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Dave Trenga #83

    I keep looking for this supposed liberal media that I always hear about from the unobjective, right wing, corporate owned, censored, nationalistic, pro-bush, staged, mainstream media, to no avail. I can’t find it. Can anyone help me out here? Does it really exist? Well not in the mainstream it doesn’t, that’s for sure. We are living in the age of state and corporate controlled media, where the increasing trend has been that “fair and impartial” or “balanced” is actually nothing more than scripted talking points provided to the media by the white house and the republican national party. Respectable “reporters” have their research handed to them on a silver platter by those they’re supposed to be investigating, this spoon-fed style of journalism never actually looks beneath the glossy packaged fabricated story and is carefully tailored to influence the public rather than informing it. This type of corporate controlled media has been manifesting for years now but never has it been so ominous or blatantly obvious as it has become these last five years. It never ceases to amaze me how easily manipulated people really are, how people are content with passively accepting what they’re told is true and never giving it any further thought; never holding anything up to be scrutinized, whether it’s the source of a story, the motive that’s pulling the story in a certain direction and most certainly why a story is even being told. Questioning why a story is actually being told in this day and age has become one of the most important points to take note of. The right wing presence in this country has successfully subverted the information being provided to the American people and turned it into a well oiled media machine that dispenses only what they allow... well that is the norm in this day and age of corporate owned media but every now and then we do get a glimpse of stories that evade their radars and still manage to reach us. Or maybe it’s more likely that their manufactured news is becoming so transparent that it’s alienating more and more people and as a result people on the outside of the mainstream media are working harder to expose the hypocrisy. There has been a lot of attention being placed on bloggers in the last few months. Political bloggers link to new articles in the mainstream media and then offer their own opinions about the linked article, trying to disprove or offer their own insight into the related story; hopefully by offering facts but seeing as how anyone can start a blog page and again how easily manipulated people have become, blogs aren’t always a healthy alternative to the mainstream media. Another tactic that’s becoming the latest trend is for the mainstream media to capitalize on the fact that bloggers are not held up for scrutiny any more than they are so what we see happening is that corporate media has been quoting blogs as legitimate news sources to “back up” a story that they’re trying to feed to the American people. And another thing to consider that the media world would categorically deny is that political blogs, like the media, are dominated by the extreme right, which of course kind of defeats the purpose of having a media watch guard when they are in fact pushing the same lies as the mainstream. Instead what they are being used for is to stamp a story with supposed documentation, providing credentials that will never being called into question. It also has drastically shifted any lingering illusion of balance when the media and all three branches of the American government are firmly in the hands of the far right. At least if the “left wing” democratic party was in power in any or all three branches of the government the right wing media and bloggers would offer an opposing perspective but the way things are now we have almost across the board complete complacency and a green light given to those in power and those that own the media to continue to deceive the American people, for there will be no repercussions. This kind of atmosphere does tend to lead to an arrogance that otherwise wouldn’t be condoned. It’s this type of arrogance that does eventually become the downfall for those who really push the limits. The most obvious example is that of Jeff Gannon. Gannon was a conservative reporter from Talon News (an online news site) that had frequently lobbed “softball” questions to President Bush and his press secretary Scott McClellan. Here’s a couple of examples of Gannon’s objective reporting:
- “Why hasn't the administration made more of the U.N. inspectors' report that says Saddam Hussein was dismantling his missile and WMD [weapons of mass destruction] sites before and during the war? And doesn't that, combined with the now-proven al Qaeda link between Iraq -- between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist organization -- unequivocally make the case for going to war in Iraq?”
- “I'd like to comment on the angry mob that surrounded [senior Bush adviser] Karl Rove's house on Sunday. They chanted and pounded on the windows until the D.C. police and Secret Service were called in. The protest was organized by the National People's Action Coalition, whose members receive taxpayer funds, as well as financial support from groups including Theresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation.”
-Last Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that shows that Ambassador Joe Wilson lied when he said his wife didn't put him up for the mission to Niger. The British inquiry into their own prewar intelligence yesterday concluded that the President's 16 words ["The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"] were "well-founded." Doesn't Joe Wilson owe the President and America an apology for his deception and his own intelligence failure?
- “Since there have been so many questions about what the President was doing over 30 years ago, what is it that he did after his honorable discharge from the National Guard? Did he make speeches alongside [actress and anti-Vietnam War activist] Jane Fonda, denouncing America's racist war in Vietnam? Did he testify before Congress that American troops committed war crimes in Vietnam? And did he throw somebody else's medals at the White House to protest a war America was still fighting? What was he doing after he was honorably discharged?”
    Obviously these types of questions are more of a political speech than those of an independent reporter covering white house press conferences which is exactly why Bush and McClellan so often turned to Gannon when they were being called on by others in the white house briefing room that weren’t lobbing such friendly questions. Gannon was a Bush loyalist that was utilized over and over to bail Bush and McClellan out of hot water. Gannon got more and more arrogant with his partisan questions as time went on and the obviously biased question that led to Gannon’s downfall was:
- “Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy: Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and [Senator] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. You've said you're going to reach out to these people. How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”
    With this single question raising more than a few eyebrows, left wing bloggers started to dig into Gannon’s credentials and his past. What they found out was that Gannon, whose real name turned out to be James Dale Guckert, in addition to working for Talon News also worked for GOPUSA, (which is a web site was created to provide "conservative news, information, and design company dedicated to promoting conservative ideals") was run by the same man, Bobby Eberle, who is the Talon editor in chief and the president and CEO of GOPUSA. Bloggers and others such as Media Matters also discovered that Gannon/ Guckert “has used Bush administration and Republican National Committee (RNC) documents and releases in his Talon "news reports" verbatim and without attribution. In at least two of his articles, Gannon lifted more than half of the text directly from GOP “fact sheets.” It was also discovered that Gannon/ Guckert had been approved for a press pass before Talon News was even created. Next was probably the most embarrassing aspect of Gannon/Guckert’s past (to the Bush administration) and that was that Gannon/Guckert had been an online male prostitute having registered the domain names: Hotmilitarystud.com, Militaryescorts.com and Militaryescortsm4m.com. Bloggers even found a photo online of Gannon/ Guckert himself posing in his underwear under the screen name bearing the initials J.D.G. Right wing conservative columnists have actually accused the bloggers and anyone else questioning Gannon/Guckert of merely attacking him because of his apparent homosexual past and have come running to his rescue, claiming that it’s nothing more than gay bashing on the part of his critics. Wow, imagine that, conservative right wing columnists like Ann Coulter defending gay rights! But that’s not really what this is all about it’s about how this man got into the presidential press corps unless he was planted by the administration, (an administration that has been leading the country towards an anti-gay mindset by the way). Now here is a man applying for and receiving a press pass to Whitehouse press conferences, operating under a false name and having no news agency to represent, with a history of being a male prostitute, all in the days of post 9/11 security, who publishes right wing “talking points” taken directly from Bush administration “fact sheets” that lobs “softball” questions as lifelines to Bush and McClellan and the administration (as it claims) had no knowledge of any of these indiscretions. Interesting isn’t it? Seems as if Gannon/Guckert was more likely a Whitehouse plant; a friendly subversive there to turn the heat down at press conferences over and over again. In fact is seems so blatantly obvious that members of congress have called on Bush to investigate how this man was given access to the Whitehouse press corps. I may be a bit of a pessimist but I doubt anything will ever be investigated into this matter. The bigger issue here anyway is how the Bush administration has successfully subverted the American media to manipulate the people by controlling the stories that help them shape policy. And there are plenty of other examples. Over the past few months it’s been discovered that the Bush administration has paid reporters to push administration policies. Conservative commentator Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 by the Bush administration to promote their education policies. Nationally syndicated columnist, Maggie Gallagher, was paid $21,500 by the Bush administration to write columns that promoted the Administration’s marriage initiative. Another Nationally syndicated columnist, Michael McManus was paid $10,000 by the Bush administration to also promote their marriage initiatives. Another example is that of the Bush administration filming staged “news reports” with actors playing “reporters” and giving copies to news networks that were aired under the misconception that viewers were watching a news story when in reality they were watching propaganda films that were made to push Bush administration policies; propaganda films that were filled with slanted material that was presented as fact. There are many more examples of media manipulation out there that can be found but most Americans are just content with believing what is spoon-fed to them. We have become a society that dangerously accepts what we’re told without ever thinking about it, we have become the most ignorant and misinformed people on the face of the earth; too lazy to even take an active role in knowing what is happening around us everyday, so is it fair to hold the media to a higher standard than we hold over ourselves? After all it’s all about being “fair and balanced” right?