Failure of the main stream media

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,, 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 [1] / By Laura Gottesdiener [2]  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? [5] (That’s down from 50 companies in 1983.) Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Dean Starkman, whose 2009 Columbia Journalism Review article “Power Problem [6]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 decadesulti­mately, 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 corpsAt 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…despite the Internet’s promiseThe 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.

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