American Idol And The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Charity

Photograph by Gilbert Mercier/ All Rights reserved News Junkie Post

Last night, on the biggest show airing on American TV, was a full display of our deep social dichotomy where struggling American people are asked to give generously to causes they don’t necessarily understand in a show sponsored by corporations such as Exxon, AT & T, Coca-Cola and Ford. The show was introduced by President Obama and First Lady Michelle to boost the efforts of  the charity event.

It seems that the latest trend for some of the most ruthless corporations in the world is to give the illusion that they are benevolent organizations with an elevated consciousness regarding the misery of human kind which they quite often help create. The latest example was Dow Chemical sponsorship of the Live Earth worldwide events on water scarcity. One can not help thinking of the old saying prevalent during the Vietnam war summarizing the schizophrenic American “strategy” of “Candy in the morning, napalm in the afternoon”.

Photograph by Gilbert Mercier/ All Rights reserved News Junkie Post

It is quite easy to understand why corporations such as Exxon, AT & T and Dow Chemical sponsor charity events. Corporations are not individuals, they only care about profit and bottom line and don’t have guilt, but what they do understand is brand image and public relations. It is just smart business for them to give the impression that they do care, as if they had some kind of “corporate soul”.

For the slew of celebrities on display last night on American Idol, it is a bit more complicated and not public relation driven. It might be a slightly cynical point of view, but it is impossible to rule out guilt as a key factor in this global eruption of generosity from people who know all too well they have too much in a world where global poverty is not decreasing but increasing. After all, chipping away at the guilt by giving to various causes probably helps the elite sleep better at night.

In a related topic, President Obama was in Los Angeles a few days ago to raise money for the re-election of Senator Barbara Boxer. A very exclusive dinner was organized, and the people in attendance had to pay a whopping $17,600 dollars per plate.  Needless to say, due to the cost, the exclusive attendance was probably composed mainly by celebrities and corporate moguls. It is as if, in order to have a voice in America you need wealth, to be allowed to rub elbows with the President you have to be wealthy enough to spend $17,600. The irony is that the event in question took place in a city at the verge of bankruptcy, with 12 percent of people unemployed and around 80,000 homeless.

Photograph by Gilbert Mercier/ All Rights reserved News Junkie Post

With the Supreme Court ruling concerning election contributions by corporations, the problem of big money owning politics and the public debate will only get worse. Corporations control most media sources, and will have the ability to massively finance any candidate they want, attack others and spin any political agendas with pseudo editorial pieces. The unleashing of this unlimited flow of money on our public life will finish sapping what is left of our democratic process by completely silencing independent thinking individuals from the public discourse over a handful of  pre-selected ones obedient to their respective corporate sponsors. The Democrats have no intention to challenge the Supreme Court ruling, because they are very much part of this “pay to play” scheme where what matters to secure an election victory is not a high standard of public service or the desire to implement necessary changes, but instead an implicit obligation to serve, when in public office, the interests of  the corporations supporting their campaigns.

Allowing this unlimited corporate  money input into the American political system will surely kill any hope for political alternatives to the two party system, and will make the United States into a full fledged plutocracy where the elite occasionally pay lip service to the common person when it is election time. Last night American Idol’s extravaganza was just a mere preview of what is to come. In our next election cycle, candidate A could be sponsored by Exxon, Microsoft, Halliburton and Coke while candidate B could be  brought to you compliments of AT & T, Apple, Google and Pepsi.

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One Response to American Idol And The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Charity

  1. Bill April 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    The following post is from the last time American Idol did the “Idol Gives Back” in 2008. I felt it needed repeating.

    Would PBS wait 7 months for your donation?

    Back in April of 2008 I donated to the “Idol Gives Back” show only to find out that it would take American Idol 7 months before the charities would receive their checks. 7 months of waiting. Why so long when so many are in need?

    I had an idea…

    I decided to call my bank and ask them just 1 question.

    “If I deposited $64,000,00.00 in a savings account…how much interest would it earn in 7 months?”

    Answer : $3,500,000.00 (That’s 3 and a half million dollars folks)

    Not bad for doing nothing but sitting on the donations.

    Here’s a story from USAToday’s website dated November 12 2008

    I’m all for giving to charities, but don’t you think if they can raise so much money in one night that someone might follow through and make sure the charities get the money? (You know, like maybe the Government or the FCC … somebody … anybody?)

    I’m just askin’.

    Maybe you should too.

    BTW … the only reason it took 7 months instead of 8,9 or 12 months to finally give the charities the money is because the day before the charities got the money Paula Goodspeed killed herself in front of Paula Abdul’s house.

    It’s called damage control.

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