Brian Williams and the Glaring Unfairness of Hierarchical Rule

In Common Dreams today, there is an article that quotes NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams referring to Bradley Manning at the opening of his trial as “the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden”. The author of the article regularly writes about media issues, and appeals to the reader’s sense of fairness and objectivity by noting that the mainstream media routinely publishes ‘confidential’ and ‘classified’ information, and that our society’s norms, at least in the past, condoned the press freedom to do so, if such information could be gathered. The press has traditionally had no means of extracting such information.

But Manning was an insider in the military hierarchy and not a member of the press. So I think our dissent and defense against elite oppression of the people can be more effective if we go ahead and admit that Manning was a military insider and is being prosecuted as such, not as a member of the press. This allows us to shift the debate away from press freedoms, and to the more relevant and clarifying issue of the roles defined within these hierarchical organizations such as the military. Manning had his orders and he violated them, thus imperiling the elite agenda, and possibly the physical safety of other hierarchical slaves.

This is the underlying frame of Brian William’s message. It is the frame that is quietly understood and unspoken. Unspoken because speaking it inflames the tensions between the masters and the slaves created by the glaring unfairness of hierarchical social arrangements. Sunglasses cut the glare, and so does censoring the underlying frames of the public discourse presented by elite media. The people should defend the press from attacks, as results of leaks by military insiders who violate master’s orders or under any other pretext. But so should we the people defend ourselves from elite oppressions, as part of our vision, ambition, goal, and agenda to live free from hierarchical organizations, free from hierarchical rule.


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