After the Deluge, the Media

By Al Giordano

Today is Election Day in the United States and all activities should properly begin with a G and be followed by O, T and V. You know that already.

And between phone calls, door knocks, and shuttling people to the polls, and especially in those hours between polls closing and when the results come in, I wanted to give y’all something to think and talk about that - no matter what the election results will be - is going to fast become a long overdue national (and international) public conversation.

As Jon Stewart put it so well on Saturday, the real threat to democracy stands naked before us all: It’s the media.

There is nothing threatening about a free press, which is a wonderful thing, always. But the bought-and-paid-for “news organizations,” an entire system of them, the ones with that permanent “for rent” sign pasted to their foreheads - including the ones that claim to be on our side - now must be identified as Public Enemy number one, and dispensed with as such.

Elections come and go every couple or few years, depending on your country of residence, and entire industries are devoted to what Pat Cadell presciently labeled in 1976 as The Permanent Campaign. In fact, the considerable booty received by political consultants, pollsters, staffers, party bureaucrats and others in that genre is dwarfed by the financial rewards each election brings to the commercial media (and, sorry, bloggers that depend on advertising are also part of the commercial media, let’s end the charade right here and now). Most of the money raised for political candidates is spent on TV, radio, newspaper and Internet ads, as well as putting on the free show that media organizations can produce as “news” and use to rent your attention to advertisers.

Which is why I was, before it happened, skeptical about Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the Washington Mall produced by Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I enjoy both those guys and their TV shows well enough when I get the chance to see them. But after a couple years in which the so called “alternative media” – from “liberal” MSNBC hosts to “netroots” bloggers to the Huffington Post to state-run media that claim to be leftist or socialist or whatever in parts of Latin America and the world – have proved themselves to be as ugly and snarling and petty (and reckless with the truth) as Fox News, in that context, I was bracing myself for a huge disappointment with Stewart and Colbert’s rally.

Truth is, I had forgotten the Stewart-Colbert event was going to happen – it wasn’t that much on my mind - and had planned on spending a beautiful sunny Saturday away from the screen. Then I made the mistake of checking email Saturday morning and clicking a link and there it was, live streaming on C-Span, with Colbert playing the spastic Dean Martin role to Stewart’s Frank Sinatra.

I had already heard complaints from democracy’s best (maybe only) friends, community and field organizers, that Comedy Central’s scheduling of the rally would pull many attendees off the phone banks and door-to-door canvasses to get out the vote today. But what the hell, it must be good for a few laughs, and there I was, sucked, like so many others, into its vortex, another spectator among millions.

After all, I thought, Tuesday’s US elections might well go as badly as the media keeps telling us they will, so might as well look for something to laugh rather than cry about. And the Colbert-Stewart schtick on the Washington Mall was entertaining enough, and it was nice to be made to feel that folks like us are the real mainstream, and they got in some clever zingers exposing the hypocrisy not just of Fox News but of the wolves in sheep’s clothing that are the New York Times and National Public Radio. Hooray! But I still felt kind of empty about it, and annoyed with its timing, until at the end when Jon Stewart delivered “the speech.”

Stewart’s speech was a really important moment, and here is why I think so.

Now, I was just a kid when Sinatra premiered the Claude Francois, Jaques Revaux and Paul Anka-penned “My Way,” but I imagine that for the millions of us who watched Jon Stewart get serious and sincere on live TV on Saturday that it was probably, for many of us, a moment like that of a previous generation hearing the “I did it my way” anthem for the first time. It was historic, and it came by surprise from a stage that we did not expect it to come from.

In a few brief minutes, Stewart defined the real problem with politics, identified it as the neighborhood bully in the global village, and delivered a staggering left hook to its jaw. And the bully’s apologists and wannabes are still quite concussed and off balance. “Jon Stewart has met the enemy, and it’s the media,” fretted our fine feathered friends at Politico. And the hen house has been clucking ever since.

To wit, the predictably smarmy reaction from the New York Times:

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear will be remembered, in part, as an expensive, engrossing act of media criticism.

Jon Stewart, the comedian who hosted the Comedy Central rally alongside Stephen Colbert, spoke about the press as an “immune system” for the country — one that he evidently thinks is extremely sick. His words echoed up and down the National Mall on Saturday afternoon. NationalJournal wound up wondering if the event should have been called the Rally to Restore Journalism.

Mr. Stewart has ventured into serious media criticism before on “The Daily Show” and in appearances on CNN and Fox News. But Saturday’s comments were notable because hundreds of journalists were in attendance, standing on a press riser near the stage and interviewing rallygoers in the crowd.

The media’s flaws also came up time and time again in the crowd…

An “expensive, engrossing act of media criticism” they called it (as if putting out a single day’s edition of the boring and status quo chasing NY Times isn’t at least as expensive and engrossing as Comedy Central’s Saturday afternoon gathering of hundreds of thousands of its closest friends). Anyway, the Times had banned its employees from attending the rally, which earned it one of Colbert’s “fear awards” handed out during the event.

The aforementioned National Journal story said:

Maybe it's a good thing many mainstream journalists weren't allowed to attend the "Rally to Restore Sanity." They wouldn't be the most popular people there.

For, in a protest against a culture of yelling, journalists are drawing much of the ire...

The Christian Science Monitor – no longer a hard copy newspaper but, rather, an exclusively online rag, which probably makes it a bit more sensitized to new realities of media, engaged in some pre-rally navel gazing:

If you thought the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear ” coming up on Oct. 30 in Washington was just a date for some good laughs and maybe hot entertainment, think again. It is also shaping up as yet another event in the ongoing dialogue about where journalism is headed in the brave world of new media, where points of view are welcome.

I’m always amazed at these graduates of the “the best journalism schools” who misunderstand it all. They seem to think that the conflict is between journalists who can disclose our opinions and those who think they can’t. The real conflict is between those who seek the to involve the people in discovering the whole truth, and those pursuing ratings and advertising or sponsors, who think they are somehow a caste above the plebes. But, anyway...

Well, enough of what the recipients of Stewart’s critique have to say. Let’s listen or read together to much of what Stewart actually said that has so many of their panties – I’m winkin’ at you, Keith Olbermann – in a bunch. Stewart said:

I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing…

The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker--and perhaps eczema.

And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.

Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are.

(Stewart then uses a large video screen as a visual prop, showing an aerial view of what looks like an entrance to the Holland or Lincoln tunnels that connect New Jersey with New York and a four lane highway narrowing into two lanes as traffic enters the tunnel.)

These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car, swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah. There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by conscession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.

And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted.

Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you.

Our friend Tom Watson’s response was to playfully tag Stewart as America’s First Jewish President, which has a nice ring to it. And in the sense that a significant sector of society is finally coming to the long overdue conclusion that media is the central problem of our times could be defined as a nation, of sorts, or a shared state of mind, Stewart certainly gave voice to the one problem the media won’t and can’t honestly address: Itself. It took a “comedy” commentator to be able to talk plainly and matter-of-factly about it.

And now I understood why Stewart called and produced the rally: He is thinking beyond this news cycle (“election day” and its consequences) and toward what, tonight and tomorrow, comes next.

In 1996, I wrote:

Media now controls a new 
economic order: one that has 
supplanted governments, churches and 
productive industry to impose a mediating 
tyranny over people and our Daily Lives.

Among the 30,000 words I penned for that essay, were these:

The public is angry, of course, but Media channels our hostility toward each other, as groups and market niches, instead of against the overall phenomena of Middlemen and their mediating technologies. Ah but we notice at fissure in its vessel: Media has programmed us well to seek scapegoats, and has test-marketed every scapegoat upon us except itself.

Everything we’ve created since, for the past 14 years, from Narco News to the School of Authentic Journalism to The Field, has been building and preparing for public opinion to find its voice on the problem of media, helping to inform it when we can, and constructing these laboratories to invent and test what we, the people, can do to replace the media and make it less powerful over our daily lives. And we’ve risen up a small army or network of like-minded authentic journalists across international lines, many of whom are conducting their own experiments and inventions. We suffer from a perpetual lack of resources (okay, that is sugar-coating it: we live in abject poverty, many of us in the so-called “third world”) and generally those who already have plenty of money are disinterested, or too dependent on maintaining good relations with big media themselves, or outright hostile to the suggestion that the whole “news media” show needs to be blown up and something new created from the ground up. But we don't complain. We'd rather be here than there.

Back in 2007, when I was reporting on the Obama campaign and its resurrection of community organizing as a political tool, I was very impressed with its “Camp Obama,” in which tens of thousands of mostly young people from every demographic in the US were trained in its fine but then forgotten arts. And I suggested to the big guns of Obama’s political organization – David Plouffe, David Axelrod, at the time Marshall Ganz - that they expand the concept to also start a kind of “Obama Media Camp” training program and form an army of independent video makers, reporters and communicators in all forms of media to construct a counterforce to the dominant media discourse. After all, its something we had already invented through The School of Authentic Journalism, it works, and if applied on a mass grassroots level, a political movement would no longer be dependent on or victim of the very different and often hostile operating procedures of commercial media. They were busy with other things, understandably, but I bet that, after today’s elections, they’ll wish they had done something like that.

Every grassroots citizen movement in every country has to start building its own media, now, urgently, immediately, to have a fighting chance at defining itself and its message before public opinion, or big media will continue pummeling the hope and inspiration out of everyone.

And that’s why Jon Stewart’s message on Saturday came at the exact opportune moment in history, because starting tonight, more and more people in the United States and elsewhere are going to realize that the problem in our cultures is much bigger than mere politics. The broken political systems are mere symptoms of what Stewart described when he observed: “The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker.” Every time I have written against panic and “Chicken Little” approaches to politics, it has been from that same instinct: that overreaction makes its practitioners not only useless as change agents, but also unattractive and unappealing to the great mass of people out here who we need to organize and convince to get almost anything real done.

After the success of Stewart and Colbert’s rally (plenty of credit should also go Colbert’s way because he so artfully plays the “insane” role that allows Stewart to effectively play the voice of “sanity”), a lot of folks in the media, especially those who market themselves as “alternative” media, will be acting as if they are enthusiastic supporters of Stewart’s message while they continue behaving like “liberal” versions of Fox News (which is why I’m kind of relieved to see Keith Olbermann’s Twitter outburst, “It wasn't a big shark but Jon Stewart jumped one just now with the ‘everybody on The cable is the same’ naiveté,” inadvertently demonstrating the truth of what the MSNBC host was denying).

Sorry, Keith (and Arianna, and even my once-and-future little brothers Markos and Nate, there is still a place for you all among the people when you decide to go for broke instead of going for the money, and we'll all welcome you back with open arms). It doesn’t matter who plays the token liberal roles on TeeVee or newspapers or magazines or radio or the Internet as long as y’all are playing the same ratings and advertising driven game; drumming up the outrage and the poutrage, making every pothole seem like an earthquake, desperately trying to hang on to a public that is evidently tuning out on all that. It is the game board itself that has to be torn up and something else altogether invented from the bottom up to replace it.

And I know that a great many of the millions who saw Stewart’s sincere remarks Saturday live from the Washington Mall, or since, “get” that at the most profound level. The question of what we now do about it is one we have been asking and answering for ten years from this web address and out beyond it in the realm of daily life. And Stewart has opened up a hole in the media system that we can and must now jackhammer, fracture and make bigger in order to drive a stake through its heartless pacemaker.

Saturday was a heroic moment for Jon Stewart, who may yet disappoint us, still, but for now is on fire, and good on him. All props to him and his team, a Sinatra Rat Pack for our times. And I’m reminded of Aunt May’s speech to Peter Parker in Spider Man 2, on point:

Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there's a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams...

I have a feeling that was what Jon Stewart’s words meant for a lot of people on Saturday, and since. And starting Wednesday, the organizing begins anew to do something big about it, to make and be the change we might not have made electorally in 2010. We have it in our collective power to organize something really, truly, authentically historic, to make history once again: To get this yoke of “the media” off our necks. Never mind the scoreboard at the end of a single Election Day. Elections come and go. It’s the other 360-something days a year when we really control our destinies or not. Elections are important. There is no denying it. But every single other day and night of the year has import, too. Let’s keep perspective, and never panic. Yes, we will. And we shall overcome.

Comments

Nice

Best piece I've read this week.

It's also clear that Stewart was looking way beyond today's election, and even the current Administration - or was, I dunno, looking above them somehow to an alternate plane of reality that cuts out the media gasbags (and the politicians in league with 'em).

The media camp - would that it had happened.

Great analysis, Al!

I realized that Stewarts statement (current media as broken [immune] system) seems to be his longstanding conviction. It is rather similar to what he told the crossfire guys when he was on their show many years ago. In some sense these breathlessly followed dog fights are like Roman circus - give the people (bread and) games, then they won't disturb the rulers. Somewhat depressing that it seems to have worked the last 2000 years, though...

Goddamn nice post, Al

Way to articulate it, brother.

 

Just want to write that this is an inspiring post.  For in my lifetime, starting in the 70s, going to high school in the 80s, witnessing the reality of but only later in the 'oughts--via personal maturity and general eye-opening--fully realizing the fact that the careful, methodical, and cynical coagulation of the media into the hands of the corporatists and plutocrats is what has led our once-vaunted Fourth Estate to become its current state as prostitute.  All by design. 

 

Thanks, man.

Bravo!!! (Tears in eyes...)

Bravo!!! (Tears in eyes...) I get it....I get it.

Jon Stewart basically

Jon Stewart basically channeled  his inner Obama, only it wasn't as good as the actual Obama.

bought-and-paid-for “news organizations,”

It's happening everywhere in the world. The fourth estate have truly become the fifth columnists destablising governments and countries from within.

amk

PS - The comment box accepts only italic forms and the cursor and the text   is all shaky, Al.

A home run

I've been reading your stuff for years, Al, and referenced you many times during the years I published the late (and not so lamented) All Spin Zone.

All I can say is that, even with all of the gems you've written in the past, this one is among the shiniest.  Well done, sir.

@ Agoram

Thanks for alerting us to that problem. Yes, we are "between webmasters" and having some tech problems with the site. Best I can say is we're working on it. Meanwhile, if there's a Field Hand who knows PHP code and Drupal and might be able to lend a hand, do send me an email: narconews@gmail.com.

Whose boots are on our necks?

By the end of the Stewart/Colbert rally, there was no question in my mind that Stewart and Colbert had chosen to focus on the failure of the media. We need the huge increase in grassroots-based media Al calls for here. But I would also like to raise the threat of the rapidly escalating spending by right-wing billionaires on the whole spectrum of consciousness-manipulating activities, from phony thinktanks to Rupert Murdock's world-wide impact. (As an absurd thought experiment, think about what Al could do if someone gave him a billion dollars to spend!) These rogue billionaires are not going away after their successes this cycle. Taking on the mainstream media means finding a way to turn the RBs' money against them in the media as well as in the electoral arena.

A billion?

Richard - Give a million and they'll think it's a billion!

Truth

Al, thank you so much for your brilliant analysis and for reminding us to look beyond one rally and one comedian. As someone who is damn fed up with the U.S. news media and has written off pretty much all of them EXCEPT for Stewart and Colbert, I was moved to participate in the rally. And, I too, am trying to create my own media.

Thank you for SAJ and for shedding the truth on so many important issues, and thanks for helping to restore sanity!

witnesses

Whoever might be an objective listener & observer of all of humanity, not just creating ones getting paid to express a certain pov, not just coddling itself; this is childish. 

 

Coolness to address reality requires willingness to look at the world, people, reality as it is, not as we want it to be or as we think it should be, and engaging with reality as it is. 

This is being humans, as my friend Al has said to me. And it is being woman and man and grown real people who are us, *the people*. 

The blame game has already started at orange satan

And the villian is...... OFA. This from a dkos FP'er.

amk

@ agoram... blame game

And if it turns out we do much better than expected today, OFA will be given the credit, right?

I didn't think so...

Nancy, as one poster said there

Easy answer

  Everything bad = OFA
Anything good = The Net Root Progressives!

amk

Avoiding The Sick Media...

...no puke on me. 

Voted around 10:30 CST.  No large line but busy. 

Just left a message with my 22 year old.  "Be a Matriot!  Make Sure You Vote!  Prove the jerks wrong!"

Taking a bit of time to check in @ The Field.  I am tearing up with the feeling of Hope once again.  Al, grateful as always for your words and friendship.  I never thought this would be easy.  Obama told us how it would go.  A dear friend of mine, 78 years young, went to the Stewart/Colbert Event.  Calling her on Sunday, I asked how it went.  She drove in for the day, alone and forgot her camera.  She felt wonderful to be part of such a different rally.  She has marched on Washington many times.  We both are still involved with OFA.  

Here's Al's voice in my ear right now: 

I have a feeling that was what Jon Stewart’s words meant for a lot of people on Saturday, and since. And starting Wednesday, the organizing begins anew to do something big about it, to make and be the change we might not have made electorally in 2010. We have it in our collective power to organize something really, truly, authentically historic, to make history once again: To get this yoke of “the media” off our necks.  It’s the other 360-something days a year when we really control our destinies or not. Elections are important. There is no denying it. But every single other day and night of the year has import, too. Let’s keep perspective, and never panic. Yes, we will. And we shall overcome.

I am writing a check ASAP and mailing it today.  Why?  This is why...

Every grassroots citizen movement in every country has to start building its own media, now, urgently, immediately, to have a fighting chance at defining itself and its message before public opinion, or big media will continue pummeling the hope and inspiration out of everyone.

Also, this:

Sorry, Keith (and Arianna, and even my once-and-future little brothers Markos and Nate, there is still a place for you all among the people when you decide to go for broke instead of going for the money, and we'll all welcome you back with open arms).

I love this place.  Send $$. (part of the million)  Thank you.

This is telling. How times now 'owns' nate.

While we almost certainly won’t be updating our forecasts for individual seats, and we definitely won’t be “calling” any races until The New York Times does, we do hope to provide some forecast of the overall number of seats that Republicans are most likely to win in each chamber, and their probability of taking over both the House and the Senate.

BTW Al, the problem I mentioned earlier occurs in IE based browser. It seems to work fine in Firefox.

amk

Clarity

What I have appreciated, and what has kept me "here" since discovering The Field in 2008 is Al's ability to cut through the chatter with precision and clarity... thank you, Al, for one of your best.

And about that million.... it's the annual Combined Charities drive at my "day job." Last year I elected the School as a designated agency. Since this donation comes a different route than my regular donation through paypal, I want to be sure it ended up where it was supposed to. Any way to find out before electing to do the same thing again?

@ Connie

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought Jon Stewart was re-delivering Obama's 2004 convention speech.

Right On!!

Al, I thought of you & your tract from many moons ago, when I saw what I saw of the rally. Friends of mine went, I'm glad to say. You're piece here was RIght On!! and then some. One of your best, and right on the mark about what was at the heart of their work. BTW 7.2% of preceints reporting in Calf. and Prop. 19 is losing by about 10%...lets hope the North reports later, but it doesn't look good...oh well...just do it again sooner than later & win next time...if we don't win this time, that is...still early...

Thank you Al

I decided recently to abandon the current msm altogether. I am 79 yrs of age and the humongously effective boycott for which I yearn may not materialize in my lifetime. However, for my own continuing sanity, I must believe that a majority of my countrymen will eventually 'get it.' Clicking off the TV box will surely be a effective stake driver. Am deeply grateful that news and thoughtful analyses like yours are available via my pc.

Man, what a rough night. A

Man, what a rough night. A lot of good Dems down the drain, and many others besides. But, this too shall pass, if we steel ourselves and strike back hard in 2012.

Ruturd Murdoch....

...is the greatest propagandist in the history of the world.  Assuming there's some sort of afterlife, Joseph Goebbels is watching and looking at the Australian and thinking, "Damn dude.  You're gooooooood!"

Pox Newz lost $500 million in its first few years of operation.  It has nothing to do with "ratings" or turning a "profit."  Think about that...

Al, as someone who worked at a media outlet that was taken over by Ruturd while I was there, I couldn't agree more with this post.  They literally began controlling what we covered OVERNIGHT, by requiring us to cover what they "suggested" in a daily fax each morning.  Was thinking about writing something similar to channel my frustration with these recent months, but considering how perfectly you condensed it, there's no need.  This perfect.

I'm working my tail off now with my own business, with the goal of making enough to get you the $1 million.  Soros is doing nice work with Media Matters and other things, but it's going to take a Murdoch-like comittment or two, from some really rich Liberals, to stop this madness in the near-term.

For years I've said breaking up and combatting the MegaMedia is Issue #1.  As you said, hopefully people will start getting the message now.

@Gloria Powell

Thanks for that.  I've been thinking a lot lately about how so many pioneers of so many issues, such as women's right to vote, minority issues, gay rights, etc. kept charging full steam ahead, even though the victories weren't won until decades, or centuries, after they died.

It's been mind-boggling to me how so many "true progressives" have abandoned ship within 2 years, and in some cases, before America's first melanin-enhanced President was even sworn in.  Kudos to you for understanding long-term, and leading the way!

OFA Blog Comments: "I Despise The Media--All Of Them

Posted link for Al's Field Entry over on the OfA Blog.  

Here's a conversation that fits this story perfectly. 

Time to go to work, in so many ways, today.

From the Blog:

I saw this months ago...but was waiting until after voting ended to comment  |  Report to Admin

Reply

By Marbwi, Today at 12:48:20 AM ET (Updated: Today at 12:48:20 AM ET )

The people who lost out the are not the congress folks who will go on to other things. Very few election loses ever suffer in a real meaningful way. Many of them are either wealthy or will have backup careers. They will join think tanks or some lucrative tv/book deal.

The real people who lost are the collective American people. I have seen this movie before. We will have 2 years of investigations and lack of progress. I said it before and I will say it again--Democratic disunity and lousy campaigns will always hurt the Democratic party. When the chatter was that Democrats ran away from their President or party (until they were in dire straits), this is what happens. When the media, corporations, Republicans merge- we all lose.

When the punditocracy and comments from the left are nothing but attacks on the Democratic Party, we all lose.

When the left whose only means of communicating is through this same media. When they mimic this same media, corporations, Republicans--they and we lose.

All I saw when watching or reading blogs from our so-called progressive allies were:

1) Here something a crazy Republican candidate said. Half the time, no one could tell who the Democrat was or what said Democrat stood on any issue.

2) Here's crazy Republican candidate's website

3) Here's a poll, and another, and another. page after page after page.

4) Never (or rarely) did we see an active effort to get out the boots on the ground for Democrats from our so-called allies with the only tool available. I don't mean days before an election. I mean since this hard working President took office. He has had to do every thing. Things he wanted, congresscritters(many) dragged their feet on. He said wrap up healthcare by August-2009, it dragged out until this year. He said tackle Immigration--congress held off. He said pass mortgage reform--that was killed in the senate. On and on.

He ran a style of campaign that was only copied by winning Republicans in 2009. I would not be surprised--with few exceptions--that any of the candidates who went down tonight learned anything about retail politics like we witnessed in 2004 or 2007-8 from Barack Obama. In his 2004 senate and 2008 oresidential races, he went all over -- while his primary opponent concentrated on tv attacks.

CONTINUED

By Marbwi, Today at 1:00:34 AM ET (Updated: Today at 1:00:34 AM ET )

I will continue to support this President. The main person that I feel sorry for in the House is Speaker Pelosi. She made me proud. She looked out for the American people, and very few knew the hundreds of bills that passed and died in the senate.

My media blackout began weeks ago and will continue in indefinitely. It's a shame because I love political discussions. Now we prepare for the nect faze of NOpublican BS.

I DESPISE THE MEDIA---ALL OF THEM. THERE ARE MANY NAMES, a lot of our so-called political allies on radio, blogs and tv--that I will now boycott. They were and have been useless since January 20, 2009. The "Professional left" have been no better than Fox.

Democrats--voters and candidates really need to find their version of the media. Relying on the media to get their word out is impossible. It will never happen. And no...Air America or a sprinkling of liberals on tv or radio won't cut it. When die-hard Democrats like me avoid them, that should tell us all something. I listened to Air America for a few months and could not believe some of what was said. The same far left --with some exceptions were not the true base of the party. The same people who had shows there are not and were not reaching the broader audience. It was a niche that went poof. They are the same on the left blogs. Attacking every Democrat who is not fauxgressive when you are a tiny part of that electorate is misguided. I want to here from every group within the Democratic Party--left, center, and conservative.

My media boycott continues indefinitely.

By Theo67, Today at 1:14:09 AM ET (Updated: Today at 1:14:09 AM ET )

Marbwi - your rant is spot on. The President is a cut above the rest. He did a lot of heavy lifting, as did Speaker Pelosi. Their reward was to have that work kicked back in their face by some of the very people who they tried to help.

What these people don't understand is that the legislative agenda is over now. Legislation starts in the House, and the only thing that Republicans plan to put forward are repeals of everything that Democrats worked for to heal this country. And the rest of the time they plan to attack the President. There's going to be desperate national suffering, and this country may not make up the lost ground of the last decade. And all the pundits and those Congress people who lost will likely not even notice because these losses will not affect them. I feel bad for the people who worked hard, who voted, who made calls, who supported this President and Speaker Pelosi - because they don't deserve the nonsense about to be unleashed.

By meta, Today at 1:26:01 AM ET (Updated: Today at 1:26:01 AM ET )

You're right, Theo. People don't realize that politics is a team endeavor. Those on the extreme ends of the spectrum don't realize how the Senate works. In the current environment, it's about compromise and making incremental change. It takes years to change the arc of history. I believe we've made a good start and I'm not about to give up now. I will keep fighting every single day for PBO and his team, our shared values and goals for a better future.

By ObamaFanToo in CA, Today at 3:22:04 AM ET (Updated: Today at 3:22:04 AM ET )

Bravo! Well said. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

By meta, Today at 1:19:49 AM ET (Updated: Today at 1:19:49 AM ET )

I appreciate your thoughtful analysis and I agree that left-wing Democrats were distracted by Republican tactics to the point where they were even adopting their framing and talking points. I don't have much faith they will recognize this humungous co-opt but will probably go on to blame more Democrats. That is what they do.

I have no interest in the media and will continue to support the values and actions of PBO and his team. I am not the least bit deterred.

By Connie Obama (Not held hostage by polls or media), Today at 3:06:34 AM ET (Updated: Today at 3:06:34 AM ET )

Congratulations Marbwi on taking control of dealing with ur crooked media! I am into my second year of boycotting ALL msm news shows and have not missed anything.

Not needing instant gratification and entertainment I have waited for videos on this blog and watched PBO's speeches.

The media's agenda has always been clear; it became downright disgusting as soon as PBO was sworn in. One didn't have to keep tuning in to "know what the enemy was saying"; we knew.

We have always had the power to have an impact by boycotting them. I'm hoping that people will now see that the only way we can effect change in the media is to stop.watching.them.

By Connie Obama (Not held hostage by polls or media), Today at 3:12:45 AM ET (Updated: Today at 3:12:45 AM ET )

CONGRATULATIONS MARBWI ON YOUR DECISION TO BOYCOTT THE MEDIA! I am in my second year and managed to remain informed through this blog to include watching all PBO's speeches

Journalism: a labour of love.

 

The Economy cruises on pauper idiomatic sectarism. A smorgasbord of free-wheeling protagonists colludes on the finely woven American Tapestry. For, a narrowing and leveling off of America's ideals is on the "We, the People..." agenda. Proselitysing subservience, to the fore as it should, curating a patchwork, as in "it never really was meant to be"!

Journalists, surmised to be prolific and unbounded wordsmiths of arbitrary seizure and compounded adversity, default to the sole career entry point to the noble profession: the Board Room's news desk and writing platform. A Safe House, a secure writing den for the living-dead Poet Society, erected to marginalize inopportune sequiturs. Its signature wavelength titillates, "in subtle phrases", counter-nature insurrection.

But a real unphased, intimate, neighborly, secular, "familiar" Journalist lies dormant within every American. Balanced information through causal awareness, "interwovenly" conscious and acted out citizenry, is what it ought to be. To fight fright and light light, push your own family's boundaries to encompass and embrace your America as your very own DNA.

"Familiar" concerns make for a labour of love and assuredly great consequential Journalism.

Americans pay the ultimate price

The seeds of the election result last night were planted decades ago with the rabid right's systematic acquisition of all the opinion molding institutions in this society. They had long term goals of consolidating not only their grip on power but more importantly HOW Americans THOUGHT about power.

So indeed the GOP losses in 2008 did not faze the right wing's beleif in their long term goals. When the economic situation looked bad, they simply took taxpayers money in the form of TARP and ran off to hibernate and plot the next phase of their corporate power consolidation plans. Pres. Obama's massive win, shocked them but only long enough for them to steal his campaign toolkit, pervert it (as in Citizens United versus raisng money from grassroots) then add to their venal arsenal. The recession provided a perfect storm. A citenzry that remains ill-informed about legislation got easily swayed by propaganda served on a platter outfitted with racism and bigotry and bingo you have an electorate voting to nuke its own self interest.

Liberals on the other hand played the short game expecting lasting realignment of the ideological divide. But what is even more surprising is the extent to which the fauxgressives fail to realize that they cannot reap where they have not sown. After Vietnam they stopped cultivating the consiousness of the American public to see their point of view. Without the institutional and constant boots-on-the ground mobilizing, how did they expect to keep the electorate on their side? Now they see and easily swayed electorate and they blame one man, President Obama, who has had to juggle more poison balls than any President since FDR? Where are our chain of structures and relay messaging machines that saturate the public squere with our point of view AND DEFEND it no matter what? Liberals and fauxgressives did not do our homework now we pay the price. This is bigger than any one person, gifted President or not.

I was thinking about media this morning

And I noticed that AM stations were selling for as little as $75,000-certainly less than a million in a lot of markets. Blogs are great, but why can't we have DNC Radio (even an online version) or Daily Kos Radio? The other parts of the press would have to cover what we say even if to mock it, and the endless number of podcasts would be an easy way to reach millions. Also the discipline of having to come up with daily messaging would strengthen our message considerably. This is not to dismiss the progressive talk show hosts-Miller and Hartman and Schultz, and my favorite up and comer, Shannyn Moore, but to ask for a broader based messaging system than what we have now.

The media was one flaw in Progressive Strategy

When I think of how things were back in 1980 when the Reagan Revoltution started, I realize that we now have tools we didn't have back then to change the discourse. Back then all we had were tiny magazines that came out once a month, some mimeographed pamphlets, and little else. The big coup for the GOP was taking over all of those failing AM radio stations that could reach into households. Now AM radio is a fading monopoly-I saw stations for under $100,000 now, and once the Limbaugh generation finally passes away, not even sports talk will keep things afloat. Now those same radio juggernauts can be bypassed cheaply. We need to exercise the internet version of the AM radio and have our own talk radio, use the power of satellite radio for national dissemination. We need to create DVD and CD's we can pass out like the right wingers do. We have a lot of tools like U-Tube (Progressives should be having a Progressive Tube and mastering online live television) so that we can have the audio-visual side of things.

@ carol

I agree, messaging should improve. But we cannot mimick the right wing strategies because they do not fit to our contents. We should have more serious researching, also into how stuff can be presented so it's easy to grasp. For example there was one graphic about the Obama and Bush tax cuts in absolute numbers given as circles, which I felt was intuitively very easy to understand. We should have well researched data put into nice graphics for many developments, time lines over Rep., Dem deficits, tax cuts, correlation of education with GDP, ...

And such material should be deposited at a central site. OFA comes to mind.

Maybe there could be contests: how to show particular Dem arguments and/or achievements in most visual form. Also how to give the information in the most clear form. Some people do not like sentences with three subclauses:-)

Media annoyance- catching on

Here's an interesting article by the DKos contributor named Fishgrease- http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/4/917123/-Fishgrease:-Booming-The-... .

I got lazy and didn't read all the details, but it's about simple and legal ways to broadcast radio locally.  Looks like we'll see people trying more and more to get around the booorrringgg shilled media.

Edit: The comments section is also fascinating.

Toon speak

Keith O Suspended by MSNBC for...

K O gave donations to candidates.   The Big Wigs suspend him, but not others. 

Al, do you think he read your article?  

@ Lorie

Lorie,

My complaints about Olbermann notwithstanding, I think NBC was foolish to suspend him. If he had *received* money from candidates, sure! But giving contributions which are public record when he is an opinion commentator presents no real conflict of interest. (Damn! I was hoping to go on his show and collect $2,400 myself, ha ha!) No, seriously, he didn't do anything wrong there. Donations to candidate committees are, by definition, not secret, but fully disclosed on public records. There clearly wasn't anything underhanded or secretive about it. If a journalist discloses any appearance of conflict, the conflict largely disappears, because then the public can weigh the facts and make its own conclusions.

As for whether he or anybody else reads me, I don't really write for the public figures I write about. I write for everybody else. However, people in public life do tend to have big egos and cravings for attention, and most of them have Google alerts programmed to send them an email anytime their name appears anywhere. Of course, Keith being such a humble sort (cough), who knows?

Another reminder of how we need to own outlets

And improve our guerilla style of media. We should expand beyond the blogs to podcasts, small television and radio stations and online independent media. If we had focused more on media ownership, Keith could have his own station where he could pontificate to his content. Perhaps he is now thinking about it, and if he does go indy, how many people would be willing to pay him for his independence?

Another reminder of how we need to own outlets

And improve our guerilla style of media. We should expand beyond the blogs to podcasts, small television and radio stations and online independent media. If we had focused more on media ownership, Keith could have his own station where he could pontificate to his content. Perhaps he is now thinking about it, and if he does go indy, how many people would be willing to pay him for his independence?

@ Al

Al, I was kind of being silly when I asked if he read your post. Thanks for writing for the rest of us.

Something to do

Speaker Pelosi, of course, will soon be bereft of her title. However, she has announced her intention to run for Minority Leader. It is my opinion that no one has gotten a rawer deal than she has, because she was incredibly effective at rounding up votes and pushing bills through her chamber. She has been vilified by the right for basically being the most powerful woman in the US. And I think it's important that she win her bid. Speaker Pelosi, like her or not, is a fighter and I can't think of any other Congress-critter that I'd rather have leading the Congressional Dems. They got drubbed, so now it falls to us to try and prevent them from doing their usual "curl-into-fetal-position-and-pretend-to-be-Republican" act.

I think putting calls into Congress might just do the trick...

look...everybody stop

look...everybody stop talking about 'media' like the sum total of everything is relevant and quantifiable. Blogs, Talk Radio, and Cable News is different from Broadcast News, and BN is different from Daily Newspapers which are different from Monthly Mags and Books...The first half of media technologies is about reporting the minutae and ignoring the big picture, and some are slower and require more work but are able to capture more than short term effects. One side favors the conservative and tabloid, the other is more critical and fair. Zeno's Paradox is about taking the measurement of trajectories so many times that it never seems to reach anything. This is the crux of what modern media technologies do, either intentionally or unintentionally.

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About Al Giordano

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Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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