Monday, October 17, 2005
And now, an important message from the Ministry Of Truth
The real story here is that the media actually reported this.
Sam Ceder on the Majority Report observed that this is just one tiny episode in a long pattern of Pravda-like propaganda from the Bush White House. From putting out fake news releases promoting No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug bill and actually paying off Armstrong Williams to promote it (now OFFICIALLY ruled "illegal covert propaganda" by The Government Accountability Office) . . . Add to that, bombarding the press with WMD and terror hype and "Osama = Saddam" lies pre-Iraq invasion, the phony and completely stage-managed media theater of the pulling down of Saddam's statue, to the infamous "Mission Accomplished" fiasco with the toy soldiers of the U.S. military used as mere props for a meaningless photo op, to the fake stage-managed photo ops after Hurricane Katrina (and even THOSE belatedly) . . .
The list goes on.
Now the RNC has actually come up with its own official Government Propaganda news network! Called "In The Know." Check it out, and be enlightened.
But is it possible that the media is starting to wake up a little bit, and to remember what the role of a journalist is in a free society?
I'd like to think so. But it also seems to me that the only reason they've stopped being so spineless and supine is that now Bush's approval ratings are in the tank and most Americans oppose the Iraq war. Well, MSM, if you'd done your fucking job in the first place, Bush's approval ratings would have been in the tank and most Americans would have opposed the Iraq war consistently for the last 3 years or so.
A very good interview on Media Matters with Larry Beinhart (author of "Wag The Dog"), in which he discusses the media and his book about selective reporting, "Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin":
Larry Beinhart - "Fog Facts" (.mp3, 52 min., 18.2 MB)
A very good interview, covering a vast array of topics. Very highly recommended.
He makes one of the best observations/analogies that I've heard about the media: it's like McDonald's. The movie "Super-Size Me" revealed in no uncertain terms that eating McDonald's food makes you fat, unhealthy, and eventually will kill you; but, people keep eating it anyway. The parallel with the media is the market-driven forces at work: rather than deliver "healthy" news (i.e., the truth), the media delivers "junk food news" (i.e., trivial entertainment, and news that they think their audience WANTS TO HEAR).
That's the crucial danger of what has been called "The FOX Effect." We need ratings -- everyone's watching FOX now. We need to be more like them. We need to have more flags waving. We need to label our war coverage "Operation Iraqi Freedom," like FOX does. People are feeling patriotic -- we don't want to be questioning the war or its motives or consequences, or any other actions of our Beloved Leader right now.
And the truth is, they were probably right, from a "Free Market Utopian" point of view. It's possible that advertisers would even have pulled their ads if the major networks had took a certain stand or reported accurately and honestly.
But truthfully, there was more at work than simply market forces. Otherwise, explain why Phil Donahue's show was canceled?