April 17, 2008
Edward R. Murrow must be turning over in his grave. The once proud fourth estate has been so severely compromised that it virtually serves no purpose other than to assist corporate America continue it’s stranglehold on the republic that once was the United States of America. I have lamented for years now from this column the abuses of the corporate media. The deterioration of the media under the Bush administration has been beyond palpable. Deregulation has allowed near monopolistic situations as media no longer reports the news; it packages the news. We have seen the Jeff Gannon’s of the world erode the validity of the press and fake news spots being produced by the government to convince you that what their opinion is, is really objective reporting. In the last two presidential elections we saw how powerful the corporate media could be. In 2000 we saw the media turn Al Gore into a liar, when in every case the alleged lies were a fabrication of the right wing echo chamber. Bush was given a free pass in the debates by the press who turned the election into a contest of who you would rather have a beer with. In 2004 we saw the corporate media turn Howard Dean into the scream, torpedoing his electoral hopes. Then we saw the “reporting” of the swift boat nonsense as John Kerry, a war hero, was turned into Benedict Arnold. Conversely, Bush was again given a free pass even though he was soundly trounced by Kerry in every debate. Instead of talking about Iraq, we were talking about pictures of John Kerry windsurfing and how that must mean he is out of touch with mainstream America. Fast forward to 2008 and we saw a fake news network be allowed to host republican presidential debates. The result was nothing more than an hour and a half of right wing propaganda being presented as legitimate presidential issues. I thought that the corporate media could go no lower. Then I watched last night’s debate on ABC.
You could see who was paying the bills from the first “question” last night. Both candidates were asked to “fight until the end for every delegate” and then agree to put the other on the ticket as VP. Now, who would benefit the most from the democratic primaries being dragged out until the last delegate is counted? John McCain of course. This pseudo-question unfortunately was only the beginning of the onslaught against the collective intelligence of this country. From that point on it became obvious that the agenda for the evening was to do as much damage to Barack Obama as possible. Why you might ask? Two strategic reasons. The first reason is to continue the democratic primaries as long as possible because as outlined, it only helps John McCain. Hillary is trailing and trailing badly. By hurting Obama, perhaps Hillary’s chances get propped up and the primaries can continue as they beat each other up while McCain tours Iraq. The secondary reason is that the machine does not want Obama as the democratic candidate. Hillary is more owned and closer to Bush than Obama ever would be. By ensuring it is Hillary-McCain the machine knows it will be a choice of Bush on steroids versus Bush Lite. An Obama candidacy would present a far bigger challenge for the GOP and Diebold. Want proof?
Here are some of the “questions” asked of Barack Obama last night:1) Talking to a closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco 10 days ago, you got talking in California about small-town Pennsylvanians who have had tough economic times in recent years. And you said they get bitter, and they cling to guns or they cling to their religion or they cling to antipathy toward people who are not like them. Now, you've said you misspoke; you said you mangled what it was you wanted to say. But we've talked to a lot of voters. Do you understand that some people in this state find that patronizing and think that you said actually what you meant?
Who is writing this question Sean Hannity? First of all, it is not what Obama said. He said that people in small town America often vote against their economic interests and instead cling to religion etal. The last two lines of the question are actually republican talking points! The “question” essentially accuses Obama of being patronizing and a liar! Then the moderator allowed Senator Clinton to “weigh in” on the bashing of her opponent!
2) The next two questions to Clinton ask her if she thinks Obama can actually beat John McCain. That is followed by asking Obama is he thinks Clinton can beat McCain. Is this a presidential debate or an infomercial selling us on how electable John McCain is?3) Senator Obama, since you last debated, you made a significant speech in this building on the subject of race and your former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And you said subsequent to giving that speech that you never heard him say from the pulpit the kinds of things that so have offended people. But more than a year ago, you rescinded the invitation to him to attend the event when you announced your candidacy. He was to give the invocation. And according to the reverend, I'm quoting him; you said to him, "You can get kind of rough in sermons. So what we've decided is that it's best for you not to be out there in public." I'm quoting the reverend. But what did you know about his statements that caused you to rescind that invitation? And if you knew he got rough in sermons, why did it take you more than a year to publicly disassociate yourself from his remarks?
Flogging the dead horse issue that is Jeremiah Wright. Not a question about the economy, Iraq, or anything relevant to the election. Instead, more right-wingnut talking points regurgitated by shills posing as journalists.4) Senator, two questions. Number one, do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do? And number two, if you get the nomination, what will you do when those sermons are played on television again and again and again?
Are you kidding me??? Is this supposed to be a presidential debate or the Jerry Springer Show? More right wing talking points about how the right will attack Obama, making Hillary look like the more viable candidate.
5) Two more follow up questions about Pastor Wright and whether he is patriotic or not and whether Obama has “disowned” him. Then a brief respite for Obama as the moderator turns to the all important Bosnia gaffe for Clinton. Then right back to Obama-bashing…6) Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen, policemen and EMS wear the flag. I want to know why you don't. Just to add to that, I noticed you put one on yesterday. But -- you've talked about this before, but it comes up again and again when we talk to voters. And as you may know, it is all over the Internet. And it's something of a theme that Senators Clinton and McCain's advisers agree could give you a major vulnerability if you're the candidate in November. How do you convince Democrats that this would not be a vulnerability?
You’re not questioning his patriotism but you are asking if he believes in the American flag? I saw this topic for a week straight on the O’Reilly Factor. It is not tabloid journalism; it is fixed news. It is talking points for the Republican Party being reported as news and asked as legitimate questions in a presidential debate! What is the snide, “I see you put one on yesterday” supposed to be inferring???7) I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers; he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He's never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough." An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?
Guilt by six degrees of separation. Ayers carried out his acts when Obama was 8 years old. This is another fabricated issue by the right wing echo chamber being presented as a credible issue. And of course, Hillary is allowed to respond to each of these!
8) The moderators realize that the debate has turned into a free-for all gang up pile on Obama. The result:And Senator Clinton, I'm getting out of balance in terms of time. And you're getting shortchanged here. And so if you want to reply here, fine. If you want to wait, we'll do it in the next half hour.
How sweet! Clinton is getting shortchanged??? Obama is getting pummeled with Fox News talking points, pseudo issues, and absolute garbage and the moderator feels that Clinton is getting shortchanged.
That was the first hour of this debate folks. In order. Finally a real question was asked about Iraq. It went to Senator Clinton of course, as she was being shortchanged. But it was America that got really shortchanged of course. They got screwed by ABC who did not want to host a debate last night as much as they wanted to host an assassination of the candidacy of Barack Obama. There were other clear Fox-style questions, such as suggesting that if a candidate says unequivocally they will withdraw from Iraq that they are saying they “know better then the generals” and stating that Iran is definitely pursuing nuclear weapons, which is actually not a given. The overall point again is that the debate was hijacked by the right wing machine that continues to throttle this country.
The damage is done. ABC, which is owned by Disney, is the same network that ran the historically inaccurate hit piece on the Clinton’s blaming them for 911. All major media is now owned by less then ten companies who all do business with the government. Ratings matter but not as much as politics. There is nothing left sacred anymore. Last night should have been about you America. We should have heard the differences between the candidates on Iraq, the economy, jobs, healthcare, the environment and education. I counted two questions on Iraq, one on the economy and none on jobs, healthcare, the environment and education. NONE. Instead we had time for the first HOUR to hear every Sean Hannity, right-wing, insane talking point regurgitated over and over again as if it was news. As if it was topical. As if it was relevant.
The machine doesn’t want the debate in this country to be about the economy or the war because they lose both points. Their candidate is for another 100 years in Iraq and bombing Iran. Their candidate admits not knowing anything about the economy and was part of the Keating Five from the S and L scandal of the late 1980’s. If the debate is fair and about what really matters in this world, they lose. Instead they want the debate to be about flag lapel pins, as if that is how patriotism is measured. Instead they want the debate to be about any sordid figure they can relate to the democrats no matter how silly or distant. They want the debate to be about “bitter-gate”; a completely fabricated lie created by the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world and sold to you as news. Packaged to you like Jeff Gannon used to package question for the president. After last night it has become clear that we will have to sort through the spin and lies; not only of the candidates but of the media which no longer is a free enterprise. The media is trying to pick your president again America. Of that there can no longer be any debate.