"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act"...George Orwell
Case in point is the poster child of fake news, Fox News. Using false slogans such as "fair and balanced" or "we report, you decide", Fox News has made its living on being nothing short of propaganda for the Republican Party. News shows are peppered with pro-administration stories and even when they have to cover a negative story; it is always framed from a positive angle, thus skewing the truth. The amount of time spent on positive stories versus negative GOP stories is staggering and the guests on their various shows are designed to put a loud, confident voice on the republican side and a milquetoast, timid voice on the democratic side. That is never more evident than on their flagship show Hannity and Colmes where the jaw-jutting, boisterous Hannity is opposed by the meek and affable Colmes. Guests are extreme ideologues on the right, such as war criminal Oliver North or venom-witch Anne Coulter and moderate voices on the left; people you or I have probably never heard of. News is not reported on Fox, it is packaged. The pre-set talking points for the GOP are sent to Fox each day, so that the commentators throughout the day can repeat them over and over again, so that eventually the populace begins to think it is true. Just this past week we saw President Bush began to use the ridiculous term islamo-fascism and sure enough, there was all the Fox commentators using the same ridiculous line all night long. Karl Rove says to call all democrats who support a troop withdrawal, cut and runners and that very night there is O'Reilly, Hannity and company calling them cut and runners. Never mind that the majority of the American people support bringing our troops home, it does not matter in the world of fake news. The opinion of the American people does not matter when you are deciding what the news will be.
Not satisfied with this, Fox also employs flat out lies in their coverage. It was recently discovered that Fox used a "conservative strategist" named Karen Czarnecki on their evening "news" shows. What they did not tell us was that she was not really a conservative strategist. No, Ms. Czarnecki actually was the Labor Department deputy assistant secretary. She was a government employee posing as a pundit on a news program, offering her opinion that not surprisingly, agreed with the government line. The damage done here is that people watching think they are getting an honest opinion, when in reality they are only getting the opinion from the government's standpoint. Similarly, when the administration is in a tough spot, they call on Fox to provide them with an "exclusive", meaning an administration official can sit with someone like Sean Hannity to express the government's opinion without the threat of an actual news interview breaking out. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove have both appeared on these "exclusives" where Hannity did not pose one serious question in opposition to the government position. Propaganda at its best.
Propaganda does not end with Fox though, as most realize now that they are not fair, nor balanced. The real damage done by Fox News is that it makes the other news sources seem mainstream, when in fact they mimic Fox and rarely question the GOP controlled government. People like Chris Matthews are presented as moderate when in reality he has as worse a record in supporting the GOP then anyone on Fox. People like Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough are presented as average guys representing America. Never mind that Scarborough is a former GOP Congressman and Tucker is as republican as they get. America buys it. About the only beacon in this sea of untruth is Countdown with Keith Olbermann but you have to sift through hours of lies just to get to that one beacon.
This is how there are still people in this country that believe Saddam Hussein had WMD or a connection to al Qaeda. It is how they think that Bush using signing statements to avoid obeying the over 800 laws is just a normal practice used by every president. It is how they think the economy is turning a corner. It is why they think there was nothing to the NSA spying scandal, the Valerie Plame story, or the Downing Street Memos. In short, it why they have bought the administration and GOP line and appeared to have drunk the kool-aid. It is what they are being fed. They just do not realize that it is being fed to them by the government itself. They see that the NY Post says that islamo-fascism is on the rise in the war on terror and that the dems are cut and runners. Then they turn on Limbaugh at work and hear him say the same thing. That night they turn on O'Reilly or Hannity and they hear the same exact thing. The big lie has worked. They internalize the opinion as fact, when in reality it was nothing more than a GOP talking point thought up by Karl Rove and fed into the GOP media machine. If things get to a point of critical mass, they can hop on Fox for an "exclusive" and assure you that their opinion is right. Meanwhile, the body count goes up in Iraq, the country continues to get looted, and America sits by gleefully supporting the decimation of their civil liberties and the very fabric of the democracy erodes more and more on a daily basis.
Our government is bobsledding toward fascism as corporations have more pull in Congress than the people our Congresspersons are elected to represent. The Big Pharma lobby designs Teen Screen to get a nation of kids hooked on medications and it becomes national policy. The credit card lobby pours millions of dollars into Congress and gets "bankruptcy reform", financially enslaving America as national policy. AIPAC donates untold millions and is implicated in espionage against this country and it is common knowledge that they have more pull with Congress then any other lobby. Big Pharma is also implicated in poisoning generations' worth of children with mercury preservatives in vaccines causing the autism rate to explode from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 166 births and where is the outrage? Where are the investigations? Nowhere and all you have to do is follow the money trail of how much money has been paid to your representatives to look the other way. Companies even run all of our elections now, refusing to allow meaningful paper trails to ensure there is no evidence of fraud. Are these companies told to release their codes? No, they are protected by the government that rules them. Instead, national policy is written that essentially demands that the states buy their product, the voting machine, regardless of whether they are reliable at all!
These are all very serious matters but it is the media coverage that separates the truth from what the government wants you to believe. I received an email today that asked why America does not love their democracy as much as they do in Mexico, where millions took to the streets to protest an obviously stolen election. I originally thought it was because we are lazy but I think that is too simplistic an answer. I think what it really comes down to is that we all don't know the truth. If we had the media of 30 years ago, the truth about the stolen 2004 election would have come out before the results were certified. Ken Blackwell would be in prison instead of running for Governor of Ohio. The results would have been overturned and prosecutions would have ensued. Instead, we had a media who declared everything was fine almost immediately. The major news networks, who commissioned the exit polling, dismissed their own exit polls as inaccurate to avoid having to answer the embarrassing questions about fraud. Exit polling has been an extremely reliable tool in monitoring fraud in elections for decades and suddenly under Bush, it has become inaccurate and obsolete? Nonsense. We still use it to disallow foreign elections but somehow it is not good enough here.
But where is the reporting of these statistical impossibilities from the 2004 elections? We have to wait for Robert Kennedy Jr. to write an article two years after the fact. People like Bob Fitrakis has been banging the drum since election night but no major media would touch the prospect of the stolen election. It is relegated to the realm of conspiracy theorists and tin foil hats. Anything to disparage the messenger, so the message becomes tainted. Relax America, O'Reilly, Hannity, Matthews, Scarborough, the NY Times and Post will all tell you there is nothing to worry about. Same thing on the "official" 911 cover story. If anyone has the temerity to question the government cover story for 911 they are greeted as conspiracy nuts. Never mind that the notion that a 6 foot 4 inch Arab man hiding in a cave in Afghanistan and attached to dialysis machine coordinated four simultaneous hijackings with box cutters, using 19 people who couldn't fly planes into the ocean if they tried, circumventing the billion dollar air defense systems of this country and making a mockery of our billion dollar intelligence systems seems to me to be the most ridiculous conspiracy theory I have ever heard. It doesn't matter what the facts are, only the pre-decided packaging of the news. It is a sad statement that we are allegedly spreading democracy in the Middle East when we do not try to spread it here at home.
What do we do then? We tell them the truth. Over and over again just like their propaganda sources do. We show them the truth. We give them as many articles as we can to prove that they have been deceived. That is the first act of revolution. It will be critical this year as we head to the mid-term elections. We are living in an age of universal deceit and sometimes we spend so much time speaking out against the message, we overlook the messenger. The GOP and the administration cannot do this alone. They can only do it with a complicit media. It was the media that allowed the swift-boating of John Kerry. It was the media that dismissed their own exit polling which showed blatant fraud in the 2004 elections. The revolution will not be televised America, because it is not on the agenda of the government. Doesn't it say something when the best source of news on cable today is seen on Comedy Central? It is time for a revolutionary act. It is time to tell everyone you know the truth. What is left of our democracy hangs in the balance.