With the blizzard of news flying at us these days you often have to piece several apparently unrelated stories together to figure out just exactly what the bastards are really up to.
Just that happened to me yesterday as I was reading through the glut of news feeds cluttering up my In Box. Two stories caught my attention:
Story #1: Ted Turner Compares FOX News to Nazi Propaganda
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Ted Turner always speaks his mind. No beating around any bushes with Ted. And so it was earlier this week when Turner let loose as a media panelist at the National Association for Television Programming Executives' conference.
Turner called Fox News a propaganda tool of the Bush administration comparing to the German media that helped Adolph Hitler' win office in Germany before World War II.
Turner added that, like Bush, Hitler got the most votes when he was elected to run Germany prior to WWII. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's certainly legal. But it does pose problems for our democracy. Particularly when the news is dumbed down," leaving voters without critical information on politics and world events and overloaded with fluff," he said.
Fox responded in typical form: "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network, and now his mind.”
And we all know what the Nazis did to the insane.
Story #2: Another Journalist Was On Administration Payroll
In 2002, syndicated conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families. Now we learn just what sparked her interest in the subject.
“Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. (Washington Post)
Well, that makes three now. First it was conservative loudmouth, Armstrong Williams, on the take from the Bushies for a cool quarter mil.
Then we learn that two edgy, hip, popular political blogs were pocketing $3,000 a month during the primaries to plant positive postings for the Dean campaign.
It’s one thing to learn that reporters are cheating by making up stories, or making up facts, that’s bad enough. But to learn that journalist can be bought is catastrophic.
I guess I should not be surprised to see the still young blogesphere go bad so quickly. It is, after all, chuck full of wanna be journalists and amateurs who have never had an editor rip their head off for turning in crappy story or getting something wrong. And, for a blog, three grand a month is about $4000 a month more than they ever hoped to see. It was big money for small fry.
But the other two bribees, Williams and Gallagher, don’t have that excuse to fall back on. They just took the money and delivered the administration propaganda as though they believed it. Now, if they did believe it they should have turned the money down and written about how stupid it was to waste public money bribing journalists already on the administration's side. If they did not believe in those positions they should have turned down the money and blasted the administration for offering them bribes.
They did neither. Instead they pocketed the dough like cheap whores, flopped on their backs, threw their legs in the air and delivered the goods.
The only question now is, how wide spread is journalistic payola? Potentially, very, because this administration has poured more than $88 million just last year into “public relations contracts.”
And if any administration since Nixon needed help with its public relations it’s certainly this one. But corrupting the media is hard to reconcile with Bush’s stated mission to spread freedom around the world. Because freedom without a free and independent press lasts only until the first public official lies and discovers he can get away with it.
After that, it all goes straight to hell.
(Is it getting warm in here or is it my imagination?)