"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Media Accommodates the Right

The mainstream American press is certainly not an adjunct to the Republican Party, but its inclination, since the nineties, to handle Republicans with kid gloves has contributed to the GOP’s progress toward becoming the nation’s normal governing party. For three decades, conservatives have complained about an alleged liberal bias in the media, and these complaints have induced some degree of self-censorship. Over time, most outlets have fallen back to limiting and toning down reports that could reflect poorly on conservatives. The conservative call for “balanced” coverage meant backing away from seeking the unvarnished truth and settling for “he said-she said” journalism. No matter how absurd the factual claims of one side might be, they must be given equal time. In dealing with complex scientific and medical issues, it meant presenting the consensus of experts on one side and giving equal time to often unfounded claims by conservative special interests.” In this context, it meant the media became subservient to some industries such as the fossil fuel industry in environmental matters. Slanted, partisan stories that appeared in conservative press were often picked up by the mainstream media without vetting and aired in its vast echo chamber. Even the Drudge Report became a source of mainstream stories. The inclination of the press to lean over backwards to avoid conservative criticism was also attributable to the expert news management of the George W. Bush White House.
The call for “balanced” journalism has led to what has been called “junk journalism” simply offering the public equal amounts of the claims of both parties. In 2004, Ken Silverstein of the Los Angeles Times journeyed to Missouri to see if efforts were underway to prevent large numbers of blacks from voting. The Justice Department had found that this had occurred in 2000. He found this to be the case again. Republicans denied this and mounted very flimsy countercharges. Reflecting on what balanced journalism meant in this case, he wrote to an editor, wondering if the new standard for journalism required that he simply present the spin from both sides with no effort to establish the facts. He thought the new journalistic atmosphere was very “stifling.”
By the end of George W. Bush’s third year in the White House, Harpers’ Magazine publisher Rick MacArthur told a radio interviewer that the “White House press corps...has now turned into ...[a] full time press agency for the President of the United States.” Later in the interview he added that the public should “assume that the press is now part of the government.” On reflection, MacArthur would certainly back off from full meaning of these assessments, but he was correct in noting that the national press had lost its ability to cover this GOP administration critically. Gore Vidal offered the opinion that “The people are not stupid, but they are totally misinformed.” “The Note,” an electronic publication of ABC News, claimed that the American press in the George W. Bush years was “arguably the most beaten down press corps in the modern era….”

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A Brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!