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Can You Imagine the Media in a Communist USA?

Comrade Fred Jerome, who wants to nationalize Fox News, certainly can.

by
Ron Radosh

Bio

January 24, 2014 - 10:55 am

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About one week ago, the left-wing webzine Salon published an article by one Fred Jerome titled “Let’s Nationalize Fox News.” Jerome’s article, it turns out, is excerpted from a new book published by HarperCollins, Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. It is important for what it reveals about the old communist mentality, still alive in Jerome’s mind.

The Salon site does not provide any information about the author. The book says only that he is a journalist and author of a few books, who was subpoenaed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the ’60s.

So it’s left to me to provide a more accurate appraisal of Mr. Jerome. As readers of my memoir might recall, I knew Freddy Jerome as one of the leaders of the NYC young communist movement during my high school years. I recalled the last time I had contact with him. When I was in the city during vacation while in college, Freddy met me to discuss putting together a trip to Cuba. He demanded that I first join the new Marxist-Leninist group he was forming. When I refused, he turned and said, as he went on his way, “I have nothing to do with enemies of the working class.”

Fred Jerome came from major communist stock. He was the son of the late cultural commissar of the CPUSA, V.J. Jerome, the man most well-known for trying to keep the Hollywood Reds in line. Fred Jerome broke with the CPUSA in the ’60s, and was one of the founders of the Maoist “Progressive Labor Party.” If ever the cliché “like father, like son” rings true, it is the case with Fred Jerome. In this brief excerpt, Jerome reveals how news organizations would function in a “socialist” America — except, it is indistinguishable from how they actually functioned in the old Soviet Union, or how they function in communist Cuba today.

Indeed, Jerome’s article could be taken as a model for the old Soviet Pravda [truth] or Izvestia. We all know the old joke, “There’s no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.” That was an old Russians saying, a response to the masthead which actually said, “Proletarians of the world, unite.” After reading Jerome’s prescriptions for the press, one could put that on the masthead of his would-be newspaper before it is even written.

Jerome writes:

So news (and views) in a socialist society will be brought to you by a plethora of noncommercial sponsors. The government media will report on and discuss, for example, the major government plans for production, how to improve education, and more. But other media—newspapers, TV and radio stations, and Web sites sponsored by workers’ organizations, cultural organizations, youth groups, sports teams, and neighborhood groups will report on issues specific to their interests.

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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.

Later, Jerome writes how union theater groups would be subsidized as they ran productions of Threepenny Opera, Waiting for Lefty, and West Side Story. What if a theater group decided to produce, let us say, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged? Since that would never occur to Freddy Jerome, let me pretend we lived in his communist state, and someone indeed made just that suggestion. What would Comrade Jerome say, as he was sent by the party-state apparatus to lay down the line — as his father did in the ’40s — to the wayward comrades? I posit he would tell them something like the following: “Comrades, someone in your theater troupe is guilty of ‘false consciousness.’ The other comrades must demand quick re-education, and confession through public apologies and pleas for forgiveness.” If that is not coming, the wayward comrade would fully understand what was next: public trial and a nice term in the new American gulag.

Finally, Jerome begins his article writing that “the major US media are run by and for big business, or …are themselves big businesses.” He continues to say that,

it is a grand total of six mega-corporations—Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, and Comcast” that run the entire American media. And of course, these evil corporate conglomerates are simply “tools used by the 1 percent to rule and fool.

So, it must come as a surprise to Comrade Jerome to see that the book in which his essay appears is published by HarperCollins, a firm which, as Wikipedia tells us, is owned by — you guessed it — none other than Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, the very first conglomerate he lists as his example of corporate malfeasance! It does seem that where those evil corporate capitalists see a market through which to make some money for the bottom line, they’ll even fill the need by printing a communist book. It’s quite simple. Their owners add up those who participate in anarchist street action, the Occupy movement, and the membership of various sect groups, and see that they can make more than it costs to publish the volume.

Yes, I know Jerome’s response. It would be that attributed to his hero Lenin: ”The capitalists will sell us the rope we’ll use to hang them with.”

For the rest of us, reading Jerome’s prescriptions of how wonderful news media would be in his communist utopia gives us grounds for fear. Perhaps the Murdoch folks will have the last laugh after all: Perhaps they fully understand that once one reads the bromides of Fred Jerome, that in itself provides good medicine for doing all possible to prevent the success of those working on behalf of Fred Jerome’s political agenda.

*****

Cross-posted from Ron Radosh’s blog

Ronald Radosh is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at The Hudson Institute, and a Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York. He is the author or co-author of 14 books.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
A great thought exercise, Ron. I suppose if I tried to imagine the horror of living with a communist propaganda machine in America, some of the things I would expect to find would include:

1) a news anchor pushing forged documents about the last non-Communist President in our history
2) photoshopping of pictures in magazine that redden the eyes of candidates running against the Communist Party
3) leaking of national secrets to communist countries
4) utter failure to hold communist government accountable for any act, scandal or failure
5) coverups of assaults on political opponents
6) spies for communist foreign dictatorships working at large metropolitan news outlets
7) spousal relationships between administration leaders and the media that pretend to cover them
8) the administration caught in repeated lies, fraud and abuse and not once, is the exposure due to any investigative reporting by the propaganda machine...they only grudgingly give such exposure shorted coverage AFTER it is exposed elsewhere, and usually in a way that minimizes the scandal and then buries it
9) puff pieces about PARTY and hatchet jobs about PARTY opponents
10) breakdown of morale nightly in wartime when a PARTY opponent is at the helm, complete blackout of negative stories in wartime when a PARTY member is in charge

I could go on, but the thought of living in a society that allowed the rape of their information stream without rage is too unbearable to contemplate. It's not my America. My countrymen and the leaders we depend on to keep the freedoms we were bequeathed would never be so meek, tepid and soft to allow that to happen to this land of ours.

It couldn't happen here. Or so I'm told every weekend on these very pages.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. - Joseph Goebbels
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Can You Imagine The Media in a Communist USA?"

Yes, Ron, all I have to do is turn on the news, as we speak. It has become a pure form of, "the truth exists only to serve the purposes of the state."
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (43)
All Comments   (43)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Comrade Freddy forgot the NY Times, but I suppose he may like them. Why not.
Interesting that the moderates from, was it Salon gave this red a platform, Free speech ok, but for someone who as this bunch always does, would set up the firing squads? A hundred years of history doesn't lie.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obviously, Jerome has never heard of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The comment system at PJ Media has failed me.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Am I still allowed to comment after I spoke against censorship of bad words on this site? If I still am, I'll just say, the Cold War was won by the Reds. They infected pretty much every municipality north of the Mason Dixon Line. I work with these people. Their baseline is socialism.

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Has anyone here ever met a commie who didn't intend on being part of the ruling establishment after their glorious revolution? I've never met a commie yet who wanted to just become another cog in the machine. They all plan to be part of the government in order to "govern because we are the ones who will know how to do it."
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
LOL! They do all think they're one of the elites, don't they? smh
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. RADOSH, If you would have suggested a 'Fascist' media you would have hit the nail on the head!

The whole media is run by These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America ASHLEY LUTZ JUN. 14, 2012

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Which of those controls PJ Media?

Dolt!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
NYC must have been something back in the day with all the earnest communist youth proselytizing the proletariat.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've often thought that the simplest and the most direct truth-telling exercise would be to:
1) Grab a list of the "Goals of the Communist Party" - making a checklist of the "goals" that have already been accomplished.
2) Grab a list of our elected officials and unelected czars in the administration; together with a list of all our Congress critters and:
Make a list of those that are card-carrying members of the CPUSA.

Publish both lists; and start kicking ass and taking names. How difficult is THAT?!!!!!! There is a corruption in DC/Media that prevents just about ANY serious and truthful discussion; so let's get the ball rolling.
How about it Ron??
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
45 goals of the Communist Party in America were read into the Congressional Record in 1963. Feel free to check them off for yourself.

http://archive.glennbeck.com/news/03212002.shtml
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
We already have something like an apology for America rag: it's called the Huffington Post. Now all they have to do is figure out how to strip them of their profits and unionize and pay their for-free bloggers even as they promote the evils of the current minimum wage. Given their contradictory semantic and logical gibberish, I feel sure they are up to the task. By that I mean tax payers will pay to be insulted.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ron - I think you are beating a dead horse. The way I see it - Fox, MSNBC, CNN are all corporately owned and are dependent on the whim of advertisers. For all intents and purposes they all hire media and marketing analysts and come up with stories that appeal to a particular market segment. Even Al Jezera is pretty tame.

If you want to listen to interesting stuff you have to go to Pacifica Radio on the left or some of the really right win stuff on TakiMag.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I always get a big kick out of "Democracy Now!" on PBS.

38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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