The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.
Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:
FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…
MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)
FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…
It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.
One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.
Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.
And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.
When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.
That feeling has returned.Read More
Amazing how something forty-years old is completely relevant today. An interesting recorded interview with John Lennon made into a short film. (c/o Jenny Eliscu)
This observer has no doubt that when that great foretold moment comes when the American citizenry willfully gives up it’s basic liberties, say, o I don’t know, the Fourth Amendment, that many will sit and watch it happen on their televisions as if it was just one more entertainment event. Most won’t realize it has occurred at all. Some of us have noticed though. A sitting President has committed a felony and no one cares.
What separates the idea of a proper democracy from the rabble is one simple thing: the rule of law. The simple idea that everyone is equal and must answer to the laws of the land if they violate those laws or are accused of violating those laws. They must deal with the system and the laws whether they are guilty or innocent. The system and the people will decide. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is what we have. And, it’s the lynch pin of law and order in our society. It is also that which keeps the select few from attaining power that is unresponsive to the will of the people and the rule of law. It’s the lynch pin to checks and balances.
So, what happens when people refute the overriding principle that everyone must be subject to equal protection and application of those laws? We literally become that which those who established our Constitutional form of government were fleeing from and refuting. The founders were reacting specifically to the practice within a monarchy of unequal protection under the law, that is: some were able to skirt laws and oversight and the will of the people by being above the law or protected by the monarchy, who were entirely above the law.
Of course, any honest observer knows fully well that the USA has not been a proper democracy for decades and functions today as a plutocracy. We are becoming that which the founders feared.
And, it shall not stand.
George goes onto the next. Here’s one of his best known routines. The 7 words you can’t say on TV. Thanks George:
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Matt Drudge has had “Scott the Snitch” on his propaganda site all day, an attempt to paint former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has a new book coming out that is not kind to his former employer, as a turncoat. It’s rather interesting for a couple of reasons.
The word “snitch” is a pejorative that means “informant”, and in it’s most popular usage is associated with criminals and mobsters who break with their masters and turn. So, in a sense, Drudge is implying that the White House is mob like. It’s an appellation that isn’t really used in any other context other than refering to informing on others where a crime has been committed to denigrate that person. The appropriate term here would be “whistle blower”. But that doesn’t serve Drudge nor his masters.
And, of course, the White House are following the party attack line, calling McClellan “disgruntled“, or “out of the loop” or insert ad hominem here. No doubt he’ll be “insane” by the end of the media cycle. Look for the Freepers and extremist wing nut blogs to fill that hole with bile.
Keep in mind, the only news here is that it’s a former loyalist saying that the Bush White House chose propaganda over policy. We’ve heard this accusation before. The propaganda over policy issue, and why is was implemented, was a topic on this blog nearly FOUR YEARS AGO, and the facts bare this out. It was an attempt to polarize the public with fear and solidify and maintain power in that manner.
Ultimately, history will tell the story of whether George W. Bush was simply over his head, or a willing puppet who stood by playing golf and spouting propaganda while Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld implemented disastrous policy. Personally, I think Dubya is an ideological tool of Cheney. Not smart enough to engage policy in any meaningful manner, he simply agrees with whatever Dick says and catapults the propaganda like a good doggy.
Not a bad job if you can get it. Alas, the real world is a bit more serious than this piss ant approach to to governing and policy. And, we will pay the price for the insipid, emotional playground politics of this White House.Read More
The New York Times has come out with a really good article with supporting video that looks at how the Pentagon manipulates news and information to their advantage, and did so during the revolt of several generals. This is a continuation of a a pretty important issue that I’ve written about in the past:
“The BBC has a report on the “Information Operations Roadmap” which…
…calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military’s ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.
The concept of ‘information dominance’ is the key to understanding US and UK propaganda strategy and a central component of the US aim of ‘total spectrum dominance’. It redefines our notions of spin and propaganda and the role of the media in capitalist society. To say that it is about total propaganda control is to force the English language into contortions that the term propaganda simply cannot handle. Information dominance is not about the success of propaganda in the conventional sense with which we are all familiar. It is not about all those phrases ‘winning hearts and minds’, about truth being ‘the first casualty’ about ‘media manipulation’ about ‘opinion control’ or about ‘information war’. Or, to be more exact – it is about these things but none of them can quite stretch to accommodate the integrated conception of media and communication encapsulated in the phrase information dominance. [...]
Traditional conceptions of propaganda involve crafting the message and distributing it via government media or independent news media. Current conceptions of information war go much further and incorporate the gathering, processing and deployment of information including via computers, intelligence and military information (command and control) systems. The key preoccupation for the military is ‘interoperability’ where information systems talk to and work with each other. Interoperability is a result of the computer revolution which has led to the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. Now propaganda and psychological operations are simply part of a larger information armoury.
Such is the state of affairs in a country run by the war business. Truth is the first casualty.Read More
Speech by Martin Luther King Jr. on the war in Vietnam, but applicable to all war. Timely and timeless.
Note his comments on those who would equate dissent with disloyalty… “a dark day…”.
Paranoia is meant to be managed, and knowledge helps maintain a healthy perspective on paranoia inducing information…. some links to kick start your heart this cold day.
Privacy International conducted a survey of the top surveillance societies in the EU and the World, and guess who ranked at the top as “endemic”?
Russia, China and the United States.
Woohoo! At least we’re good at something.Read More
Watch the featured video in the right hand corner. A nice primer on what has been going on with media consolidation since 1996.Read More
As noted earlier, the Bush Administration and the FCC are attempting to do an end run on the democratic process in regard to legislative measures concerning media consolidation coming before Congress on December 18, 2007. Bill Moyers Journal did their usual top notch investigative work on this important issue (watch the video) and it’s all heating up rather nicely. What’s it all about? Ralph Bernarado wrote in his post to the Disinformation group on Facebook:
If you think media consolidation doesn’t matter much, just consider this country’s march to the Iraq War. A more diverse media landscape means more voices, more critical thinking, and therefore less groupthink: which is essential to a healthy democracy.
And, that is what is at stake. A healthy democracy.
Writes Josh Nelson:
Rule changes such as the one (FCC Chairman) Martin is proposing are designed to further consolidate media ownership into the hands of the powerful few. Free Press conducted a study which found that while minorities make up 33% of the U.S. population, they make up just 3.26% of all TV station owners. Download the full study as a PDF here.
At the hearing, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said: “The commission always seems to be on the fast break to help big media, but it’s slow as molasses when the topic is the public interest. I will fight against any efforts to short-circuit the process.” Kudos to Commissioner Copps, but if we are going to stop this dangerous deregulation, we are all going to have to fight alongside him.
For more information in his matter, the Center for Public Integrity has a nice study called “Well Connected” that gets down to who owns what and why it’s important. They also have a Media Tracker so you can find out who owns the media that controls the information in your neck of the woods. (You might be surprised.)
Wanna get your hands dirty and make your voice heard? Good.
If you are on Facebook, join the 100,000 by 12/18/07 to Fight Media Consolidation group and get your friends to join.
Contact your elected officials in Congress. The folks at Free Press have a form for that too.
Learn more at Stop Big Media.Read More
Over at the conspiracy minded Prison Planet, Paul Joseph Watson conducts an interview with Naomi Wolf where she connects the Nazi sympathizing ancestors of the current US president with the rise of their financial and political power today:
“A small group of people began very systematically to use the law and dismantle the Constitution and put pressure on citizens to subvert the law – and that opened the door for everything that followed,” [...]
“There was a scheme in the 30′s and Prescott Bush was one of the leaders of this scheme, an industrialist who admired fascism and thought that was a good idea – to have a coup in the United States along the lines of the coup they saw taking place in Italy and Germany,” said Wolf, referring to the testimony of Marine Corps Maj.-Gen. Smedley Butler, who was approached by a wealthy and secretive group of industrialists and bankers, including Prescott Bush – the current President’s grandfather, who asked him to command a 500,000 strong rogue army of veterans that would help stage a coup to topple then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. [...]
“What is amazing to me and resonant to me is that when the Nuremberg trials were finally put in place, these Nazi industrialists, some of whom had colluded with Americans including IBM, were about to be brought to trial and sent to prison – there was a moment at which they were going to look into turning the spotlight on their American partners,” [...]
“The family history is that you can make so much money uniting corporate interests with a fascist state that violently represses people, that’s why when I saw the recycling of so much Nazi language, Nazi tactics, Nazi strategies, Nazi imagery in the Bush White House and then finally belatedly people brought to me this history of Prescott Bush’s attempted coup and Smedley Butler’s revelations – it gives me absolute chills,”
The fact that Bush’s grandfather was a Nazi cannot be presented alone as proof that President Bush is carrying on the legacy, but his policies and rhetoric, which in her essay Wolf clearly documents are borrowed from the Nazi playbook, and in particular the recent move to smear administration critics as potential terrorists, are evidence that George W. Bush is the figurehead for a modern-day fascist coup in America led by the Neo-Cons.
Wolf concluded that history shows the only safe course for preserving freedom in such a climate is to prosecute and jail the protagonists of the coup as early as possible, a process many would argue should have been enacted several years ago.
Indeed. Read the entire article and check out Wolf’s article Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps. Essential reading.Read More
After years of this sort of politics, from Atwater to Rove, from Willie Horton to Swift Boats, it would be nice to think the mainstream media have learned from the past and will ensure that things like this are adequately examined within the context of history and not just the heat of the moment. But that’s clearly too much to hope for.
I’ve become convinced that assuming that people will naturally veer towards the truly honorable and right perspective in dealing with our fledgling and floundering democracy isn’t in the cards. There will always be those who are willing to lie and steal in order to maintain their base of power and access to power. Money is more important to these people than democracy. And, that’s the “no shit sherlock” moment of the day.
On November 2, 2007, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced that the Commission would hold the sixth and final public hearing on media consolidation November 9, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein blasted the Chairman’s decision to give the public only five business days notice before the hearing: “With such short notice, many people will be shut out … This is outrageous and not how important media policy should be made.”
The business as usual practice of placing the needs of big business before the democratic process and the role of the people should be met at every moment it occurs. Our democracy is being bought and sold to the highest bidders, as is access.
Media outlets are the extended voice of the people. There is a reason the Founding Fathers placed the right of free speech and of a free press right at the top of the Bill of Rights. What is going on now is the threat they foresaw.
A couple weeks ago, working with NeoVids, yours truly shot some video with Greg Palast for the Air America show Ring of Fire that is now playing on Go Left TV. The topic was the Attack on Dan Rather. Check it out.