Pravda, Investia, and Tass – American Style

LAUSD AND THE PRESS - In a 21st century American society with a 24-hour technology driven news cycle, there is an astounding disconnect between what we have the capability of knowing and what actually makes it through the filter of corporate owned media censorship. 

Even at National Public Radio (NPR), foundation subsidies from those controlled by the likes of Bill Gates, Eli Broad, or the Walton’s assure that certain topics either never get addressed in the news or only arrive on the air after being sufficiently sanitized of otherwise relevant facts so as to not offend their foundation benefactors. 

There is a program on NPR called All Things Considered, but clearly at NPR, that receives a good portion of its budget from corporate controlled foundations, they will not, as one KPCC reporter told me, "bite the hand that is feeding them." 

This managing of the news in a manner reminiscent of the old Soviet-styled government-controlled media has come to pass here. Americans have a hard time processing that this is actually going on in a country with a tradition of whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers on Vietnam or Woodward and Bernstein who reported on the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Nixon’s resignation. 

Our generation was raised with the assurance that the truth would out. Regrettably, that era of journalistic excellence is long gone. One only need look at the revelations of an Edward Snowden or the incitement to war in Iraq (based on known falsehoods about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.) Corporate dominance and agendas, furthered by a media that they own lock, stock, and barrel, has become the greatest threat to our right to know, as well as the continuation of anything remotely resembling a democracy, of, by, and for the people. 

But one need not look at national or international news to see how corrupting of truth the "news" has become. On Saturday, July 11, Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times wrote an article entitled, “L.A. teacher discipline: too much?”  In the article, due to the outrageous behavior of LAUSD toward nationally famous Hobart Elementary School teacher Rafe Esquith, Blume’s editors have finally taken the muzzle off of him just enough to suggest that maybe LAUSD has gone too far in disciplining teachers -- and just might have crossed the line in the Esquith case. 

What appears nowhere in this article or in any other article by Howard Blume, or any other reporter for a corporate-owned media outlet, is the fact that for every older teacher like Esquith that LAUSD is able to get rid of, the school district will save approximately $60,000 in combined salary and benefits.  

They save when they replace a top-of-the-salary-scale teacher like Esquith, who is paid over $80,000 a year, with one making $35,000 with significantly less expensive benefits. A tidy sum when one realizes that, one way or another, LAUSD has gotten rid of 14,000 high seniority teachers. Because the public is never given this essential fact -- that 93 percent of targeted teachers are at the top of the salary scale, they have difficulty believing that those running LAUSD would go after teachers, unless they are bad or morally reprehensible. 

This is echoed again and again in the corporate press with an ultimate agenda of privatizing public education for corporate profit. Nowhere is this incredibly dark motive of corporate America or the LAUSD administration ever mentioned. 

One can only hope that the class-action suit being filed by the law firm of Geragos & Geragos on behalf of Rafe Esquith and the thousands of completely innocent teachers unjustly targeted by LAUSD, might also serve to bring back a free press that will publish ALL the news. 

ACTION INFO: If you'd like to be a part of this, or if you or somebody you love has had a life turned upside down, why not try contacting Geragos & Geragos.


(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He’s a second generation teacher at LAUSD and blogs at Leonard can be reached at [email protected] )  Associate editor: Linda Abrams.





Vol 13 Issue 58

Pub: Jul 17, 2015