The Radicalization of the GOP is the Most Important Political Story Today
Why Won’t The Press Police Radical Republicans? By Eric Boehlert, Media Matters, October 11, 2013
Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead James Fallows Sep 27 2013 –A kind of politics we have not seen for more than 150 years…As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a “standoff,” a “showdown,” a “failure of leadership,” a sign of “partisan gridlock,” or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism and an inability to see or describe what is going on…This isn’t “gridlock.” It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us — and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too.
The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’ By Noam Chomsky, AlterNetAugust 15, 2013
15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media by akadjianFollow, Daily Kos, Aug 07, 2013
Big Media Is Raking in Billions on Political Ads — Here’s a Way to Take Back the Airwaves That Belong to All of Us by Bill Moyers, Alternet.org, March 30, 20132012 |
How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign by Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, 12/07/2012 — Contributing editor, Nieman Reports … coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth… Democrats were hardly innocent but…the Republican campaign was just far more over the top.”…[Mann and Ornstein] dramatically rejected the strictures of false equivalency that bind so much of the capital’s media…The 2012 campaign …exposed how fabulists and liars can exploit the elite media’s fear of being seen as taking sides… if the story that you’re telling repeatedly is that they’re all…equally to blame — then you’re really doing a disservice to voters, and not doing what journalism is supposed to do…
Why the Mainstream Media Are Clueless About the Religious Right by Adele M. Stan, AlterNet, August 18, 2011 - Though it has shaped American politics for the last 40 years, the religious right still baffles reporters…From the attitudes shown by media toward the religious right, you’d never know that more than one-quarter of the U.S. population identify as evangelicals…These, by and large, are the people who determine the outcome of the Republican presidential primary…yet, we who cover these races often know very little about the voters whose person-on-the-street interviews they’re recording, except to know that these people are very different from us in their view of the world… the ideology can be traced back to the backers of 1964 campaign of Barry Goldwater. But you’d never know that from reading the mainstream media.
What Watchdog? How the Financial Press Has Failed the American Public, AlterNet  / By Laura Gottesdiener  January 9, 2013 …2013 is already shaping up to be another year of government-backed wins for Wall Street. As the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson wrote, “If you were hoping that things might be different in 2013 — you know, that bankers would be held responsible for bad behavior or that the government might actually assist troubled homeowners — you can forget it.…”…The lack of outrage or investigation by mainstream media comes in stark contrast to the public response to the settlement announcements.…So if readers are hungering for more information and outrage, why is the mainstream press so soft on Wall Street? Is it the last three decades’ rampant media consolidation, which has put 90 percent of the nation’s media in the hands of only six major corporations?  (That’s down from 50 companies in 1983.) Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Dean Starkman, whose 2009 Columbia Journalism Review article “Power Problem” outlined just how badly the financial press failed in the lead-up to 2006 [was asked] what’s the role of the press–if it’s doing its job? [ and said] “To me, journalism is particularly important because it is the oxygen of democracy. At its best, it is the main thing that is capable of explaining complex problems to a mass audience.That’s its most critical role–and its most difficult task.”…
How the US Press Lost its Way By Robert Parry, Consortium News, May 21, 2012 …the glory days of American journalism in the 1970s…the more depressing question of why things then went so terribly wrong...with Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974, it could be said that America’s checks and balances were alive and well. In newsrooms around Washington, there was reason to be proud.More broadly, the United States had reason to be proud. The American constitutional Republic had shown its capacity for self-correction. Not only had brave individuals done their jobs as professionals – both in media and in government – but the nation’s institutions had worked.The press, the Congress, the courts along with an informed public had demanded and gotten accountability and reform.…However, the success of democracy, this victory of the rule of law, was fragile. The struggle between dishonest pols and honest reporters – between an engaged people and behind-the-scenes powerbrokers – was far from over. Indeed, a new battle was just beginning...It was an unsettling time for the rich white men who held most of the levers of power...many were determined to fight back and some had experience in defusing and dismantling social movements around the world…gave Nixon’s allies a playbook for how to neutralize opponents and steer a population here at home...happened over the past three-plus decades…ultimately, they consolidated power; they changed laws in their favor; and – over the course of several decades – they made themselves even richer, indeed a lot richer, and that, in turn, has translated into even more power.The likes of Richard Mellon Scaife and the Koch Brothers began investing in right-wing media, in right-wing think tanks, and in right-wing attack groups…Australian Rupert Murdoch showed up with millions more to buy up news media properties and give them a right-wing bent. American neocons also emerged in this time frame. They became the intellectual shock troops for the Right’s counteroffensive…1977…the end of that brief golden era of journalism. Jimmy Carter was president at the time. His administration was itself a reaction to the lies of the Vietnam War and Watergate…Then, came Ronald Reagan. He was the perfect pitchman for this pushback, the ideal front man for rallying average Americans to betray their own interests…He also could sell nostalgia for a mythical better day, a time before all those jarring social changes of the 1960s and all those national humiliations of the 1970s. After defeating Jimmy Carter in 1980, Reagan brought with him a gifted team of P.R. and ad men. And, partly through the connection of Reagan’s Vice President (and former CIA director) George H.W. Bush…Reagan also put one of Richard Nixon’s most cynical and unscrupulous allies, Bill Casey, in charge of CIA. Casey was a former intelligence officer from the OSS in World War II. He obsessed over the importance of deception and propaganda, what he viewed as key elements in defeating the Nazis and later containing the Communists. Casey understood that he who controlled the flow of information had a decisive advantage in any conflict...Reagan administration …policy centered around scaring the American people about the Soviet menace and financing a massive U.S. military buildup to counter Moscow’s supposed bid for worldwide conquest. Reagan also wanted to assist right-wing dictatorships in Central America as they put down uprisings by peasants, students, even priests and nuns…But the problem wasn’t just getting control of the information inside the U.S. government. It also was to get control of the unruly Washington press corps…At the NSC, Raymond was put in charge of a special interagency task force for coordinating what was called “public diplomacy,” or how to sell U.S. policies around the world. But the office had a more secret and more sensitive domestic function. It was targeting members of Congress and the U.S. press corps – and through them, the American people…troublesome journalists were simply labeled “liberal,” a curse word in that period...the Reagan team had a name for what they were up to in their domestic propaganda schemes. They called it “perception management.” The idea was that if you could manage how the American people perceived events abroad, you could not only insure their continued support of the foreign policy, but in making the people more compliant domestically. A frightened population is much easier to control...the nation’s two preeminent papers… the New York Times and the Washington Post – largely moved to the sidelines when it came to Reagan-era scandals.In the 1980s, the two influential papers became more solicitous to the Establishment than they were committed to the quality journalism that had contributed to the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s...notion of controversializing reporters may sound silly, but it was a real strategy. By the mid-1980s, America’s Right had built up an imposing media infrastructure of its own with many newspapers and magazines…the secret operations of Oliver North and to the first story – in June 1985 – about his role funneling off-the-books money to the contras… the Iran-Contra Affair marked an opportunity to not only bring important facts to the American people but to revive that independent spirit of the U.S. press…There were too many forces supporting containment of the scandal and too few committed to its full explication.…From my sources, it was clear that a cover-up was underway to protect Reagan and his heir apparent Bush.… bureau chief…specifically ordered me not to even read the congressional Iran-Contra report when it came out in fall 1987. I was reassigned to work on the Gary Hart sex scandal...the concept of “perception management” had carried the day in Washington, with remarkably little resistance from the Washington press corps...Yes, the press corps could get fierce about Bill Clinton’s sex life or Al Gore’s supposed exaggerations. But when it came to national security secrets – especially with a Republican in the White House – the American people and the world were in much greater danger than they knew.I turned to what was then the new media frontier, the Internet, and started what was the first investigative news Web site. The site is called Consortiumnews.com…despite the Internet’s promise…The readership also is fragmented, making it impossible to have the impact that the New York Times had in the Pentagon Papers or the Washington Post had during Watergate.Sadly, too, my fears about the dangers from a Washington press corps that had stopped asking the tough questions on issues of war and peace also proved prescient. After George W. Bush seized the White House — and especially after the 9/11 attacks — many journalists reverted back their earlier roles as stenographers to power. They also became cheerleaders for a misguided war in Iraq. Indeed, you can track the arc of modern American journalism from its apex at the Pentagon Papers and Watergate curving downward to that center point of Iran-Contra before reaching the nadir of Bush’s war in Iraq…Though everyone knew that Hussein had let the inspectors in and that it was Bush who had forced them to leave in March 2003, not a single reporter confronted Bush on this lie, which he repeated again and again right through his exit interviews in 2008...In the era of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, the system had worked, with individuals and institutions upholding their constitutional duties to inform the public and punish corrupt officials. By the era of Iran-Contra, some individuals within the system continued to do their jobs, but the institutions had stopped working. Almost no one was held accountable and the cover-up was largely succeeded…Even after George W. Bush took the United States to war in Iraq under false pretenses and even after he authorized the torture of detainees in the “war on terror,” no one involved in those decisions has faced any accountability at all. When high-flying Wall Street bankers brought the world’s economy to its knees with risky gambles in 2008, Western governments used trillions of dollars in public moneys to bail the bankers out. But not one senior banker faced prosecution. Upon taking office in 2009, President Obama saw little choice but to “look forward, not backward.” And, in all honesty, given the state of the American political/media process, it is hard to envision how he would have proceeded against what would have been a powerful phalanx of Establishment forces opposed to prosecuting Bush, Wall Street CEOs and their underlings. …Not only has political power been concentrated in their hands, but the country’s wealth, too……The absence of accountability has spread from government to the media itself. The makings are there for yet another catastrophe. So, a sad but – I think – fair conclusion would be that at least for the time being, perception management has won out over truth. But the struggle over information and democracy has entered another new and unpredictable phase.