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Free speech for who?

Marx observed that the ideas of an age are the ideas of its ruling class. In to-day’s contemporary society, we are saturated by vast quantities of words and images conveyed by the mass media. Workers must always remember that the mainstream media (whatever its hue) is an instrument motivated by ideas and interests that are contrary to their interests. Everything that is published or broadcasted is influenced by one idea: that of serving the dominant class and of combating the working class. The ugly truth is this: that the media is owned by the capitalist class to support its pitiless work but the customers and subscribers are those they attack, members of the working class. Most media are obliged to address a working class audience, because that is the largest. Unless they reach this audience they will fail as businesses. To gain profits a newspaper or TV channel must get readers by the million. The media, by their nature, spread certain ideas and . and being such an important asset…

Bad News

A study in America found that over a three-year period, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN aired just 141 stories in which unions and the labor movement were either the primary or secondary topic. That's out of an estimated 16,000 news stories aired on the four networks, so less than 0.3 percent of all news stories. Not only were just the unions not getting much attention in the news their view was being ignored. CBS did not use even one union source in 24 percent of its stories on labor; NBC omitted union voices from 19 percent of the stories.
The pattern of portrayal of unions was negative, with workers critical of unions more likely to be heard. The report found that news about labor and unions related to the field of education and the automobile industry included more governmental sources than labor sources. “The news treatment thus presents the government as the organized party willing to provide solutions, but not the labor/union negotiators”.

These findings resemble those of past studie…

Football democracy

One of Scottish football’s leading administrators has called for the game to accept that supporters matter more than television companies, and to rethink the balance between the demands of broadcasters and the interests of supporters.

Hibernian managing director Fife Hyland said the demands of broadcasters had been too easily allowed to outweigh the interests of supporters, particularly when it came to deciding kick-off times. “We know TV is important to Scottish football but it’s not the be all and end all,”he said.

For many of the Scottish football clubs , match-day receipts remain several times greater than income from broadcasting. For example, in their last published accounts, for the year to July 2010, Hearts revealed that their matchday revenues were more than two and a half times greater than their income from broadcasting. Their income from TV was £1.5million, while that from matches (gate receipts plus smaller associated items such as programme sales) was £3.9m. There is an ev…

poverty porn

Last year Socialist Courierposted about The Scheme now the Onthank housing scheme in Kilmarnock, featured in the BBC Scotland's documentary series The Scheme has become a tourist destination.

At one point residents erected a sign charging "all scheme tourists £1 entry" - with a view to erecting a children's playground with the proceeds (only for East Ayrshire Council to haul it down within hours as illegal "fly-tipping" and as one resident said the fastest response to dumping "rubbish" ever recorded in the scheme.)

"The reason we put up the first sign is you will pay to go into a zoo or safari park, and they are coming here likes it's a safari park but with human beings on show. That's why we put up the sign, as a joke,"saidKaren McLean

Author and social commentator Peter York said it was understandable that the television programme would draw in spectators: "...the white working class has become the one group that can be baite…

The Scheme - Poverty Porn ?

The Scheme , a 4--part series ( the final two episodes of the series have been postponed indefinitely because a 17-year-old male resident featured in the shows had been charged with assault) is a fly-on-the-wall documentary of life in half a dozen households in Onthank, a housing estate in Kilmarnock. Condemned by some as little more than "poverty porn", it has provoked debate.
In its depiction of six families in the Ayrshire community, a myriad range of social problems have been shown on screen, from poverty and unemployment through to addiction and anti-social behaviour. In the north-west pocket of Kilmarnock where Onthank lies, the statistics make for even more alarming reading. There, compared with other parts of East Ayrshire, four times as many children live in households where no adults work; almost three times as many adults are unable to work due to disability or illness; and nearly twice as many adults die as a result of heart disease.

Douglas Hamilton, head of Save…