Friday, May 05, 2006
While We’re on the Subject of the So-Called Liberal Media…
(sigh). This Colbert and Cohen stuff makes one realize, once again, that there is nothing new under the sun (plus c’est change, plus c’est la meme chose). I had actually written a piece for webdelsol.com at the editor’s request, leading up to the 04 election (remember how good it felt when we just *knew* Bush was about to lose?), and in a decision that was equal parts ironic and prescient, the piece was considered a “tad harsh” and possibly alienating (heaven forbid political commentary ruffles some feathers, particularly when it involves the media…especially in the wake of the Iraq war which at that point was still mostly well-received in the general american consciousness).
It’s fun, or at least enlightening, to revisit old predictions or opinions when they’ve been proven true; except when it’s depressing. Either way, it’s amusing and distressing to look at this, written in December of 2003 (!!) and not only stand by it, but find it somewhat quaint; if anything, it wasn’t harsh enough (and I’m glad I was rockin the freedom fry material even then). So, with the help of Al Gore’s Back-To-The-Future Machine, here it is:
Politics and the Hoi Polloi, Volume One : The American Media
Since we made it to the new millennium without imploding, it seems necessary, even imperative, for us to find ways to amuse and astonish ourselves.
Even by our seemingly increasing need for polarity in all-things-political, this past year has successfully drawn the sides even further apart, ensuring that the twain between left and right shall not meet anytime soon in this new century.
Only in America, it seems, could the (popular) media be accused, over the course of less than six months, of cravenly kowtowing to the GOP powers-that-be, and then scavenging off the suddenly off limits events inIraq. Who knew the honeymoon of embedded reporting would end as soon as the situation slipped out of control of the armchair nation builders back home? The same cynics that predicted this, and were castigated as traitors who arent patriotic enough to super-size their freedom fries, thats who.
It would behoove the finger pointers to face the fact that the only bias the media has is toward blood (as in the life blood of death and destruction, which equates to ratings); the only party they are beholden to is winning, and they love the smell of napalm in the morning news. Perhaps even more so than mealy-mouthed politicos, who we at least expect to be craven and self-serving, these media maggots are the real opportunists currently plying their trade. It was hard to discern a hard-core liberal slant with all the flags waving on the screens during the round-the-clock, jingo-onanism masquerading as reporting last March. It seems disingenuous to describe the Washington Post as a bastion of left-leaning agitprop when George Will and Charles The Hammer Krauthammer are given space every other day to fly their geek flags: they dont even need to browbeat liberals, they are too preoccupied with attacking fellow conservatives for not obsequiously goose-stepping to the party line. Now, of course, we are hearing how hard it is to get a fair shake when all these pinko-commie rags are concerned with is focusing solely on the bad stuff like more people dying each month since the Commander in Chief ill-advised bring em on bravado. Youd think the GOP brain trust would be grateful that somethinganythingwas deflecting attention away from the pesky fact that Bin Laden is still in charge. Or living large. Or just living.
Despite the typically less than honest antics of the neo-con apologists of late, its been anything but a banner year for the media. This, after all, is the fellowship that allowed con artists like Glass and Blair to thrive in their ranks. And like the CEOs who, in the wake of Enron, et cetera, its suddenly fashionable to despise, as if these commandoes of capitalism havent been behind us (with their pants down) ever since the Robber Barons first goosed the money-grubbing masses, it was only when the facts became too uncomfortably obvious that they finally get censured, sent away to the country club exiles and the talk-show trail of tears.
And speaking of tears, what are the opportunists on the Left making of this panoply of potential knockout punches? Not much. The only people more inept than the posers in power are the pretenders hoping to replace them. Kerry, the default go-to guy early on, seems determined to outdo Al Gore in operating the most lame and lifeless campaign in recent memory, and he doesnt have the luxury of blaming Ralph Nader. As for the pugnacious Howard Dean, whatever else can (and will) be said about him, he has galvanized a party that has seemingly forgotten how to make a decision without first consulting high-priced PR hacks and hastily appointed pulse-takers of the ephemeral national temperament. When Al Gore perfects his Back to the Future machine (he did, after all, invent the Internet) and wins again, again, in 2000, he could learn a lot from Deans refreshing intensity.
If Democrats are counting on the oleaginous Al Franken or the insufferably self-satisfied Michael Moore to provide sane commentary currently overlooked on the unfair and unbalanced network news, something is indeed rotten in D.C. Since OReilly, Limbaugh and the seemingly lobotomized Dennis Miller have been living punch lines lately, the Left has an opportunity to focus on the Man behind the curtain, and not waste time on the sidelines with his well-paid, well-positioned ministers of doom and gloom. Its time to get busy. And as painful as much of this is to behold as it languidly unfolds in real time, it is sobering to consider the inevitability of when these made-for-TV moments are made into made-for-TV movies.