A distraction from extraction. #murdoch #slept-in

If you had time to read the newspapers critically… – I would think you would start with cartoons, then segway to games of chance, the races, football transfer windows, the property market, subprime crisis, austerity and bankers bonuses to show that the entertainment logic of the sports pages/back of the paper runs to the same surface logic as the so-called news at the front of the paper – all in effect a distraction from ongoing geopolitical and micro-political value extraction no matter that it’s culture like opera or weapons sales and death. It makes no difference what the investment is in, so long as a profit is made for the owner (Marx chapter 16 of capital – sausage factory quote).


3 thoughts on “A distraction from extraction. #murdoch #slept-in

  1. So true! As part of a different manifestation of the entertainment-distraction logic, in India we are witness to ‘entertainment pages’ increasingly occupying the spaces reserved usually for hard news. ABP group, one of the very large Indian media houses (ex-partner of STAR) has started inserting its ‘celebrity news and feature’ page called “Ananda Plus” (with the ‘plus appearing in English font) right between the hard news pages, sometimes occupying even the half of a page reporting politics, finance, “weapons sales and death”. All is entertainment I suppose from the media’s pov, all fetch profit and hence dependent on value extraction. Hard news is ‘entertainment’ and entertainment hard news (can the reader afford not to keep track of Warne-Hurley relationship?). And at the same time layout i.e. the structuring of the movement of eye (cartography of distraction?) is crucial here.

    Sorry for making it long, but can’t avoid the indulgence of replacing some words in the ‘sausage factory’ quote: “That reporter alone is productive, who produces surplus-value for the Media, and thus works for the self-expansion of capital. If we may take an example from outside the sphere of production of material objects, a reporter or a journalist is a productive labourer when, in addition to belabouring the heads of his readers, he works like a horse to enrich the newspaper/ newschannel proprietor. That the latter has laid out his capital in a news factory, instead of in a sausage factory, does not alter the relation….To be a productive reporter is, therefore, not a piece of luck, but a misfortune.” Not to forget however the “schoolmaster”. But the role of the state and broadly the complex of teacher-student-learning relationship possibly keep some of the “factory” away from teaching.


    1. Applies just as well to television churnalism also. Thanks Abhijit. Yet there is also a bit of a resurgence of critical journalism in zines and small papers here – people learning to print again on risograph or the print on demand services. Never with the coverage of the national and dominant press, but in the 80s I would collect those small pamphlets in Cal. Is the still such a zine scene? And the little doco world? Has all this survived the blogo interface that now feeds corporate media as well?

      Will have to come and look I guess. Any excuse to visit, huh.


    2. The ‘little magazine’ as it is called in Calcutta has survived, but the anti-establishment tenor that characterized the literary scene till even the 1990s, has withered away considerably. One reason being appropriation of a large part of counter-culture and iconoclasm by the big papers and channels. Everything can now be pitched as ‘cool’ under that grand template of ‘human interest’ and ‘personal struggle’.Yes interesting things are happening here and there. The independent documentary scene is sometimes reassuring. Talking of the blogo interface, here’s a little project that I have been trying to shape up with a group of students of Jadavpur University: http://www.daftaripara.org.


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