If you've been reading the posts on this blog that concern themselves with politics, and in the past year especially with the Obama administration, then you know that my goals have been stated over and over again as well as my credentials.
I have worked actively for most of my adult life for the kinds of changes that would secure the things that many on what the rightwing calls "the left" ("so-called "progressives" or "liberals"—many of whom are actually more in the center) seem to want Obama and the Democrats to secure. But experience and history have taught me that ignoring practical and powerful realities is not an option when you are trying to get a gigantic organism (the federal gov.) to change direction.
I've written many times that those who believe Obama should be doing more in terms of "progressive" or "liberal" goals should definitely be putting pressure on him and his administration, and even more so on Representatives and Senators in Congress. But the point of the article I linked to in the last post, as well as many of my own political posts on this blog, is that the combination of rightwing control and/or influence on the mass media plus their ability to rouse their troops to protest any slight change in the rightwing policies that have dominated the federal government for the past eight years, and longer, has given them an outsized power that the left hasn't matched or beaten except at the polls last Fall.
That right leaning media plus rightwing protestors' pressure on the federal government and policy makers and lawmakers etc. is constant and powerful, while the pressure from the left as the article I linked to contends, has been mostly confined to blogging and op-eds from some, and cynicism and disillusionment from too many.
There were two brief periods in recent history when the media took a slightly leftist bent, when Walter Cronkite decided to comment on the reality of the stalemate in Viet Nam and his courage sparked other journalists to report the realities on the ground in that war instead of the military talking points, and when the Washington Post uncovered the conspiracy behind the Watergate break-in and the involvement of the Nixon White House. There were small media outlets that had a more "liberal" bent that maybe covered these things and more, but the mainstream media pretty much followed the talking points of the corporate world and those they influenced in Washington. But in these two instances the stories were too big and their impact too powerful to ignore.
The rest of the time, the mainstream media has leaned either to the right or straddled the center. We now have MSNBC that has a few shows that report from a leftist perspective but base their reporting on factual events and evidence (Rachel Maddow is the best example), and The Daily Show often exposes the right's influence on the media. But that's about it.
If the left controls any of the mass media than as John Stewart pointed out in the links I had to him a few posts back, why were demonstrations by handfuls of "teabaggers" covered not just in passing but extensively—you couldn't get away from them on every network, every station—and when they marched on DC it received more coverage than any policy or bill passed since Obama's election, much much more, but when the gay rights march brought out as many people on DC it was ignored by most media outlets or given just glancing coverage?
That's proof positive of the rightwing control and/or outsized influence on the media. And there are endless examples I could give and that I even witnessed—like the demonstrations against Bush and the Republicans at the Republican convention held in NYC in '04 where more arrests were made than in any other demonstration in the city's recent and even most of its long term history, where thousands and thousands and thousands of people from all walks of live protested, and yet in the mass media, it was either glanced over or completely ignored. But when a handful of Republican operatives stage crafted a supposed "spontaneous" demonstration to stop the recounting of votes in Florida in 2000, so that a final full recount was never achieved, that was covered as though it was the second coming, et-endlessly-cetera.
I don't want to waste any more time, yours or mine, on the obviousness of all this, but it is a sign of the times and of the proof of the article I linked to in my last post, that much of political discourse now is over the results of the rightwing's capacity to spin the news in ways that are favorable to its positions, and how even those who are more in the center or on the left get sucked into the rightwing slant on current events rather than an objective recognition of what the realities truly are.
Which, in the case of Obama, and the Democrats, is that they do not have the kind of majority that could insure any bill they wanted passed getting passed, that the influence and pressure from the right is constant and seems to control the terms of the argument so that it favors their side in the media (the classic example of supposed "fairness" turning out to mean in practice any reality can be challenged and the challenger gets equal time if the challenge is from the right, but if it's from the left it gets ignored, except on some shows on MSNBC). (In other words, CNN may use so-called "pundits" from the "left" and right, but what they address is controlled by what the right is making the arguments of the day rather than the true facts that CNN should be uncovering and reporting, etc.)
Nonetheless, much has been achieved in the less than ten months Obama has been in office, on every front, things that would not have been achieved had McCain been elected. But there is so much more to do, and Obama seems so willing to compromise or accept less than many of his more leftist supporters would like (including me), the right seems to be scoring all the points while the left bickers or gives up in too many instances. All I've been saying is: don't. Organize, get active, find ways to put pressure on Congress and the administration to push for the progressive goals Obama seemed to represent to many of us.
But meanwhile, we should also be touting Obama's achievements so far, and the achievements of the Democrats in Congress who all seem as lame at touting their accomplishments and getting that information out to the public as they are at naming these achievements (a game the right has dominated ever since Gingrich figured out how to play it as in "The Contract With America" as opposed to the convoluted titles of much of the recent Democratic legislation and initiatives).