Monday, May 8, 2017

Nothing is Too Low for the Mainstream Press

Today's chapter of this endless story is motivated by the news that our "Liberal" TV news outlet. MSNBC, after soiling itself by bringing Greta Van Susteren and Hugh Hewitt, two of the most nauseating right wing liars the country could produce, onto its airwaves, has now furthered its degradation by hiring George Will to be one of its commentators.

This will seem irrelevant, but before continuing, I want to discuss the case of one Janet Cooke, who virtually everyone has totally forgotten about.  In 1981, Cooke, who was a reporter for the Washington Post, wrote a story about a young heroin addict.  The story turned out to be made up, and as a result, Janet Cooke was fired by the Post (nothing wrong with that, I guess) and was driven out of journalism forever.

Here's what George Will was up to at the time, in the way of journalism:  A major factor in the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan was the public perception that Reagan had crushed Jimmy Carter in their last debate.  A couple of years later, it was learned that the Reagan campaign team had managed to steal Carter's briefing books for the debate, and used them to prepare Reagan to have crushing replies to Carter's comments.  The person who coached Ronald Reagan about the content of those briefing books was George Will.  After the debate, Will, who did not acknowledge his role in coaching Reagan, and who never revealed his knowledge of what happened, went to the national press, pretending to be an impartial source, with accounts of how great Reagan's debate performance was.

So, here's the score:

Janet Cooke, black woman: false but utterly harmless story in the Washington Post; consequences, a destroyed career.

George Will, white tool of the rich: malignant tampering in the Presidential election process and then spreading lies about it on national TV, contributing to the election of the man who sent the United States on the downward path to economic collapse; consequences, well, it's 37 years later, and none so far.  He has remained an "elder spokesman" of the right, continually, and ludicrously praised, as a responsible, serious spokesman for the Republican viewpoint.

Everyone else seems to want to forget this story, and I guess it did happen a long time ago, but as far as I am concerned, until people like this pay a price for their treachery, someone has to remember the truth.  The only price Will has paid for his stab in the back to our democratic institutions is a multimillion dollar a year job continuing to sabotage our political discourse; and of course in that he is hardly alone.  He's joining a pack of them over there at MSNBC, and that, as I mentioned, is supposed to be our liberal network.

For a little more about the briefing scandal, you may want to look here.


Marc said...

I stopped watching American 'news' programs after "NBC News Overnight" went off the air. I went over to Europe for a few years, and found the devolution of journalism in full swing upon my return. You see the same rotation of talking heads and guests - and none of the journalist are ones who've won (or were nominated for) investigative work. Many talking heads don't even bother to push back at blatant lies - instead soft peddling, or worse, supporting the falsehood foisted upon the audience. Truthiness is a staple, and bothsiderism runs rampant - usually with a side of false equivalency and a couple of straw men for support.

Green Eagle said...

They don't push back not because they are too lazy to do so. They don't push back because they are paid not to by a press which, thanks to Ronald Reagan, is virtually totally owned by a few rich people and their corporations.

Sofla said...

Reagan ended the fairness doctrine, but that didn't create these media cartels.

The consolidation of all the media into just six giant media conglomerates could not have taken place except for the Telecommunications Modernization Act.

Sadly, that was passed in the Clinton terms (albeit by the R majority Congress), but he did sign it instead of vetoing it.

Perhaps it passed by veto-proof majorities (like DOMA did), but if so, only because so many Ds had taken Clinton's DLC style corporate-friendly positions, to gain campaign financing.

Great point about George Will, though. I remember that very well.

Green Eagle said...

It was the deregulation of rules about press ownership that allowed the entire mainstream press to fall into the hands of a few rich sociopaths. Deregulation, Reagan's signature program, was the greatest fraud in the history of the United States. It not only destroyed the free press, it also caused two gigantic real estate collapses, and the warping of education and medical care from public services into nothing but mechanisms for plunder. It created all of the vast interrelated financial structure of hedge funds, brokerages and corrupt banks that has left our financial industry little more than a way to steal on behalf of the rich. And every single honest person who watched what was going on knew perfectly well where this was all heading. It was the largest campaign of criminality in the nation's history, and it is why Reagan will always reign at the very top of the mountain of government corruption that has overwhelmed our country.