Saturday, January 22, 2005

Conservative Propaganda - Addressing the Issue

In two recent blog entries, Right-Wing Labels and the Republican Noise Machine, and The First Step - Recognizing that We Have a Problem, I began to address the issue of conservative bias and propaganda. This is a topic I will continue to address, because I personally feel that we cannot win the important battles - energy policy, preserving social security, economic justice, progressive tax reforms - without first recognizing that we are not playing on a level playing field. The first step in waging this battle against the regression of civil rights, liberties and the injustice of the policies of this administration is to recognize the enemy that we are fighting against.

The neocons are winning this battle with cute 30 second bites, jingostic catch phrases, and a continual onslaught of republican talking points. So, how do they manage to continue to maintain the upper hand in the fight for the support of the American people?

The vision of America that the neoconservative movement has brought is nothing more than smoke and mirrors - it is a wobbly house of cards - full of seemingly obvious contradictions that the American public somehow manages to miss. From the vantage point of a liberal perspective, the neoconservative worldview is so appalling and fundamentally flawed that I find myself continually fighting the urge to scream out loud at the absurdity of it all. And yet...they somehow managed to apply enough duct tape and glue during election to keep the entire house of cards from tumbling to the ground.

The Bush Administration won this re-election on two fronts -- moral values and fear. For the life of me, I cannot understand how the churches of this nation have aligned themselves with the neoconservative movement. They claim to stand for the "culture of life". They view abortion as an abomination before God. Regardless of your personal view on abortion, how can you ignore the reckless disregard and lack of compassion exhibited the so-called compassionate conservative movement. The Bush Administration calls for an Ownership Society -- one in which is it every man/woman for himself/herself. The Bush Administration is fighting to make permanent their regressive tax cuts - which resulted in huge tax cuts for the rich, while shifting a greater proportion of the tax burden onto the poor and working class. The right fights against demands for higher paying jobs, better health care coverage, and a social safety net for the poor, hungry, and homeless. They argue that these people are lazy, selfish, and undeserved of help. And, yet they have the audacity to continue the fight against the poor and needy by fighting to take away our nation's social safety net - Social Security.

The other major front that the Bush Administration won the election on was on the basis of "national security" or the "fight against terror". A more suitable name for this would be fear. The argument is completely asinine. They claim to be fighting the war on terror in Iraq. As Bush stated in the debates, "This is the wrong war at the wrong time". By diverting our troops and attention away from Afghanistan, we lost our chance at capturing Osama Bin Laden, i.e. the man actually responsible for 9/11. The evidence used to justify the war in Iraq was proven to be completely false and without merit. And yet, the house of cards stood. WHY??? As the Daily Mirror put it, HOW CAN 59 MILLION PEOPLE BE SO STUPID? (Actually, it's now more like 62 Million, but who's counting??)

The deciding factor behind all of this is the Republican Noise Machine. Those stupid sound bites, catch phrases, and talking points that you hear each day, designed to invalidate or diminish the credibility of any anti-neoconservative stance - those are the final, polished product of the Republican Noise Machine. It begins with the corporate funded right wing think tanks - The Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), The Media Research Center (MRC). This is a relentless, never-ending attack by the right - designed as an effort to continually prop up the goals of the Bush Administration, and the neoconservative agenda.

So how can we fight this thing - the Republican Noise Machine? This is a massive undertaking, promoted by men like billionaires Richard Mellon Scaife and Rupert Murdoch, designed to continually push the the neoconservative agenda, and keep the rich white man in power.

As a populist movement, the progressive/liberal/democratic movement is always going to represent the underdog. Common sense will tell you that those with money, resources, and power will most likely favor a system that will ensure that things stay as they are - the status-quo. As such, it appears that the right will always have greater financial backing to support their cause. There are literally hundreds of conservative think tanks and organizations financially backed by neoconservatives, designed to do nothing more than ensure that they remain in power.

The good news is that we have an opportunity - the Internet. The Internet is the great equalizer of our time - a true democratic tool. As a populist movement, common sense should dictate that we should almost automatically win the election and the majority of the seats in the house and senate. The trick is finding our voice. Over the next four years, Internet usage will continue to grow, and the voice of the blogger will become more prominent. This needs to be a grass-roots movement. The right is in the midst of a highly organized movement. With the advent of the Internet, the blogosphere, we have the opportunity to also become a highly organized movement. Just look at what Howard Dean accomplished - I recommend taking a look at the Revolution Will Not be Televised, a book by Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign advisor.

This will not be an easy fight - I mean, we do have common sense, practicality, and the best future for the American people on our side. Is that enough? You would think that four more years under this lousy administration will be enough to forever convince the American population of consequences of neoconservative movement. I hope so.

My biggest fear is that the right will recognize the potential of the Internet. They will not stand idly by and let the Internet become a tool of democratic organization. It is too risky. Already, we have seen a concerted effort to typecast the internet blogger as a conspiracy theorist - to invalidate and destroy the credibility of the blogger as a news source. We have made a difference - many stories were first broken by bloggers, and eventually found some coverage in the mainstream media.

I assume they will begin to fight the war against the voice of the blogger on multiple fronts. I believe we will begin to see attempts to regulate the internet -- With the unregulated form that the internet is now in, that does seem unlikely -- how can you create order of our chaos? I, for one, wouldn't put it past them.