"The following essay was originally written as a response to an editorial by John Stanton and Wayne Madsen, 'US Media Interests: Champions of Propaganda, Profit and Puffery' at Counterpunch.com, concerning the demise of American media in light of the activities of the current administration. This response has been rewritten in part for presentation by 'Democrats.com' and details that such a demise is merely a symptom of ever greater problems plaguing American society; problems that threaten to tear this nation asunder along with all that decent, honorable people believe in." So writes Steve Naidamast.
The Counterpunch.com editorial by John Stanton and Wayne Madsen ( 'US Media Interests: Champions of Propaganda, Profit and Puffery') which concerns the current demise of media integrity and honesty was set against points many Americans have been well aware of for many years. When Dan Rather of CBS News openly admits in an interview that the tabloid press is placing increasing pressure on network news journalism to become more like daily entertainment than one has to wonder where such pressures would eventually lead. Well now we know. We experienced a metamorphosis from semi-quality journalism (What could you ever expect from a piece of equipment that is most noted as the 'boob tube' anyway?) to sophisticated tabloid and now to government news agency. And we all thought Pravda was the only newspaper that ever acted as a government mouthpiece.
However, the problems you addressed in your piece go much deeper than merely a side winding crippling of the integrity of journalism in the United States. The aspects you discuss are merely symptomatic of a political system gone so far astray one wonders if it can ever be corrected. I have my doubts, as war now seems to be the underlying solution for all of our ills. Diplomacy, détente, and just simple discussion between leaders have all been cast aside for the overriding purpose of U.S. hegemony in the world wherever it can be found. Things are truly getting bad in River City as the old song would blare.
Former President Clinton may not have been an angel but for him economics was his ploy to peace. Good, bad, or indifferent the man truly liked people and wanted the doors left open for discussion on the world stage. For the past 18 months they have been slammed shut in everyone's face. Shut down so a small band of American officials can force their own personal agendas down the collective throat of all the world's peoples for oil, power, and of course the money. In the end it's always the money.
Somehow these folks actually believe they can control the stark vagaries of war. Maybe its because they have been so successful at the little stuff. The little, easy conflicts that have allowed them to puff up their chests with pride with the belief that their power is invincible. 'Bomb the snot out of the buggers and they'll get the message!' They scream while cracking open that bottle of champagne to toast yet another success with their newfound control.
What these incompetents have yet to learn is that nothing ever can redefine such a horrendous breakdown in diplomacy. War will always be what it is; only the style may change. And the more you play with it the more the chaos will gain an advantage to turn you on your heels and drag you in to the very hell on Earth you created. It's like 'Dancing with the Devil'; no one gets to win.
And from it all our media has become the lap dog of these American sycophants. The boys at the top all joined the club and gave themselves the cute little name of the 'Consortium'. So while Bush & Co. run the country into the ground what were once our finest and proudest journals will likewise do the same with our minds.
The 'Charge of the Light Brigade' failed due to a lack of intelligence of enemy gunners. The brave British horseman didn't know about what lay in wait behind the hills they rode into. And when they found out they continued to ride to their destiny and into a poem. Is that what will happen to all of America. Some distant culture will remember us as a result of a poem that refers to our lack of intelligence? And why? Because so many are now simply afraid to search for the truth or simply too busy to bother. Isn't anyone the least bit angry enough to scream 'I'm not going to take any more!' like Peter Finch did many years ago?
Despite the prosperity of the Clinton years, the eventual breakdown in media honesty and integrity is more a reflection of a breakdown in our political system and what we expect of it. It has been an ongoing process for years. It's just that no one noticed. Probably because so many believe in Scarlett O'Hara's hope for the future that things will always get better since there is always tomorrow. But what if there are no more tomorrows? What if we have reached an end-point in history that forces us to decide, although we have lost the tools of information to help us rationally make such a decision.
You can only dismember any country's sociological foundations so much before there is nothing left to dismember. Both Democrats and Republicans have been doing a grand job of it since the beginning of this nation. Corruption in U.S. politics has been often scoffed at more as a political comedy than viewed as a long-term danger to the health of a nation. It has always been accepted as just another part of the landscape or a payment towards doing 'business as usual'. Now it is more than just that and the media ever more so has turned a blind eye to what has happened in this country. It's not patriotic anymore to tell the truth. Besides, its better to get on Bush & Cos. payroll than to languish as an outcast screaming of the realities of our world to anyone who would listen. There's no money in being an outcast and who would believe it anyway. Americans are so convinced it just can't happen here. Hello! Anyone home! It already has happened and more is on the way if enough people can successfully rig it. The U.S. media have now not only given up journalistic integrity for ratings they have lapped at the door of the most infamous group of people to ever take office in this country's history. An election sideswiped by fraud and deception corrupted further by a Supreme Court's indulgence in personal agenda instead of law. And since that election what have we been all witness to? Nothing short but the rape of American society would serve as a good description. Our economy turned into a shambles by the very people that supported the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2000 and given a further boost by this candidate's financial activities as president.
God almighty what were those nice folks in the Midwest thinking when they cast their ballot for this right-winged fraud of human being. Gore was boring; too boring to listen to so they wanted the nice guy. The one who could come into their coffee shops and really chow down with the best of them. I guess they really wanted some guy who was just like them while Gore was too much of what was like at the office. Can't blame them for that. So while they are all now proudly beating their chests, calling themselves real Americans, someone should warn them not to look at their pension statements for fear of sending them straight into the arms of the medical community, where they probably just lost their insurance or that part that has now deemed a heart attack as an ailment no longer worth bothering with.
For the boys in charge, September 11th, 2001 conveniently came along, or was expected by the substantial body of evidence that is beginning to show up, and allowed our 'righteous' president to take command of not only our security but our liberties and the freedom to gain access to oil anywhere he pleases along with as much military adventurism as he could handle. People forgot how his father used to nearly experience orgasm at even just the thought of war. From war-lover we now have a warmonger. And both men suffer from a sense of a lack of virility as simply men.
Yet, through it all what do we hear about in our mainstream papers, our televised news shows? Do we get Walter Cronkite-like reporting of the issues and their meaning to Americans? Do we have any Edward Murrows left? I think not. Instead we have the bright-eyed Ashleigh Banfields whose signatory is her glasses more than the content of her work. We have the Bill O'Reillys who can't let a guest get a word in 'sledge-wise' since 'time is so precious' and the ratings so important. Hannity and Colmes, two unlikely buffoons to report on 'the right' and the 'left', the left always seemingly at an apparent loss for a stiff retort to Hannity's pathetic attempts at being a newscaster. He and Ollie North would do well with each other. Both cut from the same unsavory cloth.
Only Alan Keyes, the 10:00 loon as some would say, actually seems to try to ask sensible questions about serious topics. But even 'The Washington Journal' shies away from the really serious subjects about the current presidency. We are served up mental garbage for our consumption instead of information that would actually have people reflect upon what has happened to all of us. We have all been harmed by these men and women and yet the best we can do is simply ignore what will eventually become a political catastrophe for not only this country but the world at large.
Our political system did not become corrupted because of the election of George W. Bush - it was already corrupted to such an extent that it allowed such a travesty to occur in the first place. And yet all seem to helplessly throw up their hands with the refrain, 'Well what can I do about it. Nothing.' In the end if nothing is done there will be nothing left.
Politically our system is nothing but the carrion that vultures would feed off of. Corruption is so extensive that accomplishment of anything noteworthy has become a rarity. And the idea that this nation is still a free Democracy is almost a laughable allegory to the reality of institutional dictatorship. And while we ignore such realities the other realities that surround us grow worse. Right winged conservatism is growing in increasingly glaring intensity in Europe while what were once cherished allies have become questionable foes. American academia, in light of the crisis of the Catholic Church, are now suddenly arguing over the legitimacy of pedophilia. True for the majority of Humanity's span on Earth people in their teens and even earlier experienced sexual relations, but much of this was on the basis of the reproductive nature of the species for survival. To suddenly claim what was once natural to our species is now acceptable under the guise of exploitation of the innocently young is a sickness
Yet, the list of such realities goes on. In health-care, the United States, the most economically powerful nation on Earth, is claimed by one research study to yield a quality of health-care in line with that of economically debilitated industrialized country. Military fraud and incompetence is rampant to the extent that disallows our soldiers to fight their battles properly. Our judicial system has become more of a political arm than a legal system whereby upwards of 68% of people of color are unfairly incarcerated against the death penalty with little recourse to save their own lives. And yet we as a nation tout our freedoms while remaining the singular industrialized nation in the world that still maintains a death penalty. The list goes on and on.
However, the election in 2000 and the cowering media to its results should be yielding one resonant effect in our society; the desire to fight back. For once the refrain is an honest one: 'With what?'. And the question is as starkly correct as the problem it indicates. How does one fight back with a political system that covers itself with the military on one side and the press on another? We can't call it a 'free press' any longer given the circumstances.
Such symptoms in a society have often garnered violent revolution. In my opinion such a response will only produce more of the same as revolutions are more often than not controlled by those as much in love with power as those they desire to overthrow. It's the same program every time, with the same results.
Some revolutions however, are sparked by sheer desperation to correct such wrongs that are so cataclysmic that no other resort could possibly alleviate the problems. The French revolution in 1789 could be in some cases to be an example of such a situation. However, France has never had any really good luck with her politics in her entire history.
The 'American Revolution' of course comes to mind -- that conflict for the rights of the colonists. Problem was, none of them were fighting for anyone's rights. The revolution was more about land-speculation, the right to make monies via expanded trade, the misinterpretations the colonists had concerning the 'rights of Englishman', and the fostered idealism of the American Declaration of Independence. This of course grew into the Constitution which has now been proven to be as weak as the 'Anti-Federalists' of the late 1700s claimed it would prove to be.
So we all inherently believe in defending a piece of paper that is about as flawed as our current political system. Our Constitution gave us our current system. It allowed it to happen as much as we allowed it. We ignored that document's failings with the sole indoctrinated belief that it would protect all when it has protected very little except for the right to challenge its meaning.
The Anti-Federalists pleaded for more meaningful built-in oversight but being as disorganized as they were, and the Federalists being as anxious to get it over with as they were to get it all 'wrapped up', such pleas went unnoticed and ignored.
We have come to a stage in our country's history where some very hard choices are going to have to be made. Except such choices are no longer in the purview of our 'elected officials' but now in the hands of the people of the United States. If such choices are not made than all will accept the status quo of what massive corruption has brought us to. And it will yield only further degradations in our society. In the end our nation will crumble from the internal rot and decay that now plagues it like so many nations and empires before us. We are no different though the mythology of our nation would have you believe otherwise.
It then becomes apparent as distasteful as it may sound that one may now have to consider that only a 'patriot' would be forced to consider the advocacy of the overthrow of the government of the United States in order to return it to the 'will of the people'. And the election of George W. Bush following 8 years of rampant harassment by the Republican Party to overthrow a popularly elected president set the precedent. It has set the path that is becoming almost unavoidable unless a more realistic means can be engineered. For though the Democrats espouse the 'retaking of America' who will really reclaim it; the people or the Democratic National Party? At some point the people of the United States will have to for once take political responsibility for themselves instead of walking away to let unsavory politicians incur travesty on their lives in order that they may have the right and the freedom to complain about it.
This is what the election of 2000 has brought us too. It now will be left either up to the people to decide or the unnatural course of events now churning through our society's environs will instead do so for them.