Saturday, April 28, 2007

TV News Scoundrels

I have lots of time to kill so I watch more of my share of TV news: C-Span, PBS and 'The Big Three' for lack of getting the other cable offerings and even though I find them wanting at best, they're at least a notch better than the pap that passes for entertainment these days. Leno, of course gets a pass because he's always ready with a poignant monologue that pokes fun at the absurdity of mass culture and this usually morose Dave always cracks up, uncontrollably at times. Most network and cable news is neatly packaged and sanitized to smooth out the violent bumps for the stressed-out, snacking public so they don't lose their appetites and get up to change the channel. As for my tastes, I always go for a daily dose of ‘patriot’ internet talk shows that so often scare listeners into believing that the every day the world is at the brink of Armageddon. Alex Jones is a good example of 'over the top' commentary in that he seems to be often on the verge of a nervous breakdown at various points during the show, fretting over corporatist attempts to poison the food supply and ruin America’s health with genetically modified foods, aspartame, anti-depressants and fluoride in the water. I have no doubt about his passion and his sincerity, though. It’s just that a lot of people are wary of radio hosts that indulge in wild, way out theories and hyper-emotionalism and for good reason. After a few hours of listening many relegate them to the kook category. Still, you get a lot of good alternative information on Alex's show and on other netcasts that you definitely won't get anywhere on the radio or TV since those insipid mainline programs are hosted by highly-paid sycophantic scoundrels that seek to sell you on hating either the liberals' or neocons' well-entrenched ideological dogmas, both of which exist mainly to serve the interests of the moneyed elite. I just think it would be helpful if Alex would tamp down a little on his rants and concentrate more on issues that more disaffected listeners can relate to. Funny thing is, I really find some of those rants and information often quite entertaining, engaging and topically right on the money.

The other day I was watching Bill Moyers' excellent but maddening PBS show that dealt with media complicity in the lead-up to the Iraq War. It seems that back in '02 and early '03 all the major newspapers except those in the Knight-Ridder group, according to Moyers, felt it advantageous to parrot the disinformation the White House Iraq Group was plugging and were basically afraid to stand up and challenge them for fear of being labeled as ‘soft on terrorism,’ which their editors believed would result in a drop in ratings. There really wasn't much in the documentary most of us I think haven't heard already but it did do a good job in tying together examples where the TV media and the press continually caved in to the Bush administration due to the Prez's incredibly high approval ratings post 9/11. Sure, there was a lot of pressure to censor any stories that would go against the Rovian public relations juggernaut but it was clear that the major outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post defaulted in a big way as reputable bastions of veracity. The country was in desperate need of a big morale-boosting win after the horrible New York and D.C. attacks and in place of real reporting these papers just went along with the general mood which was to strike back at the evil Saddam Hussein since the military couldn’t for some reason find Osama Bin Laden. After watching Moyers' program, however, I was hit with the realization that there was nothing in the documentary about PBS’s own handling of the pre-war ‘intelligence,’ possibly because Moyers didn’t want to offend those globalist foundations that fund Public Broadcasting with anything remotely negative. Well, I guess we’re all supposed to pretend that PBS just hasn’t existed these past four years!

As far as TV coverage pre and post ‘Shock and Awe’ it was appalling and depressing to watch, especially the Sunday ‘talkies’ that have continually put out the red carpet for the worst examples of highly ranking public officials, so much so that I'm often unable to watch them anymore. The banter is so skewed and scripted toward the party line that it’s absolutely unbearable. No wonder so many people hate these shows with the constant parade of top administration officials, congressmen and women as well as neocon pundits like Bill Kristol from the Weekly Standard and David Brooks from Washington Post. Even the utterly disgraced Tom Delay gets to go on to spout his opinions on the state of the world – how’s that for media arrogance! All in all I’m really very content that I don't get Fox, CNN and MSNBC’s mind-numbing valium-laced drivel. I know I would be literally driven out of my mind and tearing my thinning hair out! CBS, ABC, PBS and NBC are quite enough, thank you. Network news does have uses though. You really get to see how the propagandists of the world spin their web to catch their prey. Probably couldn’t do much worse by watching ‘TV Land’ or the ‘Cartoon Channel’ to get your news fix. Well all kidding aside, you do get the basics and a starting point from which to venture out on your quest. As it says in the Good Book, “In the presence of many counselors there is wisdom” and the same holds true for news content so don’t get snookered into just watching those patronizing agenda-laden government sanctioned news programs. With that I say, on with the infowar and go Alex Jones!

No comments: