The Making of a Zombie Culture
By Charles Sullivan
02/17/06 "ICH" -- -- It is difficult to know what the public
thinks when they watch the major media networks. My mother is a
devotee of the CBS evening news that was anchored by Dan Rather.
I do not know who anchors the program now. If my mother does not
hear about something on the CBS evening news, she does not
believe it. On the other hand, I get none of my news from the
televised media, because I know they are not telling us the
truth either by content or by omission. When I discuss the
issues with my mother she is often incredulous about what I tell
her, doubting my authenticity. Like millions of other Americans,
my mother fails to grasp the extent of the propaganda that is
used to manipulate and misshape her views.
The effectiveness of the corporate propaganda campaign in
accomplishing this end is demonstrated by the following example.
Millions of viewers refuse to believe that the US engages in a
world wide campaign of torture and prisoner abuse. These viewers
summarily reject the documented evidence to the contrary, and
the graphic testimony of the gulag survivors themselves. This is
news that CBS does not report.
Propaganda appeals to the emotional side of the human brain,
while circumventing the side that evokes critical thinking.
Therefore, the systematic torture of captives is a non-event for
the consumers of the corporate news, whose minds have been
deftly manipulated to reach this conclusion without their
knowledge. This is only one of many incidents that explain the
appalling ignorance that characterizes the American public. It
is this kind of ignorance that allows the public to believe the
most horrendous lies, while coaxing them to act against their
own self interest. None are more hopelessly enslaved than those
who think they are free.
If we are to understand the current media crisis, it is
necessary to comprehend who the commercial media serves. The
corporate media exists to serve the status quo, not to inform
the people, as is widely assumed by its consumers. It serves the
private sector, the bottom line, not the public interest, or the
Commonwealth. The commercial media cooperates with those in
power to program the public mind by creating propaganda that in
essence engenders specific emotional responses, and creates a
belief system favorable to the status quo. In essence, the
consumer’s mind is programmed to accept the ‘official version’
of events, without consideration of any and all contradictory
evidence. Well crafted propaganda compels the people to act in
the corporate interest, even as they operate in ways harmful to
themselves and the public interest.
Rather ingeniously, the corporate media furtively programs the
American mind to consume goods and services, while
simultaneously dumbing them down by withholding relevant
information. If this information were presented in context it
might induce the people to act in ways that are public spirited,
rather than selfish. An ignorant citizenry is easily controlled
and manipulated, while a well informed citizenry is not. The
result is that we have evolved into an intellectually lazy and
spiritually shallow culture of mindless consumers—mere
automatons who cannot think critically, or act to save
This explains why the multitudes appear to be in a state of
perpetual somnolence, while the world is collapsing around them.
Their capacity for critical thinking and self examination has
been utterly subverted through prolonged exposure to commercial
television and radio. Their minds remain receptive to the
message of capitalism and empire—programmed to believe whatever
they are told; and to consume goods and services in abundance.
It can be exasperating to those of us still in possession of our
mental faculties to witness the zombie-like state of
indifference that afflicts our fellow citizens, even while the
sky is falling upon them. Their minds truly are not their own.
During the height of revolutionary unionism early in the
previous century, Eugene Debs and other prominent organizers had
the astonishing ability to turn out hundreds of thousands of
people to protect workers from the tyranny of their employers.
This was done without sophisticated electronic media. Large
scale work stoppages were quickly organized to disrupt the flow
of goods and services, which in turn affected corporate profits.
The bottom line is the soft underbelly of capitalism that leaves
it vulnerable to economic disruption through the general strike.
Now we are blessed with an immense and sophisticated electronic
media that is capable of informing and organizing billions of
people in ways that Eugene Debs could only have dreamed of. Yet
the people remain in a state of stupor and somnolence. Far from
being a tool used for the public good, commercial media exists
solely to promote corporate interests, even as it usurps the
public owned airwaves for the masked purposes of accumulating
privatized wealth. The commercial media thus persuades the
multitudes to behave in ways that are self destructive; that
foster ignorance while spreading fear as a method of mind
control, and promote the copious consumption of goods and
Like public lands, the air waves are the property of the people
and they should be used to serve the public, not to program our
minds. However, corporate influence over the political process
has resulted in a massive giveaway of the airwaves to a
homogenized and concentrated media conglomerate that does not
serve the people. We must take them back.
Accomplishing this will require that we think about the public
airwaves differently. We must think in terms of the public good
rather than privatized wealth. Contrary to popular belief, most
private wealth was not earned; it was stolen from the public
domain without providing any benefit to the public in return. So
it is with the public airwaves. Massive corporate profits are
being realized, while doing great and irreparable harm to the
public that owns them. Thinking in terms of the Commonwealth,
rather than privatized wealth, will be a major step toward
ending Plutocratic rule while simultaneously implementing
By now it should be clear that the corporate media serves empire
by turning truth on its head. It provides those who control the
government the means by which to coerce and to deceive the
masses by creating its own fictionalized version of reality.
Thus if George Bush says that up is down, up becomes down. If
Bush says that global warming is not real, it is not real, even
as the planet warms beyond the tipping point. This is relativism
in its purest form; and it does not serve truth. Under
relativism, the familiar points of reference such as up and
down, black and white lose their traditional, reality-based
meaning. They become whatever the emperor proclaims them to be.
If we allow this to occur we will lose our ability to make sense
of the world.
The atmosphere of indifference and apathy that prevails so
widely in America is no accident. It is the result of well
designed and deliberately ambiguous messages crafted by
psychologists employed by the commercial media industry. Thus,
public perception is as far removed from truth and reality as
the miasma induced by powerful mind altering drugs. Because of
the effectiveness of this subtle brain washing, the people are
unable to think critically, and thus are unable to act to save
themselves from the emerging Gestapo state that is enveloping
the nation. Their only hope for salvation is to withdraw from
the reality altering drugs of commercial television and radio,
to which they do not even know they are addicted.
A great awakening must precede revolution.
Charles Sullivan is a photographer and free lance writer living
in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He can be reached at
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