The Still-Conservative Media

[television finger] Conservative Media Owners for Swift Boat (and other) Bullshit

It’s time to stop pussy-footing around and speak truth to power. They’re not the “so-called liberal media.” That’s being too kind. Anyone watching the Swift Boat Veterans for Bile coverage knows that it’s time to call them what they are: the conservative voice of corporate America.

Breathless headlines debate whether the piece of shrapnel in John Kerry’s leg is deserving of a Purple Heart when we’ve just learned that nearly a million more children fell below the poverty level in the last year, and the number of uninsured climbed by 1.5 million. Pundits debate whether or not the evidence is undeniable or merely overwhelming that John Kerry was under fire when he earned his Bronze Star, while the number of 2004 Iraq fatalities surpasses the number lost in 2003. Arguments over whether Kerry was in Cambodia during Christmas of 1968 or Tet of 1969 rage while a hideously arcane overhaul of the overtime system appears to be bad for working people, one of Bush’s most egregious attacks on the non-rich.

The Plame scandal, the cover-up of the air quality in Manhattan after 9-11, the Bush administration’s complicity in the Abu Ghraib scandal, the post-war “planning” debacle, the exploding deficit, the Vice-President’s staggering conflict of interest with a major military contractor (which is quite possibly a war profiteer), the abandonment of Afghanistan and all-around failure of the War on Terra, and Rove’s all-out assault on separation of church and state through pushing churches to use their rolls as GOP recruiting lists, all somehow pale in comparison to the great burning questions: is John Kerry a hero one or two dozen times over, and is John O’Neill (the Swift Boat Veteran for Libel, not the heroic ex-FBI agent who died in the World Trade Center on 9-11) a lying creep, a vicious tool, or a lying vicious tool of a creep?

If I may ask, what the hell is going on around here?

Now I can admit, the Swift Boat Veterans for Hypocrisy were worthy of a few days’ worth of coverage — albeit for one or two days in media analysis as “negative campaigning hits new low,” then two or three more days of editorials condemning their disgusting spin and outright lies. (Why Bush’s abject hypocrisy regarding 527s is receiving so little coverage is another matter, as is the complete inability of major media outlets to tell the difference between a PAC and a 527.) Instead, we get constant, unrelenting “coverage” that rarely amounts to more than “he said, it said” and a complete abrogation of the journalist’s actual, you know, job, which is to do research and uncover evidence. Admittedly, it looks like the Washington Post and the Gray Lady are slowly starting to wake up, but most large outlets, particularly in the broadcast media, are dutifully parroting the party line.

Gee, I wonder why.

The big media outlets are owned by mega-corporations. The Republican punditocracy can bleat all it likes about the general leaning of reporters — people who are highly likely to know the facts, it should be noted — but editors and their employers make the final decisions. Even if we discount Fox, the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk, we are still left with the enormous mainstream media, which are owned by people who personally benefit (at least in the short term) from policies that exploit the middle and working classes, violate the environment, ravage the federal budget, and ensure that those emerging from the education system have just enough training to be useful without all that pesky intelligence, curiosity, and civic awareness that civilized countries value in their citizens.

In short, virtually every outlet larger than Air America is bought and paid for by Big Money. They like it that way. And as the FCC incident proves, they’re willing to move Heaven and Earth to keep it that way, constantly grabbing for more power.

Until now, there was an understandable reason not to complain about the conservative media. After decades of conservative whining about the “liberal media,” the public has issues with the whole “news is slanted” meme. Nevertheless, the whole obscene Swift Boat Veterans for Evil mess has brought the entire corrupt chicken coop home to roost. Whether we call the current Axis of Liars neocons, radicons, theocons, Decepticons or just plain con artists, the simple fact is that they’ve been “playing the refs” so long that the refs work for them now. It’s time to call them on it.

The radical right’s power grab has been founded in large part on creating a conservative media bias, and it has to stop now.

They distort, we deride.

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