Monday, February 9, 2009

"The paradox of a Rush Limbaugh"

From Bill Moyers is Insightful, Erudite, Impassioned, Brilliant and the Host of PBS' "NOW":

BUZZFLASH: Have we created a circumstance where we have little perspective beyond the most recent news cycle? The words of the White House on one morning, for instance, may be contradicted by events in the afternoon, but the news coverage rarely seems to bring any information or comments from the past to compare them to the unfolding news of the moment. It's almost as if news no longer has a historical context.

MOYERS: Down the memory hole, as George Orwell would describe it. And yes, it's all about stimulation now. Watching the opening of the second game of the World Series, I was struck at how effectively the Fox producers mixed patriotic imagery with prurient promotions for upcoming programming in what amounted to a sedation of the viewer's critical faculty. It's a fitting metaphor, I think, for what's happening in politics as the mainstream media have been silenced and the partisan media have turned propaganda into "news." Wave the flag, stroke the sentiments, stir the prejudices -- and you can keep the masses distracted from the real game happening out of sight, behind closed doors in boardrooms and oval offices.

BUZZFLASH: And what is that game?

MOYERS: Class war. The corporate right and the political right declared class war on working people a quarter of a century ago and they've won. The rich are getting richer, which arguably wouldn't matter if the rising tide lifted all boats. But the inequality gap is the widest it's been since l929; the middle class is besieged and the working poor are barely keeping their heads above water. The corporate and governing elites are helping themselves to the spoils of victory -- politics, when all is said and done, comes down to who gets what and who pays for it -- while the public is distracted by the media circus and news has been neutered or politicized for partisan purposes.

Take the paradox of a Rush Limbaugh, ensconced in a Palm Beach mansion massaging the resentments across the country of white-knuckled wage earners, who are barely making ends meet in no small part because of the very policies of those corporate and ideological forces for whom Rush has been a hero. I recently came across an account of the tabloid era of British journalism in the late 1950s when the Daily Mirror, for one, presented itself as the champion of the working man, fearlessly speaking truth to power, when out of sight its gluttonous and egomaniacal chairman was demanding and extorting favors from frightened or like-minded politicians and generally helping himself to greater portions of privilege like any other press baron. It's the same story for Limbaugh, Murdoch and his minions, and the tycoons of the megamedia conglomerates. They helped create the new Gilded Age to whose largesse they have so generously helped themselves while throwing the populace off the trail with red meat served up in the guise of journalism.

As Eric Alterman reports in his recent book -- a book that I'm proud to have helped make happen -- part of that red meat strategy is to attack mainstream media relentlessly, knowing that if the press is effectively intimidated, either by the accusation of liberal bias or by a reporter's own mistaken belief in the charge's validity, the institutions that conservatives revere -- corporate America, the military, organized religion, and their own ideological bastions of influence -- will be able to escape scrutiny and increase their influence over American public life with relatively no challenge. Eric calls it "working the refs," and it's worked.

3 comments - Post a comment :

Anonymous said...

I go from my McSuburb in my McCar to my McJob. On the radio I listen to McEntertainment. On the the weekend I go to the McMall and buy McStuff. I dreaming the same dream as all my McFriends. I feel safe.
The Republicrats tell me who wants to steal my dream. I trust them. I let them bug my phone. I let them sneek away my money and give it to rich people. I identify with my captors, it's best for everyone. Don't question, they will look after us, won't they?

lucius0729 said...

I watched what the Rupublicans have said and done over the last eight(8) years the first six years of George Bush's administration they rubberstamped averything he wanted and THEY destroyed the economy and when a NEW President comes along they tell us the people that are suffering the most not to listen. Well, I am no longer listening to the Republicans.

WDRussell said...

A rising tide might lift all boats, but the people who can't afford a boat, drowns.

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