the news stories would point out that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the continental United States because of something called climate change. They may or may not have been told that climate change resulted from increased production of fossil fuels and high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. They would not know that the world’s second worst culprit of CO2 production was the United States of America.

    Jane or John Q. Public would learn that a man named Ray Kelly was commissioner of the New York Police Department and the president found him “well qualified” to be nominated as Secretary of Homeland Security. They would not know that the president, putatively black, was singing the praises of a man who orchestrated the criminalization of nearly every black person in New York City through the infamous stop and frisk policy.

    Our person on the street might hear about a man named Edward Snowden who, according to the corporate media, made an odd decision by requesting permission to live in the Russian Federation. They would not be told that Snowden wanted to live in some twenty other nations but was prevented from doing so because the president actively obstructed his right to seek asylum from American persecution.

    The president, putatively black, was singing the praises of a man who orchestrated the criminalization of nearly every black person in New York City through the infamous stop and frisk policy.”

    We live in age when it is all but impossible to escape media influence. As with all things, the quality of that media varies greatly from one outlet to another, but the corporate media is most ubiquitous while also being the least informative.

    Even watershed events such as the verdict which freed Trayvon Martin’s killer are eventually treated with the same degree of triviality as every other news story created in a corporate corner office. When Jay-Z and Beyonce show up at a rally, a movement has bitten the dust.

    Those people who make sincere efforts to be well informed are ultimately unable to do so. How else can one explain that millions of people moved from openly demanding justice for Trayvon Martin to being mollified by the president’s chicanery and worthless sentimentality?

    Readers of the Black Agenda Report are in no danger of turning into mindless sycophants of a president, or followers of celebrity births, but the points of view presented here are not always easily found. Lies and nonsense are the standard fare for the most read and watched news sources in this country. Ignorance may not be bliss, but it is the preferred state of affairs for politicians, CEOs and their friends at the television networks and editorial boards of leading newspapers. These sources are decidedly unreliable.

    Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

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    Some Interesting Comments RE KILLER Z v Trayvon From Latinos &

    a White Guy RE the Colorlines article- 'The Curious Case of George Zimmerman's Race' [@ ]

    From S-Cool-Fan: } All Latin American nations came from former colonial empires & thus have upheld essentially white European social orders. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has a chapter in his book titled Racism Without Racists that speaks about the "Latin Americanization of Race". If you go to any country of Latin America "people of color" will themselves negate racism and even justify brutality against indigenous and Black peoples. I was recently perusing an article in Mexican news journal Proceso about 3 indigenous women that were murdered in southern Mexico. You should have seen the comments- Mexicans were sounding like Tea Partiers, Saying things like "the more dead indians the better",..  just like they said [say] about Blacks in the US. What does this say about race in Latin America? A lot of us hate ourselves because that's what the predominant racial order in Latin America's taught us. Any desire to overcome this is jeopardized by the lingering hierarchies since colonization, where indigenous and Black peoples are left to fend for themselves... 

    I don’t know if there's been any scholars or activists that have written deeply about the complexity of race in Latin America and its relationship to George Zimmerman’s imagined racial identity and the ramifications of such racial identity to white supremacy in not only the United States but THE REST OF THE AMERICAS AND THE CARRIBEAN. We must connect Trayvon Martin’s death to the rest of the brutality that is experienced by the African Diaspora worldwide. Does this mean that some “Latinos” can uphold white supremacy? Hell YES! We can go even further, to the discomfort and disagreement of critical race theorists, and call certain Latinos “racist”. - Another deep issue is the legacy of colonization which hasn’t stopped. To this day, in Peru, (where Zimmerman traces part of his heritage) there are demonstrations against major media outlets and TV networks that shamefully and unabashedly portray Blacks as Sambos (if you read Spanish seek Historia Negada del Racismo en Peru and racismo en television Peruana). This is just part of the problem. All over Latin America people of all colors seem to uphold a colonial white supremacist order in which descendents of Africans as well as indigenous peoples are denied education, health care, housing, while at the same time continuously portrayed as savage and inferior do a degree that has normalized this perceived inferiority. Currently, in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico indigenous people are being pressured to sell their lands at rates well below their market value- a post-colonial strategy to strip people of their lands. Assume that those behind these schemes identify or look like as Mexican, Latino or even Mestizo (mixed Indigenous and European). Everyday in Latin America indigenous people and people of African descent are denied justice and lives are lost. Examples abound of what happens to Afro-Latino communities throughout the America’s. There are Trayvon Martins in Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba, etc. So again mestizos or “Latinos” can uphold white supremacy- Because it's a normalized  lifestyle in Latin America that despises blackness and indigeneity. In the US, Latinos can uphold white supremacy (as many uphold it in the Americas) as they pursue an “American” identity, while at the same time bringing their own racialized views from the America’s.

    We must stand with African American, Afro-Latino, and indigenous communities and their struggles. We must call out white supremacy (racism?) in our own Mexican, Salvadorean, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, Dominican, etc. communities. We must call out Spanish-speaking media. We must teach our youth our real history, acknowledging those aspects of our identity that were crushed by colonization and white supremacy and know our indigenous and African history. We must understand Trayvon and Zimmerman on a continental and historical scale and unite with struggles in the global south that call for the rights of African and indigenous peoples and struggle against the spectrum of white supremacy, from the unjust murders of our youth to the white supremacy displayed on Spanish speaking TV that exalt light skin over dark skin. This is an opportunity for us to challenge this system that has lingered since colonization. {


    - From Tara-C responding to S-Cool-Fan: } Exactly. Anyone from the U.S who has ever lived in Latin/South America knows this to be true. Its part of why it's difficult to rally around the term "people of color" as a useful to think through these issues. Because anyone born outside of the U.S carries with them their own perceptions and prejudices- Often anti-indigenous and anti Black / African. My Chinese neighbor said to me last week, "Oh your son (mixed race Black Brazilian) is so handsome, MUCH better looking than his (Black) father... {


    - From Ort-Felano: } Among latino cultures there's also a racial problem. There are "white" latinos that perceive, discriminate and treat blacks, black latino, brown, mulatto and latinos with strong indian ethnic characteristics with racist bias. This situation is also found in modern latino nations. There is, with out doubt, a racism problem among the total latino community that might not be of common knowledge and might be expressed / understood as an intracultural-community problem. Zimmerman has tried to manipulate his mixed racial personality "after the fact" that he reacted in a typical racist manner so as to later try to diffuse part of the accusations or at least confuse the latino community to support him. IMO the majority of the latino community has not fallen for this kind of manipulation and rejects and condemns Zimmermans actions... { 


    - From GM-62 [a 51 yr old white guy w a Black daughter-in-law & two 1/2 Black grand-kids - In his comment he unmasks the standard lame-stream white 'liberal' racial biases, that most of his peer deny &/or 'logically' justify]: - } I disagree that the only people standing with George Zimmerman are White Supremacists and B37. Don't get me wrong I'm firmly in the Trayvon Martin camp but I'm in the minority amongst my white peers. Most them have latent irrational racist fears. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say "Trayvon was a thug" or "He was a pot smoking this or that who was only there because he was suspended from school" or "look at his text messages he liked to talk about how tough he was". My response- How could you say these things about someone you've never met? And gee a teenage kid who smokes a little weed and talks tough to his buddies- that's unusual??!" This made me realize how many whites hold these deep seeded fears of stereotypes they see on TV, the movies, etc. 

    I'm further dismayed that they refuse to take an honest look at George Zimmerman's own lies and character issues. He said the confrontation took place at the "T", yet Trayvon's body was 40 feet down the "T"; - He said he had Trayvon's hands out after he shot him, yet Trayvon was found clutching his chest after being hit by a hollow point to the heart; - He claims Trayvon was covering his mouth and nose and smothering him, yet he says that it was him [Z-man] screaming - now that's a nifty trick; - He stood up in court at his bail hearing to "apologize" to Trayvon's parents and says 'I didn't know he was a teenager - I thought he was my age.' This after telling the police dispatcher he [Trayvon] looked to be in his late teens. Zimmerman was caught on video telling his wife to hide money from his web site and had his wife LIE in open court so that he could get a lower bond. Then he claimed he didn't understand the court system. Really?! You're a criminal justice major [& dad's an ex judge & mom's a court-cleark] yet you don't know it's wrong [& a serious crime] to lie in and try to deceive the court??? - Why then all of the character assassination of Trayvon- But NOT Zimmerman? Outside of the bail hearing fiasco the news media has referred to his blatant lies as just 'minor inconsistencies' and that's blatantly unfair. 

    Yet Even after pointing out all of Zimmerman's lies and deceptions my [white] friends remained unswayed. I can attest that these people are far from white supremacists [IE: they're not blatant racistsor I'd have nothing to do with them. In fact if any of them ever said anything overtly racist I'd not think of them as friends any longer. What I've discovered is many white people, especially in my age group (I'm 51) carry around latent irrational racial fears, especially around young Black males. They'd never go to a skinhead meeting and chant white power but they fear young African American males who dress like their favorite rapper, singer, actor, other friends etc. Just like we did when we were kids. They'd be much more open minded had Trayvon been 40 and wearing a polo jacket. 

    Sabryna Fulton hit the nail on the head in terms why the verdict was not guilty. Nobody portrayed Trayvon's point of view. How would any of us feel if we were walking home from the store in our own neighborhood and have some strange dude follow us, first in the car, then on foot. I believe Zimmerman went up that T and approached Trayvon from behind. If that were me I'd think "who is this guy?" "what does he want?" "is he going to rob me?" "is he going to assault me". Is it reasonable to think Trayvon feared for his life? His safety? Absolutely it is reasonable and once Zimmerman initiated the confrontation it was Trayvon defending himself at that point! 

    I believe the conversation needs to begin with the [white lame-stream 'liberal'] attitudes around young African American males. This case has made me fear deeply for my mixed raced grandchildren who at 6 and 8 years old are just a few years away from being perceived as thugs and punks just on the basis of their outward appearance. I am so sad and disgusted that we still live in a world where people are stereotyped based on their skin pigmentation, their clothing, their religion etc... { ---  IMO Probably the main reason this white guy's honest enough to see what most of his 'liberal' white peers refuse to see- is because his daughter-in-law is Black & his grand-kids are 1/2 Black- SO It's personal for him! If you compare what he wrote RE the LIES of KILLER Z to what I & many here @ BAR have said - he basically comes to the same conclusions [Creepy-ass KILLER Z's a LIAR] based on facts & evidence.


    PS: To show just how KILLER Zman's FOX Noise fans have cynically tried to blur the issue of his mixed-race / white-Latino [white dad / Peruvian mom] back-ground- while at the same time whole-heartedly embracing him as their 'honorary' white guy... - In a WaPost poll that Bro Glen Ford linked to in his prior article, 86% of Blacks disagree w KILLER Z's acquittal, vs 60% - 65% of Hispanics disagreeing w it, vs just 35% of whites disageeing [w at-least +51% or more whites agreeing w his acquittal]. So despite so-called 'ambiguity' RE KILLER Z's racial ID, far more whites have embraced him [as their honorary white guy] than have Hispanics!!!

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