Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is It Time for PBS to Go?

By Robert Parry
April 19, 2007

PBS is broadcasting what amounts to a neoconservative propaganda series entitled “America at a Crossroads,” which has included a full hour info-mercial for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq written and narrated by Richard Perle, one of the war’s architects.

The Perle segment, entitled “The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom,” treated anti-war Americans as deranged individuals. Perle, though known as the “prince of darkness,” spoke in a quiet almost regretful tone, expressing disappointment that “conspiracy theories” and hatred of Bush had blinded so many people to the rightness of the Iraq War.

Read on.


Con said...

I cannot speak to the "inside baseball" aspects of Mr. Parry's blog, but I'll take his word.

Clearly, from the title of the Perle program, and his presence as both narrator and onscreen "star," the purpose was to present the neocon defense of the war. Perle also used the classic techniques of setting up and knocking down strawmen, and attacking the Hollywood "elite."

The directors and editors, however, were more honest than their protagonist. They showed Perle arguing with three people; British columnist Simon Jenkins, an Egyptian reporter whose name I should have written down at the time, and Patrick Buchanan. Each of them destroyed him in argument, and his basic final response was a weak, "I disagree."

"The Case for War" has also been overtaken by the surfacing facts. Perle was still locked in the now discredited Saddam + al Qaeda box. He also mentioned Abu Nidal's residence in Baghdad as evidence that Saddam supported terrorism, relying on that to reinforce the misperception that Saddam and al Qaeda worked together. He ignored the fact that Saddam had Nidal killed.

All in all, I think that the program made a very poor case for the war, and that even a moderately informed "moderate" would find it unconvincing. To those of us who oppose the war, it is laughably weak. It will only be convincing to those who are already convinced.

As for the future of CPB and PBS, I think we need to rescue them from the right wing, rather than destroy them.

An aside: If it's not obvious from the thrust of my comment, the handle, "Con," is actually my name, and has nothing to do with my politics.

tgwarrior412 said...

I agree with Con's POV. Let the marketplace of ideas show that Perle's "case for war" in Iraq is open and shut- and the Bushites' hands got caught in the closing!

I also agree that PBS needs to be saved from the influence of conservative corporatization influences that would continue to stifle real investigative journalism from being done and broadcasted.

After all, it takes all voices being heard in order to come move towards practical solutions to address the problems in this country and world- it seems to me that fundamentalists in both the GOP and Dem parties need to remember that fact first instead of trying to choke/kill the messenger, PBS.

Rex said...

I actually have in effect, pronounced PBS dead quite some time ago.
I have been around long enough to see 'right wing nutcases' become "respected spokesmen on PBS and NPR radio.
I have seen how they did this,and fair free market speech is not the process and it relied heavily on eliminating the Fairness Doctrine, I think it was called, which required partisan political speech be given balanced treatment by both sides on broadcast licensees media.This loss of balance and thus even access for one side, could be called the starting point.
Two things are ignored by con with respect to the benevolence or harmless nature of a weak argument by Perle et al.
It ignores the possibility of people unfamiliar with the issues to the degree he is, who may be swayed by the mere presence of his (Perle) argument being sheltered by the prestige of PBS as an honest broker even if it no longer is.
And worse in some respects, is the demoralizing impact the program will have on many Muslims and non Muslims too, who are empathetic with their plight. The truth or accuracy of the argument is of no importance, because the power and willingness to burn witches is what counts, not the silliness of the very idea of witches.

Victronix said...

I also think PBS is a lost cause. I really never see anything political on there that is reasonable.

The idea that we can "reform it" from the grasp of the corporations, etc., is not much different than thinking we can reform Dems who are feeding from the same corporate trough as the Rs - they cannot be reformed as long as they are beholden to the same paymasters. Pretending we can appeal to reason and "force" them to behave the way we want is illusion - they will lose their elections if they don't get the money. And if they speak out too much on key issues, the Lobby or the sold out press will unseat them. The SF Chronicle drove out the Dem Sec of State via a witch hunt in California on ridiculous charges to install a R who then refused to do anything about the voting machine. The state sentator who called for a ban on all electronic voting machines was also hounded and investigated, his family too.

The issue of the money is key. The new glitzy look to KQED's many channels shows how they've sold out. You can't "go back" once you are in those realms and paying out that kind of money.

Annamarie said...

I tend to agree with those here who say that there is no hope for the PBS. I watched part of those series and was too sickened to watch the rest, so I did not see the Richard Perle segment. Better for me, as it would have made my blood boil.

The US has passed the 'Crossroads' years ago, when the apathetic, uninformed American public complacently allowed the takeover of their country by self-serving corporate elites and their puppets in all branches of government, obsequiously aided by the neutered msm. Consequently, anything viewed on American TV is highly questionable. PBS was simply the latest prey.

I have written them a letter expressing my views and letting PBS know that they will no longer have me and my acquaintances as viewers, and 'viewers like us' will not give them a penny of support. It won't change anything, but at least it will make me feel a bit better. Since the bottom line is what counts with these people, the only way to get a point across is through their pockets. To remain silent merely underscores our apathy. We should do this with all the msm: write letters to the editors of papers, tv news, etc.

I've long ago given up watching any US programs, with the exception of PBS. Now that is gone too. The BBC and CBC still have some worthwhile content. Who knows for how long? That is why the best news and information comes via the internet, on sites like this Consortium News and some others.

Robert Parry's book should be a must-read for all Americans who still have hopes for their country. Another excellent book, which I've just finished reading, is Greg Palast's "Armed Madhouse".

bojasi said...

I saw the series and was fascinated by RP's belief system. It had thoroughly soaked into every aspect of his dealings with what others may call "reality". If you watched , you may have noticed how he used key words in his narrative over and over, especially "Freedom". It was a remarkable piece of documentation of one of the key architects of this misbegotten enterprise. As the hour unfolded, you could see how RP was busy using this thinking to line up political support, corporate insider trades, and of course flogging the media.
Please, folks, let PBS give all the NeoCons cameras and whatever else they need and LET THEM EXPOSE THEMSELVES!!!!

CA said...

I want to a screening of this series and was able to bring up some points about our foreign policy.
When I mentioned the origin of al-Qaeda, our biased media and the Israeli role in our problems, some people groaned.
People prefer denial and whitewash.