The cheerleaders take the field


CHNN/NEW YORK  Probably one of the most disturbing phenomena of the post 9/11 era is that much of the media, particularly television news, has not only abandoned its mission, but increasingly it takes an aggressive, leading role in pushing false narratives on the public, silencing valid criticisms of the government, and actively engaging in coverups of the sort that were once left to the crooked politicians themselves.  It isn’t enough anymore to uncritically report government lies, now it’s become common, if not universal, for our Media Stars to make up their own lies and repeat them endlessly and often scoldingly to a benumbed and bewildered public.

On some level, I’d like to think that such professional malpractice is caused by the nagging guilt of having gotten pretty much everything not just wrong, but the polar opposite of right, all these years, and the natural, if dishonest, desire to bury inconvenient truths.  A normal person whose job was to deliver important facts to the public would feel a tremendous sense of shame for getting the country into a needless war, cheerleading while the treasury was looted, telling blatantly false tales of the life-and-death necessity of torturing human beings, and fawningly promoting corporate Ponzi schemes of every sort that ended up causing a return of the Depression.  But that sort of hippie navel-gazing is soooo 1974 to the malignant narcissists at the pinnacle (or more accurately, nadir) of American “journalism.”  Like the Bush Administration, the media has reverse-engineered Watergate, feeling just as they did that the only problem with crime in high places is when someone starts yapping about it in front of the servants.

The frantic insistence that we must always “move forward” masks a deeper affliction; on the ever-shrinking island that is the American Media, those left have acquired so much power and fame that they, like those in power they supposedly cover, really don’t think the public even ought to know what is really going on, and dedicate their lives to making sure that is the case.  Lying to the public has gone from an unfortunate necessity in the face of an astonishing string of discrediting failures to a methodical modus operandi that is becoming more and more difficult to ignore.

From ABC News to the Washington Post and everything in between, a “consensus” has emerged, diametrically opposite of public opinion in most cases, that even the most heinous criminality, whether corporate or governmental, is nobody’s business, and that’s all there is to it.  The spectacle of the ostensible watchdogs of democracy repeatedly taking a stand against the truth being told is offensive enough; but the relentless criticism of those who would disagree and active attempts to manipulate public opinion by baldly misrepresenting it crosses into the pathological.  In the Orwellian world of today, the media has not only joined the government in deceiving the public, but in a bizarre twist it has chosen to trumpet the causes and delusions of a failed past government in opposition to the democratically elected one now in power.  

In the house of mirrors of TV news, Dick Cheney still rules, and the people, the Obama Administration, and whatever vestigial traces of “independent” media that remain had just better get used to it.


  1. rmp says:

    Your point has been illustrated by GG’s post this morning on UT about ABC’s Brian Ross. One commenter called him a presstitute. That describes the problem perfectly. Sources can put out completely false info especially when it is highly classified and that lie will get M$M coverage that can do severe damage to the truth and the cause of fairness and justice without much that can be done about it until years later. Ross gets paid big money to work very little and gives the prostitution profession a bad name. He is one of the ultimate Presstitutes, although there are so many competing for that crown.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Reading UT was what got me on this tear, but it’s worse than just being whores. Now, they’re still promoting the worst forms of Dick-ishness that we all thought we had voted out. What would you call media whores that are still blowing the previous customer?

      • rmp says:

        Stupid and lacking in capitalistic skills. Sick people are often their own worst enemy. That certainly holds true for The Dick who is making his situation much worse than if he kept his mouth shut. As those prostitutes should have said, “he blew it.”

  2. Karen M says:

    the media has reverse-engineered Watergate, feeling just as they did that the only problem with crime in high places is when someone starts yapping about it in front of the servants.

    Another thing I noticed in all of those Austen-inspired films is how everyone is always closing the door before they say very much (exept sometimes in the Bennet family). Ostensibly, it is also to keep the drafts away, but it also appears, at least to me, that no one wants to say anything too personal or confidential in front of the (actual) servants. How Regency of our press!

    • cocktailhag says:

      My friend Marcus found a turn of the century etiquette book which contained, among many delights, an admonition against “discussing personal matters in front of children or servants.” Much comedy gold to read aloud. At the time, a friend of ours who was in a rough patch was cleaning houses to make extra money, including Marcus’ and mine. Whenever he came over, Marcus would point at him and make the shush gesture with his finger at his lips.

  3. Meremark says:

    ‘Nationalize’ the media. Socialism it, really. Pay taxes that hire reporters, print newspapers, transmit broadcasts. Giving citizen John Q. Public an outlet for news items, and taking an investment in oversight feasance.

  4. William TImberman says:

    I’m thinking of commissioning a memorial to the demise of journalism, to be set up somewhere where pigeons can shit on it in perpetuity, and innocent future generations can come to marvel at the folly of their ancestors.

    A simple plinth, I’m thinking, engraved with the following list of names and propensities:

    Friedman: cluelessness.
    Brooks: smarm.
    Broder: vacuity.
    Krauthammer: sadism.
    Kristol: mendacity.
    Will: Buckleyness.
    Klein: bootlicking.
    Podhoretz: blintzkrieg.

    Cash contributions, and additions to the list are welcome. Perhaps someone could also suggest a suitable location — somewhere green and gentle, I’m thinking, somewhere far from the roar of assholes on the make.