Friday, July 31, 2015

What's wrong with American capitalism? Jimmy Carter says it's our money-driven, oligarchical electoral system.

This morning I stumbled (via Reddit) on Jimmy Carter's blunt July 28 comments about America's money-driven and arguably oligarchical electoral system (his word!). And here he is, talking on Thom Hartman's radio program:

Carter's comments have been overlooked (suppressed) in mainstream media, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. Remember, this is President Jimmy Carter. Here's the latest on media coverage of them.

Moments before seeing Carter's comments, I read today's NYT op ed by David Brooks calling for "a great debate about the nature of capitalism". I then wrote the following comment to it: 

OK, so I won't hear from David Brooks, even though the political media I propose would by design be independent of the "strong government" he sees as a curb on economic growth.   

As difficult as would be the creation of the political media outlined above, the dangers of not creating it are far, far greater.  Think about it. In the past few days America's most credible news media have turned away from a living U.S. president for publicly stating the obvious: the oligarchical character of American political discourse. It's an absurdly Emperor's New Clothes situation, with President Carter shunned like a child for uttering a known, naked fact that news media simply don't want Americans to hear. Instead, what media give us is Donald Trump.

All this constitutes great danger. It shows America to be a delusional society, a nation whose citizens and leaders have lost all capacity to trust, communicate or reason with each other in the news media which, in our interactive age, should be connecting us instead of polarizing us.

Bottom line, the central task of a functional political media is the generation of verifiable trust. It's hard to see how America will ever halt its current political death spiral without developing media mechanisms at local, state and national levels that strengthen Americans' ability to trust but verify, as the Russian proverb that Ronald Reagan picked up from Mikhail Gorbachev so beautifully puts it.

That's what we're working hard to create at CCM. 

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