In March 2020, the NYTimes, Wall St Journal, and Washington Post were expelled from Red China, supposedly to counter President Trump’s actions against Chinese media in the U.S. In the Times’ case, its investigations of financial shenanigans by a top Communist may have also gotten under President/dictator Xi’s skin.
Americans have a warm spot for the media as a bulwark against injustice and political corruption: Muckrakers who spurred sanitary laws in the early 20th Century; civil rights coverage that opened our eyes to racism; and revelations that propelled our exit from Vietnam and President Nixon’s from office, as well. But, we easily forget that the phrase “Yellow Journalism,” born of the Spanish American War, is the other side of the media coin – the dangerous power of journalists to mold our thinking.
Even before Donald Trump and FOX News denounced the mainstream media for “fake news,” we at the Italic Institute and the major organizations regularly lambasted newspapers, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue for distorting our image. Dictators are not the only ones to control the national narrative. The free press has an agenda handed down by its owners. Conservative Rupert Murdoch’s family controls FOX, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post – each conveys the Murdoch philosophy. ABC-TV is owned by Disney, NBC-TV by Comcast, CNN by Ted Turner, and CBS by Shari Redstone (Viacom). There may be “editorial boards” to trim the sails, but the course is set by the boss and its corporate needs.
Since the 1980s, I have wished for an alternative to Newsday – the sole regional newspaper for three million Long Islanders, one-third of whom are Italian Americans. Now owned by the Dolan family, which also owns Madison Sq. Garden and a slew of sports teams, the newspaper has for decades exploited gangster lore. In the past, I’ve blogged about its 9-page obituary for John Gotti, and the 15-page homage to Sonny Franzese (who?). Almost every day, Newsday gets my goat. Last Friday, these were the four headlines in the Long Island section: “Huge bust nets drugs, guns, cash;” “Charges in $20M loan scam;” “Inmates’ families want release of those vulnerable to virus;” and “No release for reputed mobster.” Each story was given half a page, but only “reputed mobster” Thomas Gioeli earned a large photo in cuffs.
Analyze this: a multi-million dollar drug ring with fifteen arrests including folks named Rashad Calhoun and Naquan Gray didn’t warrant a perp-walk, and a Chinese national named Muge Ma who tried to con $20 million in government stimulus money didn’t earn a head shot. But 67-year old goombah Gioeli made the editor’s cut – complete with beer belly and sporting his finest tee-shirt. I’m puzzled why Newsday labelled him a “reputed mobster” when he was sentenced to 224 months for racketeering.
But, there are larger observations.
As we all suffer through this Red Pandemic, the silence of the media in blaming China for incubating and mishandling it may now be explained. Global corporations like Disney, Comcast, and Viacom dream of one billion Chinese customers. They don’t want to be expelled from Red China like the Times was. So, let Asian wet markets mess with Mother Nature, but let’s not mess with President Xi. American politicians are safer targets.
Why hasn’t CBS’s 60 Minutes exposed the annual disease machines that are the Asian wet markets? 60 Minutes Australia had to go undercover, but did a damning report on them. Corporate America doesn’t want to offend Asian Americans or their homelands. It would have us endure plagues and economic collapse every few years rather than turn their reporters and editorials on the mind-boggling wildlife trade that spawns these tragedies.
Corporate America’s media arms have no such restraints in pummeling Italic sensibilities with lurid Mafia exposés and investigations. I would gladly accept the media’s unrelenting mistreatment of our community if it would extend that standard to our glorious mosaic of ethnics.
There are an estimated 20,000 wet markets in Red China and southeast Asia, where wildlife is butchered with government consent and supplied by Asian gangs. Only the media can mobilize a global effort to end this madness. Do you fear Climate Change more than Pandemics? At least you can hug your loved ones as the oceans rise. When the virus strikes, it could mean dying alone on a respirator.
Where’s a Greta Thunberg when you need one? – JLM