“Understanding the 4th Estate” by John Alexander Madison (May 4, 2009)
The term Fourth Estate refers to the press, or to be more ‘politically correct’ the media. According to Wikipedia, the term goes back at least to Thomas Carlyle in the first half of the 19th century. Novelist Jeffrey Archer in his work The Fourth Estate made the observation: "In May 1789 Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the “Estates General” The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'"
So, does the Fourth Estate have an agenda? It won’t be often that Bill Moyers will be quoted by me but on July 11, 2008 he rather accurately observed:
“Our media institutions, deeply embedded in the power structures of society, are not providing the information that we need to make our democracy work. To put it another way, corporate media consolidation is a corrosive social force. It robs people of their voice in public affairs and pollutes the political culture. And it turns the debates about profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered.
“Our dominant media are ultimately accountable only to corporate boards whose mission is not life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the whole body of our republic, but the aggrandizement of corporate executives and shareholders.
“These organizations' self-styled mandate is not to hold public and private power accountable, but to aggregate their interlocking interests. Their reward is not to help fulfill the social compact embodied in the notion of "We, the people," but to manufacture news and information as profitable consumer commodities.
“Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent at the same time that it enhances the power of the state and the privileged interests that the state protects. And nothing characterizes corporate media today more than its disdain toward the fragile nature of modern life and its indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.”
That about sums it up Bill. Unfortunately while Bill Moyers has successfully described what has come to be known as the Fourth Estate he is also their poster boy.
The mission of the Fourth Estate, from the outset, has been to control the agenda…and our government… and our minds! With the November 2008 elections it is clearer than ever that the Fourth Estate has fulfilled their ambitious 200 year plan. Their agenda was further enabled by “the dumbing down of America” which will most assuredly be the enduring legacy of our 42th U.S. President.
If you agree this is our reality in 2009, the question is “What are YOU going to do about it?”