Thursday, January 27, 2005

Exploring the Republican Noise Machine: Day One, Continued - Media Research Center (MRC)

My experience with the Washington Times political blog RSS feed was perhaps a sign of things to come. Today, I received an email entitled MRC Web News, which included the latest news analysis from the Media Research Center. This email has a fairly similar feel the's daily email summaries, for those of you who are familiar with them.

You might be asking yourself if there is any real difference between these two organizations and their strategy of sending email alerts. Well, to start off I should state that I believe was started as a response to the Republican Noise Machine. The right has been using conservative think tanks, such as the Media Research Center, to promote the neoconservative agenda for some time. We are not operating on level playing field. is the first step in attempting to level the playing field.

There is a bigger difference. The SCLM (So-called liberal media), also known as the MSM (Mainstream Media), has attempted to provide unbiased, honest coverage of the news for decades. In a movement starting with Goldwater and the Nixon Administration, the republicans began a massive campaign to takeover the media, and destroy the honest profession of journalism.

In today's hostile climate towards non-neoconservative opinion, it is almost impossible for a fair and accurate portrayal of the news to be presented to the average American. There is a concerted effort to discredit and diminish any journalistic opinion that is dissenting of the Bush Administration or any other neoconservative value. This is the only valid explanation for the following:

  • The Clinton Administration faced a continuing barrage of false accusations by the media, ranging from the Whitewater scandal, to false accusations of murder. The Monica Lewinsky scandal thrived in the mainstream media for years.
  • Contrast this with the Bush Administration lied about the motivations and intelligence used to incite a war. This was a decision that affected the lives of most every person in the entire world.
  • The Bush Administration has been a bungling portrayal of incompetence. They screwed the nation's economy to the point where, today, the United Nations publicly stated that the world must do everything they can to restore the economy of the United States. It has come to the point where the so-called social security crisis will look like a drop in the ocean compared to the fiscal health of this one powerful nation. With record budget and trading deficits, the Euro could easily become the new world standard currency, and the prestige and relevance of the United States could quickly fall.
  • Consider the above statement, and compare the coverage of the media towards George W. Bush and John Kerry. Enough said.
  • Dan Rather accidentally covered a fairly credible story about the president's national guard service, with a significant amount of circumstantial evidence, accidentally using what turned out to be a forged document. It was a single mistake in an otherwise very respectable 20+ year career. The media covers the story extensively for months on end.
  • Compare the media coverage of RatherGate (Notice the -gate ending -- Bush's incompetence didn't even warrant a WMD-Gate in the MSM) to that of the continuing propaganda scandals involving the Bush Administration. First it was Karen Ryan with the Medicare Bill and No Child Left Behind. Next, it was Armstrong Williams with No Child Left Behind. Now, it is Maggie Gallagher.
What level of corruption is needed in order for the mainstream media to cover a story to the extant that it covered the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In comparison to the Monica-Gate, the scandals involving the Bush Administration are offences that orders of magnitude more detrimental to the service of the United States. Using taxpayer money to fund propaganda? Give a break. How about nominating an attorney general who legally advocated torture and lied under oath to congress? How about lying and using false evidence to justify an illegitimate war based on false pretenses? How about illegitimately winning the 2000 election based on the ruling of a partisan supreme court decision? How about disenfranchising thousands of black voters in Ohio, and in other states, forcing the citizens of your country to wait in line for 6-10 hours to cast a vote that had a good chance of not being counted, thanks to arbitrary rules implemented by James Blackwell, a partisan secretary of state, who was in direct conflict of interest as the head of the Bush Re-election committee? How about that, media? Where is the coverage? Where is the hard questions?

As the fourth estate, with provisions guaranteed in the constitution, it is the media's role in society to act as a check and balance to the ongoings of the Whitehouse and the United States government. In that role, they have failed miserably. It isn't the direct fault of network news organizations. The major traditional networks - ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and NPR - all served admirably for many years.

It was a concerted effort by the right - underwritten by a driven neoconservative movement - to rewrite the landscape of acceptable political thought and ideology in the United States. The right continuously nods the American public further to the right.

Journalists with any integrity and decency left are fewer are farther apart. When a journalist or politician does attempt to stand up to the Bush Administration, they are constantly derided, discredited, and eventually destroyed by a concerted effort by the neoconservative movement. This effort begins with organizations like the right wing think tank, the Media Research Center.

Today, I will show you a few examples:

3. Brown Provides Sympathetic Forum for Boxer, Cues Up Her Attacks
CNN's Aaron Brown on Tuesday night, hours before the confirmation vote on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, gave Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer a sympathetic forum to spout off against Rice. On NewsNight, Brown cued her up: "Was it simply a case of bad intelligence or did they cook the books? Did they lie? Which is it?" And: "Do you feel like they can just come before the country and say anything they want and people will forget because, frankly, it's water over the bridge now anyway?" Brown also lamented the lack of support for Boxer from her fellow Democrats, wondering "why so few of the leaders of the party have joined you in either tone or substance?"

  • This is a two-pronged attack. First off, the right is pressing heavily on the effort to discredit the voice of Senator Barbara Boxer. Barbara Boxer is asking the hard questions. I have never been more proud.
  • In addition, they are attacking Aaron Brown. They are implying that by providing a platform for Boxer, Brown is somehow less of a journalist. This is an absurd message.
2. Wash Post and CBS Dub Liberals as "Centrist" & "Not...Left Wing"
Democratic Senators Tom Harkin, Carl Levin and Mark Dayton are "centrists"? Writing a mid-day story Wednesday for the Washington Post Web site, about the Senate's confirmation of Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State, reporter Charles Babington asserted: "Some of the Democrats who opposed Rice were centrists from states in which President Bush won or ran strongly in November, including Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), Mark Dayton (D-Minn.), Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)." After National Review Online noted the ridiculous label, the Post dropped it. But then it returned in Babington's piece in the Thursday newspaper where he referred to Senator Russ Feingold as one of the Senate's "more centrist or independent members." Maybe Babington took his lead from CBS's Harry Smith who on Wednesday's Early Show insisted that Dayton is "not known as a rabble rouser or a left-wing infiltrator."

  • This is an effort to further reinforce the idea that the neoconservative movement represents mainstream politics, and everything else is "outside the mainstream". Again, completely absurd. The entire spectrum of politics within the United States would be considered to the right of the larger political spectrum. Referring to these men as centrists is definitely out of line. In any case, trying to place the entire spectrum of ideologies and political agendas onto a one-dimensional line is a rather trite, meaningless exercise, but, still, this does illuminate the agenda of the Media Research Center.