Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Danger to the Republic ?



Watching Glenn Beck of Fox News rant about "progressive fascism" - and muse about armed insurrection - or listening to mainstream pundits prattle on about Barack Obama as the "most polarizing President ever," it is hard to escape the conclusion that today's U.S. news media represents a danger to the Republic.

No kidding! So writes Robert Parry at Consortium News, recounting the absolutely dismal nature of current corporate media. As if the cheerleaders on FOX openly calling for rebellion over ridiculous faux populist claims wasn't bad enough, along with GOP politicians who fan those flames, the allegedly more "moderate" media networks continuously parrot this rumor mill. Over at CNN and MSNBC, figures like Lou Dobbs and Joe Scarborough use their platforms to first smear President Obama, and then (in a move of sheer audacity) claim he's "polarizing." Most perplexing, these fearmongers claim they are the victims--invoking charges of "McCarthyism" with the straight face of a Klan member claiming to be a victim of reverse racism. Valid criticism is one thing; and it's welcomed of any political figure. But the vitrol being whipped up by FOX News and pundits on other media channels does little more than expose what blogger Jill Tubman rightly calls, "the rotting racist underbelly" of white angry conservatism. With all this media-driven hate, it's little wonder that two high-profile mass shootings in a year have been linked to angry white males out to kill liberals, or who feared losing their precious guns under some Obama "dictatorship." The question remains, why, even with a Democrat in the White House, and a Democratic Congress, does the American corporate media still feel a need to give a soapbox for the farmost fringes of the right? And does the Left truly take these provocateurs as seriously as we should?

Robert Parry's article after the fold...



US News Media Fails America, Again

By Robert Parry
April 13, 2009

Watching Glenn Beck of Fox News rant about “progressive fascism” – and muse about armed insurrection – or listening to mainstream pundits prattle on about Barack Obama as the “most polarizing President ever,” it is hard to escape the conclusion that today’s U.S. news media represents a danger to the Republic.

By and large, the Washington press corps continues to function within a paradigm set in the 1980s, mostly bending to the American Right, especially to its perceived power to destroy mainstream journalistic careers and to grease the way toward lucrative jobs for those who play ball.

The parameters set by this intimidated (or bought-off) news media, in turn, influence how far Washington politicians feel they can go on issues, like health-care reform or environmental initiatives, or how risky they believe it might be to pull back from George W. Bush’s “war on terror” policies.

Democratic hesitancy on these matters then enflames the Left, which expresses its outrage through its own small media, reprising the old theme that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between Democrats and Republicans – a reaction that further weakens chances for any meaningful reform.

This vicious cycle has repeated itself again and again since the Reagan era, when the Right built up its intimidating media apparatus – a vertically integrated machine which now reaches from newspapers, magazines and books to radio, TV and the Internet. The Right accompanied its media apparatus with attack groups to go after troublesome mainstream journalists.

Meanwhile, the American Left never took media seriously, putting what money it had mostly into “organizing” or into direct humanitarian giving. Underscoring the Left’s fecklessness about media, progressives have concentrated their relatively few media outlets in San Francisco, 3,000 miles away – and three hours behind – the news centers of Washington and New York.

By contrast, the Right grasped the importance of “information warfare” in a modern media age and targeted its heaviest firepower on the frontlines of that war – mostly the political battlefields of Washington – thus magnifying the influence of right-wing ideas on policymakers.

One consequence of this media imbalance is that Republicans feel they can pretty much say whatever they want – no matter how provocative or even crazy – while Democrats must be far more circumspect, knowing that any comment might be twisted into an effective attack point against them.

full article here.

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