Friday, August 28, 2009

In the Tank-Our News Media

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

Having lived in Thailand in the late 1970s, when the military was essentially in charge, I saw first-hand how it works when the news media is controlled by the government. The newspaper we read was the Bangkok Post, one of three English-language dailies in Bangkok. Sufice to say, the did not put out much, if any, criticism of whoever was in power. In one year, there was a brief coup, and the Post, now taken over by the "new government" descfribed the coup as the salvation of the nation. The only problem was that the counter-coup took back the government within 48 hours if memory serves me correctly. Of course, the Post, like all the other papers, greeted the counter-coup as the salvation of the nation and had to explain why they wrote what they had written a couple of days earlier. very messy, indeed.

Now it seems we are living in a nation under dictatorial rule, at least if you read and listen to the slobbering stuff coming out of the media (Fox News and talk radio excepted). You would almost think that ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC (especially)and CNN were all arms of the government. Of course, you know they weren't under Bush, so that means they are in ideological agreement with Obama and the Democrats. Such is the case with the health care debate. This week, we have continued to witness more glaring examples of how the media is in lockstep with the current administration and the Demoocrats in general. A few examples.

The other night, I watched an hour-long special on the life of Ted Kennedy on MSNBC hosted by Lester Holt. I won't go into the fact that it was a positve portrayal of Kennedy (of course, they had to cover Chappaquiddick) out of respect for the now-deceased Senator. Let's leave that aside. What really caught my attention was the portrayal of Kennedy's father, Joseph Kennedy Sr. Not only was it a positive portrayal of a man who by most accounts was a scoundrel, but it left out virtually every negative fact known about him. In discussing Joe Kennedy Sr. It said nothing about his years as a bootlegger during prohibition. It said nothing about his womanizing. While mentioning in a few words that he dabbled in movie producing in Hollywood, it left out his messy affair with actress Gloria Swanson. The only negative note was the fact that as ambassador to London in the years leading up to World War II, it was stated that Kennedy had to resign because "he opposed America's entry into World War II". I'll say he did. What Mr Holt failed to say was that Joseph Kennedy (the Ambassador to London) was a fervent admirer and supporter of Nazi Germany. That was why he opposed our entry into the war on the side of the country he was serving in. For that reason, Roosevelt eventually had to get him out of London. So what was the general theme about Joseph Kennedy that Holt's special attempted to give the viewer? Joesph Kennedy wanted one of his sons to become president because "he had instilled in them the spirit of public service."

But enough said about that farce. We are talking about MSNBC, you know.

Then there was the town hall meeting held in Redding, California this week by some Republican congressman named Wally Herger. One 67-year-old gentleman named Bert Stead stood and made a sarcastic reference to himself as a "proud, right-wing terrorist". The audience understood the context of the comment and applauded. Herger also understood and called the man, "a great American." You can watch it below:

But the "journalists" at MSNBC didn't get it. They were appalled. In fact, they were horrified. First, the sycophantic Chris Matthews attacked the statement and Herger for not denouncing it.

MATTHEWS: "Next up, here's one from Republican Congressman Wally Herger of California. At his town hall meeting some guy yelled out, bragging that he was quote, "A proud right wing terrorist." To which the Congressman responded, "Amen. God bless ya! Now there's a great American." A great American. A guy who thinks it's okay, in this day and age, to call himself a right wing terrorist. This is the dangerous edge, in which these people, including some elected officials are now dancing. We've been here before. Words lead to actions, words create the national mood, the mood creates a license. People take that license and use it. I'm not spelling it out any further because I don't want to."

Then Keith Olbermann took over, naming Herger one of the "Worst Persons in the World", (along with nightly winner Bill O'Reilly, of course). Here's the tape from Countdown. It's 3:17 seconds long, and if you can't take the full video, the part about Herger starts at 2:30. (We should use old "Countdown" videos as our next harsh interrogation method against terrorists.)

Just as they have attacked and demonized other common citizens like Joe the Plumber and Katy Abram, now they have discovered a "real right-wing terrorist in California", a 67-year-old guy in California, who Olbermann labeled as an "idiot" and a "buffoon".

Finally, there was the town hall meeting in Oklahoma this week held by Tom Coburn (R-OK). In this event, one attendee was a tearful lady whose husband is seriously ill, the insurance company isn't helping, and the family desperately needs assistance. Coburn's reply was to ask the lady to give her name and particulars to an aide and that he and his staff would try to organize some help, calling on the local community. He did, however, reiterate his belief that the government is not always the solution to our problems (I am paraphrasing). Since the event, he and his staff and the local community have joined together to try and render assistance to the family.

But to the media, Coburn was cold and cruel to the lady "lecturing" her about not coming to the government. CNN's Rick Sanchez, a total partisan, reported it this way:

(The above video was conveniently cut off before Coburn asked the lady to give her name and information to one of the aides.)

This week, Coburn was interviewed by a CNN reporter, who tried to nail him on the issue. Once Coburn went through explaining what he and others are trying to do for the woman, the reporter asked him if he could do the same for the millions of others in similar straits. So the media spin is this: Coburn "blew the poor lady off", "lectured" her on not bothering the government, then when he tries to explain what he and his staff are doing to help, he is asked if he can do the same for millions of other needy Americans.

If you are a liberal and agree with what the media is putting out, you should ask yourself; is this really the kind of media we want in America? If we want a watch dog media that is skeptical of our leaders, fine, but it should work both ways. Instead, what we are treated to is a nightly spectacle of one network attacking another, and one announcer attacking another from another network. To make matters worse, we have media announcers attacking everyday people who happen to find themselves and their words on the news. Is that the kind of media we can be proud of? Hardly. What is needed is a cold, hard look at our media and how it has degenerated into the shambles that it is. It is not a pretty sight.

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