Every four years one can count on a few statements being uttered throughout America.
“If _______ wins I’m moving to Canada.” This one works for both sides. I’ve heard GOP partisans and the random Democratic celebrity say it.
If it looks like ______ is losing he’ll declare martial law and suspend the election. This is standard fare this year, as it was in 2004.
A few other regulars get trotted out:
All our guns will be confiscated if (insert Democratic candidate here) wins.
The Supreme court will overturn Roe V Wade if (insert Republican candidate here) wins.
The media is protecting ______ as he is their preferred candidate.
It’s hard to take any of these statements seriously. No ever moves to Canada, guns are still everywhere, and Roe V Wade has survived no less than 23 years of GOP Presidents since 1973.
I’m guilty of the last one regarding media bias. Evidence suggests that the media massages us in one direction or another as a matter of routine. It often works. Ask a man on the street today if Saddam was behind 9/11 and chances are good you’ll get an affirmative. The media heard that lie from the George W Bush White House then dutifully refused to debunk it. W got his war based on bullshit with the media’s active mindlessness. Of course, the person we know as Barrack Obama is mostly a construction of the media and some creative conflation on his part.
Media malfeasance is not new. The most famous instance of a media conjured war allegedly came from publisher William Randolph Hearst. His response to a journalist in Havana on the eve of the Spanish-American war is legendary (and probably false). The lie points to the truth so precisely though that it may as well be true. When Hearst heard from his employee that no insurrection was occurring in Cuba he responded as only a man who wanted to sell a lot of copy would: You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war. All Hearst needed was a visual hook. He’d whip up war frenzy with a few headlines. And he did. Shortly thereafter The U.S. was at war with Spain. Shortly after that we became a world power with colonies from the Caribbean to the South Pacific.
The point here is that cynicism about the media is justified by experience. The media manipulates the public and very often the public proves that they are easily manipulated. Barking about media bias in 2012 is expected…right? I do it, as do many others. We do it every four years. BUT my gnawing sense is that this time things really are different.
We’ve crossed a line.
There is a flaunting shamelessness about the Obama cheerleading. Hearst was a muckraker. He was one powerful publisher. Now nearly everyone is in on it. Much of our media establishment doesn’t seem to care a bit that they are lying. Not one bit. Joe Scarborough not only lies, he defends his lies ridiculously. For two weeks the bulk of our “free” press simply ignored the implications of the terrorist attack in Libya. Just ignored it. Why? To protect Obama. A terrorist attack happened on his watch – on 9/11! Nothing about those 2 facts help his campaign, therefore the facts were ignored. Chris Matthews gave us lectures about secret racism instead.
The attack was too big to ignore for long though. Information is unwieldy after all and in 2012 it’s speedy too. Now we know much more about the attack in Benghazi. All of it appalling. None of it reflects well on Obama, Rice, Clinton or anyone else in the current administration. The media game here was to delay. Mid September was set aside for trashing Romney before the debates. The reality of a terrorist attack bogarted the narrative so reality was ignored.
Above is one startling example. We’ve see a cascade of others this year, and they’ve often worked. I have male friends who have been screamed at by women incensed at Romney’s fabricated hatred of females – a talking point hatched by George Stephanopoulos 10 months ago and dutifully built upon by most media ever since. The Obama campaign and the media have worked in conjunction throughout 2012, often with only a thin membrane covering the connection.
I’ve no patience for ending this gripe there. The Romney campaign has largely ignored the obvious Obama/Media axis. I’ve said all year and will repeat: I do not think Romney understands what he’s up against. My only caveat now is that it appears that Romney’s team has begun to adjust its lens and may be finally seeing the obvious elephant in the frame . Even so, it’s only because Right Wing bloggers are apoplectic.
Romney’s team has acted as if it’s 1988. Back then the media had its bias, we all knew it, and so what? One made one’s case. People made their choice based on most, not all, available information. But it isn’t 1988. It’s not about simple bias. The media is drugged up on Obama. It’s crazed, disconnected, and rampaging. The only way to stop a rampaging drug addict is with a stun gun. Trash Obama, trash the media for lying about Obama, present a viable alternative. Tell us they are lying, tell us why we know they are lying, then give us a reason to hope for something better. That should have been Romney’s entire campaign strategy by May at the latest. It fits on a napkin. One can carry it around as a reminder. Instead Romney has hit all his pre planned marks and been knee capped by the media every single time.
Patrick Caddell’s recent speech to the Accuracy in Media’s Conference delineates many more instances of wild, over the top media malfeasance this cycle. It’s ugly. It’s sobering. It’s scary. It’s a messy version of Soviet propaganda…but Soviet nonetheless. Read his speech here.
Bitching about it is not enough. The mainstream media is not just a problem here…it’s the enemy. Not Romney’s enemy. I don’t care about that. Going after the media isn’t to help one candidate over another. If the next GOP President wants a war and it suits the media, they will create a war. We must confront and possibly dismantle the lie machine for the simple reason that small r republican government can’t survive it.
The media needs to feel threatened by us. Not physically, of course. They do need to know that we know the game they are playing and then refuse to play along. If the people turn on the media, the media will change. I’d start with a “You’re full of shit and we know it.” campaign directed at say George Stephanopoulos, or NBC overall. Startle the fuckers. Push back. Wake them up. Tell them in no uncertain terms we know who they are and what they are up to. Enough people do that…watch…they will ditch Jarrett and Obama like fast food wrappers on a empty highway. Obama’s team is working on the same assumption by the way. Threats, that is. Obama messaging is reported as news because Jarrett and other assorted stooges threaten in one way or another. No access. An FCC hearing on trumped up nonsense. A law suit about workplace bias…something.
And, stunned sober, the American media might then even begin to tell the truth again. Or, God bless us everyone, actually report the news.