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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The real “sleeper cells” in the national media

Another important piece from Glenn Greenwald, dissecting the process by which the mainstream press is either thoroughly manipulated by or is an integral part of the right-wing message machine – in this case, the vital national concern for ridiculing John Edwards for his hair. It went from a right-wing blogger at Politico, through Drudge – merely by chance, presumably – to silly Slate writer Mickey Kaus and then the so-called liberal New Republic. Then in a clear case of journalistic bad faith, AP picks it up with wording of the most insulting kind worthy of Anne Coulter, followed by CNN, and the rest of the media then have their permission to spew it all over the place.

The same basic process happened today with Obama being accused of being some kind of intellectual lightweight. It’s the Karl Rove playbook in action: everyone considers Obama, former editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review, the likes of which certainly no Republican candidate can claim, a thoughtful and brilliant communicator with a knack for finding exactly the right words to bring people into his line of thought. So attack him at his strength. If Obama has an exceptional ability to conceptualize issues, then attack him for being too conceptual.

It seems to me the manipulation model has been the accepted explanation for mainstream media channeling Matt Drudge and the rest of the right-wing message machine – or even doing them one better in the self-initiated and brilliantly choreographed attacks on the Clintons (Whitewater, Travelgate, murder), Gore (Internet, Love Canal, Love Story) and Kerry (windsurfing, French) by certain prominent New York Times and Washington Post reporters, as catalogued so brilliantly by The Daily Howler over the past decade.

However, the process is so perfect in its execution that I wonder if the “integral part of” description isn’t more accurate. The right-wing infrastructure has been in development for over a generation, and certainly the intention of the political right and the fundamentalist Christian right to actually take over the mainstream media has been demonstrated. Maybe we should start digging into the real backgrounds of some of these reporters who purport to be neutral, but somehow seem to know when to twist the knife and on whom. One thing is for sure: being straightforward about who you are and what you believe has not been the modus operandi of the right wing. Stealth is the name of their game: get in power, then leverage it do what you want whether the American people want it or not. “Compassionate conservative.” “Privatize Social Security to save it.” “Intelligent Design” as a principle of “science.” “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” The “surge” to win in Iraq (when its whole purpose is to buy time and force the Democrats to pull out of Iraq). The modern Republican Party tries very hard to hide its radical agenda from the American people. And there’s little reason not to believe that they have their sleeper cells in the national media.

1 Comments:

Blogger ChiTom said...

It has been incredible to watch how passive and compliant the press has been in the past seven years. Even now an awful lot seem content to ignore the man behind the curtain.

10:37 PM  

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