Dealing with the Corporate Media.
After eight years of shameless shilling for the GOP, the corporate news media have, at last, lost the trust of the American public. And so today, as Tony Dokoupil reports in Newsweek, "less than one person in five believes what he reads in print... and nearly nine of ten Americans believe that journalists are actively biased." Add to this, the decline in circulation and ad revenues of major newspapers, and network newscasts' loss of half their audience since 1980, then it becomes abundantly clear that the right-ward political bias of the corporate media is hitting the sponsors, the management and the stockholders where it hurts the most: in the bottom line. Here is a lever that you and the Democratic Party can apply to your advantage: demand authentically "fair and balanced" reporting and analysis, and when you get less than that, complain in the media especially, the broadcast media, where they simply must give you the "face time" that allows you to speak candidly.
When you and your supporters have that "face time," always remember to address the voters, not the pundits and reporters. And remember also, that you are not required by law to answer their trivial and distracting questions, or to play their silly "gotcha" games. Instead, show that "bemused contempt," brush aside the fluff in a brief sentence, and move on to the substantive issues.
When George Stephanopoulos posed that idiotic question, "does Rev. Wright love America as much as you do?" you might have replied:
McCain Bush Hug
"In view of the opportunities this country has given me, I doubt that anyone loves America more than I do. But today, few young people can have those opportunities, as the cost of a college education is out of reach. This not only cheats the young people, it sabotages our economy, which relies on an educated work force, leadership in scientific research and technological development...." etc.And when asked about the flag label pin, you might have reflected:
"Our economy is collapsing, hundreds of thousands of our citizens are losing their homes, our Constitution has been shredded, 4,000 of our soldiers are dead in Iraq along with a million innocent Iraqis, and you are asking me about lapel pins? Which, by the way, I notice than no one at this table is wearing..."The point that you should make, emphatically and repeatedly, is that obsession with lapel pins, "elitism," and bowling scores betrays an appalling lack of perspective, and that accusation is directed squarely at the media. Throw out that implicit accusation a few times, and they are bound to back off. "But if you attack the media," your advisors might warn you, "they will retaliate." To which I reply, what worse damage can the corporate media do to the Democrats than they have done in the past decade? Be assured that they will continue to use their subtle tricks against the Democrats unless the you and the Party stand your ground and push back. This is no time for the Democrats to succumb to The Stockholm Syndrome. Remember, you have the American public at your back, a vast majority of which rejects Bushenomics, neo-con wars, and the civic delinquency of the mass media. Over the past few decades, the right wing has invested lavishly in the media to great advantage, so that now there are few liberal and progressive voices remaining in the commercial media, which is dominated by merely six giant media conglomerates. Dissent cost Phil Donahue, Bill Maher and Dan Rather their jobs. Maher is back, but with a diminished cable TV audience. Keith Olbermann remains on the air due to his high ratings and at the sufferance of MSNBC management. Today, less than six months away from the general election, it is too late for the Democratic Party and its allies to build an alternative commercial media from the ground up. But it is not too late to support, publicize, and enhance the impact of the few liberal media voices now in place. With the enormous financial resources about to be directed to your campaign, surely some of these can be directed to the desperately underfunded progressive networks, Air America Radio and Nova M Radio. Equally deplorable and short-sighted is the lack of "big bucks" support of the progressive internet, "the American Samizdat", which is, for many dissenting journalists and scholars, the only available mode of publication. An influx of cash to these "in place" liberal media outlets would produce immediate dividends for your campaign, and the campaign efforts of Democratic candidates throughout the nation. Foiling Another Election Theft While the Republican Party and the commercial media are losing the trust of the public, more and more voters are likewise awakening to the fact that their votes may not have been counted in the past few national elections and might not be counted next November. That public awareness is increasing, despite the total blackout on the election fraud issue by the corporate media and also, astonishingly, by the Democratic Party. If the GOP and its friends in the "vote-counting industry" are not to steal the next Presidential election, as they have the past two, then the public must be alerted. Federal elections are administered on the state and municipal level, as we were all reminded in 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio). Accordingly, we need not await, in vain, for Bush's Justice Department to track down, indict, and prosecute criminal elections fraud. Aggressive state Attorneys General or local District Attorneys are qualified to do the job. As the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party, you are in a position to urge Democratic officials in the states and municipalities to proceed aggressively with investigations of election fraud. While it is too late now to secure convictions, there is time enough before November to issue indictments and to schedule trials. In fact, this much has been accomplished by the new (and embattled) Democratic Secretary of State in Ohio, where there is now abundant evidence that in 2004, massive fraud and manipulation "flipped" the state, and thus the White House, from John Kerry to George Bush. A few indictments of election tampering in states with Democratic administrations, might put the fear of the slammer in the minds of a few would-be election-felons. Still more qualms might arise among potential law-breakers in states with Republican governors likely to be replaced by Democrats in the near future. In the meantime, throughout the nation, unverifiable, paperless "touch-screen" (DRE) voting machines are irrevocably in place for the next election, as final attempts in the Congress to replace DRE machines in time for the November election was defeated last month by House Republicans at the request of George Bush. Nonetheless, all is not lost. Individual states can still take steps to protect the votes by decertifying DRE machines. At a sampling of randomly selected and unannounced precincts, voters might cast dual ballots, on the DRE machines and on paper ballots. Tampered and hacked machines would then be readily exposed. With a threat of such exposure in place, along with the subsequent criminal convictions, election fraud would surely be discouraged. Strictly monitored exit polls might be applied. Exit polls have proven themselves to be "the gold standard" of polling, since they report, not intentions, but actual voting behavior. Throughout the world, and in the United States up to 2000, exit polls have been extraordinarily reliable. However, the media tell us, since 2000, exit polling has gone haywire, and for no apparent reason. Proof? They have consistently under-reported alleged late "surges" in Republican votes. There are two possible explanations: exit polling has suddenly and inexplicably failed to report actual "valid" voting, or else the exit polls remain accurate and the official vote totals are fraudulent. We are all aware of which explanation has been accepted and reported, without hesitation or reservation, by the corporate media. Even so, exit polls can and should be used to validate the votes in November, media bias and dismissals be damned. Summing up: We know what to expect from the Republicans during the next three months. Their misbehavior has worked spectacularly well in the past two presidential elections, and there is no reason to suppose that they will not repeat their dirty tricks once again. In fact, they are doing so even this early in the contest. So foremost in your mind, Mr. Obama, should be this question: "What would Karl Rove do?" Follow Sun Tzu's advice: get inside the mind of your opponent, then plan your defenses and your counterattack. John Kerry failed to do this, to the great sorrow of us all. The American public is overwhelmingly behind you on the issues. It despises the Bush Administration, its lies and criminality, Bush's war, the loss of personal liberties and security, the shredding of the Constitution, and the public is dreading the economic calamity that is about to befall it, due to Bush's policies. In a fair, open and lawful contest, your election in November would be virtually assured. However, you are opposed, not only by the Republican Party and its candidate, but also by the Justice Department's voter suppression efforts, the corporate media, and the voting machine industry. Thus John McCain need only gather voter support in the mid-forties, and then the DRE machines will take care of the rest. For the public to accept yet another stolen GOP victory and "Bush's Third Term," that victory need only seem plausible. And that is the job of the captive media. So, despite appearances to the contrary, yours is an uphill struggle. To win, you must gain a degree of public support that is overwhelming and irresistible sufficiently massive that even the corporate media can not ignore it, and so huge that the ruling oligarchy dare not deny the people their chosen President and Congress. Copyright 2008 by Ernest Partridge