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Writers' Post Network Blog: Media's Role in America's Fiscal Crisis - How the Press Betrayed the American People

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 11:02 AM Books - Writing - Fashion Tips & Tricks

How the Media Contributed to the United States’ Fiscal Crisis

Rabid Tea Party Senator (Rep- Texas) Ted Cruz
The Dilapidated Fourth Estate


This week, we have seen headlines in various online and off-line publications such as the following: Greg Sargent: The Plum Line in The Washington Post, “Business groups aren’t too happy about Tea Party mania they helped unleash;” The New Times,“A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Mike McIntire; But it is this sentence appearing to defend multi-million dollar financing and the rise of the Tea Party in Slate that tells the real story, “It really was a groundswell,” [he said] that changed Washington from the outside in.” No, it was not a groundswell, and it was not a grassroots movement. And anyone with a half of a brain could tell from the beginning that rather than being a grassroots movement, the Tea Party was the Frankenstein’s monster created and highly organized by shadow billionaires who have always been behind the conservative movement to divert government resources away from the needs of the people and into their foreign bank accounts. Even a distracted observer could clearly see the coming together of those ill-motivated financiers with the ever-fading social conservatives who were losing the “family value war,” and the former abortion- clinic-bombing and gay-bashing evangelical Christians, also known as Religious conservatives who joined under the Tea Party Patriots umbrella, hoping to speed up their goal of banning abortion. These various factions formed the perfect toxic mix to house Federalists, survivalists, and various racist and hate groups. This was all very obvious from the beginning, following the election of President Obama. Like any good lawyer, every good journalist knows that the facts do not always amount to the truth. Repeating the facts like a parrot, or implicating both parties in wrongdoing, is not a substitute for investigating and reporting the truth. The media knew the whole time what the government really represents and the value of a well-functioning government to the well-being of the nation. They also knew what those groups implied when they talked about “big government,” or “entitlement.” Yet, members of the press and highly paid political hacks continuously echoed these slogans and buzz words. In reality, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid are not “entitlements.” Those are important social programs that were set up by a country on the march toward civilization; they were established to support people who were not, or would no longer be in positions to support themselves. People in the press also knew that those words were being used as epithets to demonize these programs, in lieu of saying as Tea Party Republican, U.S. Representative of Wisconsin and former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, previously declared that social security was a Ponzi scheme.

For newspapers, network broadcasting, and 24-hour cable stations that were losing ground, readership, and viewership at record number to reality TV and the internet, this poisonous movement became a gold-mine. Good and solid investigative journalism and reporting was shelved to make way for three-ring circus. Serious shows competed for “fair and balance,” as if every story had three or four sides to it. The more venom anybody could spew the more often and likely they were called to be a guest on various TV programming, the bigger and more microphones they were afforded, and the more they were quoted in newspaper articles. Racist comments became just another person’s opinion. This trend fed onto itself, as fringe show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the most outrageous right-wing fringe who had been in the business of fomenting conspiracy theory, and enticing hate, division, and disharmony, see their clips replayed on TV and their vicious diatribes quoted in newspaper unchallenged.

The Sunday ShowsThis disintegration of the national press was disheartening. But it was even more frightening to watch as the media followed headlong behind a group of people half of which was heading toward the open ocean, and the other half toward the abyss. To think that the job of a real press was to get ahead and in the middle of events in order to investigate and discover the truth, and to in turn inform the people, the American press and the media at large have betrayed the American people and let the America down. To their discredit, Fox News, which invented “fair and balance” was not fooling anyone, as even the lowest information voters, meaning any fool – except for the delusional,  could tell that Fox News is a branch of the Republican Party. However, it was more than a disappointment when CNN Candy Crowley in her State-of-the-Union, and every other Sunday show, including ABC with George Stephanopoulos, CBS with Bob Schieffer, jumped into the “fair and balance” game; “both parties do this;” “they’re all guilty of that.” Nothing life has two different truths to it. This is not a game. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, however idiotic, insidious, or malevolent, but no one has the right to their own made-up facts and distortion of the truth. David Gregory of NBC Meet the Press is the biggest offender and a true disappointment, having taken over for Tim Russert, a true journalist who would challenge untrue and dangerous statements made by any guests on his show. Russert, with his charming half mischievous smile, used to handle and confront misstatements made on his show in the most professional, ethical, and classy manner. By his conduct on the set, David Gregory disgraces Tim Russert’s legacy. Sandy Crowley who just started her new show on CNN has fallen into the “fair and balance” pits. Fair and balance has become the modus operandi for lazy and unethical journalists, and is used as a cover to schedule outrageous and destructive guests in an effort to boost ratings. Why not create controversy, entertain invective, and encourage conflicts and mayhem, if that can get more people to watch? Ted Cruz of Texas and Marc Lee of Utah want to take down the U.S. President at the risk of crashing the U.S. economy, please book them for our Sunday show. This is not just bad journalism; it is media malpractice and unpatriotic.   

Journalistic ethics

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Fox News ChannelFake Fox NewsFox News ChannelRep. Senator of Kentucky & Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellIronically, you have to go to Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith on Fox Fake News, Comedy Central John Steward and Stephen Colbert, the late night comedians and Saturday Night Live, to get information dissected and presented in ways that are informative and present the truth. Fox News Shepard Smith gives straight news and does not typically entertain guests, but he does not engage in distorting the news or try to mislead his viewers. Surprisingly, Chris Wallace, also of Fox Fake News, occasionally taps into the ethics of journalism to challenge guests who come onto his shows to spread non-sense or propaganda. Perhaps, he cannot shed the great journalism ethics of his father, Mike Wallace. The fact is, any good journalist knows that propaganda has been the weapon of choice for mal-intended politicians from the beginning of time, and propaganda never precedes anything good or constructive. For anyone looking for intelligent analysis of the news, good journalism, and reporting on the truth, the only resources left are the MSNBC line up with hosts, such as Weekend’s Up with Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris-Perry. During the day, one has to admire the wit, sharpness, and the promising future awaiting host, Alex Wagner at 12:00. Thomas Roberts at 11:00 is an excellent and outstanding journalist. Tamron Hall shows journalistic grit in the NewsNation at 2:00. Beginnig at 4:00 with Martin Bashir, a series of real news explosion, and unique views and analysis begin, which go from the Ed Show with Ed Shultz at 5:00, Politics Nation with the Reverend Al Sharpton of the Civil Right Group, the National Action Network ,at 6:00, Hardball with Chris Matthews at 7:00, Chis Hayes’ new show All In at 8:00, the absolutely brilliant Rachel Maddow in the Rachel Maddow show at 9:00, to the very cerebral Lawrence O’Donnell in the Last Word at 10:00. Therefore, for anyone looking to dive into the issues, and for those who enjoy intellectual and vigorous analytic exercise with the ability to consume and digest well dissected information and facts that is the place to be during those hours. Watching those shows is like sitting by a fireplace and having someone reading a book to you, while the story is being re-enacted and dramatized right before your eyes. For a good example of this type of exceptional  journalism—although these are considered to be opinion shows, watch Rachel Maddow on YouTube dealing with statements made on a previous show by Pat Buchanan about how 100 percent of everything in this country was built by 100 percent of White people. Not much can be said for self-professed conservatives Joe Scarborough gathers groups of individuals many of whom seem afraid to speak their mind or have not the courage or any conviction. Since CNN has fallen into disrepute with their fair and balance competition with Faux News on fox, Morning Joe remains the show to watch, with the hope that once in a while the cast of characters will include people like Washington Political Director Chuck Todd who seems to have figured out that good journalism is not about spreading blame evenly and that this country and its people depend on the media to protect their interests through the dissemination of reliable information rather than fiction, speculation, lies, and fantasies. 

Comedy Central: Jimmy
The Late News with Jimmy Steward
This failing by the media is the reason why, while the press was feeding voters hot air during the 2012 presidential election campaign, and projecting how close and unpredictable the election was going to be, voters were actually getting their news from real sources on Comedy Central, Jay Leno, David Letterman,  Jimmy Fallon, Bill Maher, and the opinion shows. People in the media and journalism business can belong to, and sympathize with, whatever party they like, but they have no right to mislead the public, contribute to the demise or the destruction of the country, or be complicit in any venture to lead the American people into an abyss. Tea Party Republicans have been threatening to destroy the U.S. government for years. And it is curious that all of the groups that make up the Tea Party Patriots have some sort of Americana words attached to their name, Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, Freedom Partners, Freedom Works, American Commitment, Club for Growth, Americans  for Prosperity, just to name a few. The names alone suggest that somehow people who do not belong to that circle are not a part of the American heritage. This was in plain display in the Republican presidential primary of 2012, with statements, such as Mitt Romney’s self-deportation and 47 percent of the people… are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Until then, the media had been applauding Mitt Romney for how well he could lie and deceive the voters; the media referred to Romney’s attempts to cheat and deceive as a “pivot.” It was only thanks to a hard-working caterer, Former President Carter’s grandson, and David Cone of Mother Jones that Americans finally got to know who Mitt Romney really was. Even then, some in the so-called mainstream media tried to call his 47 percent statement a “gaff,” when in fact it was the only time that Mitt Romney came across as his real self, on that tape.

Now that the country is on the verge of default, whether or not Congress comes up with some monkey solution, another prelude to the next crisis, at the last minute before midnight on October 17, all the shameful media has to say is oops! The media never made any effort to explain to the people that the government is them. They never informed the people that the government is the engine behind individual needs, individual liberty, business development, and economic prosperity, not to mention that the U.S. economy is tightly linked to the global economy. The media was around when the Tea Party bit on the President’s health care law like scavengers. The media was there when the President run on passing a health care law and got elected based on that platform, and the media was well aware that the President literally took a Republican heath care plan, and in doing so went against the will of the majority of his base. But when the Tea Party sank its teeth into the healthcare law and mounted a malignant campaign of disinformation against the law, what did David Gregory do? Did the New York Times study what was going and inform the public of what was really at stake? Who could be against providing health care to society? The media knew or should have known that the health care train wreck propaganda was just a proxy to fight the President, and attack the Federal government. The media also knew that the Federal government was the military, the families made up women and children who are being left behind in this corporations-are-people-too economy; the people who are being pushed off the ladder by millionaires racing to become billionaires.

We now have two blatant examples of how the media let the American people down. First, the media sat on the sideline cheer-leading, while President George W. Bush took the country to war in Iraq on false pretense, and approved the indefinite detention and torture of prisoners on foreign soil. Then the national press, not only sat on the sideline, but egged on a mixed groups of people who clearly were not who they claimed they were, and frankly represented a threat to this country in more ways than one. People in the media knew or should have that the role they decided to play in each of these instances would be destructive to the country they were supposed to be safeguarding, if they were doing their jobs as the independent press they were supposed to represent. The media failed the country and the people who count on them for transparency, truth, and information. Instead, the greater portion of the press engaged in playing games, discounting those Americans who can figure out events and information for themselves, and referring to the rest of the people as “low information” audiences. If given the truth, even the so-called “low-information” Americans would not choose to vote against their own best interests.
George Bush & Dick Cheney's War on Iraq over non-existent Weapons of Mass DestructionThe media knew that the government was veterans who fought for this country, are disabled, and depend on the government for their livelihood. The media knew that the government was frail elderly men and women, widows living near or below poverty who need the government to finish their days off the streets, under bridges, or in the cold. The media knew that the federal government was not just Washington DC, and that harming or shutting down the government would have repercussion from here to Afghanistan, to China and Russia, Iran, and Syria. This is where the focus of the media should have been: on the well-being of this country, and not on self-promoting politicians who will do and say anything, including the most outrageous statements in order to get press attention and self-promote some more. The media knew that the President has been comprising with the Republicans and continues to be opened to comprise. They media understand that the Republicans have in effect taken this country hostage and demanded ransom for doing their job to protect the fiscal stability of this country. The media know that the Republicans have been obstructing and trying to derail this Presidency, and therefore there mantra about compromise is a lie. All of this is wrong. The president has bent over backwards to accommodate those people no matter how unreasonable they are. He has invited them to dinner and got them all to the White House for talks. At this point, the President owes these people nothing; they should get zip, zero for putting the country through this hardship, and the President should not negotiate with terrorists foreign  or domestic. In addition, President Obama should resist further attempts by Tea Party Republicans to open the government piece by piece. This will lead to those people keeping certain parts of the government shut down permanently. After all, they are same people who promised to get rid of the department of education, and every single regulatory department, as if big businesses are not running wild enough. Crashes of the U.S. economy will necessary trigger a domino effect that will be felt in markets around the world. Now, that the United States is nearing default for the second time in two years, perhaps the national press, and the media in general, will soon shed their Tea Party glow, after they lose half of their pensions and wealth in the stock market. But that will be no consolations to the Americans who have already lost so much.


Categories: Right Wing Politics & President Obama