Thursday, July 19, 2007

The lies have it

Much has been made of the corporate media's reluctance to call the Republican filibuster of the Reed-Levin amendment a filibuster. Indeed, The Washington Post, which continues its downward slide into the ignominy of becoming a GOP propaganda rag sheet , describes the filibuster as blocking or "procedural objections," until they finally cough and spit up the word filibuster several paragraphs into the story.

But one doesn't need to delve into the story in order to see the overt bias, which is splattered across the front page with the headline:
Democrats Won't Force War Vote
Looks bad, right? Weak, weak Democrats. How useless can they be?

The obvious theme reinforced here is one that has been evident for sometime and especially since the Democrats won congressional majorities this past November: it is the Democrats who won't do anything. Despite the fact that it has been Republicans, at every step of the way, who have shut down any and every meaningful piece of legislation the Democrats have introduced, we have watched, over and over again, the media portrayal that it is the Democrats who fail and fail and fail.

Like all good propaganda, though, it has the advantage of being believed because, at some high level, it is true. The Democrats have failed. The media propaganda and its effectiveness stem from the omission of information as to why that is. This occurs when information is purposefully excluded or, in its more muted form, when certain trigger words are refused publication, as we have seen with the widespread ban on the word "filibuster," as regards GOP "procedural objections." But, of course, the headline template of Democratic failure has already been laid over the reporting, which brings biased eyes to anything presented there and so, even if a rare appearance is made by the tabooed word, it bears little or no registration.

The effectiveness of this media meme depends a great deal on one's sensitivity such propaganda and frankly, the average reader or viewer of US corporate media is not terribly sensitive to it at all. It is likely lost on most people, who are at once convinced that the corporate media is "liberal" and that it bears some resemblance to what is going on. People so softened are the same ones now inundated with the repetitive dousings of Democratic failure and, like millions of pre-moistened towelettes, are more than willing to soak up the drippings. It has worked its subtle magic and produced a lower approval rating for the Democratic Congress than even George Bush and Dick Cheney's miserable numbers.

That's how to run a propaganda campaign.


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