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By R. J. Kovic  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Media coverage of the ongoing Bush/Sheehan matter is worth following, not for its substance - that is sorely lacking - but rather, for the audacity the media is showing by giving its favorite child a public spanking.

"Media" refers to the conglomerates that currently pose as the fourth estate and, in effect, lull the public into thinking it still has someone or something looking out for it by checking government excess and/or abuse of power.

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In the current Bush vacation/war/Cindy script, the media is attacking its own valuable creation. After all, Bush is pro-business, anti- regulation, and has done wonders for media conglomerates with his version of the FCC. As for being a media creation, even Bush has recognized his true Creator for some time now. This is evidenced by his quote while mulling his first run for Governor of Texas:
"You know I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office."

He was re-cast as a successful businessman and a brave fighter pilot and the rest is history.

Currently, the media is defending the attack on its own valuable asset by grumbling that August is a "slow news" period (a recurring excuse) and the reporter's outside of the ranch in Crawford have nothing else to do. On its face, that statement is untrue as anyone who ventures outside of what the American media defines as news can attest to.

The actual answer is simple. The media has proven that it can easily destroy its opponents. The attack on Bush is just a method of keeping its minions in line. Knowing that George Bush is wont to believe the unbelievable, it is reminding him of his quote as he was weighing running for Governor of Texas lest he let his self-described "earned capital" go to his head. It is also a reminder that the "earned capital" is rightfully "media loaned currency" made available to him by his true Creator.

In order to avoid real damage to its favorite politician as it flexes its muscles, the media has also set both guns blazing against Cindy Sheehan. That way, should any signs of serious damage to Bush emerge, the healing process can begin by the media pointing to the "source" who, as its pundits are fond of saying, is a "crackpot", a "traitor", and is "betraying her son's sacrifice". Competing moms, scripted appearances, and references to 9-11 can be trotted out and the whole issue of Iraq will, once again, magically disappear.

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The 2004 election coverage left no such outs for Howard Dean and John Kerry. Dean was left with- "I'm not crazy ... really, I'm not." Kerry was left with accusations that he was too slow to respond to the question of, "When did you stop beating your Swift Boat?"

Most people are under the impression that Howard Dean's campaign was sunk by the "Dean Scream" in Iowa. That, by itself, ignores the forces behind the altering of a non-event into a monumental meltdown.

According to the National Journal's Hotline, cable and network news aired "the scream" 633 times in the 4 days after it was made. This count did not include local news affiliates or talk shows.

ABC's Diane Sawyer reported on the ramifications as well as the reactions from some who were behind the scenes at cable and the networks.

She stated that it sounded very different in the actual room. The difference was because Dean was holding a handheld microphone that filtered out background noise and isolated his voice. She collected other tapes from that night that had crowd noise on them. She concluded that the "so-called scream couldn't really be heard at all." She also collected some sound bites from top executives at CBS News, ABC News, Fox News and CNN, all of whom acknowledged that the media overplayed the scream.

To understand why Dean took this beating (in January, 2004), one should refer to an interview Dean did with Chris Mathews on Hardball in the previous month.

The following are 3 Dean quotes from the interview:
"What I'm going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one ... Yes, we're going to break up giant media enterprises ... You have got to say that there has to be a limit as to how-- if the state has an interest, which it does, in preserving democracy, then there has to be a limitation on how deeply the media companies can penetrate every single community. To the extent of even having two or three or four outlets in a single community, that kind of information control is not compatible with democracy."

Lastly, if 633 replays of a misleading tape proved insufficient to derail the Dean threat to their continued consolidation, the Center for Media and Public Affairs reported that only 39 percent of Dean's coverage on the network evening news was positive during the week after Iowa. By contrast, rival John Edwards' coverage was 86 percent positive during the same period, and John Kerry's was 71 percent positive.

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That is not to say that Dean would have won. It does show that he stood little chance of winning after his comments on Hardball.

As the Democratic field winnowed and John Kerry was selected to run against George Bush, cable catapulted the Swift Boat Veterans onto the world stage.

It should be kept in mind that immediately after the Democratic convention Kerry had a comfortable 3-5 point lead. So comfortable, in fact, that he signaled that he might take another look at media regulation and the effects of consolidation.

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