Monday, June 17, 2013

How conservatives destroyed journalistic integrity in America.

This is part of an excerpt from “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America” courtesy of Salon:

 One key factor that has altered campaign coverage comes from the corporate right in the form of “conservative” media. If there has been a vacuum created by the downsizing of newsrooms, conservative media have filled it with an insistent partisanship unseen in commercial news media for nearly a century. The conservative media program has been a cornerstone of the Dollarocracy’s — the big money and corporate media election complex — political program since at least Lewis Powell’s 1971 memo. Initially, the work was largely about criticizing the news media for being unfair to conservative Republicans and having a liberal Democratic bias. Although the actual research to support these claims was, to be generous, thin—one major book edited by Brent Bozell actually claimed corporations such as General Electric were “liberal” companies with an interest in anti-business journalism because they had made small donations to groups like the NAACP and the Audubon Society—the point was not to win academic arguments. The point of bashing the “liberal media,” as Republican National Committee chairman Rich Bond conceded in 1992, was to “work the refs” like a basketball coach does so that “maybe the ref will cut you a little slack” on the next play. 

The ultimate aim of Dollarocracy was, as James Brian McPherson put it, “to destroy the professionalism that has defined journalism since the mid-twentieth century.” The core problem was that professional journalism, to the extent it allowed editors and reporters some autonomy from the political and commercial values of owners, opened space for the legitimate presentation of news and perspectives beyond the range preferred by conservatives. That professional journalism basically conveyed the debates and consensus of official sources and remained steadfastly within the ideological range of the leadership of the two main political parties—it never was sympathetic to the political left—was of no concern. It still gave coverage to policy positions on issues such as unions, public education, civil rights, progressive taxation, social security, and the environment that were thoroughly mainstream but anathema to the right. Key to moving the political center of gravity to the right was getting the news media on the train, and that meant getting them to have a worldview more decidedly sympathetic to the needs of society’s owners. Newt Gingrich was blunt when he told media owners in 1995 that they needed to crack the whip on their newsrooms and have the news support the corporation’s politics. “Get your children to behave,” he demanded in a private meeting with media CEOs. 

In the late 1990s, Rupert Murdoch launched the Fox News cable channel, and because television is such a ubiquitous and powerful medium, that put right-wing news media in the center of the mainstream. Michael Wolff characterized Fox News as “the ultimate Murdoch product,” because it brought tabloid journalism to American television. What has been missed in the analysis of Fox News is the business model of tabloid journalism: dispense with actual reporting, which costs a lot of money to do well, and replace it with far less expensive pontificating that will attract audiences. For a tabloid news channel, that means the value added is a colorful partisan take on the news; otherwise the channel has no reason to attract viewers. Former CNN head Rick Kaplan told the story of how he was confronted by Time Warner executives in 1999 or 2000 who were dissatisfied with CNN’s profits despite what had been record revenues and a solid return. “But Fox News made just as much profit,” Kaplan was informed, “and did so with just half the revenues of CNN, because it does not carry so many reporters on its staff.” The message to Kaplan was clear: close bureaus and fire reporters, lots of them. In short, Fox News is the logical business product for an era where corporations deem journalism an unprofitable undertaking. 

Fox News and the conservative media sector (including the conservative blogosphere) provide a “self-protective enclave” for conservatives to cocoon themselves. Research demonstrates that the more a person consumes conservative media, the more likely she is to dismiss any news or arguments that contradict the conservative position as liberal propaganda and lies. Tom Frank argued that the point of conservative media is to facilitate a “deliberate cognitive withdrawal from the shared world” by their adherents. Conservative media also, to a remarkable extent, stay on message, and the message is largely that of the Republican Party; these media, at least Fox News and Limbaugh, seem to march in lockstep with the same talking points, the same issues, and even the same terminology deployed across the board. They apply the core principles of advertising and propaganda.

There of course never WAS a "Left wing media," only a media that presented all sides of an issue and did so factually, And since a fair exposure of the Right Wing agenda rarely looked appetizing to the American people that simply could not be allowed to continue.  

The rabid partisanship which is currently ripping our nation asunder can be traced back to the initial conversation between Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch that ultimately resulted in the birth of Fox News.

Benedict Arnold had NOTHING on those two.


  1. Anonymous4:06 AM

    Thanks to the Neocons that too over under Ronald Reagan, the FCC dropped its requirement that FCC licensees adhere to the Fairness Doctrine, which had been in place since the late forties, soon after soon after television hit the airwaves a limits a decade earlier (CBS in1941, NBC in 1939). The Fairness Doctrine was even challenged in a Supreme Court Case that ruled that the FCC COULD maintain the doctrine and it's control over its licensees in providing balancing viewpoints on controversial subjects of interest to the public. Of course, the Supreme Court did not rule that the FCC MUST enforce the Fairness Doctrine, allowing the Reagan Administration to castrate the FCC's ability to oversee the airwaves.

    Additionally, over the years since, many of the policies of the FCC that provided for fair content and prevented media conglomerates from acting as monopolies have been further steamrolled, throwing out the rules regulating the number of media that a license holder could maintain and operate across the country and within certain markets.

    By no circumstance in terms of timing, Rupert Murdoch was allowed to gain naturalized citizenship in 1985, and thus, was able to begin purchasing selected US Media companies, while lobbying against the FCC's regulations on number of franchises held by one individual owner. His billions that he earned in the tabloid media in Australia and Great Britain gave him the influence that he needed to make NewsCorp a major force in American media.

    In other words, Neocons and Muckraking Tabloid Politics influence a segment of the markets because they are allowed to deliberately lie and deceive without sanctions. Reagan was feeling the heat from the Iran-Contra Hearings in 1986, and was desperate to salvage his legacy. Reagan's "kitchen cabinet" of advisers and cabinet appointees who had been with him since his CA Governor days, also needed political cover as they were being investigated for their cronyism and in several other nefarious and illegal activities: Ed Meese, Joseph Coors, French Smith, Thomas Roe... Basically a who's who of Heritage Foundation and CNP associates who were the Koch Brothers of 30 years ago.

    Bottom line: So much for Free Speech in our Republic. The truth must take a back seat whenever there is profit to be squeezed out of unwitting consumers and put of the government, which the plutocrats control and exploit.

    Those are just some random thoughts that come to mind. I really don't want to reflect on it much this Monday morning before my first cup of coffee do I won't fly into a rage before make it into the office.

    Sorry I can't edit this or I won't have time for my Cheerios, and my gut is burning right now thinking about how these crooks have fucked us over because of their greed and lust for power. And we let them. Ugh!

    Have a great day and a great week, everyone at IM. And speak up and make your opinion known while we still can. Take Care.

  2. Anonymous4:07 AM

    Another way the Murdoch empire put Fox News right in the "center of the mainstream" and made it an overwhelmingly present fact of American life is that so many waiting rooms, from your doctor to your car mechanic to your local airport, have Fox News on overhead somewhere. Apparently it's free with their cable connections. Frankly I'd much rather have The Weather Channel on but that's probably not free. But it is much more interesting and much more factual.

  3. Anonymous4:09 AM

    Sounds like a great read. Sorry I didn't mention it in my previous diatribe. I'll download it as soon as I finish the shadow factory, another fascinating read. Timely stuff.

  4. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Willfully destroying the integrity of the American media for profit and power - what could be more admirable?

    I sincerely hope that Karma has some good rewards in store for those two.

  5. Anonymous5:32 AM

    With a new Fox contract and sharp words on immigration, the former Alaska gov. is the smiley face of white backlash

    Interestingly, Ryan Lizza has a new piece in the New Yorker (it’s not online yet) about the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform negotiations, and one factor some think will contribute to immigration reform is that Ailes and Rupert Murdoch support it, and the tone from Fox, especially in prime time, has been softer. By adding Palin to his roster Ailes will give some encouragement to the anti-reform side.
    Palin will make her re-debut with Ailes’ network on Fox and Friends Monday morning. We’ll see if she talks up her fertility again.

  6. Anonymous6:42 AM

    Back on Fox, Sarah Palin attacks CBS

    Sarah Palin returned to Fox News on Monday with an hour-long guest appearance on “Fox & Friends” — just five months after leaving the network — and blasted a CBS journalist as putting the “BS in CBS” for using a tea party comparison in a report this weekend on the Iranian election.

    On Palin’s first day back at Fox as a contributor, the former Republican vice presidential candidate discussed Edward Snowden, Benghazi, media bias and traveling in RVs, and also conducted interviews with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and the captains of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.” Sitting down with the hosts of “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning in New York City, Palin said it was good to be back on the network.

    “I get to be here the entire hour, good, bad or ugly, I will be here, thank you,” Palin said after the hosts welcomed her back to the network.

  7. Anonymous6:58 AM

    Ted Cruz Praises Sarah Palin On Fox For ‘Fearlessness’: Helped GOP Discover ‘A Backbone’

  8. Anonymous8:13 AM

    Google's Little-Seen Ad About Gay Marriage In France Will Have You Choking Back The Tears

    Get your Kleenex.

  9. hedgewytch8:33 AM

    And wasn't Murdock just allowed to purchase ANOTHER major network on the west coast?

  10. Anonymous12:25 PM

    You're quoting Salon. End of story.


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