Skip to comments.Death Throes of the Mainstream Media
Posted on 02/10/2005 8:23:14 PM PST by freeholland
"Denial" that popular psychobabble term gained immense credibility in the last century as a result of "experts" who tried to convince the public that people who looked at a blue sky and called it pink were somehow not responsible for their perceptions. If one really believed that, they said, he or she must be "in denial" and therefore more worthy of "treatment" (or pity) than scorn.
The idea had widespread implications. Simply excise the notion of accountability from the public imagination and anything was possible! Women who chose to destroy their in-utero infants could deny their acts by calling it "choice." Serial murderers could deny culpability for their crimes by citing multiple personality disorder and blaming their "alters." And the wife of a sitting president could deny her husband's paramour as a fiction of "the right-wing conspiracy" while that very husband could deny that sex was sex!
Conservatives, overwhelmingly, dismiss "denial" as the lame excuse it is. But liberals and particularly those in the so-called mainstream media (MSM) continue to cling to it. Case in point: their transparent and rather pathetic bravado in behaving as if they are the "voice of the people" when, in fact, their ratings and credibility have plummeted while conservative newspapers, Internet sites and radio shows have skyrocketed in popularity.
It's All on the Record'
The Iraqi elections that took place on January 30 the first after decades of brutal and tyrannical rule were by any measure a testimony not only to the yearnings of millions of Iraq's citizens to embrace freedom and democracy but also to a resounding, history-making and, yes, legacy-emblazoning tribute to the first visionary American president in the last 50 years a president who looked at the dark sky of his predecessors' many failures in the Middle East and called it a dark sky!
And then proceeded to light the way to a new and hopeful path for that beleaguered region of the world, with unprecedented democratic elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, in the Palestinian Authority and, yesterday (February 10), the first-ever local elections in Saudi Arabia, as well as upcoming elections in Lebanon this spring.
And how did the mainstream media (MSM) in our country react? A day before the election in Iraq, ABC-TV's anchor Peter Jennings stated with what appeared to be perverse glee (disguised as fake concern): "All over Baghdad today there is no question that it looked like an occupation it looks as if the election process has been rejected."
Of course Jennings in the terminal stages of objectivity denial (as is his network of other leftists like Ted Koppel) was echoing the doomsday words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had intoned days earlier, "The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution."
And then there was that dour deliverer of doomsday drivel, John Kerry, to whom NBC's "Meet the Press" afforded a full hour on the day of the Iraqi election and who pronounced that we shouldn't "over-hype" the astounding turnout and contagious elation of the Iraqi electorate.
Kennedy, of course, comes by his anti-American sentiments (probably genetically) from his father, Joseph Kennedy, an ardent isolationist and admirer of Hitler. And Kerry, too, has a long and ignominious record in lobbying for American defeat, as he did when he voted against funds for our military in Iraq and lied to the Congress in the late 1960s about the "war crimes" of his fellow vets in Vietnam.
And when triumphant Iraqis who had risked their lives to vote, some walking up to 15 miles to embrace the democratic dream, succeeded in turning out by the millions, all MSNBC's cynical Chris Matthews asked was "Will this weekend's vote create a country or demolish it?"
As for CNN's entire staff, all they could do was spout the mantra of their real bosses, the liberal political establishment, by echoing their brand new we-won't credit-Bush-with-anything mantra: What is the exit strategy?
This is strange, given that they applauded Bill Clinton's foray into Bosnia, a country that posed no threat to our country, where he sent troops without any consultation with or approval from the United Nations. Our troops are still there after seven years, with no call from the left/media to bring them home. But, then again, the heroic American soldiers who liberated Europe during World War II are still there 60 years later!
According to Jon Podhoretz of the New York Post: "The dark talk emanating from the media isn't really based in concern about Iraq's elections. It's really based in concern about the success of American policy in Iraq. Anti-Bush partisans both Democrats and leftist ideologues understand that if the elections are seen as a triumph, they will be seen as Bush's triumph, and they cannot stomach it."
What the Mainstream Media Never Report
Ray Reynolds (SFC Iowa Army National Guard, 234th Signal Battalion) wrote a letter home as he headed to Baghdad for the final weeks of his stay in Iraq. He wanted the recipients to know that he was thankful "to all of you who did not believe the media." Here are the "noteworthy" events he listed:
Over 400,000 kids have had up-to-date immunizations.
School attendance is up 80 percent from levels before the war.
Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
The country had its first $2 billion-barrel export of oil in August.
Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
The country now receives two times the electrical power it did before the war.
100 percent of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35 percent before the war.
Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.
Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with U.S. soldiers.
Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
Students are taught field sanitation and hand-washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
An interim constitution has been signed.
Girls are allowed to attend school.
Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years. Has any reader of this article ever even once heard this good news on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC or NPR, or read it in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times to mention just a few left-wing media outlets that never tire of saturating their audiences with bad and anti-Bush news? I haven't.
No better proof exists of the failure of the MSM to climb out of their biases and present the American public with "fair and balanced" news than that provided by a soldier in Iraq to federalistpatriot.com after the recent Iraqi election.
"The media have it bass-ackwards," he said. "CBS, NBC, PBS and CNN just don't get it their reports completely failed to show the incredible energy and joy these voters exhibited. People everywhere wanted to talk to us and thank us. This is what it must have been like when the Allies liberated Paris."
"The Iraqis' statements to us were all the same: Thank you for your sacrifices for the Iraqi people.' Thank you for making this day possible.' The United States is the true democracy in the world and is the country that makes freedom possible.'
"A homicide bomber drove up to a polling site, which was not too far from us, but he did not kill anybody but himself. After the bomb went off, the Iraqi voters calmly walked out of the polling site and spit on the remains of the suicide bomber. The polling site stayed open and the voting continued. That incident ran all day long on Iraqi TV but not on U.S. TV."
Read this anywhere in the MSM? I haven't.
The Picture Worth a Thousand Words
An Iraqi artist his name is Kalat who was forced for years to create hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad was so grateful to Americans for the murderous tyrant's downfall that he melted three heads of the fallen dictator to create a memorial statue to American soldiers and their fallen warriors that depicts a kneeling American soldier and a young Iraqi girl giving him comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrades.
Kalat's statue now stands outside a former palace of Saddam Hussein, now home to the 4th Infantry Division, and will eventually be shipped to the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.
And Charles Bissell, an American contractor working in Iraq, said that "the area I work in (northeast Iraq) is more calm, secure and peaceful than the city I came here from (Phoenix). In fact I'd say it's so calm and peaceful that it can be very boring and I thank the Almighty (not Allah) for it."
Heard or read this anywhere in the MSM? I haven't.
Neither, apparently, has writer Thomas Sowell of TownHall.com, who said, "With all the turmoil and bloodshed in Iraq, both military and civilian people returning from that country are increasingly expressing amazement at the difference between what they have seen with their own eyes and the far worse, one-sided picture that the media present to the public here."
Our media, he goes on, "cannot even call terrorists terrorists, but instead give these cutthroats the bland name insurgents.'"
Death Throes Are Not Pretty
Far be it for the MSM to admit they're a dying species. After all, this is what denial is all about! While Jennings clings on at ABC, Koppel has, mercifully, resigned. While Dan Rather's name is now officially mud, his CBS news programs have horrific ratings and even "60 Minutes II" may go by the wayside. While Brokaw has resigned, Couric and company are no longer considered credible as "news" reporters.
And while the New York Times continues to maintain the conceit that it reigns supreme, journalist Seth Lipsky (in last month's BusinessWeek.com) reported that the conglomerate has "weaker earnings" after its "plagiarism scandal aftermath" and is trading "at about 40, down 25 percent from its high of 53.80 in mid-2002."
"The once-Olympian authority of the Times," Lipsky said, "is being eroded not only by its own journalistic screw-ups but also by profound changes in communications technology and in the U.S. political climate."
In 2004, he says, the Times "had an infinitesimal 0.2 percent increase in the circulation of both the daily edition, which now stands at about 1.1 million, and the Sunday paper, which is just under 1.7 million. Since the national expansion began in 1998, the Times has added 150,000 daily subscribers outside New York but is thought to have lost about 96,000 subscribers in its home market" and the paper "has many fewer readers outside New York City than do the two largest national newspapers USA Today and The Wall Street Journal both of which have circulations far in excess of 2 million."
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has observed that "the Times' coverage of the war on terrorism is woefully inadequate." He cites an article in which the Times "relied too heavily on experts who seem most concerned that the invasion of Iraq has triggered an expansion in the ranks of Jihadists."
"Imagine," he says, "a newspaper during World War II giving so much space to people fretting that the Army's victory over the Japanese at Guadalcanal would only make the combined enemy forces more eager to fight on Iwo Jima and Normandy. "
Liberal magazines, too, are being exposed for the anti-American bias they spew week after week, month after month. In a recent issue in The American Spectator, political sociologist Rael Jean Isaac cited Seymour Hersh's article in the liberal magazine The New Yorker in which he said that the U.S. was "conducting super-secret reconnaissance missions in Iran as groundwork for destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and/or invading the country."
Isaac noted quite accurately, I think that Hersh's rant "endangers the lives of the American commandos on these missions, especially since he pinpoints the areas in which they are operating."
Isaac then documents that Hersh's sources for the article rely on "a series of anonymous sources: a former high intelligence official,' a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon,' a retired senior CIA official,' etc." But "the reader," she says, "has no way of knowing [if these sources are legitimate] and neither do the vaunted fact-checkers upon whom The New Yorker wastes its money."
The Desperate MSM Go Racist
Imagine that when far-left California Rep. Maxine Walters was running for office, a number of Republicans didn't like her platform and so they called her "Aunt Jemima" or depicted her as a slave girl who took her marching orders from her "massa," Terry McAuliffe. This is exactly what happened in articles and political cartoons during the confirmation hearings of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state.
And how did the MSM cover this rank racism? Not by calling it by its name and not by condemning Sen. Robert Byrd, the former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan, who led the Democratic pack in delaying Rice's ascendance to this august position. Instead, they were uniformly mute about the racist assaults and slavishly echoed Rice's critics.
As columnist Mark Steyn remarked: "The sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days."
And, I must add, contributes to the general retro vibe that hangs around the MSM as well.
The MSM's Intellectual Superiority Defense
When all else fails in the MSM and, yes, their collective IQs, Ivy League educations, inside sources, high-priced jobs and sophisticated propaganda all failed in electing their left-wing presidential candidate of choice they resort to the only thing they have left: pure snobbery.
On Chris Matthews' "Hardball," NBC's Andrea Mitchell bleated that Bush's Cabinet officials were not "exactly the best and the brightest." This from a commentator with a bachelor's degree, commenting on Dr. Rice, who has a Ph.D., a fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was national security adviser to the president of the United States (in a time of war) and is now secretary of state!
Yet, in spite of their inflated opinions of themselves, those who populate the MSM haven't fooled the American public. That is why "Hardball" has the lowliest of low ratings. Counterpunch.com called Matthews "a self-serving blowhard" especially for the ways in which he savaged conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, conservative Democrat Senator Zell Miller and also John O'Neill, spokesman for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that effectively exposed John Kerry for his treason during the Vietnam conflict.
And that is why Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media says: "The Iraqi people were the big winners on their election day and the U.S. media were among the big losers. To their credit, the millions of Iraqis who turned out to vote must not have been watching American TV. This remarkably successful election day occurred with no thanks to the U.S. media."
Kincaid suggests that the media answer the following questions: "Why did you tell us that Iraq was going so badly when it is now clear beyond doubt that the people there wanted a democratic government? Why did you focus on the death and destruction and not on the Iraqi thirst for democratic government? Why did you highlight the strength of the terrorist insurgents' and not the value of the U.S. mission to bring freedom to the people of Iraq?"
Don't expect any answers from the media," he warns, explaining, "Some journalists don't believe that the U.S. is a force for good in the world. They want the U.S. to fail in Iraq. " Others "would prefer, like the French and Germans, that the U.N. guide or even conduct U.S. foreign policy. Other journalists are card-carrying liberal Democrats who personally despise President Bush and his political party and want his administration to fail."
Old Dogs Never Learn New Tricks
In light of their documented biases and partisan leanings, is there any hope that the MSM will step out of denial and into the reality of their precipitously plunging ratings, reform themselves and start, as Ann Landers used to say, to "wake up and smell the coffee"? Unlikely, says writer (and undefeated heavyweight boxer) J. Matt "Bam Bam" Barber in a recent article in theconservativevoice.com entitled "Big Media Dinosaurs Face Extinction."
The "obstinate, lumbering dinosaurs of Paleolithic journalism have succumbed to stubbornly self-inflicted wounds of poorly camouflaged liberal bias. " Among "the future-fossils," he predicts, "are nearly all major print publications and broadcast news networks."
To that I say amen and good riddance!
Joan Swirsky is a New York-based journalist and author who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I like the way the author carefully takes us through from beginning to end in concise fashion.
great read. the msm has putthe noose around its own neck, tied the knot, and has taken the leap. quite a sight....
Don't know about the veracity of the other accomplishments listed, but this one is bogus. Girls always attended schools and colleges in Iraq.
Tomorrow night ABC has a UFO special, because they are real journalists../sarcasm
Although Stein is amazing, he's wrong to label this racist Democrat vibe as "retro". Democrats have always been racist. It's not a retro thing at all: It's merely "same sh*t, different day."
Amen to that.
bump (just check the tagline, nothing else need be said.)
"Has any reader of this article ever even once heard this good news on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC or NPR, or read it in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times to mention just a few left-wing media outlets that never tire of saturating their audiences with bad and anti-Bush news?"
She's absolutely right. Does anybody ever recall any good news reported on any of these outlets? Surely their entire audience is not people sitting home collecting bogus disability checks with insatiable appetites for bad news that armies of Prozac-inspired reporters and columnists can only see. They need to hire a few people with happy, healthy outlooks who can see positive new developments as they are happening right in front of their noses. It's time to take down those plaques in the media's human resources departments -- "Misery loves company. Welcome."
I'd pay good money to watch Ann Coulter bitch-slap Chrissy Matthews around.
Good stuff. The way it reads I'd say the author has spent some time at FR.
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