We're currently discussing the media in my Modern Presidency class. Part of this section of the course involves reading one of two books on the media and politics, and the readers of each book will apparently have a "debate" this Thursday. We were given a choice between South Park Conservatives : The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias and Media Spectacle And The Crisis Of Democracy: Terrorism, War, And Election Battles.
Being a big fan of unintentional comedy, I naturally chose the latter. Check out an excerpt (and keep in mind, this is all a single paragraph out of about 250 pages) from the introduction:
Many believe the United States is devolving into fascism under Bush and Cheney, but it is not the sort of "friendly fascism" that Bertram Gross described in 1982, for never has a more vicious bunch occupied the higher levels of government. Like Hitler and the German fascists, the Bush-Cheney clique use the Big Lie to promote its policies, promote aggressive militarism in the quest for world hegemony, and relentlessly promote the economic interests of the corporations and groups that finance it. To sell their program, Bush and Cheney have a media attack apparatus ready to smear anyone who dared to criticize their hard-right and militarist tactics. An ever-growing right-wing Republican media machine, ranging from the Wall Street Journal and the conservative press to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox TV, talk radio, and the extreme right sector on the Internet, all disseminate propaganda of a scope and virulence never before seen in U.S. history. Expanding significantly since the 1980s, the Republican propaganda machine has cultivated a group of ideological storm troopers who loudly support Bush-Cheney policies and attack those who criticize them. These extremists are impervious to argument, ignore facts and analysis, and demonize as unpatriotic anyone who challenges Bush-Cheney policies. Groomed on Fox TV and right-wing talk radio, they verbally assault anyone who does not march in lockstep with the administration and wage ideological war against the heathens, liberals, feminists, gays and lesbians, and other dissenters. These ideological warriors allow no disparagement of Bush and Cheney and refuse civil dialogue, preferring denunciation and invective.
I think it would be fun to do a thorough megafisking of this thing sometime over the summer. Right now, I only have time to enjoy a hearty laugh due to this author's utter lack of any original thoughts. I suggest you all do the same.
Wow. The rest of the book is just like that paragraph. No. Original. Thoughts. The guy quotes the discredited Lancet study claiming that 100,000 Iraqis had been killed, makes incessant references to Bush's smirking and swaggering (and yes, he does go into the "Mission Accomplished" thing), puts "weapons of mass destruction" in scare quotes every time he uses it, simultaneously criticizes the U.S. for arming Saddam Hussein and claiming that Saddam Hussein needed to be disarmed, claims that the Abu Ghraib incident was the result of racism, mentions "tax cuts for the rich," repeats the blatant fabrication that people booed at a Bush speech after it was announced that Bill Clinton was in the hospital, refers to the "corporate media" on practically every page and calls them "lap dogs" for the administration, insists that there is no difference between saying that Iraq was connected to Al Qaeda and saying that Iraq was involved in 9/11, insinuates that Bush wears a wire so he can receive answers to tough questions from his staff, puts Republicans in the same category as "the Ku Klux Klan and myriad neo-Nazi assemblages," claims that the media is biased to the right because they didn't immediately dismiss the claims of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as "outright lies" (direct quote: "Although the print media had debunked the specific claims of the swift boat veterans, cable networks failed to present the swift boat group as part of the Republican smear campaign"), refers to the forged National Guard memo as "allegedly faked," calls Iraq a "quagmire," goes after the "Republican attack machine," makes numerous comparisons between Bush and Hitler (including the old "Bush's grandfather was a Nazi" story), accuses Bush of stealing both the 2000 and 2004 elections...he even goes so far as to criticize Saturday Night Live because he feels their satire of Gore was too exaggerated, but their satire of Bush was brilliant.
Just...wow. Now I understand why even my ultra-liberal professor said that this was a crappy book. I don't even know if I need to read the rest, because I've probably read it all somewhere else already. The thing is like a really long Democratic Underground post.
It is inspiring in a strange way, though. I think Suspended Agitation is going to have some new lyrics soon...how does "Spectacle" sound as a song title?
UPDATE THE SECOND
Having now read the entire book (okay, I skimmed a few parts because they had nothing to do with media bias), I believe that I have actually lost sevearl (I'm leaving that typo as is to prove my point) hundred brain cells, and I still have not learned anything that I didn't hear about a billion times in 2004.
Congratulations, Douglas Kellner, for providing a 250 page explanation of why I'm still a Republican.
Goodfreakingnight.Posted by CD on April 18, 2006 02:28 AM | TrackBack