Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Neoconservative Agenda and the Mainstream Media - Logic Need Not Apply

Time and time again, the pundits and mainstream media fail to convey the smallest hint of common sense and credibility. Over and over again, the media fails to see the big picture, instead falling for the Rove-spun and right-wing think tank spin on each issue. I'm going to run through a few major stories we've heard over the past few months - displaying time and time again the laughability of a liberal media bias and the absurd lack of logic and reasoning of so-called "mainstream political thought".

Social Security Crisis Coverage - Let's start with the illogical evidence used in the argument to advocate privatization of social security. In stating that the social security fund is in a crisis, the critics use a abysmally low 1.8% average growth rate in projections to state that the fund will go not be able to fully fund itself in 2042, while at the same time pointing to the growth in the stock market over the past 75 years, with a growth rate of double that. For one, if we experience a low 1.8% economic growth rate until the year 2042, it means that the stock market will perform abysmally as well, and will be no better off in funding social security. If higher growth numbers are instead used, the social security fund will be fine. There is simply no arguement that can be made to support the privatization of social security.

Instead, the media should be focusing on president Bush's insistence on arguing of the inevitability of a social security crisis -- an event that will not occur for 40 - 50 years. This is from a president with a track record of careless disregard for the future of our country -- abandoning environmental regulations like the Clean Air Act and Kyoto Protocol, ignoring the grave danger posed by our impending energy crisis, destroying the nation's attempt to pay off the national debt, diminishing civil rights and liberties, fighting for industrial deregulation and tax cuts, encouraging greater disparity between the rich and the poor, doing nothing to fight skyrocketing health care costs, and I might as well add attempting to destroy social security. These are the real crises that will face our country. All thanks to President Bush, a man who claims to be looking out for the future of our country.

2004 Presidential Election vs. Voter Disenfranchisement - There were very serious problems with conduction of the 2004 presidential election. Massive disparities between lines in predominately black neighborhoods vs. white neighborhoods in Ohio, due to unethical distribution of voting machines and polling stations; partisan secretaries of state; partisan CEOs of corporations responsible for developing voting technology - I am not going to rehash all this, since it is common knowledge, or at least should be. Sen. Barbara Boxer made history during the electoral vote confirmation by joining a congressional effort challenging the result of the election.

I listened to the coverage of the proceedings of this challenge on C-Span. The challenge was for a very specific purpose - to bring the issue of voter disenfranchisement and problems with the electoral process to the public forefront. Instead of focusing on the issue, the republican senators came up one after the other to argue about the partisan goals of the democrats - claiming that they were obstructionists, conspiracy theorists, and liberally evoking the name of Michael Moore, in an attempt to undermine the voice of the democratic challenge, and to marginalize the seriousness of the problems with the 2004 election. The actions of the republican senators who stood up against the challenge were childish, petty, and boorish - If these senators had nothing beneficial to add to the conversation, they should have remained seated. This was a serious issue, and I have no respect for those senators and pundits who framed the issue as partisan bickering.

Condoleezza Rice/Alberto Gonzales Confirmation Hearings vs. Race Card - Barbara Boxer, and later, Harry Reid, led the charge in an attempt to bar the confirmation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. There were valid reasons to refuse to confirm both of the president's nominations. Condi was essential to the president's effort to deceive the American public into supporting the War in Iraq on false pretenses. Alberto Gonzales was responsible for memos that indicated that the United States condoned torture, a despicable stance beyond reproach, even more so in the wake of the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo prison scandals.

It is true that both Rice and Gonzales, for the most part, have led admirable lives, with great life stories. The issue is that the neoconservative senators and pundits once again decided to spin the issue in an unfortunate manner - they decided to play the race card, claiming that the democratic party was racist for not supporting the nomination of Rice and Gonzales.

The argument is laughable, and actually quite offensive. To claim that failing to nominate Rice to the one of the highest positions in the US government, making her the first African American women as Secretary of State is a racist action is known as race-baiting. This is also true of Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic nominated to Attorney General. These nominations were contested based on the records of these individuals -- not on their race.

The neoconservatives appear to enjoy bringing race into the picture only when it is for political gain, hoping to slowly make ground on the democrats, after decades of hindering the civil rights movement and affirmative action. If the neoconservatives were truly interested in racial issues, they would've been supportive of the electoral challenge, and instead used the time to discuss the voter disenfranchisement issue, rather than for political grandstanding.

RatherGate/ABC News vs. Bush's missing service records - After a very successful and respectable career spanning over two decades, Dan Rather is basically forced to retire after using an allegedly forged document to support a story disparaging of President Bush. For months on end, the story is referred to as RatherGate, and the issue does not drop of out the media spotlight. Why isn't the bigger issue looked at -- Bush's service record in the Texas Air National Guard was never truly explained. The required documentation was missing. Not one man has come forward to verify Bush's record with the Air National Guard.

Yet, the media was all over John Kerry, a war hero, after disparaging claims made by the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. There is an obvious massive lack of credibility here. Rather, a respected journalist, goes after Bush with a credible story, based on slightly flawed evidence, and gets hammered. Bush, the Teflon man, remains unscathed. The Swift Boat Veterans, a despicable crew of miscreants, smears John Kerry, and gets away with it unharmed. Kerry, a War Hero, is left to fend for himself, and may have actually lost the election over the smear tactics of the right.

Gannon/Guckert -- Gay Intolerance/Private Life/Respect vs. Clinton - After Bill Clinton was elected as President, the right spent a massive eight year campaign attempting to smear him, first with Whitewater, and then with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The scandals were in the rightwing press and the mainstream media for years.

Now, one of the biggest scandals in years breaks out in the Bush Whitehouse - gannonGate. Suddenly, the neocons appear to care about personal privacy - claiming that the media is invading Gannon's privacy and are smearing him because he is gay.

There are completely missing the point of the story -- Namely, why was Gannon in the whitehouse press corps, how did he get passed security, how did he know about "Shock and Awe", did the Whitehouse feed him info/talking points during the Thume/Daschle race, what role did he have in PlameGate, What role did he have in RatherGate, Who fed him his information, Who helped set up Talon News, Who set up Gannon /w the Leadership Institute, and who let him into the Whitehouse Press Corps in the first place?

This has nothing to do with Gannon's sexual orientation, and nothing to do with personal privacy. This is a story with grave implications for the democratic process and the future of the United States. Get with the program, mainstream media of America. The time to start with responsible journalism is now.