Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Democracy Now: indepth look at corporate media; Rothschild on the death squads; Conniff at "Culture Rot" and Cocco on Senate Dems needing a backbone

From Democracy Now!
Headlines for January 11, 2005
- Iraq: Car Bomb in Tikrit Kills 7 Police
- U.S. Rejects Sunni Proposal on Elections
- Allawi Gives Cash to Journalists
- French Reporter in Iraq May Have Been Abducted
- Abuse at Abu Ghraib Was Like Act of 'Cheerleaders'
- GOP Congressmember Calls For Withdrawal From Iraq
- Indonesia Restricts Aid Workers in Aceh
- Police to do 'Behavior Monitoring' at Inauguration

The first three segments feature an interview with Steve Rendall of FAIR (which puts out Extra! one of the periodicals we cited in our year in review).

CBS News Fires Four Over Bush National Guard Story
CBS News fired four employees on Monday after an independent report found a "myopic zeal" led to a "60 Minutes Wednesday" story about President Bush's military service that relied on allegedly forged documents. We speak with Steve Rendall of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. [includes rush transcript]

FAIR on Bush Admin Funding of Armstrong Williams: "The Government Is Running a Domestic Propaganda Operation Secretly Targeting The American People"
Conservative pundit Armstrong Williams admits to taking almost a quarter of a million dollars from the U.S. government to promote President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation and the GAO scolds the Bush administration for the second time for using prepackaged video news releases the media runs as news.

CNN Fires Crossfire, Tucker Carlson Moves to MSNBC
The new president of CNN, Jonathan Klein, announced last week the network has ended its relationship with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson and will soon cancel its long-running program, Crossfire. We hear an excerpt of Crossfire featuring Jon Stewart of the The Daily Show and speak with Steve Rendall of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Four Remaining British Guantanamo Detainees To Be Freed
The British government has announced that the four remaining British citizens held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo will be released. The four Brits are: Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. We speak with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Monday's mid-day post posted and vanished (on Monday). We'll see if this one makes it and if so, if it stays.

[Note, an entry last night on Mapes, CBS, et al has also vanished.]

At the center of a number of theories surrounding the blind loyalty to Bush among some 90% of Republicans is that he represents the father figure for the nation. A patriarchal hierarchy reveres the father no matter what errors he makes, because he -- well -- sits at the head of the table and is the "leader" of the family.
So the father could go out on a bender and sleep with a couple of tarts, go to church and ask repentance, and all is forgiven because he is the father, the provider, the protector of the family.
Perhaps that's why Andrew Card, Bush's Chief of Staff, told a group of Bush Maine supporters last summer that George regards the citizens of America as 10-year-olds (we are not making this up) who need to be led. The irony that Bush may be the 10-year-old defying the law of majority rule that comes with democracy did not go unnoticed by BuzzFlash.
If you're not into the patriarchy model, you just see Bush's worldview as arrogant, elitist, and toxic. This is one father figure who is so bumbling that he wears the word "failure" out. Indeed, the only thing he is successful at is failing -- and, of course, lying about his failures.
That's the latest daily editorial from BuzzFlash (http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/05/01/edi05012.html). (Number 11 on the eleventh day. They're doing one editorial a day in the lead up to the inaugration.)

When all the other rationales for this crazy war in Iraq had evaporated, when it had become clear that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction and Saddam was not working with Osama bin Laden, the Bush Administration seized upon the justification that it was installing democracy in Iraq.But nothing could be further from installing democracy than installing death squads. And that’s what Rumsfeld is planning over at the Pentagon, according to Newsweek.It’s called the Salvador option, named after the brutal repression that the U.S. government oversaw in that country in the 1980s, when the CIA financed, trained, and armed death squads that killed and tortured tens of thousands of people.

That's Matthew Rothschild's latest "This Just In" from the online site for The Progressive and to read more, click here http://www.progressive.org/webex05/wx011105.html .

While noting Rothschild (editor of The Progressive), let's also note that Ruth Conniff is now doing a blog entry every Monday (http://www.progressive.org/blogs05/rc011005.html). Here's a sample of this week's entry ("Culture Rot"):

Maybe I'm naive. I grew up without a TV, and have spent most of my life not seeing much of it, despite a stint as a "liberal commentator" on Fox News.
And, of course, Fox is part of the problem. A steady diet of increasingly ugly, lowbrow entertainment programming combines with bullying rightwing punditry to bring down the level of discourse in the country and stamp out intelligent thought. The connection between rightwing politics and cultural sleaze is nowhere more evident than it is on Fox.

The Left ought to pick up on this idea, instead of letting the Right get away with professing shock at sex and violence on TV and movies, even while the worst tabloid offender is self-described conservative Rupert Murdoch, who brought us such wholesome family-values programming as "Who's Your Daddy?" and "The Simple Life" with Paris Hilton.
My friend Gary Ruskin runs an outfit called Commercial Alert, started by Ralph Nader, that works on this very front. Since I have two little children I have become increasingly interested in his work. How outrageous is it that companies market directly to toddlers, drawing on research that shows two-year-olds dream about animals?Commercial Alert decries this sort of thing, as well as everything from pre-movie commercials in the theaters to the corporate takeover and renaming of municipal ballparks to Coke and McDonalds infiltrating the schools."Commercial Alert's mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity, and democracy."
The group's website:

And don't miss Marie Cocco's "Democrats' Fury, And Values, Go AWOL" in Newsday (http://www.newsday.com/news/columnists/ny-vpcoc114110904jan11,0,6992830.column?coll=ny-news-columnists) on the lack of of leadership in the Senate on opposing Alberto Gonzales:

The Democrats are, of course, opposed to torture. They have, they say, "serious questions" or "grave concerns" or "deep reservations" about Gonzales' record on the subject. And they are, most all of them, planning to vote for him anyway.
Just like most of them voted to give the president authority to invade Iraq, even though they had serious questions and grave concerns and deep reservations about that, too. The Iraq war vote, more than anything, is what ignited the Dean insurgency. There was this sense - a correct one - that Democrats in Washington would not stand up to stop George W. Bush even when they sensed the president was driving us over a precipice.Now these senators are poised to take the following position: They are against torture but they are for the man who set the stage for torture.. . .
Enabling the Bush administration's habit of escaping accountability for even the grossest failure isn't smart politics. It's cowardice. If Democrats are to compete on the political turf of values, they'd better find some they stand for.

[Note: Post headline corrected. Note also that this is the missing Tuesday e-mailed post. The Monday e-mailed post has also been posted via the site. If either e-mailed post shows up, the ones posted directly to the site will be deleted. The Monday evening post was done on this computer and there's no copy of it. So I'll just accept that it's gone.]