Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Must Be Done Now!

By Robert Parry
November 20. 2008

Having spent more than three decades in Washington, I’ve seen enough mistakes made – and opportunities missed – for a lifetime. So, at this turning point in American history, I’m venturing beyond my normal role as reporter to offer a few ideas about what must be done now.

Read on.

9 comments:

Harvey Chess said...

You have been a paragon of consistency in sharing your concerns and ideas about progessives/liberals/the left and the media. Nonetheless, I'm still persuaded that there is little movement in the direction of tactics you contend are essential to countervail entrenced media rot.

Several experiences suggest to me the denseness of progressive media miscalculation.

Some years back when I had discovered Ed Schultz on satellite radio - Sirius Left, if memory serves & now on Air America - I ran across an ostensibly progressive internet site that professed, in effect, to be all things progressive. I emailed them about not having any information about Schultz, and the response indicated they'd consider looking into it. That was that.

I am active in the grants arena as a trainer & consultant, a former grantmaking foundation program officer among other experiences. A few years back, I belonged to a loosely confederated group known as the National Network of Grantmakers (NNG), a collection of reps largely from non-traditional, progressive foundations. I recall writing them a letter to ask how they could justify concentrating on issues such as the size of annual foundation payout & the absence of diversity amongst many foundations at a time when the media landscape was antithetical to any such concerns. I wrote the chief executive at the time to suggest that they consider pooling resources to support media change on a large scale. There was nothing offered in response. Seems to me yet another example of liberal micro-thinking to the exclusion of macro-media issues. NNG no longer exists.

I have emailed Move On at least twice to broach the issue of media tactics - once after the Petraeus/Betray Us debacle. Never so much as a word in response. Think of what might be done with the professed membership of at least 3 million to underwrite media reform of the needed kind.

Finally, I see that Soros is holding forth in the New York Review of Books once again, Wonder why he doesn't plow his resources into a media macro-strategy in line with his apparent progressive-if-capitalist inclinations?

Thanks for all you do. I will once again make a modest gesture in support.

Bill from Saginaw said...

Robert Parry's analysis of what has gone wrong with the American media, and his proposed remedies to counter the institutionalized right wing's control over defining the range of the "acceptable" political spectrum that gets broadcast in the United States is absolutely correct.

In particular, I think money and emphasis should be placed upon funding mechanisms to support genuinely independent print and video journalists at a time when traditional news room staffs are being downsized, and the remaining "news" work product gets consistently dumbed down and homogenized in order to placate the corporate bean counters at the top of the pyramid. There is also a crying need for more think tanks like the Nation Institute to counterbalance the enormous disparity in resources amassed at instititutions having names like Enterprize, Hoover, Cato, Scaife, Coors, Olin, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Isn't it ironic that the media landscape so aptly described by Robert Parry is consistently described by the Republican Party spinmeisters and the right wing media itself as being its own mirror opposite? Flagrant liberal bias supposedly is everywhere you
look, radical leftist partisanship perpetually on display in what Rush Limbaugh invariably derides as "the drive by media".

Why is it that the only places I can find such a lefty political slant on my cable TV menu is on Comedy Central and MSNBC - news analysis always using comedy for cover?

Bill from Saginaw

zyzz99@gmail.com said...

After some 20 years as a newspaper editor/reporter, I would like to point out some matters that must be taken into consideration:
First, virtually all daily--and some weekly-- newspaper publisher are multi-millionaires. They can ignore the idealism that newspapers should confine their politicas to the editorial page.
A few publishers do but most don't. They aren't necessarily being influenced by advertisers; they're in a position to do as they damn please. Newsmen often discover that loud and frequent voicing approval of the publisher's views tends to result in advancement. It isn't necessary to issue explicit or vague threats to turn the 'news' pages into mirrors of the publisher's views. Nothing short of an abandonment of privately-owned newspapers--a reorganization of newspaper economics--could succeed. While I doubt that many publishers have ever supported liberal economic policies, and those few are a vanishing breed.
For the present, the internet is virtually the only reliable source of liberal news and views on a daily basis. There are several liberal weekly or monthly magazines--e.g. Nation, Mother Jones, etc.--
and we can strongly hope they contine, and to give them support.
Bill Barger

J. said...

"The Right [...] showed it could create far more poor people than well-meaning progressives could feed"

Huh?

knowbuddhau said...

Re: "wars of ideas;" "battles;" "battleground;" etc.

Conceiving of life as a holy war is a problem, not a solution; defining ourselves into perpetual holy war will never yield peace.

From The Hereo with a Thousand Faces:

A new and larger paradise is thus established. But this paradise does not include the tradi­tional enemy tribes, or races, against whom aggression is still systematically projected. All of the "good" father-mother content is saved for home, while the "bad" is flung abroad and about:..."

Totem, tribal, racial, and aggressively missionizing cults repre­sent only partial solutions of the psychological problem of sub­duing hate by love; they only partially initiate. Ego is not an­nihilated in them; rather, it is enlarged; instead of thinking only of himself, the individual becomes dedicated to the whole of his society. The rest of the world meanwhile (that is to say, by far the greater portion of mankind) is left outside the sphere of his sympathy and protection because outside the sphere of the pro­tection of his god. And there takes place, then, that dramatic divorce of the two principles of love and hate which the pages of history so bountifully illustrate. Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world. The laws of the City of God are applied only to his in-group (tribe, church, nation, class, or what not) while the fire of a perpetual holy war is hurled (with good conscience, and indeed a sense of pious service) against whatever uncircumcised, barbarian, heathen, "native," or alien people happens to occupy the position of neighbor.

The world is full of the resultant mutually contending bands: totem-, flag-, and party-worshipers. Even the so-called Christian nations--which are supposed to be following a "World" Redeemer--are better known to history for their colonial barbarity and internecine strife than for any practical display of that uncontditioned love, synonymous with the effective conquest of ego, ego's world, and ego's tribal god, which was taught by their professed supreme Lord: "I say unto you, Love your enemies, do good unto them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you....

Once we have broken free of the prejudices of our own provincially limited ecclesiastical, tribal, or national rendition of the world archetypes, it becomes possible to understand that the supreme initiation is not that of the local motherly fathers, who then project aggression onto the neighbors for their own defense. The good news, which the World Redeemer brings and which so many have been glad to hear, zealous to preach, but reluctant, apparently, to demonstrate, is that God is love, that He can be, and is to be, loved, and that all without exception are his chil­dren.

Such comparatively trivial matters as the remaining details of the credo, the techniques of worship, and devices of episopal organization ... are merely pedantic snares, unless kept ancillary to the major teaching. Indeed, where not so kept, they have a regressive effect: they reduce the father image back again to the dimensions of the totem. And this, of course, is what has happened throughout the Christian world. One would think that we had been called upon to decide or to know whom, of all of us, the Father prefers. Whereas, the teaching is much less flattering: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

The World Savior's cross, in spite of the behavior of its professed priests, is a vastly more democratic symbol than the local flag. The understanding of the final--and critical--implications of the world-redemptive words and symbols of the tradition of Christendom has been ...disarranged, during the tumultuous centuries that have elapsed since St. Augustine's declaration of the holy war of the Civitas Dei against the Civitas Diaboli....

Campbell (1968) pp. 155-158, emphases added.

Anonymous said...

Consortium's second thoughts...

You carried water for Obama... a 'new morning for America' again... but instead got deja vu...

Then came the "bait and switch"...

Rubin... Summers... Gates... and Hillary herself...

What naivity.

Anonymous said...

Consortium's second thoughts...

You carried water for Obama... a 'new morning for America' again... but instead got deja vu...

Then came the "bait and switch"...

Rubin... Summers... Gates... and Hillary herself...

What naivity.

fact checker said...

Stop that, Anony! Or Nat P. will take you to the woodshed!

Anonymous said...

The American media were firmly in the hands of the left in 1977 when Robert Parry began reporting. He is a perfect example of liberal bias in the major media. Americans fought back and now the conservative viewpoint is represented in a small slice of the national media. Fox on the right and all of the rest on the left - NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, NY Times, LA Times, etc. Liberals are outraged of course that a conservative viewpoint is visible at all, and so all of the agonizing over how to extinguish the opposition. The liberal viewpoint only survives when opposing points of view are eliminated. Hence the liberal demand for the return of the "fairness doctrine" in radio. People aren't going to listen to liberalism unless forced to do so.
Mike Nelson