Tag Archives: media

Jeremiah Wright doing Obama a Favor

By acting like the cartoon he has accused YouTubers of making him, Jeremiah Wright may have done Barack Obama a huge favor, if the Obama campaign plays it right.

Before this week, Obama knew that the Jeremiah Wright issue, right or wrong, was going to plague him all the way to the presidency. Wright appeared on Bill Moyers Friday and sounded thoughtful, insightful and reassuring. he underplayed his relationship with Obama and this appearance made it difficult for Obama and others to discount some of Wright’s more outrageous snippets about AIDS. Quite the opposite, Wright’s comments on Moyers challenged America to have the sort of race dialogue that Obama proposed last month in his Philadelphia race speech. Problem is, while Wright sounded pastoral and philosophical, the sniping against Obama for having a relationship with Wright continued.

Well, no more.

The mainstream media does not do well with subtleties. Nor does it do well with meta narratives that fail to play well in sound bites.

It couldn’t handle the possibility that Wright and Obama for that matter were making truth claims that might really challenge the hegemonic master race narrative in 2008 America. This is the narrative that has little institutional memory and almost no recognition of racism as an institutional or structural concept. Since race in america is more prevalently represented as an individualistic concept, the idea of the renogade Wright is something more manageable. The press can deal with Obama shunning his former pastor. Just look at this mornings headlines. Okay, thank you Mr. Wright, you have helped Obama to brush off some some increasingly heavy and distracting baggage.


NYTimes Gets it Right on CNN-Pentagon “Psyops”

When Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were asking the candidates about lapel pins, 40 year old urban guerilla actions and Jeremiah Wright, the NYT was preparing to run a piece that these “journalists” surely knew about, but they asked nothing. The story has to do with the military industrial complex that symbiotically links the pentagon, media and military contractors together into a well planned out effort to manipulate emotions, objective reasoning and behavior.  Indeed the Times piece aptly named it for what it is, psyops.  

According to Wikipedia, Psyops is:

commonly used by governments, such as the United States, who do not wish to use the term propaganda, which would mar their image. The word propaganda has very negative connotations, and by calling it psychological operations instead, people are much more likely to support it, where they would be unlikely to support the use of “propaganda”. This euphemistic naming scheme is ironically an example of psychological operations — i.e. using psychological techniques to persuade a large number of people to support something that they wouldn’t normally support.”

The point I wish to add here is that what the Times reveals is nothing new, but rather, the pattern of the pentagon coordinating former top brass who are now hi salaried contractors to provide “expertise” for the mainstream press is the sort of practice that has been widely used since 9/11.  What the Times piece does is provide a template for examining media coverage about almost any other Bush post 911-related activity. 

For similar patterns of psyops, take a look at how the media has handled: FISA and domestic spying issue; the administration’s sanctioning and planning of torture methods, or almost any of the “Bushed” items we hear about daily on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. 

The genie is out of the bottle. Even Tim and Chris and Charlie and George cannot put her back in.



Hillary’s Forest Gump Test for Commander in Chief

The media was in all-too-common form when it allowed the Clinton campaign to create a “threshold to be commander in chief,” and hold that Clinton passes the threshold test while her opponent fails. The mainstream press seems to have accepted this fictional test, perhaps only to chide Clinton that John McCain quite possibly would score even higher than she.

Wow. The press accepts this campaign concoction as if it were real and the Clinton campaign were merely repeating some time honored constitutional test. Well, no such test exists. If you are 35 years old, a natural born citizen (a question for McCain), and you win 270 electoral votes, you can be commander in chief. Even if you are Forest Gump.

Part of the spectacle is the nonsensical criterial being bandied about in the press, again, as if it were always so. Although the Clinton camp has not quantified this criteria (because inone exist), they make sure everybody knows that she (and McCain) possess it.

Basically, the Clinton criteria amounts to being in close proximity with power and historical events around the time important decisions were made. It’s really a Forest Gump test to be Commander in Chief.

According to Susan Rice, when Clinton lists her credentials to be commander in chief, she includes her attendance at the Beijing Women’s Conference, at the peace accord in Northern Ireland, and went to Kosovo when they opened their border with Macedonia. According to george Mitchell who brokered the Northern Ireland peace accord, Clinton played no role; and Susan Rice contends she arrived in Kosovo the day after the border opened.
On other matters in the White House, she, as First lady, attended to east-wing duties, and was not making the key decisions in the west wing.

As for McCain, it bears mentioning that although he was close to the action in Vietnam, but made few decisions in combat (as if combat is a commander in chief credential). Almost all of his war experience was spent as a POW (a virtue to have survived, but not a credential to be commander in chief). And before ‘Nam, he was aboard one of the aircraft carriers that carried out the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a close observer here to history.

The bottom line is that Forest Gump has been as close to historical events as two of the three candidates for president. The third candidate for president, Obama, would likely admit a much. Like Forest, Hillary and John were witnesses to history, but were not its participants or makers.

Clinton Should Thank her new Media Base

Clinton won Ohio big, and Texas a little. After winning the must-wins, Hillary must now thank the “base” that got her there: the media. Obama had the better organization and more money. But Clinton ran a flame throwing campaign, which the media loves, culminating in the Daisy Girl commercial. They really love the daisy girl commercial. She also showed some self deprecating cheek in her SNL appearance, which effectively cajoled the media into pointing their lens in search of the Obama underbelly.

Corporate media loves a foodfight more than it loves even Obama (or McCain). Why? the foodfight translates into ratings, profits, and airtime. The foodfight is likely to send chills up both of chris matthews’ legs. So expect the media to fuel the Clinton’s scorched earth strategy for another 7 (Pa) or 13 (PR) weeks.

And when it comes to fueling the fire nothing works like fear, which appeals to the basest, least rational and least democratic instincts out there.

Regrettably, I can’t think of a non-fear based appeal that leads to a Clinton victory. Problem is I cannot imagine two months of fear mongering leading to a democratic victory in November. It has been 75 years, yesterday, since FDR told America “there is nothing to fear but fear itself. FDR must be turning in his grave.

Hagee, Farrakhan and the Pro-McCain Media

The media may be fluffing Obama’s pillow, only to smother him with it. On the topic of a couple recent, high profile endorsements, the media’s narrative is quite definitely pro-McCain.

Regarding endorsements by Hagee and Farrakhan, rather than reporting that each candidate might have a “cross to bear” with the support of unsavory religious characters, the corporate media instead has clearly and inaccurately distinguished between the Hagee endorsement of McCain, and the Farakhan endorsement of Obama. Although Hagee is current and dangerous, and Farrakhan is pretty much a relic from the ’80s, the Farrakhan endorsement has drawn much more media fire.

Interestingly, the media makes sense of both endorsements by making use of a pro-McCain narrative.

The pro-McCain narrative frames Obama as anti-American (doesn’t know words to national anthem, doesn’t wear flag lapel pin), and McCain as a patriot. It paints McCain as pro-Israel and Obama as a Muslin and anti-semitic. Funny thing for a media that is supposedly “asking Obama if he needs a pillow.”

Let’s start with Hagee’s endorsement of McCain. Hagee is a Christian evangelical who has been denounced for anti-catholic and anti-gay statements. He is also known for his “life and death” support of the state of Israel, which complicates matters in American politics. His endorsement of McCain was accompanied by no media outcry for McCain to reject or denounce Hagee’s support.

In fact, McCain has said he would neither denounce or reject the endorsement, and the media has left it at that.

Next, Farrakhan, (Nation of Islam), recently endorsed Obama. Farrakhan is known for having led the “million man march” back in the 80’s, and making ugly anti-semitic comments. Farrakhan has not been heard from much in recent years. During the Obama-Clinton debate at Cleveland State last week, however, moderator Tim Russert dusted off relics from some of Farakhan’s old speeches and tried to stick em up Obama’s nose. Obama demurred, but then after some badgering by Russert and Clinton, he rejected the Farrakhan endorsement.

For much of the campaign, the media has implied that Obama’s support for Israel is soft, that his conciliatory rhetoric might belie a pro-palestinian stance. Probably a good chance the media will continue to push this narrative line come this fall.

On the issue of being endorsed by bigoted religious figures, the media has placed Obama on the defensive to prove he is not a Farrakhan shill, or in other words, an anti Israel, anti-semitic candidate for president.

Clearly, McCain has had the softer ride. McCain was not asked whether he is an anti-Catholic, anti-gay shill, or for that matter if he agrees with Hagee’s view that that the Jews would need to perish before the “second coming.”

The battle ahead?

According to the feb 29, Rosen’s blog in Haaretz, the McCain campaign is stocking up on materials that would try to connect Obama’s opposition to the War in Iraq with an anti-Israel position.

And the media is likely to give McCain a pass. The recent post on Drudge showing Obama in ceremonial Somali garb (take during a visit two years ago), and the over-played Cunningham–Barack Hussein Obama– comments at an Ohio McCain rally, allow the media to raise doubts about Obama’s patriotism, support for Israel and by association, anti-semitism.

This nasty, clever swiftboating strategy not only falls at McCain’s feet, but must also be seen as an active media construct. First, it is a nasty cynical attempt to play on the fears of jewish voters. Any the media is complicit. The media continues to believe that John McCain is not capable of such dirty politics (evidence to the contrary is dismissed. Just last week the corporate media turned a nearly blind eye to McCain’s being in bed (figuratively?) with Vicki Iseman and corporate lobbyists.

The media cannot assist two teflon candidates in a 0-sum race. So far, it’s McCain.

Farakhan provides an all too easy cudgel (he has few defenders these days), while Hagee’s professed (but highly suspect) love of Israel gives him a pass to spew all the hate he desires.

Hagee’s love for Israel has nothing to do with support for the Jewish people. Quite the opposite. His support is premised upon the eventual and utimate demise of the Jews (precursor to second coming), which ought to make any pro Israel stance highly toxic and worthy of intense media scrutiny.

Regrettably, intense media scrutiny of the likes of Hagee is not likely until America’s post-911 era of fear has run its course, and the media decides it time to move beyond the baiting. Until then, the pro-McCain narrative will continue to abide superficial odes to patriotism and deeply engrained anti-muslim demonology.