If you ever read one of those old commie papers — and I hope you never had the opportunity — it sounds most familiar. When Russians quipped that the media never gave them news, that is precisely what they were referring to. Yet Jerome, so obviously mired in what he thinks were the golden years of the USSR that coincided with his own youth, actually wants their concept of “news” to be a model for his dream of an American communist utopia. I refuse to engage in the charade of Jerome’s use of the word “socialism,” since his use of the term is the old Leninist one of socialism as the first phase on the road to communism.
Jerome thinks all those people’s organizations will have their own media, fully funded by the socialist government, because “money is allocated based on assessed social need and not on projected profits.” In Jerome’s mind, once government gives these groups money for their own newspapers, radio stations, and TV outlets, there never would be any pressure from those in control of what in effect would be a party-state government to demand only one role from these outlets: to reinforce the planned economic and political development instituted by the state’s planners. As Jerome writes, local and national governments “set production-distribution quotas.” What if a worker quickly learns he is being forced to work without sufficient remuneration at a breakneck pace? I think deep down, Jerome knows the answer: the state will force him to fulfill the quota, or else.
As in his beloved old “socialist” countries of yesteryear, any independence or real exposure would quickly be condemned as counterrevolutionary pessimism, and those held responsible would find their papers or stations closed down, and the perpetrators arrested. Venezuela, anyone, or Cuba? Or China, where a dissident paper has recently been shut down? These are countries singled out as “progressive” by many of the other writers appearing in the same anthology.