Thursday, October 18, 2007

Our Rotting Press Corpse

Our main charter here at WTWC is to hold our congress-critters and candidates accountable and to work to elect real Democrats. Yet, another critical sphere of influence to address in our public discourse -- and an urgent message to get the word out to voters -- is how our corrupt mainstream press operates in swaying opinions, and thus, elections. On that score, no one, IMO, has more consistently dissected our rotting press corpse over the years than Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler.

Yesterday, Bob's erudite commentary explained what our “mainstream press corps” won’t tell you. Read Somerby's whole post, which included the falsetto note sung by Dana Milbank on Social Security, Medicare, and retiring Baby Boomers. What motivates a Washington Post political reporter to assert that, "the 80 million-strong baby-boom generation, which, starting next year, will begin to bankrupt the nation," and imply that he knows more than Alan Greenspan might be a great cosmic mystery unless one follows the filthy lucre that prods our Beltway choir boys to croon repeatedly off-key. Or, as we might speculate in the South where I live, maybe Milbank fell cattywampus overwhelmed with a severe case of the vapors. The smell of money can make some folks swoon.

For now, turn to a few revealing quotes.

Courtesy of Bob Somerby [his emphasis in bold and full transcript at The Daily Howler link above]:

From that day to this, members of the mainstream press corps have tried to keep the public from knowing about that remarkable episode [of the "War on Gore."]. But out in the country, some observers do know what happened. Take Neal Gabler of USC’s Annenberg Center, for example. On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, the panel discussed the press coverage of Gore’s Nobel Prize. Because the segment was so illuminating, we’ll post the transcript in full. Gabler clearly understands his country’s recent presspolitical history—and Jane Hall, of the American University, quickly chimed in too....
GABLER: To me, what is interesting is last month Vanity Fair had a piece talking about the war against Gore, how the media—not the right-wing media; [Peretz] wasn't talking about Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, she was talking about Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd and Ceci Connolly—and how they went after Gore to destroy him. And that is something that's very, very interesting. The media needs to pay penance for that, for what they did to Al Gore and the country as a result.
JANE HALL: Neal is right. I wrote about this in 2000 and analyzed stories in the New York Times. Media completely differently treated Gore and Bush. They loved Bush. It's in the face of what everybody thinks. It's not true.
Now he doesn't need to run. Why would he want to invite the coverage? He's getting the praise now. The Vanna White principle, he's loved now. If he opens his mouth, everybody will go after him.
[CAL] THOMAS: Al Gore to the media is a secular messiah. He will deliver us from our flatulence and other things causing the global warming. This is the religion of much of the secular left-wing media. He's the perfect messiah figure. He doesn't require a lot of stuff out of us other than we give up our lifestyle and the way we have lived for many years.
GABLER: Secular left-wing media! Let me read something—from the, Vanity Fair quoted—Margaret Carlson said to Don Imus. "You can disprove what Bush was saying if you get in the weeds and get out your calculator or look at his record in Texas. But it's real easy and fun to disprove Al Gore as a sport, as our enterprise. Gore coming up with another whopper is greatly entertaining." It cost him the presidency of the United States.
Yes, folks. If mainstream journalists and pundits hadn't played favorites by propping up the smirking frat boy from Texas -- if they had dug up the truth about Bush as the late, great columnist Molly Ivins did instead of wagging their tongues with lies about Gore -- I daresay Al would have won Election 2000 by a landslide. Instead, look at the disastrous presidency we got!

Why does what happened seven years ago matter now? Isn't it obvious?

Don't hesitate to think for one nanosecond that our press zombies who mauled Al Gore in 2000 aren't hankering to gnaw the next Democratic presidential nominee. Remember the swift-boating of Kerry in 2004? Nary a whimper escaped from our fatted media lapdog throats. Asleep, bellies heaped full of hush puppies snagged from their corporate doggie bags, they snored. To quote Somerby from an email exchange, "Presumably, this will inevitably happen when a press corps is run by multimillionaires." Silence is truly golden. Of course, they awaken to snarl on cue when corporate masters coax, "Who wants to be a millionaire?"

I dunno how we can resurrect our fetid press corpse. What matters most now is informing the electorate what the news media isn't reporting and their distortions, lies, and petty complaints (Edwards' hair, Hillary's cackle, and Obama's middle name) that have nothing to do with choosing who's best to lead our nation.

They tarred and feathered Gore in 2000. The carnage continued against Kerry in 2004. We cannot let it happen again in 2008.

RELATED LINK: Evgenia Peretz's Going After Gore at Vanity Fair, October 2007.