Without advertisements and governments there won't be media. Those who owns media gets to own the means of colonizing other people's mind, including the minds of the producers.
Producers have to kowtow to the dictates of corporations and governments. Owners of TV stations have controlling interests in the government and vice versa. This is the picture of the interconnectivity of the production of truth and the truth of profit-making.
They are mental slaves in the production house of ideologies; whatever these ideologies may present themselves. They produce for environmental polluters, beer companies, credit card companies, electric companies, cartoon companies, and cigarette companies.
I am sure we know the relationship between advertising slots and TV programming. In the long run, these create good consumers and fewer good citizens that can think critically of the fate of society.
TV is can also be a good master and servant to governments; the more corrupt the government the more corrupt TV programming becomes.
All TV stations are ideological; they do not present the truth - they can never claim to present objective points of view, because these truths are funded by corporations and government. The biggest lie can get funded by the biggest corporate or governmental liars.
TV in a democratic country cannot necessarily be democratic. It is based on presenting seemingly democratic opinions but yet they are all well-crafted to make the audience feel that they are being presented with truth. Non-issues become issues. Villains become heroes. Anti-heroes die a million deaths. Reality is mediated by invented realities.
But is all TV useless?
Malaysian Reality Show
The best Malaysian TV is yet to come - full-length ‘live’ telecasts of the Malaysian parliamentary debates. This can be good for the nation. If we can have a machine to vote for the most presentable politician weekly, we would be on our way to teaching our children what political accountability means. Political accountability can contribute to higher levels of civic consciousness.
Weekly tallies of good intellectual performance, coupled with good track record to no-corrupt acts, and good non-tax-evasion record - all these will help TV viewers enjoy the political game-show and decide on which politician should stay or be axed out.
I think our elected officials are ready for Malaysian Parliamentary TV. It will be a good way to educate Malaysians, especially the younger generation, of the political process, of participatory democracy, of the ethics of politics, of the power of the political intellect, and of powerful rhetoric.
That will be the promising world of good TV. That will be reality TV, Unlike the news reporting we get these days. News reports are massaged truth. Documentaries are longer versions of massaged truth.
TV stations hire more and more good researchers to produce better and better massaged truths.
Al-Jazeera is a station of propaganda of the Qatar government. Fox News is the station of propaganda par excellence of corporate America. The same goes with Malaysian TV stations. They all produce massaged truths. They broadcast points of view that are politically correct. These are propaganda stations that destroy our journey through the stations of the soul.
The human mind is made to be fragmented by these alternate truths. In the long run, the mind creates the self that reproduces itself into a walking and talking "worldview that is shaped by propaganda".
With private and public TV, we are sucked into the world of false consciousness, of make-believe, and of other people's stories.
So essentially the human self cannot escape from being enslaved by ideologies. TV producers, owners, politicians, educators, parents and teenagers must learn how to recognise false consciousness and massaged truths.
But one must first switch off the idiot box and pull out the cable.
Parents, teachers, educators, TV producers, community leaders, politicians - I interrupt this essay with an important public announcement: read books, discuss big ideas, have meaningful conversations, destroys screen idols.
To help children increase their capacity to think, I would suggest we unsubscribe to cable TV, switch off the channels, and begin a programme of TV-detoxification. This might be akin to a rehabilitation programme for TV addiction.
The new daily diet must be of books - good books of the various traditions and disciplines.
Reading is a special psycho-linguistic activity that helps the mind create images out of sounds, syllables, words, concepts, sentences, phrase, alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia, and other strategies designed to make the mind active - the very stuff that helps the brain create and imagine.
It trains the brain in a different way. It does not, like TV, make the brain docile and ready to be raped and subdued.
When the brain is subdued, the mind becomes colonised, and the body becomes a location for consumption. We become consuming bodies that are produced by TV advertising. Satellite owners will benefit. The aim of TV is to sell dreams, turning the life of economic beings into nightmares.
First tier media giants - AOL-Time Warner, Walt Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, AT&T, SONY, Vivendi Universal and Rupert Murdoch - will benefit. Hollywood and Bollywood will benefit.
Buy your child 100 books instead of subscribing to 100 channels. Have quiet reading times instead of living multiple realities created by TV. Get them to understand what it means to have their own stories, and to be makers of their own history rather that be turned into consumers manipulated by TV.
Kids grow smarter around books. Teach them what TV is trying to teach. Or better stilll -- teach them to speak up against injustices and how to transform the world. Teach them to become radical thinkers, armed with poetry and passion, reason and revolution.
But first, turn off that TV. For, the world created by television is too much for our children. They will grow old having four eyes and no mouth.