The Synoptic Media: Speaking Lies on Behalf of Power

NewsMediaPoisonThumbby Timothy Lane
I refer to the major news sources as the synoptic media, a term I adapted from Biblical studies. Just as the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are very similar (though not identical) in basic content and viewpoint (and very different from John), so the NBC/CBS/ABC/CNN/PBS combination (and the many newspapers and magazines aligned with them) have very similar (but not quite identical) worldviews (as opposed to Fox News, the most popular talk radio outlets, and a few other sources).

This mono-viewpoint is (and has been for several decades) generally supportive of the fashionable causes of the Left, whatever they may be, and of a large, intrusive government controlled by (largely self-appointed, at least as a group) experts. We see this, for example, in the fact that what has come to be known as the “Firemen first” strategy or the “Washington Monument” strategy – closing down something popular or even necessary instead of cutting bureaucracy or crony subsidies when the size of a budget is threatened – can work at all. If the news media (whether local or national) reported honestly on what the corrupt, callous government was doing, the tactic would fail. They don’t, so it continues to work.

Philip Crane pointed out nearly 50 years ago in a book (The Democrats’ Dilemma) that modern liberalism had adopted the tactics of the British socialists of the Fabian Society (Shaw and the Webbs): infiltrate all the information sources (such as the news media and education) until you control all information flow, and then bring about the socialist utopia (which in practice will always be a dystopia) because in the long run no one will know of any other alternative. This carries with it the corollary that other viewpoints will NOT be permitted. This leads inevitably to groupthink, in which the sole viewpoint becomes the sole acceptable viewpoint, and those who hold any other are presumed to be stupid or evil without bothering to go to the trouble of refuting them.[pullquote]This leads inevitably to groupthink, in which the sole viewpoint becomes the sole acceptable viewpoint, and those who hold any other are presumed to be stupid or evil without bothering to go to the trouble of refuting them.[/pullquote]

For a long time, there was a story I vaguely recalled hearing about, that the Washington Post had once failed to cover a pro-life rally virtually right outside its building because NO ONE there knew anything about it – meaning that not only were they all pro-abortion, but so was everyone they knew (even though pro-lifers represent about 20% of the population). It was plausible, but was it accurate? Then I read William MacGowan’s Coloring the News, and learned that the event in question was the 1990 March for Life.

Similarly, one might note the consistent liberal denigration of anyone who follows a religion that seriously calls for sexual morality, so much so that even the token conservatives at the New York Times (first William Safire, then David Brooks) have always been pro-abortion. Certain views are simply not permitted, so by now they’re incapable of paying any attention to those who hold such views (something liberals have never been good at anyway).

This has real consequences, often very serious ones even aside from the fact that modern liberals increasingly have become worshippers of Moloch, the god of child sacrifice, reluctant to acknowledge even the most obvious Tophets (such as Kermit Gosnell’s abattoir). The late, great SF editor John W. Campbell once opined that Lord Acton’s famous dictum (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”) wasn’t quite right – that the corrupting force was immunity, not power. Of course, sufficient power can provide immunity, and the lust for power (which is one of the two main animating forces of modern liberalism, the other being a long series of objects of Hate) is indeed seriously corrupting. (One must realize that Campbell wrote his editorials to provoke thought, and certainly succeeded in that goal quite often.) But he is right that immunity is a potent means of corrupting people – what we today usually call “enabling”.[pullquote]The late, great SF editor John W. Campbell once opined that Lord Acton’s famous dictum (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”) wasn’t quite right – that the corrupting force was immunity, not power.[/pullquote]

And no one benefits more from this protection that Barack Obama, the callous, ruthless, dishonest, spiteful monster who was able to seize the presidency partly because the Republicans melted down in 2006-8, and partly because the synoptic media made the choice to assist him in every way they could (subject to their own self-interest in not sacrificing their credibility too obviously).

The question has come up: Who is responsible for the ill-effects and vicious abuses of the partial shutdown. The Kleptocrats, their media accomplices, and thus the public at large blame the Republicans. Others very reasonably blame the Obama Gang, the criminal organization that runs the Executive Branch of the federal government. Both can be justified, the latter much more so than the former. But the true authors are the synoptic media themselves. The Obama Gang could put up its “barrycades” and otherwise abuse the population because they counted on the synoptic media to blame everything on the other side reflexively. And when the synoptic media did so, they were able to keep it up, and also to reject any effort at even the slightest compromise.

It is in fact my contention that “journalism” (which has degenerated into little more than the purveying of propaganda) has become the lowest civic occupation. This is partly because of their total lack of ethics, but some would argue that in this respect they are no worse than trial lawyers (who are basically mercenary warriors, with all their faults) or prostitutes, or even politicians. But then, we expect nothing better from lawyers (hence Shakespeare’s famous line “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” – though one must note that this comes from one of Jack Cade’s rioters in Henry the Sixth Part Two) and such.

But journalists proudly boast of their standards, that their superiority over bloggers is because they check out their sources and make sure their stories are accurate. But whenever a politically convenient story comes along, this falls by the wayside. No one other than Dan Rather believes that he really made a serious effort to verify his smear of Bush in 2004. We see this same thing in numerous stories about Rush Limbaugh (which, as a listener, I often personally know to be false, something that we can rarely KNOW of any story) or other such figures. (Tammy Bruce once discussed the falsity of many of the accusations of anti-homosexual bigotry made against Dr. Laura Schlessinger – and as a lesbian, Bruce is unlikely to defend someone who really is such a bigot.) I once commented that if a site calling itself IHateLimbaugh.com claimed that he used the blood of black children to make his biscuits, liberal “journalists” (I call them “newsliars” for obvious reasons) would present the story as true without bothering either to check it out seriously or to state their source. (I would expect most readers here to recognize that my example deliberately referenced the infamous “blood libel” against the Jews.)

There was a time, perhaps, when journalists actually followed such traditions, when they really tried to cover both sides of an issue and would actually state their sources, particularly when knowing the identity of a source for a story can itself help one judge its likelihood of being true. A good example comes early in the novel Sarkhan by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, in which a mob leader challenges the American ambassador to Sarkhan with a local anti-American news report. When the ambassador denies it, the mob leader asks if he’s calling the editor – a Sarkhanese prince – a liar? The tragic hero of the novel, William Coldstream – like Lederer a retired Navy man – notes to his friend Thaddeus McCauley – like Burdick an academic, though in his case most notably a specialist in Sarkhanese history – that this is a typical Marxist trap, since it’s hard to answer without admitting a lie or insulting the editor. But the ambassador belies this, pointing out that Prince Ngong had merely done what any good newspaperman would do – he reported a story and stated his source.

Very few do that anymore. There are still some good investigative reporters out there, but all too many who simply repeat what those they agree with tell them. But (as the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth found out), they will often ignore those who disagree with them – and when they don’t, they are not merely skeptical (as they should be about everyone) but in fact looks solely for some way to rebut them. Actually thinking about what they report never seems to be an option. • (2316 views)

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37 Responses to The Synoptic Media: Speaking Lies on Behalf of Power

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Excellent article, Timothy.

  2. faba calculo says:

    It’s hardly surprising how liberal the MSM is, given the extreme imbalance there is between Democrats and Republicans among journalists.

    A second stream of inaccuracy in the media in sensationalism. If something can be made to look shocking, regardless of the underlying facts, it sells. And journalism is a business, in many way, like any other. Take Rodney King beating for example. Certainly the video (or rather the portion they decided to show us) looked shocking. But even some liberals, looking back, are stunned by the gap between what that snippet seemed to show and the real underlying facts. Note: this also fed into the first stream of inaccuracy, as it served liberal purposes. Indeed, this stream may just be folded into the first.

    But this fusion of bias and sensationalism affects conservative media as well. Nowhere have I seen this more clearly that in much that gets said of President Obama. He’s supposed to be stupid because he said Maldives when trying to refer to the Malvinas, he’s supposed to be ignorant of the US because he thinks that there are 60 states, etc.

    These days, I don’t think that anyone can do much better than to have a broad set of sources into what different parts of the different sides are saying, and, contrary to what some (as Timothy mentions above) may say about them, this will definitely include blogs. He’s totally correct: these days, the blogs are doing (at least) as good a job as the traditional TV news. Better still, you can skim the written word, whereas with the spoken word, you’re stuck there for the duration (barring changing channels, which kind of makes having come there to begin with a mistake).

    To this end, my daily reading contains a mix from the left and the right, traditional written media and blogs. Breitbart and NRO (the former of which I’m just now getting into) are my “MSM” of the right, while Reihan Salam and Avik Roy are my choice bloggers. On the left, Slate and Salon are my MSM (though, more and more, I just read Salon to hear what the crazies from the left are saying), and Ezra Klein and Krugman (his blog, NOT his NYTimes column) are my bloggers on the left.

    So, while the partisan gap has driven much of the MSM in craziness, the coming of the blogosphere can largely liberated the motivated reader from relying on them. It’s truly the worst of times AND the best of times.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    It occurs to me that there’s a further comment I can make, from my copy of Hugh Thomas’s history of the Spanish Civil War. It’s from a speech by the Monarchist leaders, Jose Calvo Sotelo, in the Cortes on June 16, 1936, discussing the prime minister (Santiago Casares Quiroga): “My honorable friend will not be a Kerensky, since he is not unconscious of what he is doing. He possesses full knowledge of what he conceals, and what he thinks. God grant that he will never be compared with Karolyi, the conscious betrayer of a thousand-year-old civilization. (Karolyi was the Hungarian leader whose actions led to the brief rule of the communist Bela Kun.)

    The newslying Karolyis know full well what lies they tell and what truths they hide, and if our American civilization is only a few hundred years old (though tracing back to the much older English one, of course), they are betraying it just as surely.

  4. Ron Ron says:

    I’ve been reading Stubborn Things for a month or two now, and thoroughly enjoy the tone and topic range. Thanks for inviting me to join, Brad. This is my first post.

    Since 95% of the media is owned by a few corporations, I have a hard time seeing it as “liberal”, Timothy.

    Granted, most reporters have a liberal viewpoint on social issues, but so do most Americans. But when push comes to shove on the really important questions of war and finance, even the NYT lines up with the corporations behind Bush.

    It was your comment about Rather’s “smear” of Bush that prompted me to write, Timothy. My take on the whole incident was that Rather’s solid slew of evidence that W was a malingerer at best, or more likely, a deserter, was derailed by one minor document forgery, probably planted by one of Rove’s predisciples.

    Do all conservatives really believe Bush served honorably during the Vietnam War?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Polls show that Americans generally favor restrictions on abortion and (at least until a year ago) generally oppose legal recognition of homosexual marriage. The synoptic media just about unanimously support unrestricted abortion and the application of anti-discrimination laws to anyone who isn’t willing to participate in a homosexual marriage. There no doubt are other such issues. Can you cite any on which the news media are MORE conservative than the public?

      As for Bush, what I read at the time was that he served (voluntarily) full-time for his first couple of years. At that time, it was possible he might be sent to Vietnam. Once that was no longer a possibility, he stopped doing any more than he had to, and left a bit early (apparently fulfilling his required minimum anyway) to go elsewhere (I think it was for his MBA). Your “evidence” to the contrary is that you share Dan Rather’s hostility to Bush.

      I noticed at the time the interesting similarity between the Sweiftboat vets’ attack on Kerry and Rather’s attack on Bush. In both cases, the documentary evidence favored the politician, but there was testimony to the contrary — from a single aggrieved source in Bush’s case, from a sizable contingent of aggrieved sources in Kerry’s. In Kerry’s case, the synoptic media ignored the claims for as long as they could, then hastened to denounce them (while quietly admitting, in the interior parts of the stories, that the truth was uncertain; I wrote about this extensively in FOSFAX at the time). In Bush’s case, they automatically believed Rather’s claim overnight, but were forced to backtrack when it was exposed (or more specifically, the document he relied on was) as a fabrication.

  5. Ron Ron says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Timothy. The corporate liberal media is a quagmire for debate, and I’m sure it will be with us as long as we use adjectives. War and money matters are treated one way, social matters another, so there is plenty of room for scoring debating points.

    Back to Bush, though. The authenticity and provenance of the documents are still under discussion, but their relevance to the case against Bush serving his time honorably is minor.

    What is relevant are his many disappearances from the air force, and the dearth of people who could vouch for his presence at places he claimed to be.

    Leaving the armed forces “a bit early” is usually called “desertion”.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The National Guard requires a certain amount of time served each year. My understanding at the time was that Bush simply got that service out of the way earlier than was usual. I will admit that I haven’t paid any attention to the issue since then. But I will point out that at the time, the case against Kerry was much stronger than the case against Bush.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I haven’t seen anything about the Bush (and Kerry) military service issues since 2004, but it was my understanding at the time than Bush simply got his last year’s NG obligation taken care of earlier. At the time, the case against Kerry was much stronger than the case against Bush (after all, Kerry was forced to retract his claim of a “searing” visit to Cambodia on Nixon’s orders at a time when Nixon wasn’t yet President).

      As for economic issues, one has only to contrast synoptic media coverage of the lousy Occupiers and the Tea Party to see gross bias. Or contrast their reaction to the crimes of James Holmes and Floyd Corkins. Or look at their careful shilling for Obama during the partial shutdown — carefully leaving out all the Republican attempts at compromise (which Reid ignored and Obama said he would veto), the Republican attempts to pass individual appropriations bills (which Reid ignored and Obama said he would veto), and the unprecedented spiteful, callous, vicious tactics used by Obama to make the shutdown as painful as possible.

      Well, it seems that somehow the first version of my comments got on as well. I’ve had a difficult day on the blog sites.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      Ron – if you’re seriously maintaining that G. W. Bush was guilty of desertion, or anything like it, you’re too far gone with Bush-hatred to accept the truth. I suspect that you share a good many of the Left’s assumptions based on your repeated reference to a “corporate” media – the Left is always complaining that Fox represent the “corporate” point of view, whatever that might be, in defiance of the obvious need to attract viewers in a competitive marketplace and the lack of a feasible alternative to incorporation for a news organization.

      “The authenticity and provenance of the documents are still under discussion” – well, no Ron, they’re not. They were decisively established as forgeries within 48 hours of Rather & Co.’s hatchet-job on Bush. Nor is it a “minor” matter to build your 5-year case against Bush by the use of forged documents, and then claim that although they were fake, what they were intended to prove is still true – Rather’s infamous “fake but true” defense, which you seem to agree with.

      And by the way, you don’t spend five years digging through a Presidential candidate’s service in the National Guard and then air your questionable conclusions just before the 2004 election in the hope that you can “change the momentum” (to quote an email from one of the stringers they used) if you’re an objective journalist – you only do that if your primary purpose is to help Kerry come from behind and defeat Bush, and if in fact you suffer from a pathological hatred of the man. I mean, five years looking through Bush’s National Guard records? That’s pure fanaticism, not diligence.

      • Ron Ron says:

        Good to hear your opinion, Nahalkides. It (and Timothy’s) have certainly modified mine. You two forced me to scratch another inch into the deep, murky pit of politics.

        I’ve always thought the documents were fakes, but considered them minor in the matter of evaluating Bush’s military record. Kerry’s actions in Vietnam don’t seem too honorable either, but at least he went. Do you believe W’s service to his country during the war was adequate?

        Since you asked, let me explain my use of “corporate” as the defining adjective for “media”. A handful of conglomerates own almost all of it. To me, that outweighs the influence of “liberal” reporters and editorial boards. On an issue to issue basis, I feel most people are liberal, so reporters come by this “bias” naturally. Timothy suggested a couple of contrary examples (love his “synoptic” modifier). I could counter with many others.

        But three defining moments of the so called “liberal” bias in mass communication came, for me, a decade ago.

        1) The synoptic media expelled Donahue, the only antiwar host on network TV.

        2) That bastion of liberal thought, the New York Times, aided and abetted the WMD claims with ultra shoddy journalism.

        3) The millions and millions of protesters, who poured into streets all over America, and all around the world, the weekend before it started, were deeply downplayed by the corporate media.

        The true nature of the media shone forth in last months of the lead up.

        They’re corporate, Nahalkides. Unless you consider corporations to be liberal in matters of war and finance, it doesn’t matter what their stance is on abortion or SSM. They don’t care either. There is money to be made in the gay market (-;

        Anyways, thanks for the respectful treatment you, and others, have given this flaming paleoliberal so far. I appreciate it. I don’t mind fencing with stiletto wits, where the damage is soothed with winks. But the bludgeoneers on NRO were starting to wear this old man out.

        Btw, I don’t hate Bush. He seems like a nice guy, but on the world stage, he only garnered disrespect.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          My own ultimate comment on Kerry in my FOSFAX article was to point out that ultimately he did serve, that even his excessive collection of medals was hardly unusual (the Navy has a history of that, most notorious in their handing out of Medals of Honor over Veracruz). But he did lie about it, and by collecting at least 1, probably 2, and maybe more (the excerpts from the Swiftboats vets’ book didn’t include all 3), he got out early undeservedly. Note, by the way, that Bush also credited Kerry in similar terms. Certainly his military service was better than LBJ or Al Gore, both of whom were nevertheless quite willing to boast about it.
          As for Bush, he never made any attempt to run on his own service. When I was at Purdue at that time, I attended a brief session in which they explained about the draft and National Guard service, and considered them equivalent alternatives for completing one’s military service (which, for libertarian reasons, I don’t think should be required). Note, again, that Bush did far more in his first couple of years than he legally needed to. He deserves (but never tried to claim) credit for that.

          • Ron says:

            You don’t have to convince me about Kerry, Timothy. When he started his acceptance speech with a salute and “reporting for duty” quip, he lost me. Shades of Dukakis poking his head up through the turret.

            LBJ saw action in the Pacific, and Gore served in Vietnam. I see no reason to rate them below Bush, who bugged out without explanation after his basic training.

            It’s nice to talk to a conservative who doesn’t have to be 100% right on every aspect of an issue, or consider all my points absolutely wrong. On NRO, only Kurt and a few others discussed matters without getting personal. It always seemed like there was a whole army eager to point out flaws in my character, even though they knew nothing more of me than my opinion on an issue.

            We’ve drifted from your article on this side channel for a while now, Timothy. I think attributing media synopticism to some vague cabal of left wingers overlooks the real cabal of corporate interests. War and government regulations are important to them. The media’s position on these matters is corporate.

            • Kung Fu Zu says:

              “LBJ saw action in the Pacific”

              I believe it was Caro who wrote that LBJ’s service in the Pacific basically consisted of spending a few weeks on a few islands and taking one flight on a bomber. At least I think it was a bomber. If I can find the book, I will double check.

              Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall Gore’s service in Vietnam consisted of a few months sitting behind a typewriter.

              Now I am not saying W covered himself in glory , but he didn’t disgrace himself either. Gore is much the same, in my opinion, but one has to give it to him that he did go to Vietnam.

              Kerry is another matter all together.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                LBJ went in without resigning his seat, and received a medal for his flight that no one else on the flight received even though he did nothing special, then left after a few weeks rather than resign his seat. He was far more of a fake than was Joe McCarthy (mocked as “Tail-gunner Joe”), who resigned his judgeship and served for a year, several times making reconnaissance flights over Japanese positions in the Solomons (though it’s doubtful he ever acted as a tail-gunner, which was his specific claim).

                As for Gore, you’re basically right, though in fairness we don’t know whose decision that was. He did serve — but then, Bush by all indications was ready to do so as well. (Kerry was a Navy reservist; he went because they called him up, and Bush didn’t because they didn’t call him up.)

              • Ron says:

                Since we’re getting into presidential war experiences, Kung, maybe you should consider George I’s service.

                Wags said he enlisted in 1942 to cover up the shame of his father’s trading with the enemy conviction.

                But real shameful actions are often covered up with medals.

                http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=272410

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I don’t recall commenting on you, but I generally try not to get personal, at least with those who make honest arguments instead of simply spewing venom.

              It doesn’t take a “cabal” of left-wingers, merely a group of people who think pretty much alike (hence my term “synoptic media”). I suspect that the unanimity of certain views (such as their abortion-worship) results from deliberate exclusion of opposing views. If 20% of the population is pro-life, then how do so many major “news” sources have no pro-lifers at all?

              • Ron says:

                CEO’s form a clear group of people who think pretty much alike. Your liberal group sounds pretty hazy to me. Where do they get their power from? They do work for corporations.

                How about the unanimity of not reporting on Manning’s three years in solitary before seeing a judge. The NYT had to be shamed into sending a reporter to cover the trial. Upholding habeas corpus sounds pretty liberal to me.

                A lot of conservative books are recommended by commenters here. I’ve ordered some from the library because I am interested in the opinions of both sides. Have any of you read Chomsky’s Understanding Media to try to see the media from a left wing perspective?

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          Ron,
          We’re glad to welcome you here, and I’m also glad you explained your position to me a little further. Allow me to suggest that while the news media are certainly corporate (there being no feasible alternative to incorporation for the legal protection of the owners), they are by no means Conservative. Indeed, the NY Times and other such organizations seem to tend toward a Mussolini-like corporatism, preferring government control with the understanding (somewhat naive on their part) that they will always be Big Brother’s fair-haired boys, getting special favors and privileges while their smaller competitors are squashed by the state. See in this context their widespread support for McCain-Feingold, which muzzled the non-establishment press, or the current movement in England to give the government power to officially recognize only certainly organizations as practicing true “journalism”.

          As for the WMD’s, nobody lied about them, and the Times certainly never intended to take Bush’s part. It was indeed Colin Powell, a much overrated Secretary of State, who bungled the case for war against Saddam Hussein, focusing on the size of Saddam’s current stockpiles (the estimation of which was bound to be uncertain) rather than the larger issues of his ongoing WMD programs (confirmed by the final Duelfer report) and his acts of war against the U.S., including shooting at our warplanes and trying to assassinate former Pres. Bush.

          By the time the Democrats and their propaganda arm, the mainstream media, were done, you’d never know that Saddam was known with 100% certainty to have possessed and used chemical weapons. It was hardly a stretch of the imagination to think that Saddam was up to his old antics, and indeed it remains highly likely that his actual chemical weapons were shipped out to his fellow Baathists in Syria. And if Saddam no longer wanted nuclear weapons (improbable on its face), why did he have so much uranium stored up? It’s not as if he was interested in the peaceful uses of atomic power.

          Finally, as to “W’s service to his country during the war”, yes, I think it was adequate. Serving in the National Guard is not without risk, especially in the capacity of a pilot – remember that Dean Martin lost his son in a NG training exercise. I also don’t think it was the most important issue facing the country thirty years later in 2004. Not that whether Kerry deserved his second Silver Star was all that important either, but his attempt to use his service in the Vietnam War to insulate himself against the true charges that he was both anti-military and anti-American was.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Yes, this is a point that Ron carefully ignores: Kerry ran on his (greatly exaggerated) service record, but Bush made no attempt to praise himself for his. One point that Ann Coulter was making in pointing out that Max Cleland never got a Purple Heart for the grenade accident that put him in a wheelchair is that working with live weapons is dangerous no matter what the circumstances. Actual combat merely makes it even more so.

  6. Ron Ron says:

    I’m with you on not thinking about it since 2004, Timothy, and my recollections are the mirror image of yours. I thought the case against Bush was much stronger than against Kerry. So when you used the word “smear” to describe Rather’s documentary, I was prompted to write.

    It’s obvious that we got our info at the time from different sides of the political spectrum. I think it’s wise to hear, and feel, both parties in a discussion. That’s why I’ve been reading and posting on NRO this past while.

    I agree with what many of you are saying about NRO’s comment section. Arbitrary and unexplained deletions of posts hypocritize calls for freedom of speech. Many of my efforts (and I suspect lots of other posters too) are chopped without any notice. It’s very orwellian.

    Glad to see both your posts. Computers hardly ever let you down, unless it’s important.

  7. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Tim – I think this is your most solid article so far. The fact is that the mainstream media no longer practice journalism at all, because journalism is the search for objective truth. They now peddle fictional narratives that support the Progressive Left and suppress all evidence that would undercut it as effectively as would a state-owned press – they’re that far gone. Their failure to tell the American public the truth about Obama’s Marxist background and their suppression of the thousands of incidents in which private gun possession saves lives are only two of the more obvious examples.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Many years ago, a friend of mine used to go to a local convenience store on the way to work to get copies of the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader. Both are liberal, but the LHL was at least reasonably honest; he would tell the clerk that he wanted “a Curious Journal and a newspaper”. One month, I noticed that the Lexington paper reported 3 different incidents involving the use of a gun in self-defense, none of which made it into the LCJ even though one occurred in Kentucky and the paper considered itself the state’s main news source.
      But discussing the iniquities of the LCJ could take a LOT of time. They’ve always been liberal, but once they were bought by Gannett and turned over to the hyper-liberal staff, they started a long, severe decline in both content and ethics.

  8. Kung Fu Zu says:

    “1) The synoptic media expelled Donahue, the only antiwar host on network TV.

    2) That bastion of liberal thought, the New York Times, aided and abetted the WMD claims with ultra shoddy journalism.

    3) The millions and millions of protesters, who poured into streets all over America, and all around the world, the weekend before it started, were deeply downplayed by the corporate media.”

    I don’t believe Donahue was dropped simply because he was anti-war. Over the years, he became more obnoxious and less entertaining till he was a complete bore.

    Don’t know why the Times printed the WMD. Perhaps they thought there was a chance these were true. They certainly have no problem attacking other conservative positions with which they disagree.

    There were some anti-war demonstrations in the USA, but certainly nothing approaching the “millions and millions” you mention.

    The overseas protests may have been larger than those in the USA, but again, “millions and millions”?

    As a side thought, overseas protests have rarely had, nor should they have a huge influence on overall US foreign policy. Do you believe protesters in Paris should have a say in whether or not the USA signs a treaty with China?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’m still trying to figure this out. Was Phil Donahue a man?

      • Kung Fu Zu says:

        An obnoxious android. Maybe he was one of those from Blade Runner who got back to earth and they finally caught him.

      • Ron says:

        I like what Donahue tried in the eighties, Brad.

        In the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, Donahue and Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner co-hosted a series of televised discussions, known as the U.S.–Soviet Space Bridge, among everyday citizens of the Soviet Union and the United States.[14] It was the first event of its kind in broadcasting history: Donahue hosted an audience in an American city while Pozner hosted an audience in a Soviet city, all on one television program. Members of both audiences asked each other questions about both nations.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Donahue

    • Ron says:

      Thanks for your input on this issue, Kung.

      1) From Wikipedia:

      “… Donahue was the highest rated show on MSNBC at the time it was canceled…”

      and,

      “… an internal MSNBC memo was leaked to the press stating that Donahue should be fired because he opposed the imminent U.S. invasion of Iraq and that he would be a ‘difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.’ ”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Donahue

      2) I know why.

      The “liberal” NYT, which is a corporation, showed its true colors when an issue important to corporations came up.

      3) From Wikipedia again:

      “According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_the_Iraq_War#February_2003

      and for New York city on February 15, 2003,

      “In total estimates range from been 300,000 to 400,000 protesters (WSWS estimate) to over a million protesters (Berlin Heise estimate)”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_15,_2003_anti-war_protest#New_York

      I don’t think it’s wise to disregard foreign opinion in any matter, Kung.

      • Kung Fu Zu says:

        First, I don’t take everything on Wikipedia as gospel.

        Second, if it is true that Donahue’s was the highest rated show on MSNBC, why would they drop him if as is your contention, the media is controlled by five firms which are only interested in profit. Microsoft was not a big warmonger as far as I recall.

        Third, I have never heard of Dominique Reynie’ so I do not automatically believe anything he purportedly said. If I were to look further I would also want to know how this person came up with the numbers. In what countries these demonstrations were held (how many in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries for instance) and then I would see if there is anyway to determine how many were the result of the usual rent a mob which the Left has been good at arranging for decades.

        Fourth, the NYC protest is a lot but still far from many millions.

        Fifth, I didn’t say the USA should disregard foreign opinion. I said overseas protests …should not have a huge influence on overall USA foreign policy. There is a major difference. It is true, however, that I believe USA foreign policy should be made on basis of USA interests, not foreign interests. Foreign opinion may or may not be taken into the calculation, depending on the situation. For example, I don’t think the USA should give a good God Damn about international treaties regarding private ownership of guns.

  9. Ron says:

    First, I don’t even take the gospel as gospel, Kung.

    Second, Donahue was fired because he would have been a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war.” Perhaps if he had been listened to, a counterproductive war could have been avoided. Looking back a decade, do you think Bush made the right decision to invade Iraq?

    Third, the Rome protest made the Guinness Book of Records. Three million people!

    Fourth, I’m glad you think there were “a lot” of NYC protesters.

    I agree with your fifth point too, Kung. No country should act against its own interests to please foreigners. Cubans and Grenadians would certainly agree.

    But war concerns everybody, and invading another country on a fabricated pretext is not soon forgotten.

    • Kung Fu Zu says:

      Good to hear you are skeptical as to what you hear.

      It might be interesting to contemplate what would have happened had we not gone to war in Iraq, but that was not my point. As I recall there was a fair amount of opposition to the war in the country. I also recall the protests overseas. This was not a secret and I thought it was pretty well covered by the various news outlets. I was questioning your characterization of the size of the protests, particularly in the USA.

      I have looked into the briefly and you say the size of the NYC protest was 400,000, but Time World says 200,000. Either number us “a lot” as far as I am concerned. But neither are millions and we had no such number of protesters in the USA. So I still stand by my statement that there were nothing like the millions and millions of protesters in the USA, which is the gist of your statement.

      As to your Rome number, I looked around several sites and while it is true the number 3 million is thrown around, this is the number the protest organizers gave. According to the police reports the number was between 650,000 and 1,000,000. Still very large numbers, but not 3 million. In general, protest organizers are well known for inflating their numbers. Much more so than the officials are known to deflate them.

      The various sources I could locate, including Time, The Guardian, MSN, a couple of other large media sites I can’t recall and several “Progressive” and anti war sites gave numbers from 10 to 30 million for the worldwide protests. Being a skeptic, like yourself, I am inclined to go with the smaller numbers as the sites were all pretty much leftish, so I believe they are wont to pump up numbers to back their case. I also saw the same quotes from “people in the crowd” on several different sites. This is a clear indication that these “newspapers” are simply passing around what they each said. Impressive numbers, but organized through left wing groups, mainly in Europe, and more importantly, not Americans.

      I was making no comment on the war as such. What I think about it has nothing to do with the number of people protesting in the USA. But since you ask, I think the war was handled disastrously. And for the record, I am not a Bush fan.

      “No country should act against its own interests to please foreigners. Cubans and Grenadians would certainly agree.”

      Why were Cubans and Grenadians brought into this discussion? They have nothing to do with.

      And war does not concern everybody. If San Moreno wishes to invade Andorra, I do not see how people in in Nepal should be concerned.

      • Ron Ron says:

        I won’t quibble with you about numbers, Kung, but a lot of people, without media support, took to the streets in protest of the upcoming war.

        It was “handled disastrously” as you said. The corporate media’s role in promoting and/or condoning it shamed the fourth estate.

        A “liberal” media wouldn’t have given the obvious lies of promoters such a pass.

  10. Timothy Lane says:

    This is in response to Ron’s evening October 23 comments on Noam Chomsky. Many years ago, a friend showed me a book by David Horowitz that presented a quote from Chomsky on why he never visited Cuba to check it out. Chomsky responded that he knew what he’d find there — a Stalinist horror — and he would feel obligated to tell the truth of what he saw. By contrast, he said, he would feel no such obligation if he visited North Vietnam because they were at war with the US (even if not a formally declared war), freeing him to lie for the sake of defeating the US.

    So, no, I’ve never read anything by Chomsky, and I have no intention of ever doing so, because I could place no trust in what he said. If I want to read fiction (and I read quite a lot of it; I’m currently reading Sharyn McCrumb’s The Ballad of Tom Dooley), I’ll read someone who’s probably a lot more entertaining a writer than Chomsky.

    • Ron Ron says:

      My mistake on the title of Chomsky’s book, Timothy. It’s Manufacturing Consent, not Understanding Media (Marshall McLuhan).

      Not reading him is your loss. Like Sakharov, he’s mainly known to his countrymen through the writings and speeches of his enemies.

      If the media was truly left wing, how come he hasn’t been seen on TV, or read on oped pages, for decades in America?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The collective political stance of the synoptic media is 1. partisan Democrat and 2. establishment liberal. Chomsky is very much not establishment.

        There’s an article right now in Townhall by Derek Hunter on the subject of liberal bias, particularly in identifying the party of miscreants. Let’s put it this way: if a politician is caught on some sort of corruption charge, and his party isn’t mentioned, you can bet he’s a Democrat. He mentioned the case of Bob Filner (when legal charges were filed, at least some stories neglected to mention what party he belonged to — even though that party allowed it all to go on for years while he served in the House) as well as a grossly corrupt Democrat prosecutor in Dallas. For another example, I recall noticing an AP article in the Curious Journal a few years ago on a New Jersey mayor caught in corruption charges at a time when a large number of officials in the state were arrested. They neglected to mention his party, but I knew from elsewhere that he was a Democrat. They also mentioned that there were a lot of other politicians and caught, including a local State Senator. His party was mentioned. Care to guess which it was?

        This is how you detect bias: by comparing how the synoptic media (or anyone else) covers different stories. I’ve observed this sort of gross bias for decades. Shall I discuss the way NPR handled the issue of global warming, consulting only alarmists and claiming they couldn’t find any skeptics (even though I had numerous books by skeptical climatologists)? Do you want to compare how the media handled James Holmes and Floyd Corkins? How about their coverage of Kermit Gosnell and Sandy Hook? Or Wendy Davis’s filibuster and Ted Cruz’s?

  11. Kung Fu Zu says:

    “Since we’re getting into presidential war experiences, Kung, maybe you should consider George I’s service.

    Wags said he enlisted in 1942 to cover up the shame of his father’s trading with the enemy conviction.

    But real shameful actions are often covered up with medals.

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=272410

    Yes Ron, you show all the signs of a paleoliberal. In this case, when your slightly disingenuous claims have been refuted with facts, you change the subject.

    If I recall correctly, George I was the youngest pilot in the Navy. He was shot down while on a mission and served honorably throughout his military service.

    Not being a fan of the Bush family, I couldn’t care less about what some Bush did 70 years ago. Particularly if he was not indicted or convicted of a crime.

    I suspect you are a big fan of Howard Zinn and think Elvis is still alive.

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