Thursday, January 13, 2005

Reporters for sale, Reporters for sale...No Child Left Behind...Reporters for sale

Okay, some folks actually think Tucker Carlson is cute in a bowtie, and are willing to overlook his disgressions if he were to go out on a date with them, but hey...the Major Media Propaganda Machine (MMPM) has sunk to a new low.

Check out this article in the NYTimes


On this particular "Crossfire," the featured guest was Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator, talk-show host and newspaper columnist (for papers like The Washington Times and The Detroit Free Press, among many others, according to his Web site). Thanks to investigative reporting by USA Today, he had just been unmasked as the frontman for a scheme in which $240,000 of taxpayers' money was quietly siphoned to him through the Department of Education and a private p.r. firm so that he would "regularly comment" upon (translation: shill for) the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind policy in various media venues during an election year. Given that "Crossfire" was initially conceived as a program for tough interrogation and debate, you'd think that the co-hosts still on duty after Mr. Carlson's departure might try to get some answers about this scandal, whose full contours, I suspect, we are only just beginning to discern.

But there is nothing if not honor among bloviators. "On the left," as they say at "Crossfire," Paul Begala, a Democratic political consultant, offered condemnations of the Bush administration but had only soft questions and plaudits for Mr. Williams. Three times in scarcely as many minutes Mr. Begala congratulated his guest for being "a stand-up guy" simply for appearing in the show's purportedly hostile but entirely friendly confines. When Mr. Williams apologized for having crossed "some ethical lines," that was enough to earn Mr. Begala's benediction: "God bless you for that."

End slice:

Yikes...I guess that Cornel West is right when he says in his book (Democracy Matters, page 36):


The political nihilism in America today is not limited to the arena of party politics; it has infiltrated our media culture as well in the form of sentimental nihilism. While an essential mission of the news organizations in a democracy should be to expose the lies and manipulations of our political and economic leaders - and surely many media watch dogs devote themselves to that tast - too much of what passes for news today is really a form of entertainment. So amny shows follow a crude formula for providing titillating coverage that masks itself as news. Those purveyors of theis bastardized form of reporting are sentimental nihilists, willing to sidestep or even bludgeon the trusth or unpleasant and unpopular facts and stories, in order to provide an emotionally satisfying show.

End Slice:

Essentially, what passes for news, really isn't but watered down sentimentalism designed to make us feel good about ourselves, or conversely, terrified as we are pandered to by fearmongers supported by our tax dollars. All in the name of selling big blocks of very expensive advertising feeding the endless appetite Americans have for consumption and accrued creditcard debt. Good thing I own stock in some credit issuing banks. There will be no end to profit in that arena any time soon.

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