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Friday, March 18, 2011

Why are Republicans Afraid of the Media?

“The elite media has been caught in so many lies because of false statements that its whole reputation has eroded, their circulation is down, and their profits are down.” — Geraldo Rivera

In the 1976 movie Network, a film about a TV network cynically exploiting a deranged ex-TV anchor's ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit. The TV Anchor, Howard Beale played by Peter Finch, goes on a rampage against the shallow and profit-based reporting of the nightly news. He sees how profit and bias has replaced truth.

The American mainstream media, once the most dominant news gathering entity in the world, has lost its credibility and is in the process of losing its influence. Yet the Republicans and some conservative intelligentsia in Washington D.C. still foolishly curry the media's favor, cower in fear of their by-gone power and do not understand their motives and mindless acquiescence to group-think mentality.

Since 1990 total newspaper circulation has dropped by 17.3 million readers (28%). The three network news broadcasts have suffered a similar fate. Since 1991 they have lost 12.6 million viewers (34%). The various mainstream news magazines such a Time and Newsweek are a mere skeleton of their former selves. NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.6 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 8.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.2 million viewers. CBS, once the flagship of the evening news dropped almost half of its viewer (43%) in the same period. Katie Couric did not do much for CBS with her inflated salary. On the other hand shows like NCIs had 19 million in a three week period and Bill O’Reilly averages about 7 million viewers each night. I could not find the ratings for NPR’s news programs.

historical-evening-news-590x472While many within the media chose to blame the rise of the internet, talk radio and Fox News, this trend began long before the ascendancy of these new media outlets. The case could be made that these new sources of information benefited and grew rapidly as a reaction to the lack of integrity from the mainstream media.

This lack of integrity was never more manifest than the media's slavish fawning over Barack Obama in the 2008 election and their continued loyalty despite his myriad failings, obvious disinterest in the job of President, and his infatuation with the perquisites of his office. Like a battered spouse, many in the mainstream media will not leave his side.

This march to the media's present role of being in league with the Obama administration is based not only on assuaging their guilt and cheerleading for his success as the first African-American President, but the culmination of the good-versus-evil orientation of modern journalism. The process of determining who were the righteous and who were the villains was begun by the American Left over 80 years ago.

The manufactured villain turned out to be those who stand for: 1) the traditions and tenets as espoused by the founding fathers (who are responsible for creating a nation inherently unfair and racist), 2) the free enterprise system (which is riddled with perceived inequities).

The major acceleration of this process took place in the 1960's. A social revolution took hold against American historical and societal norms. An era of peace and prosperity unprecedented in the history of mankind was underway in the United States, allowing a new generation, who had never experienced hardship on a massive scale, to focus on hedonistic pursuits, self-aggrandizement and a search for "meaning in their lives."

This movement was promptly seized by the true-believers on the Left as a recruiting pool. The Leftists proclaimed to the gullible that the United States was an unjust, repressive tool of capitalism. The siren song of a classless society wherein all are treated fairly and there are no absolutes found eager ears. The protests against the Vietnam War and the very necessary civil rights movement, which achieved so much, were hijacked by many of the post-depression generation into a call to overthrow all of society's norms.

The protests surrounding the Vietnam War and then Watergate not only gave rise to the resignation of a President but accelerated the virulent polarization of politics and the beginning of the end of any pretext of an impartial mainstream media.

As a consequence of the media's perception of their role in ending the Vietnam War and through exposing Watergate forcing Richard Nixon to resign, the press began to look upon themselves not as an neutral reporters of the news but rather as a crusaders out to right the wrongs, as they perceived them. Journalism, as taught in the university and promoted by those who had been active in the 1960's, became to be viewed as a vehicle for social and economic change. In other words after Watergate students went to journalism school not to be good, factual reporters, but to change the world. Their professors thought the same way.

As further incentive, the journalists who successfully assumed the role of societal avenger were feted by their fellow scribes, became celebrities, and, coincidently, achieved great wealth. This, in addition to any so-called noble calling to transform the United States, became a vital part of the metamorphosis of journalism from news gathering to news manipulation and the naïve promotion of a leftist ideology.

Over the intervening years and into the present, the far-Left effectively promoted: 1) the false and unfounded libel of a desire by conservatives to turn the United States into a theocracy; 2) guilt for the nation's past and one's success; and 3) fears of the imminent demise of the earth due to man's environmental sins. This tactic became the basis for many of the gullible in the media to sign on and promote the policies of the progressives without understanding what they in fact stood for and what the long-term consequences would be.

It became more important and fashionable for a majority in the media to protect their lifestyles against the "right-wing horde" descending upon them, maintain their membership in the ruling Class, seek notoriety, and to assuage their guilt rather than comprehend what was happening around them, or the controlling agenda they unwittingly supported.

Thus the coverage of news stories concerning conservative issues or politicians became notable for vitriol and deliberate slanting or omission of facts. Polls, commissioned by the media and easily manipulated, were substituted for news and real reporting. Every personal failure of a Republican politician was amplified into a national outcry. All civility and traditional objectivity was rejected when discussing the (predeterminedly) evil conservatives.

The most recent and vitriolic example has been Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, it became necessary to figuratively destroy them as a viable when they became an open and real threat to the establishment and its foot-soldiers, the mainstream media.

By comparison, those politicians who said the right things relative to morals and lifestyles, mouthed the magic phrase of social justice, and promised to continue the march to a massive central government were treated in an opposite fashion, except when a story, thanks to the alternate media, became too big to ignore.

This evolution of the mainstream media culminated in the election of Barack Obama, who on the surface fulfilled all the requirements of an ideal presidential candidate for the chattering class. He was one of them. Ivy League educated, well spoken, attractive, and said all the right things designed to appeal to the myopic worldview of the New York-Washington-Los Angeles media axis. But above all he was African-American, an opportunity to wash away the collective guilt so imbedded in the psyche of the press and the liberal left.

Barack Obama also knew that he had those tangible and intangible factors that would allow him to manipulate the media, and he did so. The mainstream media became, in the phrase often attributed to Lenin, “useful idiots”. Obama's background, lack of executive experience, and radicalism were ignored and all effort was exerted to tamp down negative stories and make certain he was elected. Reverend Wright, Bill Ayres and his record in the Senate did not mater — they wanted Obama. They, together with a manufactured financial crisis and an inept Republican presidential candidate, succeeded.

The media has begun its efforts to re-elect Obama and protect their interests. Already stories are circulating making him out to be invincible and the potential Republican field full of inept, right-wing loons. Every effort to rein in spending in Congress is met with the obligatory story of child and senior citizen deprivation and joblessness. The reporting of a possible shutdown has been slanted as a warning to the Republicans that they will suffer as they supposedly did in 1995.

It matters little whether the country is marching off a financial cliff. That is more propaganda by the evil conservatives (the über-elites in the media and the administration have declared that to be so), thus the rest of the mainstream media dutifully toes the line.

Every time a strong conservative steps into the limelight they are targeted by the left-wing press in an effort to take them out of the race. Even, so called conservative pundits like Karl Rove George Will and Charles Krauthammer will not rise to their defense. They want another “winnable” candidate, one who the press will talk nicely about while knowing he or she is a looser. They cry for another Reagan, but forget that he was not the darling of the Republican Party, George H.W. Bush was — an eastern elite Republican in the mold of Lincoln Chafee. Reagan was too much like Goldwater — that evil western conservative.

It is beyond time for the Republicans and conservatives in Washington, whether in elected or other positions, to stop paying attention to and being intimidated by the media and understand who they are, their motives and their lack of ingenuity or cogent arguments. The mainstream media has lost its clout and the respect of the American people. These people cannot be reasoned with, and they will never show any respect for conservative views or individual reputations, as their only and real interest is their personal well-being and self-aggrandizement.

This last Congressional election demonstrated the power of the people to ignore the media pundits and elitists. The Tea Party was demonized and degraded in the print and electronic media. They were called racists, bigots and about every other ad hominem they could think of. The result was that the people put 62 Republicans in the U.S. Congress and over 650 in the various state houses across the land.

The United States is about to cross the threshold that will determine its future for better or worse. The election on November 6, 2012 will be the most important in the nation's history. The election must be won by those who truly have the long-term interest of the country at heart. That begins by not falling prey to well-worn and threadbare tactics of the Left and their sycophants in the mainstream media.

Suzanne Fields writes in the Patriot Post: “Conservatives love to hate Frank Rich, the New York Times columnist who wrote his last political column on Sunday. But they owe him an accolade or two for recognizing what the relentless production of opinion was doing to his writing.”

"That routine can push you to have stronger opinions than you actually have, or contrived opinions about subjects you may not care deeply about, or to run roughshod over nuance to reach an unambitious conclusion," he wrote in his farewell to rage and all that. He's moving to fresh adventures at New York magazine, where he hopes to rediscover nuance, which he displayed in thoughtful abundance in "Ghost Light," his memoir about growing up in Washington, D.C.”

“His exit from the newspaper coincides with a report from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, which documents the radical changes going on in the industry known as media. If Rich's bite of humble pie expresses the way a good writer's curiosity can deteriorate in producing polarized outrage for print, the Pew report tells how the Internet has captured the market for news, something we've known for a while. It's not a good omen for good writing.”

“Old-fashioned gatekeepers who check for facts, clarity, restraint, missing attributions and misplaced commas — gatekeepers formerly known as editors — are rapidly being put out to pasture unless they can find a way to grow greener grass on the Internet. Not easy, not likely.”

“Flexible print journalists, however, don't have to become like the displaced monks who filed away their quills and carefully drawn manuscripts when the printing press replaced them. Pew reports that online news hires may have matched the numbers of laid-off newspapermen for the first time since newspapers began an accelerated economic descent into their own recession a decade ago. Not only are more people getting their news on the Web than from newspapers, but for the first time, more money was spent for advertising online than in newspapers.”

"In a world where consumers decide what news they want and how they want to get it, the future belongs to those who understand the audience best, and who can leverage that knowledge with advertisers," says Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew project. "Increasingly that knowledge exists outside of news companies."

“Audiences know what they want, and they want it quickly and on the run, like a burger and fries at the drive-thru window. Nearly half of all Americans get some form of local news on a mobile device. Although only 7 percent of Americans said they owned a portable tablet in January 2011 that number had doubled in the previous four months, so you can imagine what it will be by the end of the year. Apple's latest iPad 2 sold out on the weekend it was launched. More than a hundred various tablets are either on sale or in development. It took Moses a long time to carve those commandments on tablets on Mount Sinai; it takes only seconds to send news to an electronic tablet.

That's partly bad but not all bad. What we're losing in quality writing — some of what goes on the Internet is little more than illiterate gibberish — we may be making up in a better-informed public. Logged-in Internet teenagers are often up to date about what's going on in the world because they read news flashes on their electronic screens. They can't escape what's happening. In that sense, social media widens the audience for what's going on; analysis and comment is only another click away.

“No matter how we regard this change, what we need to do now is face up to the inevitability of the shift and guard against the downside, the way the new, processed media can limit the ability to think between obsession with quick hits. In the 1976 hit movie "Network," which satirized televised news as a wasteland, dismissed Howard Beale screams, "TV is not the truth." He tells his audience to get mad, fight back and yell at the dehumanization of the tube: "I'm a human being; my life has value." A lot of people are yelling on the Web today.”

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