Monday, October 19, 2009


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).


JIm said...

Wake up Liberals, Progressives and Socialists! You are in charge. Republicans are powerless to stop your anti business, jobs and individual freedom agenda. The takeover of the American economy is yours for the taking, unless Americans have a say. They can not do much now, but can next year. Obama has made a good start with the takeover of Banks, Autos and a Stimulus Bill that has proven to be non simulative.

Media control and monopoly of thought has changed since Conkrite’s days. Consumers of news and opinion have a choice that was not available then. Liberal ideas are not selling in the market place of ideas. If they were selling, MSNBC, CNN and Air America would be thriving in audience and monetarily. Obama is losing the Independents and the seasoned citizens who have voted for Democrats in the last two cycles. They should lose them, because the Democrats have carried on a war against business and job creation. Now they want to pull the plug on Granny and Granny does not like it.

The Tea Party Movement, not the tea bagger movement, has been the greatest civil awakening since the sixties. The movement produced rallies nationwide that certainly rivaled any Million Man March that Obama went on with his buddy Farrakhan participated in. The media, other than Fox, covered it as a movement of angry white racists rather than US citizens who stood for the US Constitution and limited government.

Obama’s achievements are the Stimulus Bill and abrogation of bankruptcy law in the auto takeover. The effectiveness of his administration can be measured in the collapse of the US dollar. It is down approximately 12% since inauguration.

Ed Baker said...

how come not a single media coverage of one of those parents/familes of one of the over 900 kids who have recently died of the swine flue virus?

is this just another Disney fantasy?


harryn said...

jim - i think your presence at this blog is evidence of what lally refers to - and - as is the rightwig practice, to bombard the messaging with all kinds of convoluted misinformation - like the "liberals are in charge" - if anything, they offer a mild resistance to a fascist agenda that enjoys the steamrolling practices of the bush years - and this tea bagger movement which you refer to as the "greatest civil awakening ..." is nothing more than mob mentality, wrestlemania, convergence of ignorance fueled by incendiary rightwig media and extremist talk show hosts - all designed [and that's the operative word] to keep joe the plumbers and suzy homemakers distracted from what is really going on in this world - it's so appalachia jim, keep the family feuds going to avoid comprehension of the bigger picture or higher ideals ...
as much as you guys irritate me, i truly do feel sorry for you squandering your intelligence and stamina on so many self centered and blind causes - and this "war on business" you refer to recently as though you have a personal stake - left unregulated, any one of those businesses would roll you over in a heartbeat ... 'the company' or 'american big business' is only another nostalgic myth used to manipulate you people ...

Anonymous said...

the failure of the 4th estate to provide the information to the public, which is it's purpose is of course a contributing factor, to the perversion of that sacred principle of ' a gov't of the people.
but when the supreme court ruled that money was speech the game was over. tilted so severely to favor plutocrats that the possibility of reforming our finacial system that has stolen money, the military industrial complex, that has stolen money,went out the teller window. how is it that we have lots and lots of money for useless crap like B1 bombers and hallibuton, and no money for health care and education?

Dog Star said...

Supporting the Demwits is like the beaten wife supporting her husband's booze habit because he still has a job and has thus far managed to keep up, more or less, with the mortgage payments.

Thirty years after Nam the Demwits rubber stamp Iraq, do a no look pass on Patriot devastations on liberties, free pass to telecom spying, and take Impeachment off the table after the Founders put it on the table for eternity to help disinfect our union.

I could go on for pages on this stuff--all of it profoundly horrendous.

By enabling these tools who have betrayed us for at least two generations, you ensure the inevitable fall of an empire already clearly well into the deepeest chapters of Gibbon's Fall.

Guess there's a reason poets are unacknowledged legislators. They're too busy acknowledging the legislators owned by Wall Street, Insurance, Pharma, and Military Industrial.

No wonder the GOP walks all over the liberals, who then, once in power, start pussyfooting around like virgins at a frat party.

There's a sucker born every minute and no fool ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

Keep on fiddlin'...

Lally said...

Yeah, smart thinking. Ain't a dime's worth of difference between Obama and Bush. And staying purer than thou above it all helps change things too. Whoever Dog Star is, obviously someone afraid to put their name on their beliefs and criticisms and cynicism. I've got a relative who died in Iraq. You? I know the cost, and I know political realities. If you think ignoring them will get you the world you want, good luck. The sucker is the citizen who falls for the rightwing propaganda that says it's all the same so why bother, while they get out their base and take over the government again and again. Obama has already done more that any self-respecting leftist or progressive or true idealist would want to see accomplished in his short time in office than the last three Republican presidents combined. And if you don't know that, than it's clear you're just paying attention to the same old media and the same old disaffected cynical incestuous bloggers and not finding out the real news, just reinforcing the whole rightwing slant on reality that pervades unfortunately even the leftwing blogoshpere and media which spends too much time refuting it or commenting on it than digging up the real news and spreading it.