Empire of Illusion
Many sectors of the media and the general culture form veritable weapons of mass distraction. Maybe they should be monitored to protect citizens with regular inspections from the United Nations. Perhaps the Surgeon General should label TV programs the same way she labels cigarettes and alcohol. So while we are enduring yet another episode of Madonna adopting a child in Malawi or baseball slugger Manny Ramirez taking steroids, a scroll will appear at the bottom of the screen saying: this program can cause mental health problems or this is fluff. Run of the mill sound bite journalism is shallow and lacks detail and context. Things just happen. The end result? The triumph of inanity and superficiality producing an ignorant population unable to comprehend important public issues.
Chris Hedges is an award-winning journalist who has covered wars in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. He writes a weekly column for Truthdig.com and is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of many books including Empire of Illusion, Death of the Liberal Class, The World As It Is, and Wages of Rebellion.