Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

What Liberal Media?

By
January 3, 2009

WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA?

Rush, Sean, the Billous One, and other bloviators like Ann Coulter have long complained about media bias. A LIBERAL bias. Imagine my shock when after searching long and hard for such a welcome viewpoint, that no such bias exists. To the contrary, today’s media has become shallow, insipid, brain-dead, and worst of all, boring. When six countries are at each others’ throats in the middle east, (Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey) corporate media thinks that we are more concerned missing besotted blond bimbettes, or dead children whose parents abused them, forcing them into beauty contests at the age of four (JonBenet), or worst of all, what some faux plumber who is not named Joe thinks about McCain’s economic plans.

Worse yet, in today’s era of instant global communications, America’s MSM has been notable not for its successes, but its failures. Here’s a short list:

Iraq
A bunch of Afghanistan-based Yemeni and Saudi religious freaks advertised their intentions to attack the USA, and but for the burro-cratic screw-ups populating the top offices in the FBI, (I am being kind), and the utter lack of ability to do her job by exhibited by Condi Rice, they would have failed. Instead, they stole some jets, killed a bunch of people and knocked down several buildings.

America’s response? We invade Iraq, probably the only country in the region with absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

Where was the MSM on this massive screw-up? Missing in action. Even today, when most Americans acknowledge that Iraq has been a super-expensive, deadly, and total cluster-fuck, MSM is pulling its people out of Iraq. Apparently, there is no story worth investigating there. Not even the fact that our DOD broke federal laws by using illlegal propaganda techniques domestically. Nor the upcoming failure of government, the Kurdish war, the Sunni Shia battles, the Baathist resurgence, Iran’s actions, continuing fraud by US contractors, and of course, death. Lots of death. Disease, Hunger. And death.

Condi Rice
Another disease the current MSM has is the manufacture of heros, as though America cannot choose its own. Condi is the perfect example. Way out of her league, she blew personally and professionally blew the whole 9/11 episode. Her pitiful mushroom cloud comments were accepted by the MSM without question. Her first Russian visit was an international disaster, yet portrayed as a success domestically. Her lack of knowledge and experience was magnified by her inept inability. Her promotion to SexState convinced many abroad that her boss was a certifiable lunatic. Once there, her aggressive attitude, demanding ways, and shallow, prickly behavior was applauded by the MSM, when the rest of the world held their collective breath, wondering how much longer they would have to suffer this fool.

MSM’s treatment of Condi Rice was and remains reprehensible. Not one hard question, not one investigation, not one critical story was aired about her. She was MSM’s darling, and they did their collective best to present her only in glowing terms. Even today, she is a MSM star, despite eight years of wreckage, destruction, blood, consistent failures, and war.

FISA, Patriot Act, illegal spying pre-9/11
One cannot help but be awed by how the MSM dropped the ball on what used to be traditional American Values (and not the make believe crap that the GOP pretends to follow). Somehow, between the ultra-right religious infiltration of society, the aggressive, myth-based neocon agenda promoted by the Administration pushed aside what America used to stand for, and for a time, confused Americans enough to pass fascist legislation.

As Boy Wonder told us, “They hate us for our freedoms,” so the administration’s response was to take our freedoms away? Bah.

In March of 1933, a newly sworn-in President Franklin Roosevelt greeted an anxious, tired, and scared country with these words: “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive, will prosper . . . Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . . nameless, unjustified terror paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Boy Wonder’s response? “Now, watch this drive.”

US Attorney firings
Since the corporate take-over of the news, once thriving regional papers have closed, or been turned into mindless pap, with canned stories replacing (expensive) local reporting. Radio has gone from a robust art form, to a choice of three: Bad sports talk, bad conservative talk, and bad music. Clear Channel’s buying spree, along with its competition, has done more to destroy radio than any other factor. TV news? Hah. If there is a fire, a murder, or a big nasty crash, it may get covered, but only if the missing blond bimbette story or OJ aren’t mentioned.

Is it any surprise that a more complex, more devastating, and far-reaching story like the firing of US Attorneys for political reasons, never made it into the news? Or the related political arrest, judicial abuse, and eventual imprisonment of Alabama Gov. Siegelman? Or the fake voter fraud cases being pushed in 2004 and 2006? Where was the media investigation of these events?

Our MSM’s behavior over the past eight years has been pathetic. Since when did they become lapdogs, sucking up to the Scooter Libbys, pushing canned, planted, even fake pro-Administration stories, gladly, even proudly accepting the chance to dance with Karl Rove at a press party? If it weren’t for some intrepid intertube reporters from TPM, digging, investigating, and (AHEM. Hey, MSM! Pay attention here. This point is directed to you. I will type really slowly so even you get it:) R E P O R T I N G on these issues, the crimes committed by this White House, Karl Rove in specific, would never have been discovered.

Corruption and torture in Iraq
A cargo plane carrying pallets of of US currency landed in Baghdad, and promptly fell off the proverbial radar screen. The billions of dollars sent secretly to Iraq went missing with no investigation or comment by our MSM. Contractors, those not using slave labor, routinely won no-bid contracts on a cost-plus basis. Translation: The more they wasted, the bigger their profit. Even worse, their quality control has resulted in US troops eating bad food, (not just not tasty, but poisonous) drinking bad water (The ice they used to store corpses was used in drinks served to US troops), being electrocuted in the shower, not to mention out and out fraud stealing US taxpayer money.

As for torture? The NYT was asked to hold off publishing photos and proof of US torture policies. BEFORE the 2004 election. And the NYT obeyed, helping a criminal president be re-elected.

What happened to that once proud profession? Where was the MSM? Comfortably embedded with troops trained to provide only one side of the story. It is true that a very few number of reporters did go off the reservation, and tried to report on the real facts. Two things happened to them: i) they were iced out of any information flow from the US military, ii) they were shot. (Iraq-based reporters have had the highest casualty rate of any war or occupation).

These are but a few of our MSM’s failures. But what is the cause? And what is the solution, if one exists?

The problem can be summed up in one term: Corporate Ownership. Media conglomerates do not compete, they control and direct programming, even news programming, from above. Today’s corporate media moguls thought that by buying out the competition, they could increase profits, lower costs, and manipulate the news to their benefit.

It is almost amusing that Corporate Ownership has sown the seeds of its own destruction. With every take-over of smaller papers, with every computerized programming effort, with the dumbing down of the news, and turning it into infomercial junk, the corporate owners thought that they were squeezing profits out in ways never before attempted. No longer were 4% returns appropriate; 14% was their goal. With every firing, consolidation, cutting of staff, dropping of resources, they forgot that one key ingredient – their audience.

What was worse was the political tone that spread throughout Corporate MSM, especially the last 8 years. Hard questioning of Bush, Cheney, or Condi was deemed off-limits. Questioning policy decisions or military, economic, or social policy fiascoes could not happen, lest the media be painted with some imaginary broad “traitor” brush. In many ways by design (Clear’s ban of Dixie Chicks), and in others by circumstance, America’s MSM became both a corporate message machine, as well as scared of its own shadow (much like the Democratic leadership in Congress). Even Katrina, with its floating, rotting corpses, did not wake up MSM and force it to reassess its warm, friendly relationship to this administration.

Some people, especially on the far left, have called for the return of the so-called Fairness Doctrine. With that tool, they think that they could match Rush’s and Sean’s lines and lies, step by step, word for word. They are wrong. Frankly, the Fairness Doctrine is a canard. We live in a different world, and we no longer have three TV, five radio stations, and a morning or evening newspaper as our sole access to world events. This law will not solve anything.

You cannot mandate content from the top down, as we see each day. The Corporate Ownership has tried, for eight years, to force its pro-business opinions (tort reform, Medicare’s Prescription mess, and so many more) down America’s throat. Yet, despite that constant pro-business drum beat, most Americans are willing to seek national health care, a quick exit from Iraq, stem cell research, and a real Department of Justice, among other “socialist” and “liberal” ideas.

Simply matching or replacing the conservative slant currently in the MSM with a liberal or progressive tone will not fix the problem. Eventually, any liberal message would have the same track record as the conservative outlets, ie eventual failure. (which would give Rush even more gristle to choke on, between his Viagra and Oxycontin binges) Unfortunately, the disease (Corporate control and consolidation) remains in place.

Clearly, there is great interest in news. Blogs and websites discuss Palestine, Syria, China, and Euro-Dollar exchange rate with far more detail and interest than you would ever find on CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, or CBS. There is a possible solution to the MSM mess. The solution is divestiture. No more massive media chains, controlling and directing how news is reported to 80% of the population. Small papers would again go back to their 4% profits, but again concentrate on local stories of interest. Radio stations would compete for listeners, not by following the political and programing whims of Wall Street or Clear, but by being creative and interesting.
Clearly there is a need for national news services. The costs of on the spot reporting, foreign events, and investigative journalism would all improve with competition, instead of consolidation. If we returned to certain limits on the numbers of papers, stations and TV outlets any one company could own, perhaps the individual media outlets would realize that survival means that their product has to be good. And for their product to be good, news needs to be investigated, confirmed and reported.

What a nice change that would be. Of course, if MSM wakes up and starts doing its job, the first target would be the Obama Administration. That’s fine, in fact, that would be welcome. If the MSM started asking tough questions again, it would likely benefit both the new administration and the country. Intelligent discussions of American policy and America’s problems would be far better than wondering if JonBenet’s mommy was a killer. Besides, if the new administration collects any criminal elements, like the Bush Administration did, I suspect that they would want that out in the open sooner than later, so they deal with the problem. Under Bush, such folks either received a presidential medal or a promotion.

16 Responses to What Liberal Media?

  1. Carl Nemo

    January 7, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I like your thoughts on this subject Hoosier_Cowboy… : )

    Liberal, Conservative, even the “ultimate, absolute truth” if it were broadcast means nothing because the most important aspect is the cut to a commercial selling more overpriced, shoddy “stuff” to the consumer as you’ve so succinctly stated.

    The businessmen that run this planet could care less about what we, or even the MSM moguls think on any subject as long as their aired broadcasts prompt us to continue buying more of their marketed “stuff”, seemingly a paradigm that’s in a worldwide slump… : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. AustinRanter

    January 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    All of the major media related companies around the world are either controlled by governments (usually evil governments) or owned by corporations that have acquired media outlets as subsidaries, which aren’t related to their primary business income.

    News reporting companies need to be owned by public corporations about as much as say a law firm going public. Can you imagine the various consequences of some deep-pockets individuals who aren’t licensed attorneys… or a major household appliance corporation gaining controlling interest in one of the top law firms in the nation? What demands would be placed on those law firms to grow their earning potentials?

    What if a nasal spray manufacturer was able to purchase controlling interest in a Ears-Nose-and Throat medical group?

    Maybe news reporters need to be a licensed individual like doctors and lawyers. Maybe news reporting companies should only be allowed to be owned by master level licensed news reporters.

    I’m babbling, but I think you get the gist of my point.

  3. ralphcat

    January 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Does anyone else watch The News Hour on PBS?

    It’s a weeknightly, balanced presentation of non-hyped, bimbette-free stories. You can count on civil discussion of an issue by persons from opposing points of view or a panel of experts, moderated by one of The News Hour’s correspondents who has ACTUALLY DONE HIS/HER HOMEWORK on the subject under consideration. By devoting 8-10 minutes to each story, The News Hour delves deeper than the other shows and gives its audience a better picture of what’s going on than they can get from other broadcast sources.

    Jim Lehrer’s show may not be perfect, but it’s a far cry better than anything else calling itself a “nightly news” program on American TV.

    Other than that, I agree with Mr. Kezelis. Both print and broadcast media have sunk to an abysmal state of incompetence, irrelevance and unprofessionalism. (Didn’t the movie Broadcast News foretell this very situation?)

    Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through — Jiminy Cricket

  4. Warren

    January 17, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    The aftermath: Within minutes of posting the above, my wife, sister, and mother were gathered around the TV watching some incredibly pandering stuff on CNN about Obama’s train trip; people hugging each other on the train station platforms and congratulating each other on the win, and superlatives all around on what a wonderful thing was happening.

    I said ‘this is bullshit. This sort of adulatory treatment of the president elect is inappropriate. This is not a coronation of a king.’ It cleared the room. Everyone stormed out after turning off the TV. I explained that I am not anti-Obama, but I am anti- Imperial Presidency. That this sort of media coverage is problematic. That adulation of the President causes problems as witnessed by the last eight years. It didn’t matter. My whole family is now alienated.

    Goes to show what a problem we have; populace wanting a god for president and the complicity of the MSM.

  5. Warren

    January 17, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    A thought experiment: Why is it that left-leaning radio talk shows can’t get a bit of traction while right-leaning shows abound and proliferate?

    I propose this hypothesis: Those who identify with the left have their convictions validated by the MSM on an hourly basis. Those who identify with the right don’t have their convictions validated by the MSM and so find other channels.

    Just a hypothesis. I’m sure other contributors will offer other ideas.

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    January 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    In all fairness, the MSM IS liberal, in some very minor respects. They are relatively pro-gay rights, relatively pro-government and relatively pro personal freedom as long as it doesn’t interfere with with Israel’s “freedom.” I’m thoroughly convinced the MSM gets it’s marching orders from Tel Aviv; even more so these days than in the ’80s when I worked in the TV “biz” in L.A. Personally, I wish it would just go there, for good, and leave US alone.

  7. Baal

    January 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Sorry, but the MSM IS NOT LIBERAL…..

    One only has to research the major 8 owners of our media outlets and look @ who they donated to during the last few elections to have a REAL clue….

    They are pretty much split right down the middle…. Disney donates a lil more Dem, Time-Warner donates a lil more GOP and on it goes….

    and NOBODY is going to convince me that Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife are Libruls….

  8. Carl Nemo

    January 3, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    I too share your immense frustrations Rob Kezelis concerning our non-performing media.

    Pravda (Russian: Правда, “The Truth”) was the leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991; ie., basically a mouthpiece for their hardcore communist propaganda.

    Boris Yeltsin shut the newspaper down in 1991 during his ascendency to power.

    Today the newspaper is more tabloid in style, but still an interesting source of news that’s superbly juxtaposed against the manure the MSM feeds U.S. citizens on a daily basis. I enjoy reading the paper on the web and on more than one occasion it makes me go hmmm? concerning some issue that has been hard sold to us by our compromised MSM.

    http://english.pravda.ru/allnews_en.html

    I find it interesting that our news sources have become more like the Soviet era Pravda with our Congress performing as nothing but a handclapping, rubber-stamping politburo for every cockamamie scheme hatched by a criminally disposed executive branch.

    So I guess the hardcore commies did take over the U.S. without firing a shot, while the stay behind commies cast off their chains only to become pirate capitalists.

    It’s as if the “commie rats” of old left their sinking vessel only to climb aboard their newly christened USS AmeriKa… : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. woody188

    January 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    And isn’t it just a bit interesting that the media ownership rules were relaxed by the FCC while being lead by Michael Powell, Colin Powell’s son. The polls showed the public was against the consolidation, but like the Patriot Act, TARP, and fighting in Iraq, we are not truly represented by the current batch of representatives. They consistently ignore their constituents on every important matter and are causing the destruction of the republic. The lame stream media is cheering them on and showing extreme bias for pro-federal government and pro-global-corporate policies and against individuals, freedoms, and local business.

  10. gazelle1929

    January 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    What liberal media? This should be more accurately headlined as what irresponsible media crap.

    I’ll take two of the assertions of truth made by Mr. Kezelis:

    1. “Even worse, their quality control has resulted in US troops . . . drinking bad water (The ice they used to store corpses was used in drinks served to US troops) . . ..”

    The reality is that last month a former KBR employee filed a class action lawsuit that alleged that:

    “The lawsuit also accuses KBR of shipping ice in mortuary trucks that “still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice. This ice was served to U.S. forces.'”

    One should note the difference between the allegation and the flat assertion that Mr. Kezelis made. Granted, on the surface this allegation sounds pretty gross, but it is nowhere near as bad as Mr. Kezelis stated. My bet is that the findings of fact in the lawsuit will show that the ice was in sealed containers AND that the trucks were cleaned prior to transporting the ice.

    2. This is what Mr. Kezelis said:

    “A cargo plane carrying pallets of of US currency landed in Baghdad, and promptly fell off the proverbial radar screen. The billions of dollars sent secretly to Iraq went missing with no investigation or comment by our MSM.”

    Now, the rest of the story. First, this was reported heavily back in 2003 and 2004. I remember it distinctly.

    Second, Mr. Kezelis allows you to conclude that the money was the property of the US. Actually, according to a lengthy Vanity Fair article, the $12 billion was the property of the Iraqi government, representing money frozen in US bank accounts at the start of the war and oil revenues which had been turned over to the US as trustee. Why do we give a rat’s ass what the Iraqis did with their own money. Granted there was involvement by the CPA, but basically the Iraqis blew their own wad of cash.

    What I am pointing out is that telling these big lies over and over again has made them part of the mainstream. People believe them without questioning them. I leave it to others here to look into some of the other allegations Mr. Kezelis has stated as fact.

    One that is fraught with possiblities is the following:

    “Is it any surprise that a more complex, more devastating, and far-reaching story like the firing of US Attorneys for political reasons, never made it into the news? Or the related political arrest, judicial abuse, and eventual imprisonment of Alabama Gov. Siegelman?”

    How can anyone say with a straight face, and how can any reader swallow, such utter crap? Both of those were well covered at the time. YCLIU

  11. AustinRanter

    January 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Rob,

    Seems to me that the backbone of MSM is driven by sorted corporations who aren’t related to journalism and who seem to believe that hard news is, or should be, entertainment. Apparently the idea is that entertainment gains more advertising dollars than hard news.

    In the end, it’s all about ad money rather than informing and educating the consumers about local, state, and world events.

  12. Flapsaddle

    January 5, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    (Long sigh!……….) How many times must I say this: “News” is a product manufactured and targeted to a specific audience. Most so-called “news” contains a core of truth, plus whatever fillers, additives, artificial colors and artificial flavors the manufacturers deem useful in selling it to the selected audience.

    Liberal media? Sure, it’s out there, selling its own carefully-spun version of “truth” to the faithful. Right wing media? Dittoes!

    The manufacture of “news” for a targeted demographic closely resembles the position of the two sides in a legal case being tried. Each side takes the same basic [facts | “truth”] and attempts to spin them in a way that influences the jury to favor their client, each looks at the same glass of water, with one side trying to argue that the glass is half full and the other arguing that it is half empty. Same facts, different spin, with each trying to persuade the audience of jurors that their narrative is the “truth”.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  13. tropicaltaco

    January 5, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    T.J.F. You make it sound so innocent, I think not. About Liberal Media, I am sure there is some truth to what you say but I have noticed a few outlets that give the other view or the news as is and allow you to judge for your self, Link TV (linktv.org) and Free Speech T.V.
    I have lived in other countries and heard the news from many sources and can only shake my head when I hear how MSN, Fox and the likes reporting or better said lack of reporting on what is going on in the Middle East, and what the Israelis are doing. Who do we fault for the lack of knowledge we Americans have about the massive crowds and Israeli citizens demonstrations within Israel against the invasion and occupation.
    Part of the problem is that 87% of the population formulate their belief structure on other peoples ideas, only 13% formulate their beliefs on logic and evaluation.
    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/events/1231029668?ver=Sun%2C%2004%20Jan%202009%2002%3A41%3A21%20%2B0530
    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1230937462
    American people are the best entertained and least informed people on the face of the earth.
    Robert F. Kennedy

  14. Flapsaddle

    January 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    It is anything but innocent; it is quite contrived. All of the media, whatever their political orientation, take those same basic, undeniable [fact(s) | “truth(s)”] and then spin them to embellish that which promotes their own beliefs or agenda. The only real difference between MSN/Fox and the major network shops is that they are so shamelessly blatant in the demonstration of their right-leaning partisanship.

    That makes it important that one get the “news” from as many different sources as possible in the hope that, by applying the “broken plate” technique, one can reconstruct a relatively objective view of the world.

    As to foreign sources, it is best to remember that they, too, have their spin on things; the fact that a news story is not of US origin does not automatically make it exceptionally truthful or unquestionably objective.

    BTW, I’m no fan of any of the driven mediocrities bred by that dysfunctional and shamelessly self-promoted American “royal family” founded by Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.. That someone like RFK can be held in such esteem and near-reverence is, IMCO, nearly absolute proof that, indeed, “American people are the best entertained and least informed people on the face of the earth.”

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  15. spartacus

    January 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    The so-called ‘liberal media is a bogeyman created by rightwingers to give their followers a reason not to believe their own ears and even facts when confronted by them: how many times have you seen some Bush automaton absolutely REFUSE to believe reality even when confronted by facts and figures? It’s like they live in some sort of suspended reality: the ‘LIBERAL MSM’ excuse gives them a reason to tune out and disbelieve their own eyes and ears. What’s really funny is that the actual owners of the MSM are giant corporattions: Disney owns ABC; General Electric owns NBC; and so on. There are only about a dozen companies that own EVERY SINGLE NEWSPAPER, RADIO, AND TV outlet in this country as opposed to hundreds during the Reagan era. MSM IS BIG BUSINESS, and big business is no friend of the Democrats. Disney, Eisner et al gave money to the Republicans; check the others and you’ll find the same thing.

    When I was my son’s age, the sins of this administration would never have gone unreported as they have been during the last 8 years. Have Bush’s ‘midnight regulations’ made the news? How many people know about the Downing Street Memo? If you want to find out what’s going on in this country, often you have to read the headlines overseas. Our news reporters would rather report gossip, Hollywood nonsense, and even stories from halfway across the country than real news. None of that happened 30 years ago. Corporations should not be allowed to own news outlets: they simply use them to hide what they don’t want the public to hear, or worse, to promote what they want the public to believe. If you think the corporate media isn’t promoting a point of view by omitting news stories involving things like the corruption of this administration, think again. Richard Nixon would never have gotten away with one tenth of what George Bush has.

    Until people wise up and realize what isn’t being reported and how CONSERVATIVE that is, the MSM bogeyman will continue to be a rallying cry and useful myth for those who simply don’t want to push a conservative agenda.

  16. Hoosier_CowBoy

    January 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I have a more realistic appraisal of the MSMs bias. Liberal or conservative is just a deception.

    The Media is designed solely to try to sell average Americans a lot of overpriced and shoddy crap that they would be a lot better of without.

    Selling that crap is the driving engine of the economy, although as of late, that engine has been backfiring. It is thought in most economic circles that if America stops pissing away money on that crap, the entire system will collapse.

    That crap ranges from beer to cars, from politics to religion, from healthcare to McMansions.

    …and we really can’t afford to buy it anymore.

    Save your money and turn off the MSM.