Sunday, November 16, 2003

From Bill Maher's most recent blog entry (from 11.14.03);

New Rule: Hey media, you can stop saying "it's been six months," "it's been six months and one day," "it's been six months and a day and a half" since the president declared major military operations over. We get it! Bush said the war was over and it's not - now stop saying it every time the subject comes up!! It's stupid shit like that which makes conservatives say, 'see, liberal media' - except, as I always argue with Anne Coulter, it's not that they're liberal, it's that they're petty, stupid, lazy and annoying! There's a difference. It's not because Bush is a Republican or a conservative they're doing that, it's because it's fun! It's fun to drive into the ground until I want to blow my head off a mistake a guy made, especially when he's president, and remind people every time that, he said something, and then it was... NOT THAT!! Haha!

I went to the National Conference on Media Reform last weekend. A lof of things were discussed, especially how the FCC deregulation manuevering by Michael Powell has angered both lefties and righties, liberals and conservatives. Well, all of them except the blowhards who publish their opinions in the Wall Street Journal OpEd page.

For reasons beyond my understanding, the belief that free markets are the answer to every question regarding our nation has spread like a virus. Even those who know absolutely nothing about economics within the ranks of the GOP will themselves propagate and regurgitate their conviction in this principle with religious zeal. Many of them have little or no thought about the full and complete consequences of following these beliefs. It's gone unchecked starting sometime around the Reagan era. It's pretty amazing to think that individuals like former Theodore Roosevelt was once a Republican. It's even more amazing that John McCain is still allowed to attend party functions.

Since those within the "Religious Right" wing of the GOP seem to question very little as to what the "Pro-Business / less taxes" wing does regarding economic policy (most of the time anyway), and since a number of Democrats have been infected by this virus as well, the principles of free market capitalism has managed to determine much of the legislation passed in the last ten years. Once in a great while though, there are those on both sides who are awakened from their trances. Usually it's when the wheels of progress on the Free Market Express runs over the feet of those who are on the same tracks, be it GOP stalwarts or otherwise. The FCC deregulation is the perfect example and illustration.

Despite rubber stamping the economic policies the GOP led Congress has been advocating for the better part of the last 10 years, there are those on the right who are finally realizing that letting money and it's owners decide every last detail as to what goes on in this nation isn't the best idea all the time, every time. Many social conservatives seem to agree that getting rid of FCC limits on how many media outlets one entity can own is a bad idea. The NRA seems to believe that the media giants are biased against gun ownership. The Religious Right feels that there is too much sex and violence on TV and they don't want the same idiots that program network television now to be able to consolidate their power and influence any further. They also tend to feel that the media is "liberally biased" towards certain aspects in our culture, like promoting acceptance of gays in our society.

And of course there are those who are angry at the monster they've made. After so many years of deregulation the monster they've created has come around and bit them in the ass. I've seen speculation on the web that Trent Lott is still smarting after being raked over the coals over the Strom Thurmond incident. Retiring House Rep. Dick Armey was a media deregulation champion - until the local media conglomerate in his district gave his son some bad press. His son, who was running in the GOP Primary, subsequently lost. This did not sit well with Dick, who then tried to tack on an amendment to a bill that would disassemble the media conglomerate, the Belo Corp., responsible for his son's loss. Dicks tossed a boomerang and then was pissed when it clocked him in the head. Boo fucking hoo.

As for the liberal groups who have led this fight, they oppose the new FCC (de)regulation for a variety of reasons, depending on their lead concern. Some worry that if a select few own all the media outlets (like radio, TV, newspapers) those few will decide what we see and hear, meaning little or no access for the public at large. Then there is the disdain for the over-commercialization of our airwaves (since it's public property). Not to mention the same dislike of the overwhelming glut of sex and violence on the air. The Colatition for the Future of Music is angry at the new version of payola the radio industry has created, which explains why the stuff on the commercial stations suck from sea to shining sea. Some just plain old hate big corporations and who could blame them. There are many many more, but I'll spare you the details.

Somewhere along the way during the media conference it was mentioned that the big three TV networks had over 100 interviews with people about the war before it happened. Apparently there was a grand total of 3 people who said that the war was a bad idea. This worked out to the Cneo-con's cause quiet well. Unfortunately for them they're now all cranky that the same mediathat gave them so much support pre-shock and awe not broadcasts stories about all the tragedy that has afflicted our US Service men and women daily. "Where are the positive stories?" they cry. They even tried to pull off some stunt by prodding 11 servicemen in the field to write a letter (or part of an ad, I forget) to prove the media was biased against them. Did it ever occur to those on the right who were so content with the media falling in line with the White House message during pre-war is doing the doom and gloom report post- war for the very same reason?

War brings in great ratings. And so does tragedy. The very reason you got such little reisistance from CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC before the war is war brings ratings. And now the very same outlets that heeded your command to unflinchingly spout the pro war message is tearing into the seat of your pants because the daily death report out of Bahgdad for the very same reason - post war tragedy and disaster brings in ratings almost as high as the shock and awe part. For all those neo cons out there, for once in your lives live up to filthy rotten stinking idealogy and take some goddamn responsibility. The free market answer for every question is the reason for your troubles. This monster is one of your own creation, and you have no one else to blame but yourselves.


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