News: Nobody Knows, and Nobody Talks.

Corporate media uses Journalism of Exclusion. How can we fight back, and educate ourselves?

Journalism of Exclusion.

This is a term I’ve been using to talk about corporate media. My examples come from my two countries: India and USA.

I just had an opportunity to present a lecture to a group of students at University of Basel, Switzerland. I share some of the thoughts with you, with hope that we expand on the concept. Use your own examples, and join us on this conversation.
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In their groundbreaking work Manufacturing Consent (1988), Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman proposed that mass communication media of the U.S. “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion,” (no explicit media censorship is in place) by means of the propaganda model of communication. 

The title derives from the phrase “the manufacture of consent,” perhaps first coined in the book Public Opinion (1922) by Walter Lippmann. The word consent referred to is consent of the governed, or what we now call the 99 percent.

In our present discussion, we concentrate on the market-driven self-censorship aspect of corporate media in a broader and expanded context – a subtle and politically designed act – that has greatly influenced and driven today’s ruling class to impose their views and perceptions across the world.

It is an integral part of the neoliberal economic and political model that has made the rich and influential even richer and more influential – at the expense of the middle class and poor. In today’s globalized civilization, “self-censorship” is pervasive across cultures and communities, and obvious beyond the realm of media. A climate of apathy, fear and lack of reasoning has gripped the larger society.

In today’s discussion, however, we focus on media, where total or partial exclusion of news and information, distortion, lessening the importance of news, stereotyping of races, nationalities, religions and lifestyles, as well as making the trivial and insignificant headline news are some of the manifests of this concept what we can term Journalism of Exclusion.

To my knowledge, USA and India have in particular followed this model especially since the decline of regulated media and economy, followed by privatization and consolidation of news networks. The one percent of both countries used this concept of suppression, undermining and self-censorship of news, information, and views under a plural-majority “democratic” structure, and achieved great success in manipulating minds of the old and young generation alike in favor of today’s pro-1% status-quo system.

In today’s class, we discuss examples of Journalism of Exclusion in the following contexts:  (1) politics, (2) economics, (3) society, culture and history. Our hope is that together, we shall expand on these topics, with inclusion of our own experiences from various countries and different walks of life.

(To be continued)

Who Made Trump?

huffpost_trump

I challenge you to think: Who Made Trump Trump?

Did New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and CNN make Trump the menace he is today?

Not directly.

But definitely, indirectly, by promoting and safeguarding the 1% and their looting of the economy and ordinary people’s hopes and dreams. The tax evasion. The bailout. The false hopes. The global warfare. The massive job outsourcing. NAFTA. TPP.

And by censoring the modern, democratic, progressive voices and their many years of alternative, sane, socio-economic policy demands (just think Robert Reich or Joseph Stiglitz, let alone Bernie Sanders).

The racists and fanatics and hate mongers took advantage of this huge, purposefully-created void in people’s consciousness, and rallied behind the bigot. That is why Trump is now Trump. It is not his political ingenuity or his billions only. No, it is not just Fox.

Another question.

Why is it that 80 percent of young Democratic voters are voting for Bernie Sanders, but outside of the politically savvy circle, very few know his name? Well, one answer: media.

I have carefully studied mainstream media since my own Columbia University Journalism School days, and in the footsteps of Noam Chomsky (and my beloved professor Late James Carey at Columbia), studied media ethics in particular. “Journalism of Exclusion” the New York Times or CNN way works wonders for the one percent.

You go to any diner, any restaurant, or any public place where they have a TV. What’s playing there? Either Fox or CNN. Stupid stuff most of the time: like some brainless celebrity game or a gossip show. But most people don’t even realize it’s stupid: that’s what they grew up with. They don’t know any other media form is possible. T

hen, you talk to the educated liberal: what do they read or hear? Either the Times, or its clones such as Boston Globe, L.A.Times, Albany Times Union, elitist NPR, etc. Where ingrained is the idea that the status-quo political system is the best the world, and that the U.S. is the best country in the world, no questions asked.

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., smiles for a photo with supporters at the end of a campaign rally at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday, March 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

A massive 80% of the younger generation voters are voting for a 74-year-old candidate who’s taking America by storm — with ZERO money from corporations or their super PAC’s, and he has scared the hell out of global giants such as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Because of his campaign, at least some people are now coming to terms with dirty hidden secrets about America’s miserable socio-economic situation, grotesque inequality, corruption, violence, illiteracy, health crisis, and sky-high prison population. Facts that the two parties and their Clintons have always tried to hush up, with help from their corporate media. Bernie Sanders is bringing to us a fresh air of free information and democracy. Yet, his name is still unknown to a vast swath of the American population.

Media have promoted a hateful racist, and excluded a humanist reformer.

Hillary media bias

Hinduism and High Art

Hinduism and High Art

I am sharing with you some of the very picturesque Durga Puja deities and decorations — mostly from Calcutta, my beloved city. This is a very liberal, folk, egalitarian variety of Hinduism that West does not care to report. Well, if they don’t report it, WE DO. Thanks for your share and comments.

 

Durga makeshift temple interiorDurga 1 Durga 2 Durga 3 Durga 4 Durga 5 Durga 6 Durga 7 Durga 8 Durga 9

Makeshift Monastery
Makeshift Monastery

Stitchwork on Makeshift Temple
Stitchwork on Makeshift Temple

Happy Bengali New Year 1420

Bless Us. Bless Us to Be Pure.
Bless Us. Bless Us to Be Pure.

Today is the Bengali New Year’s Day — the first day of Baisakh, the first month in the Bengali calendar. Today is also the Punjabi New Year’s Day — Baisakhi.

In many other parts of India and Bangladesh, today is a very special day. On this day, small merchants and business owners — along with their employees — celebrate their trade with worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, the two Hindu deities of wealth, success and prosperity.

Many parents decide to give the first formal education lesson to their children on this auspicious day. A Hindu or Muslim priest or an elderly in the family hand-holds the child and makes them write a vowel or a consonant with a piece of chalk or a pencil. Then, there is a sumptuous Bengali feast: the proverbial fish and sweets. Bengalis and Punjabis are both known for their food, fun and festivities. No fun festivity is full without food. Food. First! Food. Fast! 🙂

Today is also the day when at Vishva Bharati, Rabindranath Tagore’s university in the West Bengal village of Shantiniketan, they celebrate the birthday of the poet of all poets. It’s the tradition of the school to celebrate it today, even though Tagore’s real birthday is the 25th day of Baisakh, which normally falls on the 8th or 9th of May.

The Poet of All Poets.
The Poet of All Poets.

In Bangladesh also, many people follow Shantiniketan’s tradition and celebrate Tagore’s birthday on this day. In all, globally, at least a couple of hundred million people celebrate this day as their traditional New Year’s Day. Western media do not know or care to know. They never report it.

Regardless of the West’s ignorance, apathy and exclusion (I now call it Journalism of Exclusion OR Education of Exclusion), today is a very special day in our lives — lives of Hindu and Muslim and Christian and Sikh Indians and Bengalis across the world. It’s a happy day. It’s a day to forget about the ills of the past and move on to embrace the future.

I wish you all — my readers, friends and sympathizers all over the world. I wish you all a happy, prosperous and peaceful year ahead. May Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha bless you. May all your wishes and dreams come true.

The poet of all poets Tagore wrote:

“Jeerna ja kichhu jaha kichhu kheen
Nabiner majhe hok ta bileen.”

“জীর্ণ যা কিছু যাহা কিছু ক্ষীণ
নবীনের মাঝে হোক তা বিলীন”

It means:

whatever is old ‘n doomed and whatever is low
may they all vanish in the young and green’s glow.

I hope we can usher in a new era of knowledge, wisdom and insight. I hope we can learn from the mistakes of the past, and walk together on the shiny, glowing path of a prosperous, progressive future.

In solidarity,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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The Proverbial Ros Golla :-)
The Proverbial Roso Golla 🙂

Of Boson, Bengal, God and His No-Name Particles

Bose with His Esraj (FYI: Bose was from India and so was Esraj)

Note: Professor Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, another world-renowned intellectual originally from Calcutta and Bengal, read this blog and wrote me a message of support.

She wrote:

“He [Prof. S. N. Bose] came quite a few times to our house. He was our Satyen [uncle] because he was friends with Montu [uncle] (Dilip Kumar Roy, Mother’s 1st cousin). If I remember right (these are very old memories), he sat on the floor of the living room and sang with us. A very simple man, absolutely unassuming.”
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I am writing about the Boson half of the now-famous Higgs-Boson — the God Particle.

I’m writing about kind of the half-life of the half-word: like, how it evaporates — in this case, quite rapidly, as if it never existed.

No, it’s not a scientific article; I do not have the necessary qualifications to write about physics, particle physics, mathematics or statistics.

I’m writing about Professor S. N. Bose — an unassuming physicist-mathematician from Bengal — who first conceptualized the Bosons, with help from Albert Einstein. I’m writing about my frustration about Western media’s near-zero coverage of Prof. Bose, even when they’re going gaga about Higgs, Boson and the so-called discovery of God Particle.

I’m writing about a historic, predictable pattern of Western media and establishment’s way of reporting, underreporting and no-reporting of news: how they selectively report and include their preferred facts and names behind the facts, and at the same time, exclude or downplay their non-preferred facts and names behind the facts.

Western media — especially British and American media — have always done it. I shall cite some examples out of a long list we have. I could talk about how New York Times repeatedly mentioned Rabindranath Tagore as Babindranath Tagore (Read Dutta and Robinson: Rabindranath Tagore the Myriad-Minded Man). But I shall concentrate for now on the media exclusion of Prof. S. N. Bose from Calcutta and Dhaka — from West Bengal, now India and East Bengal, now Bangladesh. (By the way, these are the two halves the British cut open and severely bled when they left India after two hundred years of occupation, brutality and pauperization — that’s a story I told a number of times already — on this blog and many other places.)

It is unbelievable that in this 24/7 hyped-up coverage of Higgs-Boson, the so-called global media do not find any serious obligation to tell their global audience what in the world this strange name Boson came from, even when they’re telling big stories about Professor Higgs and what kind of a major genius the British scientist is. (I have no dispute about Prof. Higgs’ genius.)

Bose was from Calcutta and Dhaka (now you know what media says about those God-damn places, right?)

Briefly, it’s like this. Someone hears or reads a news item about Higgs-Boson — also known as the God Particle. A reader or viewer, or two, have this question in their mind, and they ask their Media God (actually, nobody asks: media decides what to say and what not to say, or how much to say it):

Question. — “Dear Media God, can you please tell us what or who Higgs-Boson is?”

The Media God replies: (actually, I borrowed the description below from Wikipedia):

“The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is a proposed elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs who, along with others, proposed the mechanism that predicted such a particle in 1964. The existence of the Higgs boson and the associated Higgs field explain why the other massive elementary particles in the standard model have their mass. […] The Higgs field interaction is the simplest mechanism which explains why some elementary particles have mass. The Higgs boson—the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field—has been the target of a long search in particle physics. One of the primary design goals of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland—one of the most complicated scientific instruments ever built— was to test the existence of the Higgs boson and measure its properties.

Because of its role in a fundamental property of elementary particles, the Higgs boson has been referred to as the “God particle” in popular culture, although virtually all scientists regard this as a hyperbole. According to the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a boson, a type of particle that allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state. Furthermore, the model posits that the particle has no intrinsic spin, no electric charge, and no colour charge. It is also very unstable, decaying almost immediately after its creation.

On 4 July 2012, the CMS and the ATLAS experimental collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider announced that they observed a new particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson, noting that further data and analysis were needed before the particle could be positively identified.”

Great!

At this point, most of the readers and viewers would be satisfied and resign to the dinner table. Just a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would not be satisfied, and ask:

Question. — “But Dear Media God, what then is Boson? Where did the name come from? I like that name — Boson. Could you please tell us, Oh Dear Media God, what the hell Boson is?”

But Media God would now be silent.

I just heard that Tagore, Satyajit Ray and Amartya Sen were also from Bengal. Like, are you kidding me?

See, even in the detailed Wikipedia description, there is no mention of the fact that this no-name Esraj-playing scientist from some God-damn corner of God-damn India and God-damn Bangladesh actually conceptualized the Boson particle way back when — in 1924 or something — through a series of pers. comm.’s (personal communications) with Western scientific and political establishment’s poster child Einstein (no disrespect for the great genius here, believe me!). But science? Physics? Quantum physics? Statistics? In Calcutta? Dhaka? Like, when did they learn how to read and write, let alone do science?

See, nobody except for a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would even suspect that Boson had a lot to do with Bose — this guy from a dilapidated corner of British-partitioned, blood-soaked Bengal — if you only go by the Wikipedia or as of today, major Western media: print, TV, radio or the Internet.

God, His God Particle and all such major discoveries and prizes — such as the Nobel Prize — would be owned, re-owned and renewedly re-owned by God’s preferred men, women and children. Western establishments and media — along with their clone Indian establishments and media — will make sure it happens that way.

So, because they’re not going to do it, let’s see if we can educate and enlighten ourselves on our way. Here’s what I learned over the past few days since the Higgs-Boson news broke big time. Not that I understood it all. But like Sheriff Andy Taylor’s deputy Bernie Fife said to him, I knew “It’s big…like…real big!”

In the Standard Model of particle physics, the Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle that “belongs to a class of particles known as bosons, characterized by an integer value of their spin quantum number.” The term “boson” is related to the forgotten Indian contribution to the discovery. It owes its name to Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist from Kolkata, whose pioneering work in the field in the early 1920s changed the way particle physics had been approached. (Quoted from: http://www.ibtimes.com — read the full article here on this link.)

Just couldn’t resist showing these two men together.

The above article writes more about his fortuitous connection with Einstein:

“Born in 1894, Bose specialized in mathematical physics. He became a lecturer at the University of Calcutta in 1916 and joined the Dhaka University as Professor of Physics in 1921. While teaching the theory of radiation and ultraviolet catastrophe at the University of Dhaka, Bose attempted to show his students that the predicted results did not match the existing derivations of Planck’s radiation law. He made a simple mistake, which accidentally gave rise to a third prediction that produced accurate results! He derived Planck’s blackbody radiation law without the use of classical electrodynamics as Planck himself had done. He later developed a logically satisfactory derivation based entirely on Einstein’s photon concept and sent his paper on quantum statistics to a British journal, which refused to publish it, calling it erroneous.

Rejection of his paper might have frustrated Bose but he sent it it to Albert Einstein himself, with a request to arrange its publication in ‘Zeitschrift für Physik.”

[…]

Einstein immediately grasped the immense significance of Bose’s paper, translated it into German and published it in the August 1924 issue of Zeitschrift für Physik under the title, “Plancksgesetz Lichtquantenhypothese” (the English title was “Planck’s Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis”). He also added the following comment to Bose’s article:

“Bose’s derivative of Planck’s formula appears to me to be an important step forward. The method used here gives also the quantum theory of an ideal gas, as I shall show elsewhere.”

Einstein later applied Bose’s method to offer the theory of the ideal quantum gas, and predicted the phenomenon of Bose-Einstein condensation that became a basis of quantum mechanics.

As Amit Chaudhuri explains in The Guardian, “Einstein saw that it had profound implications for physics; that it had opened the way for this subatomic particle, which he named, after his Indian collaborator, ‘boson‘.”

Bose’s discovery, along with its subsequent development by the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, provided the basis of categorizing the fundamental particles into two groups – “bosons” after Bose and “fermions” after Fermi.” (End of article excerpt).

Great too!

Prof. Bose lived in this house in Calcutta. We used to see him on our way to school.

See, the entire set of facts was published in an Indian publication and written by an Indian author named Kukil Bora (and he quotes another Indian author who wrote in the Guardian, a “lefty” paper). I can’t thank him enough. But what do you think: at this important time when the entire, civilized and developed Western world and its media publish so many stories on Higgs-Boson, shouldn’t they also have reported on the Boson half of Higgs-Boson?

Like I said before, it’s a historic, predictable pattern of Western establishment’s coverage of facts — according to their preference. Very soon, after some initial “disrespectful” reporting, their clone Indian media and establishment would also sweep the Bose and Boson half of the Higgs-Boson particle, by God’s Grace, under the eternally oblivious rug.

Acharya J. C. Bose, legendary scientist and author (and a close friend of Tagore) with students such as S. N. Bose and Meghnad Saha

Just like another Indian scientist Sir J. C. Bose’s name was erased from global memory, first by British media and then by Indians (read article here — click on this link), Prof. S. N. Bose’s name would also be erased from global memory, first by the Euro-American media and then by their clone Indian corporate media.

Neither S. N. Bose nor J. C. Bose was awarded the Nobel Prize (in fact, there’s strong evidence that J. C. Bose was denied by the then-European rulers of India of his invention of the radio — in favor of Marconi — see the article I linked in the above paragraph). And, then, a whole host of Bengali and Indian writers and scientists were bypassed by the Nobel and other international awards committees for we often say and we all know, prejudice, bias and political reasons. Like, Gandhi was never awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (but Kissinger was)! That tradition is on.

There will be some no-name reporting in some no-name publications; but God’s no-name particles rising from this no-name, God-damn, pauperized corner of the globe would soon be erased from human memory by the global media and their puppet masters.

Boson’s connection with Bose, Bose’s connection with Bengal and India, and all these no-name God’s particles from those God-damn, uncivilized corners of the world will remain just like that — no-name — by God’s Grace.

Or, at least, by the grace of God’s “more civilized” children from the Western half of the world.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

I remember seeing them when I was a pre-teen. They lived right next to our Scottish Church School in North Calcutta.