MEDIA ANALYSIS: ABOUT READERS DIGEST
This is the first article to introduce this section called,”Media Analysis”. Why is media analysis so important? Because we have to learn to sort through the truth and lies in the information technology revolution that we are in the middle of right now in these historic times. Are there people engaged in conspiracies to control the minds of the people because of their vested interests? There is a war going on out there over the control of the minds of the people. The way to protect yourself is to liberate yourself in your mind. To do that you have to have knowledge. Those who keep real knowledge from the people do so for a reason. They want to manipulate you. Call it cultural wars if you want to but that is only a part of it, although an important part.
ABOUT READERS DIGEST
Readers digest in the early seventies was the first magazine to use the word SEX in the title of an article on the cover of their magazine to get people’s attention and boost their magazine sales, a technique they still use to this day. Before it was considered to be poor taste to do so and was taboo among publishers. Readers Digest’s lead was quickly followed by other magazines and is now standard practice in the publishing industry. But why would such a conservative magazine as Readers Digest do this? The answer is strange indeed. Readers Digest had been losing sales and was on the brink of bankruptcy. This clever media ploy saved them. Does this seem amazing? After all Readers Digest is just a business right? Out to make money? It is clear from the content of Readers Digest, a seemingly harmless magazine, that there are vested interests that are extremely political to whom it was very important to keep this publication alive as I will explain.
What is the official, given reason and concept of Reader’s Digest? Why is it called Reader’s Digest? It is called Reader’s Digest because the official concept given by the magazine is that it is a place for people to go to keep up on their reading and what is going on in the world who do not have time to read all of the various, important publications out there to read. Many of the articles were already previously printed in other, well known publications. Hence the word, Digest, in the name. Another component in using the word, Digest, is that Reader’s Digest changes the articles for the given reason of condensing them so that the reader will have more time to read more articles. This seems harmless enough but the reality is Reader’s Digest in fact changes the articles to a particular political slant in the process of condensing them. We can call it for the time being a very conservative political viewpoint but there is certainly more to it. After all it gives readers a skewed view of what is going on in the world and a skewed view of what opinions are really being expressed in mainstream publications by changing the meanings of the articles.
Illustration from clipartlord.com
The only way to really explain the political implications of Readers Digest and the way it propagandizes people toward a certain world view and even perception of reality is to give examples. The most interesting of these examples really gets the point across to begin to understand.
Back when I was a little boy in the sixties Readers Digest ran an article in seriousness that it would be hard to believe people took seriously. It was a story about a black man named Barney and his white wife. They were newlyweds and the wife was carrying Barney’s child. They were traveling across country by car and at night while driving on a desert highway. Barney and his wife were beamed up into a flying saucer. The aliens who at that time were called extraterrestrials did tests on Barney’s white wife that were described in detail in Readers Digest. Included in these tests was when the extraterrestrials stuck a long metal needle into the navel of Barney’s wife, the implication being that the test had something to do with her unborn child. Barney and his wife were unharmed and after a few days on the spaceship were returned to their car in the desert.
Readers Digest did not try to explain what the meaning of the story was and what the aliens were trying to accomplish but this bizarre story just coincidentally was published at a time when there was a big controversy about mixed marriages as in a black person marrying a white person. Even in church on Sundays our priests addressed this issue of mixed marriages more than once. They said that the position of the Catholic church on mixed marriages was that it was not forbidden and people could be married in the Church who were of different races but the Catholic church did not recommend mixed marriage and discouraged it. The reason given was that the Church was studying mixed marriages and was not sure yet if it was a good idea.
One would think that no rational person would have given credence to this unbelievable story in Readers Digest but one has to remember the times. This was the mid sixties and world was an entirely different place than it is now. In fact people everywhere were talking about this incredible story as if it were true. The priests in church even included it in their sermons. They as well as a lot of adults I heard talking about this were convinced that the extraterrestrials had performed the tests on Barney’s wife because they were concerned about mixed marriages. Amazingly Readers Digest re-ran the exact same story again within a very short period of time with the exact same effect. People everywhere were talking about it as if it were true and the priests included it in their sermons about mixed marriages. Is it possible that a printed publication could have this kind of power over influencing how people think? It is and that is what is scary. Never has any news publication or book ever reported about Barney and his wife, who they are or what happened to them. I suppose that isn’t important. The story in Readers Digest served its political purpose.