This is an excellent comment (from another blog) that tells it like it is.
Bruce Wilder says...
I have much the same impression that jrossi and jmc report. People, who don't usually pay much attention to politics, have absorbed a toxic mass of misinformation. It is a testament to the power of propaganda, and the well-honed effectiveness of the existing corporate Media machine.
Most people in our democracy pay almost no attention to politics or political controversy. The amount of attention and brain power they can spare from popular culture and the business of their own lives is miniscule. There's only enough room for a few bumpersticker-slogans and a whole lot of attitude. The Right does a great job of modeling attractive attitude and supplies bumpersticker-slogans with unit costs reduced near zero by volume and repetition.
Some of the outlets are easy to identify -- the talk radio cum cable news types from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck to Lou Dobbs to Michael Savage just spew out of a collective conservative id. Facts are purely coincidental, in their stream-of-resentment narratives.
Part of what makes it work so well, is that there is no counter from the Left, which is both underrepresented in the mainstream Media, and represented, badly, by design. And, there's no counter, either, from neutral, non-partisan, "authoritative" Media.
Liberals and progressives in the mainstream news Media are forbidden to criticize the Media for being a right-wing propaganda machine. Keith Olbermann can't even ridicule Bill O'Reilly anymore, because O'Reilly might report on Keith's employer's misdeeds. Fox is obviously a Right-wing, capital R, Republican organization, though most of their viewers don't know that they are being misinformed, systematically, and have no way to find out. Howard Kurtz on CNN certainly isn't going to tell them; he's too busy complaining about all those liberals on MSNBC, and how Chris Matthews is promoting the birthers. But, more insidiously, liberal pundits and op-ed writers have never been able to call the mainstream Media -- the nominally neutral news writers and reporters -- out on their facilitation of Right-wing propaganda. Politico is everywhere on news and public affairs programming, from the Sunday morning shows to Charlie Rose -- and no one ever identifies them as a Right-wing propaganda shop, led by veterans of the Clinton "scandals". No one ever identifies their reporters and commentators as right-wing operatives. The Associated Press -- the epitome of straight news -- is run by a Republican operative, and often provides a conduit for right-wing propaganda, but no one in the mainstream Media can call them on it. PBS' NewsHour is owned by a right-wing billionaire and has been funded for years by corporations and right-wing foundations -- no one ever calls them out on their propaganda-friendly moderate- technocrat vs conservative-advocate discussion pairings, and their systematic exclusion of the Left.
"Non-partisan" Media critics -- Howard Kurtz comes to mind -- use ballance (false symmetry between right and left) to legitimate the Right.
Many of those identified as "liberals" are misidentified or fakes -- Joe Klein at Time has made an entire career out of being a fake liberal, who spends all his column inches, more from sorrow, bemoaning the "failures" of Democrats. Chris Matthews is identified by most of my non-political friends as a liberal Democrat -- no wonder people think we're ridiculous.
People have no effective resistance to propaganda, when they never hear the other side, never hear incisive critiques of the right-wing narratives, when the Right never has to acknowledge factual error or ethical misstep.
And, when no neutral, authoritative voices set either a factual standard or a standard for ethical, humane discourse, there's no place to get a fact-check, or an orientation to what's verified "consensus reality" and "common decency" versus fringe paranoia.
There's so little effective push-back in the mainstream Media from the Left, that most people are unaware of liberal or progressive voices, can't identify genuine representives of the Left, never hear a liberal or progressive argument from someone who believes it and cares, and never hears a sustained critique of the oft-repeated right-wing axioms of incompetent government, low-taxes = jobs, no-regulation = growth, etc.
And, many of the supposedly neutral and "authoritative" voices that people might casually cross-check to verify facts and themes are not, in fact, neutral at all.
Long-term, the violent incitements and contempt cultivated by Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs are just as scary as the detachment from reality. It's a combination plate they are serving.
And, they are being actively supported by mainsteam Media and Academia. Scary times.
Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Link to comment | Aug 06, 2009 at 10:08 AM