[lit-ideas] Re: Taliban! The Musical

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 14:21:28 -0700

> But the White House, the NYT, the Washington Post, and all the people who admire them > have been ideologically blinded.

This is one of the most curious remarks I've ever read. It implies that after
the press initially gave the Bushies a pass on the run-up to the invasion it
has been 'ideologically blinded' ever since, to the extent that the NY Times,
the LA Times, and the Washington Post are even now supporting Bush and the

The NYT and the Washington Post both wrote very long articles to explain their journalistic failures in Iraq and apologize. I think the WSJ also wrote an article about their poor coverage.

"Journalistic failures" is the polite way to say it. "Giving the Bushies a pass" on the invasion is another polite phrasing. The three major papers, incl. practically all major US papers (the only exception has been Knight-Ridder papers and the CSM) were cheerleaders for the White House. Whatever White House speculation, misinformation, or propaganda was stated as fact by the US media.

The US media has been criticized by the journalism journals for this.

The major papers, incl. the three network news, continue now to give Bush the benefit of the doubt, as if there were any doubt at all. Instead of reporting that Bush has shredded the Constitution and is an illegal government, we get nothing. They continue to respect the office of the president. We are in the worst political crisis since 1776, but you wouldn't know it from the news.

It's astonishing that the USA, a hyperpower that spends more on military than the next 50 countries combined, has lost in Afghanistan and Iraq to a bunch of bare-footed Arabs. Instead, they tell us about our wonderful weapons system, without mentioning these are totally useless. Every year, our military budget goes through Congress and not one of the major media makes a peep in protest.

It's not merely the war. The NYT knew, and kept secret for a year, that Bush was using the NSA and CIA for domestic spying. This is flatly illegal and goes deeply against the Constitution. The NYT covered up.

The Abu Ghraib prison scandal was known to reporters for more than a year before it became public. They shrugged it off.

The neocon ploy to provoke and overthrow North Korea is known to people who follow the issue. Yet the media reports with blue-eyed amazement on "irrational North Korea" and how the US will prevent North Korean nuclear weapons.

How bad is it? The most-watched news in the US now is Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who satirize the news. Why do we watch that? Because we know the "news" are lies. When a US general says we can win, and Lou Dobbs nods in agreement, it's just fodder for comedians. The unemployment numbers? Those numbers are fixed.

We now know that for over a decade, the Republicans were the party of Family Values, yet reporters in Washington knew about Foley and other Republicans. The GOP bashes gays, yet there are many gays in the GOP, and the media doesn't report that.

Remember the last time when governments lied and comedy soared? That was USSR. Extremely funny satires came out, in novels and film. Watch "The Firemen's Ball", a Czech comedy by Milos Forman. It viciously satires the "firemen", i.e., the Communist Party.

That's where we are today: the USSR in the late 80s. Bogged down in a futile war, hated by its allies, budget deficits totally out of control, using surveillance to control its critics, ignoring its laws. We very well could collapse just like the USSR, entirely done from within by the super patriots. And the media never points this out.

Why is the US media a catamite for the White House? Two reasons:

1) They are powerful, so they only talk with other powerful groups. They ignore everyone else.

2) The large media companies are owned by very large corps. Corps are in the business of making money. Advertisers pay money. So... don't annoy advertisers. Don't attack the vast concentration of power or the vast amount of money in their hands. If this was the Titanic, the news would be printing out newsletters praising the wisdom of the captain and the latest on the celebrities.

If you want to know what is going on, read the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Die Zeit. Talk with friends. And think about what is going on.


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