All the News That Fibs

The next President of the United States will be a Democrat.

Invisible Man

That much you can take to the bank. And because of the way things seem to be shaking out (before I learn the outcome of the New Hampshire primary), that Democrat will be either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I wish it could be John Edwards, but the corporate media has circled their wagons around the other two, making Edwards the Invisible Man in this race. Obama and Clinton will certainly bring out the Democratic voters and win in November, but Edwards would get lower middle class Republican/populist voters and trounce whoever the unfortunate Republican candidate turns out to be. But John Edwards has been too outspoken about his intention to go after the greedy and overprivileged corporations who, among other things, own all the news media. So they are simply freezing him out, so he won’t be able to “get” them. Did anyone notice the lead story on the AP wire the day after the Iowa caucus? The headline was “Clinton and Obama – Study in Contrasts.” Even after Edwards beat Clinton, the story was about Clinton, not Edwards.

American journalism has a tradition of poking it’s nose where it is not wanted, finding out things that powerful entrenched interests are trying to keep hidden, dragging the stinking garbage out into the light of day and exposing the often creepy facts to the public. In the middle of the last century, when television became the primary source for news, the tradition continued, with guys like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. But little by little the news divisions were overtaken by parent corporations and the entertainment departments, and in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (signed by Bill Clinton, I’m sorry to say), the corporate power structure was given more or less free reign to take a stranglehold on all the most trusted sources of information in the country — the newspapers, the radio stations, the TV stations and the networks, and gradually these sources have been replaced by look-alike and sound-alike replicants whose purpose is not to give you the news, but to advance the corporate interest. Trouble is, most of us still think we’re getting the news. So if a candidate gets no coverage (Kucinich, Paul, Edwards…) it’s natural to think that candidate is of no consequence, so we ignore the candidate. It’s not a perfect self-fulfilling circle, but it’s close, and the result is that some worthy candidates are not even considered by the voters.

There’s no easy solution to this problem, because money (almost) always prevails, and bullies (almost) always win. As long as we fool ourselves into thinking that our traditional sources of news are, in fact, delivering the news and not some made-up, parallel universe, Matrix-like facsimile, we will remain mostly in the dark with little chance of catching a glimpse of what’s really happening. For those who care, there is real information out there, in independent weekly newspapers and on the internet. It’s not always pretty, and sometimes it challenges beloved and dearly held beliefs, but you can find it if you look.

If you don’t look now, you may never find it.

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6 Replies to “All the News That Fibs”

  1. Vikki – John Edwards certainly does look like a dead man walking, but his “concession” speech last night in New Hampshire was feisty, and he said he was “in it through the convention.” I’ll keep a small candle, perhaps a tealight, burning in the back of my heart for his candidacy, but upstairs I am trying to bring myself to face the manufactured reality that he cannot win the nomination, and figure out, yet again, who will be the least of the evils presented for our consideration.

  2. Yeah, this was a great post. (Also, btw, appreciated your “scripted” comment about Olbermann in my comment thread yesterday — that was a good point.)

    You know, almost *everyone* I talk to, read, listen to has been pulling for Edwards. But, I haven’t read any OUTRAGE in the blogosphere about the media ignoring him like they have. They’ve just DISMISSED him, like you said.

    Everyone’s caught up in arguing over sexism and racism and their blogs are on FIRE about those two things, while Edwards slowly fades into the background without anyone fighting for him at all.

  3. Blue Girl – Rove/Cheney/Bush has made it easier than ever for me to hold my nose and vote for whatever Democrat gets nominated, even if I didn’t support him/her. I mean, after these past two terms, it can’t possibly get worse. So I won’t be sick at heart with Clinton or Obama in the White House, but I truly believe that the best man didn’t get a shot. I can’t blame The Media entirely, because I think a lot of voters — maybe a majority — make their decisions without knowing the facts about their candidate, or even caring about them. Which frees/encourages the press and the teevee to spend days analyzing Hillary Clinton’s “breakdown” in New Hampshire, and what effect it might have had on voters, and what it might mean if she is elected president, blah, blah, blah.

  4. I can’t blame The Media entirely, because I think a lot of voters — maybe a majority — make their decisions without knowing the facts about their candidate, or even caring about them.

    I agree. People glaze over when politicians speak and don’t really listen to what they are actually saying. Plus, even when they do listen, they tend not to believe a word they’re saying anyway.

    And whose fault is that?

    I have the “glaze over” problem with Obama. I end up watching his style instead of listening to his words. He’s a fine speaker, but I can’t go crazy just over that. Even though someone who can actually speak would be nice to have in the White House again.

    Two things about Edwards.

    His populist message is a huge turn off to the media types. They are so critical of it when they’re analyzing a speech of his afterwards. (Wanna read something that’ll have you wanting to blow your brains out? Get The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. It’ll show you what populists are up against. It’s pretty insurmountable.)

    And my second thing about Edwards — and this is a shallow comment, but I think it does matter when people are deciding who to pull for.

    I think he’s too slight and doesn’t appear to be tough enough. Do you remember his debate back in ’04 with Cheney when they were sitting at that table together? Edwards physically shrunk next to Cheney.

    Doesn’t mean he would shrink next to an intimidating figure now, though. I feel bad for him. I liked his message and thought his priorities and heart were in the right place for our country and the rest of the world.

  5. I’ve been for Edwards since ’04. Voted for him in the caucus then (to no avail, of course) and have found no reason to change my mind since. I’m confident he would have won in ’04, but Rove & Company knew that and fooled the Democrats into thinking they were afraid of Kerry and. the Democrats, dumb bunnies, got scared and fell right into the trap and nominated old mumblemouth. Same thing this year. Edwards is the only one who could guarantee them victory. Half the country hates Hillary already, and if Obama is the candidate the closet racist vote will turn out in force on election day. Seems like the same Republican (and, as you say, corporate) strategy this year. They know they can’t beat Edwards so they ignore him and pretend to fear Clinton and Obama. And I’m sure the Dem’s will fall for the same trap again. Tis a pity.

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