The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

What Liberal Media? The Case of the Dead Intern

Eric Alterman is a progressive journalist who does excellent political analysis. He has a new book out entitled "What Liberal Media?", which disputes the myth of the liberal media and confirms the reality of the conservative media. It is probably one of the most important books on the media which will be published this year. You can imagine that Eric is having a hard time promoting this book through the "liberal" media - he isn't booked for many venues, and some where he is booked are openly hostile, which you would think would prove his thesis.

This Sunday, Eric Alterman was a guest on a show on MSNBC, one of the three cabel news networks which along with CNN and Faux, is skewing more and more toward right wing fanaticism. The show was hosted by one Joe Scarborough, a weasel-eyed young republican who had been a member of congress elected in the Republican takeover of 1994. Scarborough invited two other guests for the segment, a right wing analyst from the right wing Media Research Center, and a right wing congressman, also a frat-boy type, from Colorado. The host, the MRC stooge, and the Colorado frat boy proceeded to shout over Alterman as he tried to make some of the points made in the book. They were trying to win the argument with volume and bullying, but I'm not sure what it was they proved. That the media, themselves included, is really very liberal? That the three of them versus one progressive author was an example of balance? If the media were actually very liberal, as the theory goes, wouldn't a book like Alterman's be welcomed by the right wing as evidence that their views were becoming more mainstream?

As an aside, it is ridiculously easy to tell which way the media leans. The Fairness Doctrine, which was gutted during the Reagan era, held that publicly-owned airwaves had to provide time for opposing viewpoints. If the media were very skewed in one direction or the other, it would be easy to tell who it was skewed against by examining who wants the return of the Fairness Doctrine. The answer? The return of the Fairness Doctrine is opposed by conservatives, and championed by progressives and liberals. It is viciously opposed by the current FCC head, Michael Powell. There's your answer, and it doesn't take much analysis to arrive at it. If the media were really heavily biased towards the left, the conservatives wouldn't shut up about the Fairness Doctrine, and would treat it like the 11th commandment.

The mere fact of Alterman's appearance and having to defend himself against three conservative loudmouths is not the point of all this. The really delicious (perhaps disgusting) irony in the whole situation is that Joe Scarborough is someone who has benefited mightily from the conservative media. For him to deny the existence of the conservative media seems like poor gratitude indeed, for if it were not for the conservative media he a) would be out of public life and b) would certainly not be hosting a show on national television.

Perhaps you remember Joe Scarborough, the Republican congressman from Florida who was viciously smeared by the liberal media in a feeding frenzy in the summer of 2001. No? Let me refresh your memory: He was the congressman who had a beautiful, athletic, 28-year old staffer found dead with a crushed skull in his congressional office in Florida. This was right around the same time he announced he was leaving politics to spend more time with his kids and wife (who he divorced shortly thereafter). Not ringing any bells?

This all occurred during the time of that great journalistic maelstrom which was the Condit/Levy scandal. I need not remind you of the smearing of Gary Condit, who may or may not have deserved it, but was definitely not found guilty of anything in a court of law. Scarborough may not have deserved any bad press, either, but surely a media primed for scandal the way our is would have picked up on the extremely suspicious circumstances of this young lady's death (I should add that the local authorities acted quickly to hush up the case, and that the coroner who autopsied the woman's body had lost his license in other states for . . . falsifying autopsies! He came up with some cockamamie story about her standing alone in the office, fainting, and fatally hitting her head against a desk as she fell.) In any case, wouldn't a liberal media have, say, raised some questions about this? Wouldn't we at least have heard about it? Imagine Gary Condit hosting his own show! Scarborough was shielded by the almost certain torrent of bad publicity this would normally have caused by the (R) behind his name.

You can read about the case at:

Remember Lori Klausutis when someone talks about the "liberal" media, and then remember the spectacle of Joe Scarborough, yelling at Eric Alterman for questioning the existence of the "liberal" media. Alterman also has a blog.

Iraq Watch

Here is a response to Powell's UN presentation by someone who is actually an expert in the field of Iraq (this guy was the first to discover the plagiarized bits of the UK "intelligence" report).

An interesting analysis of the many ways the W. has lied to us.

Afghanistan Watch

Here is an article on a documentary about American and American ally war crimes during the war in Afghanistan. The source, the World Socialist Web Site, sounds like it would be a real tin foil-hat organization, but most of the articles I've found there seem pretty credible. That being said, this movie has been suppressed in the US and also in Germany by the US government. What do they have to hide? You can also purchase the documentary.

Screwing the Poor Watch

As a neat bookend to the plan to deny more children subsidized school lunches, comes this humanitarian idea: raise the rent on people in federally subsidized housing! Yes! Read about this compassionate conservatism.

Humor Watch

News on the Axis of Just as Evil

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