The corporate media have finally noticed that a very large, very rabid skunk is busy spraying its caustic stink all over the 2006 election campaign. Some journalists, like the Washington Post's Michael Grunwald, are even acknowledging -- oh-so-gently -- that the varmint has a name:
While negative campaigning is a tradition in American politics, this year's version in many races has an eccentric shade, filled with allegations of moral bankruptcy and sexual perversion . . The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters.
It's an improvement, at least, over the spin being put on the story at ABC News, where Mark Halperin is taking his promise to keep conservatives happy this November literally, and blaming the Democrats for ads they haven't run yet.
But no one in the corporate media, to my knowledge, have even come close to putting an accurate lead on the story -- which would look something like this:
Faced with the likely loss of one if not both houses of Congress, the Republican Party has embarked on a massive, last-ditch effort to smear Democratic challengers in competitive districts across the country.
The resulting campaign has completely demolished whatever minor restraints remained on the use of lies and distortions in political attack ads, and has pushed the already debased American political process to a new low.
You could say: To hell with old media, they're just a bunch of senile dinosaurs anyway, who cares who they pander to? But old media, for better or worse, still set the news agenda, and still dominate the political process. And they're doing an energetic, if not yet totally successful, job of sucking up new media and sticking them in the same corporate straight jacket. If they decide, as matter of cold capitalist calculation, that one-party Republican rule is the smart way to bet, that could also become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Maybe I'm wrong -- I hope I am. But if I'm right, then in years to come progressives may look back and sigh for the good old days when journalistic "objectivity" still encouraged the corporate media to give the truth and conservative propaganda equal weight, instead of just mindlessly repeating the latter.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"The Enemies of Truth"