Nothing is more stultifying than one-party rule. It 's a simple rule of perception that unchanging sameness --they always win, no matter what --dulls the senses. My feeling is that right now the American people are taking a little breather. They got through the war on Christmas and that 's enough for now. The Dow Jones hit 1100 for the first time since 9/11. People are drinking more, smoking more, sleeping. Burrowing into their families. Going to see Brokeback Mountain (I highly recommend it). Working. Above all, they are ignoring. They are tuning out the political process, because it is nothing but nonsense and stuff they can 't do anything about.
For example, I 've gotten into the unconscious habit of thinking of journalists as reluctant accomplices to this rightwing takeover, as unhappy, hijacked professionals much like the experts in the State Department --and, for that matter, the experts throughout government. I think that because I forget that the media are their own best apologists. The truth is, the corporate media are leading this revolution, not merely following along and scavenging.
Consider the Abramoff scandal. This is undeniably the worst corruption scandal in our country 's history, easily out-doing Tea Pot Dome, not only because it 's international in scope, but because it represents the engineering of what Tom DeLay modestly refers to as permanent majority status. That spectacular feat was accomplished by means of the so-called K Street Project, which mandated that the Republican Party and all its members would henceforth deal only with Republican lobbyists.
I realize the Democrats are blameless only because they were ruthlessly cut out of the action, but it 's still a treat watching Wolf Blitzer trying to twist the facts to fit the bipartisan scenario demanded by the RNC talking points of the day. I highly recommend this video of Blitzer interviewing Howard Dean for a little comic relief.
If the media have the power to manufacture a crisis, as with the Clinton impeachment, conversely, "if the media learn of a transgression and fail to react, there is no scandal. " In a very real sense, our mass media establish the rules governing public and political decency.
In that regard, Plamegate set a benchmark in the journalistic management of Bush-based scandals: suddenly, after years and years of hearing about the "character issue, " the accepted standard for press censure of a president became criminal indictments. And even after the indictment, pundits argued that the indictments were too few, or for puny crimes (i.e., perjury instead of treason).
Bob Woodward was one of those publicly scoffing at the seriousness of the charges. The Washington Post quoted Mr. Woodward as saying of Plamegate that ultimately "there is going to be nothing to it. And it is a shame. And the special prosecutor in the case, his behavior, in my view, has been disgraceful. " Furthermore, Woodward warned, Fitzgerald "made a big mistake " in going after Judy Miller.
But that was before someone in the White House tipped Fitzgerald that Woodward knew about Plame even before Libby did. After he got caught, Mr. Woodward started singing a much less bellicose tune. Suddenly it was "pretty frightening " that Judy went to jail.
"I hunkered down, " Woodward said in an interview. "I 'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn 't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed. "
Woodward is, of course, famous for his part in the prototypical media scandal of our times, Watergate. One could argue that the arc of Woodward 's career perfectly describes the whole trajectory of media in the electronic age. In the early seventies, the media landscape was highly diversified. Virtually all cities and most towns had their own independent newspapers. There were a large number of independently owned radio stations, rooted in the communities they served, and FCC regulations for radio and television included the now-obsolete fairness and equal time doctrines.
Thirty years down the road things have changed just a bit. Now Woodward is not only a managing editor at the Post, but he has a sweetheart deal where he can sit on scoops he gathers for his books in return for serializing them first in the Post. Good for him, bad for us. Very, very bad for us, as it turns out. The hero of Watergate has become a wealthy businessman.
But that 's only possible because of a lot of other changes that have occurred. It took years of work, years of capitalist indoctrination --greed is good, greed is good, greed works --but bit by bit the FCC regulations designed to prevent the kind of propaganda machine built by the Third Reich have been chipped away: equal time, fairness, the laws against consolidation and monopoly. The result: Rupert Murdoch 's dark parody of equal time and fairness, "fair and balanced " news.