Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shills, lies and videotape; our media today

Fair and balanced. One out of five ain't bad. Right?
[h/t Simbaud]


How else to describe the current media campaign regarding the Libby trial verdict? While everyone would expect Fox News to adopt their usual rump-up position and portray the four count guilty verdict as actually a not guilty verdict on one count, the breadth of misrepresentations, editorial misfeasance and outright lies falls across a wide spectrum of media outlets. Indeed, The Washington Post editorial board cannot be distinguished from those at The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal and The National Review. All of these loathsome, venal venues have, to wit, launched a simultaneous program to further promulgate the White House talking points about Wilson and Plame that have swirled around dizzy talking heads across the media landscape. In editorial boards of major media outlets, the truth is not willing out. It is, in fact, being actively willed away.

Of course, no one is surprised that the engorged and scrofulous carcasses at The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal and the especially hoary The National Review would continue to espouse known falsehoods regarding the CIA leak and its subsequent investigation. But the Post took a thrashing in the comments section -- if they notice such things -- where, after 39 pages of comments (and counting), it became completely clear that Washington Post readers appear to know a great deal more about the Plame leak and the facts of the Libby trial than do editors at WaPo. And why shouldn't they? It was The Washington Post that printed stories that directly and factually contradict every single mendacious falsehood spat out by Fred Hiatt in his ridiculous editorial. But that is only the least of it.

What is clear from this disinformation campaign, only the most recent among many that have been promoted and propagated by our self-serving media mavens, is that the corporate clowns in charge of US media outlets are as much invested in this vile war and the lies that concocted it as the Bush administration. They have routinely demonstrated that they will go to any length, not only in the promotion of a war they knew to be wishful White House thinking, but to protect themselves and their own shameful complicity in that disastrous, entirely illegal affair as well as the adjunct illegalities that went with it. We have watched White House propaganda spill across the pages and screens of every major media venue, from the run-up to the Iraq invasion to the current and haunting repetition of the same venal campaign in agitating for war with Iran.

The obvious downward slide of the US media can be traced back to one pivotal moment: the passaged of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed ironically enough by Bill Clinton, the man who would suffer the first and almost immediate onslaught of the then newly conglomerating maw of media-munching corporatism. The then-expected result is rapidly approaching its logical if not entirely complete conclusion, where we watch and read a corporate media that simply and wilfully lie to the American public. There has always been some of this, of course. But the breadth and extent of a disingenuous policy of unmitigated Republican ass-kissing is truly breathtaking and has now become de rigueur among the US corporate media.

At least this is true when they're not telling us to fret about Britney or Anna Nicole Smith, an amount of time that diminishes continuously as does our ever-decreasing attention to actual news. This effect, too, is a product of our public airwaves serving merely as vehicles for corporate profiteering, where ratings are now the sine qua non of broadcasting across the spectrum, whether the venue is news -- what is now rightly called infotainment -- or "reality" television. In fact, we have watched these things consciously blended into a ghastly soup of nonsense by corporate media outlets, which actively treat their own television products as news and vice versa, the summa cum laude of which was perhaps best captured by Katie Couric's on-air colonoscopy. Must see teevee, or so we were told.

Worst of all this, of course, is that it will not end any time soon, if at all. And it certainly won't end of its own accord. A concerted effort to remake the public airwaves as a service to the public and not corporations needs to be forthcoming if this country is to have any kind of democratic future, as admittedly sparse as its democratic present may now seem. Certainly, the Democrats don't have the stomach for that fight. Perhaps this is because they know the media is not objective and that Democrats will suffer a media assault that would make anything seen before pale in comparison. That doesn't mean the Democrats shouldn't try to wrestle back control of the public airwaves, but given their performances of late, no one should expect that herd of cats to manage the kind of effort required to take on the task. The effort, like all such efforts, will come from the ground, from citizens too sick and tired of being abused and lied to by the corporate shills that now comprise what we laughingly refer to as the news media.


Post a Comment

<< Home