February 10, 2012

The Case of the Missing Journalism

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:36 pm

KTVU got there Thursday
Tents popped up again onSproul Plaza Thursday
Little tents seen on Frank Ogawa Plaza

As the first full week in February ends, the overwhelming temptation for political pundits is to compare the chaotic process of getting the Republican primary elections voters to choose the man who is ultimately going to get the nomination to Bach’s Little Harmonic Labyrinth, and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will skip that because it is too obvious. The executives for the Democratic Party know who their nominee will be just as surely as Karl Rove knows who his party will select.

Isn’t it obvious to non pundits that Romney is a Potemkin candidate? For most Republicans the situation is like when they learn beforehand that they will be honored via a surprise party and that they will have to act surprised when it happens right on schedule.

The paid pundits in the mainstream media know this but their weekly (“Yeah, I get paid weakly – very weakly”) paycheck is whatcha might call “hush money.” When the inevitable happens watch and see just how authentic the surprise is on the faces of TV’s regulars on the weekend analysis shows. It’s like they say in Hollyweird: “If you can fake sincerity, you have it made in Hollywood.”

Didn’t Republicans fight hard to get ranked choice voting established and now aren’t they using the Liberals’ arguments against the change to discredit Romney who isn’t getting much more than about 50 percent of the voters in any one primary?

Speaking of Republican inconsistencies; what about the possibility of sending Americans into Syria to help them win freedom and democracy? Is it an oxymoron when Republicans staunchly endorse sending American youth to die in a war to establish a democracy overseas? Shouldn’t they want to establish a Republic and not a Democracy?

The Oakland city council at their regular Tuesday night meeting voted down a measure to order the Police to use more stringent measures when dealing with the Occupy protesters.

Some cynics question spending money for keeping people out of a public park or plaza or from seizing a vacant building on a weekend when five murders are committed in other areas of Oakland. Isn’t the answer that there is always going to be gang violence but cleaning up the downtown shopping area makes business associations happy?

Periodically at Frank Ogawa Plaza tiny teepees will appear. Apparently they are meant to be a gesture of defiance regarding the ban on the use of tents in that area in front of the Oakland City Hall.

This week the Guardian weekly newspaper in San Francisco ran an article, on page nine of the February 8 to 14, 2012 edition, written b Shawn Gaynor, about new legislation which is designed to prevent the San Francisco Police Department from working with the FBI to investigate local citizens.

Isn’t it one thing for the police to tell a fearful wife that they can’t do much about a husband’s threats until he actually does something unlawful, and another thing for a country that might send troops to Syria to investigate the possibility of future reprisals inside the USA?

This week the New York Times in a lead story on page one reported that the USA plans to downsize the number of diplomats stationed in Iraq. Were they trying to hint that the massive Embassy constructed under war conditions in that country was an example of overspending that precipitated the numerous cuts to welfare programs inside the USA? If that’s what they wanted to imply, why not just come out and say so in an editorial?

How can it be that there isn’t a week that goes by without some liberals protesting the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Prison but the allegations of prisoner abuse in the Los Angeles County Jail gets little (if any) notice outside that gigantic county?

On Thursday, February 9, 2012, Occupy Cal held a rally on the Mario Savio steps at Sproul Hall.

The World’s Laziest Journalist went early to the noon event and, while waiting for the start time to arrive, chatted with a local political activist, Russell Bates, who attends many of the political events in the area.

Bates (who emphasizes that he is not related to the mayor of Berkeley) related a version of the events in Oakland on January 28, 2012, that didn’t quite mesh with the way it was reported in local news media.

According to Bates, the marchers who trampled a fence down at the Kaiser Center in Oakland that day were trying to move away from police aggressive police officers and when the marchers encountered the fences the crowd movement away from the police was a greater force than the fence was engineered to withstand.

Bates went on to assert that the people who were arrested for burglary entry into the YMCA later that night, were merely trying to avoid being arrested in a kettling maneuver by the police and that the marchers were merely rushing through the only avenue of escape. Bates alleges that of the 408 people arrested that day, only twelve were charged.

Bates claims that the news media is complicit in spinning the events of that day because they did not provide aerial coverage from their news choppers of the kettling process.

On Thursday, news coverage of the attempt to restart the Occupy Cal movement initially could be described as meager. A camera man from KTVU was covering the noon rally as well as reporters from the student newspaper, radio and TV studio.

Last fall Occupy Cal received news coverage from a much larger contingent of journalists.

A police officer informed the protesters that the tents they were erecting on Thursday afternoon were not permitted. The police did not take action immediately and attempts to learn about subsequent developments by listening for news reports on KCBS news radio were unproductive.

The columnist functions as the writer, typesetter, editor, fact checker, for this column but also has to do the computer work necessary (download from the Coolpix, edit the photos and transfer the ones selected for possible use to a memory stick and then posted online in a place where the html process can find and fetch it for use when the column is posted on Friday morning) to add photos to the column.

[Note: there is a labor dispute in progress at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters and the proofreaders have been locked out until they give up their silly demands for wages and other benefits.]

Would it be appropriate if the World’s Laziest Journalist were to be well paid to not cover Occupy Cal? How can “hush money” be spun so that it sounds commendable?

On Friday morning, KCBS news radio was not making any mention of the Thursday student protest and so the World’s Laziest Journalist will have to take a circuitous rout to the computer which will be used to post the column online and check to see if the tents are still making their mute protest or if the protesters have folded their tents and faded away into the night.

On Friday morning, that news station was reporting about a Thursday night public meeting in Oakland where members of the public made charges of police brutality against the participants in the Occupy Oakland events.

Recently this columnist has suggested that there might be a need for an unofficial meeting place for a Berkeley Press Club. Apparently the columnist misjudged the level of enthusiasm such a suggestion might generate. Only one reader responded to the idea of such a group.

On Thursday, the news media seems to regard Occupy Cal as a fad that has faded.

This just in: On Friday morning the tents were still on Sproul Plaza and more TV news crews had arrived and interviews were being conducted. The story on Friday morning seemed to focus on the symbolism of a mushroom as indicating regeneration. The World’s Laziest Journalist will try to file updates next week.

To be continued . . .

California Governor St. Ronald Reagan once said: “If it takes a bloodbath to end this dissention on campus; let’s get it over with.”

Now the disk jockey will celebrate the Beach Boys reunion by playing their “Smile” album. Tuesday in San Francisco there will be several events to mark the 50th anniversary for Tony Bennett’s original studio session for making the recording of “I left my heart in San Francisco,” so the DJ will play that song. He will also play “Desert Caravan.” We have to go and see if we can watch the Grammies. Have a “nothing to see here” type week.

September 20, 2011

Is “boring news event” an oxymoron?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:37 pm


Tourists who visited San Francisco on the afternoon of Monday September 19, 2011 were rewarded with a warm (Indian Summer?) day with clear blue sky that provided snap-shot shooters with postcard perfect conditions that brought Paul Simon’s song “Kodachrome” to mind. You don’t have to speak their language to know when a skyscraper has impressed some foreign travelers.

News Photographers who were at San Francisco’s BART Civic Center station to cover this week’s installment of the regularly scheduled No Justice No BART political demonstrations came away from the event with images that might have disappointed many of the photo editors in the area because the latest protest did not disrupt BART service and no arrests were made.

Pictures of the protesters handing out leaflets outlining their assertions about the BART Police Department made it seem like the demonstrators have achieved celebrity status and their efforts naturally drew a contingent of paparazzi to record their everyday activities for posterity.

The very fact that any blogger covering Monday’s “demonstration” has to ask if images of some mundane advocacy efforts are newsworthy may indicate that digital journalism is mature enough to face the same question that have been being asked at city desks for years: what is new?

According to hearsay evidence the concept of digital images was developed by some computer pioneers who worked on the second floor of their building and wanted to be able to tell if the coffee maker on the first floor had finished its chore. If those images are still available, they will have some historic value.

When Mario Savio leaped into the headlines with an extemporaneous speech almost fifty years ago, the citizens in Berkeley had a specific example that a cusp area where political activism and celebrity often overlap does exist.

The aim of political activists is to draw attention to a specific cause and so spokespersons faces a double edge sword when they start to become a certified celebrities. They can draw massive news coverage but they also risk drawing attention away from the cause they are working to achieve.

Meanwhile bloggers have to start thinking like photo editors.

If there are approximately three dozen people who cover activists handing out flyers does that mean that the photos have news value?

If bloggers are becoming concerned with questions of news value is that evidence that the phenomenon of citizen journalism is maturing?

Local TV stations have been accused of adopting an “if it bleeds; it leads” philosophy of journalistic judgment.

If a local event doesn’t produce eye catching dramatic images does it deserve play?

If the Internets are providing a venue for citizen journalists to cover issues that the national media ignore, doesn’t that mean that protests that don’t result in mass arrests deserve coverage?

Are the No Justice No BART protests getting coverage on Fox Views (AKA Fox News) Network?

What if the next No Justice No BART demonstration features an adorable kitten playing the Kingston Trio’s song “(Charlie on the )MTA” on a piano? Would an online video of that “go viral”? Would it be newsworthy? Would folks fwd that to their friends on Facebook? Would it help publicize the effort to disband the BART cops?

When it becomes obvious that without a large number of arrests an event loses news value, then some home-truth aspects of journalism start to become apparent.

Maybe before covering the next No Justice No BART event, we should read the classic short story “The Lady or the Tiger” to see if there is some subtle journalistic symbolism in it?

March 20, 2011

American Journalism MIA

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:33 pm

Americans who read their daily papers very assiduously during the week of March 13 – 19, 2011, were informed that something bad happened in Japan and that a “no fly zone” had been authorized to be implemented over Libya, but there were some aspects of the news that were (like the rest of the Cheshire cat in back of the smile) missing.

This week, a Democrat President did what George W. Bush tried and failed miserably to accomplish; Obama got America into a new military venture without a word of dissent from any Democrat politician.

There was (ironically) a series of demonstrations marking the anniversary of the shock and awe TV special that marked the beginning of America’s continuing invasion of Iraq. Since the paucity (paw city = cat pun?) of news coverage of the war’s various birthday parties left news junkies to wonder did those “protests” really happen?

The writers’ strike against the Huffington Post was mentioned by Romenesko’s Media News, the Columbia Journalism Review’s website, and in a column by the World’s Laziest Journalist, but since Rupert Murdock has nothing but distain for the journalist’s mission, he used “interline courtesy” rules and his band of clowns will stay mum and not embarrass fellow mogul Arianna Huffington.

Other than feature stories about some radiation in food which is at “no cause for alarm” level (why bother mentioning it then?), has anyone reported any other facts about the nuclear disaster in Japan? There was an erroneous report that the frantic workers had been given the “abandon ship” order, but that was later denied. They are trying to cool the reactors down.

If the workers were trying to exacerbate the situation, that would be news, but spending all that money to send reporters into the danger zone just to come up with “trying to cool the reactors down” stories seems a bit too obvious to warrant network evening news round-up time.

Has any major media reporter done a sidebar story about the possibility that the surrounding area might (like happened in the Chernobyl region?) become a radio active leper colony?

The academics who teach atomic science at the University of California at Berkeley have been reported to be measuring the fallout in that city of the radiation coming from Japan. There are no specific details about the readings, only the “second the motion” platitudes about Obama’s announcement that there is nothing happening that merits alarm. They can’t or won’t say what the readings are, but no worries, mate, don’t sweat that bit of unnecessary news.

A judge in Wisconsin ordered a stay on that state’s law to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Uncle Rushbo was urging the governor of Wisconsin to choose to ignore the stay, just as (he asserted) President Obama had ignored a ruling on the Health Care Package that was passed last year. Why upset union workers with breaking details on that story when it was clearly important to run stories telling them that there were no worries about the situation in Japan?

It’s not like the news media failed completely during the week of March 13 – 19; on page E-1 of the San Francisco Chronicle, for Friday, March 18, 2011, David Wiegand reported that Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option” tour will feature an appearance in San Francisco (on April 30). Perhaps Charlie will reveal details about the cooling efforts in Japan?

Adolph Hitler used the threat of physical torture to keep journalists in line during the Third Reich era. He had an official state run newspaper (just like Uncle Rushbo would like to see in the USA?) and journalists who wished to stray outside the prescribed boundaries did so at their own peril. His torture specialists had a high “complete recant and sincere apology” level rating.

In the USA, Freedom of the Press is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, but the journalists seem to be very willing to accept an unwritten “ya gotta go along to get along” codicil to that scrap of paper.

Perhaps, if America’s journalists offered to voluntarily subscribe to the Volkischer Beobachter standards of reporting, a nasty round of lay-offs could be avoided? If the reporters want a Dan Rather-Keith Olbermann ticket to oblivion, that can be arranged. Is any news story worth the loss of facetime on the networks?

Apparently there will be no effort on the part of the news media to relay to the public assurances from a reputable politician that: “It isn’t about oil.”

Speaking of scraps of paper, have you read about the 29th Annual Napkin Art Contest being held by Mama’s Royal Café, in Oakland CA?

On page 539 of “Murrow: His Life and Times,” (Freundlich Books hardback ©1986) A. M. Sperber quotes Edward R. Murrow: “Surely we shall pay for using the most powerful instrument of communication to insulate the citizenry from the hard and demanding realities which are to be faced if we are to survive. I mean the word ‘survive’ literally . . . .” Has anyone thought that Murrow might have been a very early example of the conspiracy theory nut?

[Can anyone explain why the annual list of the names of the individuals being inducted, this year, into the Conspiracy Nuts’ Hall of Fame are being kept secret?]

Now the disk jockey will play “Zippidy Do Dah,” “I’m the Pied Pipper,” and “The Warsaw Concerto.” We have to go check and see how the Fremantle **ckers (An American pants company won’t let us use their team name) are doing. Have a “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” type week.

[Afterword] After writing this column, we bought the New York Times Sunday edition for March 20, 2011, and learned, in the lead story on the front page, that in order to protect the citizens of Libya from their leader, a series of air strikes had begun. How many citizens of Libya will be inadvertently killed in the effort to protect them was undetermined.

We learned on page 12 of the front news section that questions were being asked about the possibility that the Tokyoy Electric Power Company executives may have wasted time in their response to the emergency.

On page 23, in a photo caption, the Sunday Times informed readers that “protesters were arrested in Washington on Saturday.”

February 3, 2011

Rememboring the Berkeley Barb (and other underground newspapers)

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:33 pm

Seeing a copy of Smoking Typewriters (by John McMillan Oxford University Press Copyright 2011) for sale over the weekend, inspired us to see if the Berkeley Public Library had that book available in its new releases section because we were curious about how far one would have to delve into it before encountering any reference to the Berkeley Barb. When we learned that the Library would be glad to take a suggestion that they acquire that particular work, we sped back to Moe’s Book Store on Telegraph Ave. and overcame the cheapskate aspect of our personality and bought a copy of the new book with the subtitle: “The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America.”

The Introduction compared and contrasted the coverage of the Rolling Stones free concert at Altamont which had appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Berkeley Barb. The Barb was mentioned in the first sentence.

Since the Chronicle was the flagship of William R. Hearst’s newspaper empire and the Barb was one of the first “underground” newspapers, the corporate viewpoint was very different from the work in the publication driven by the drive towards profits than was the reportage found in the alternative news source.

The basic business philosophy of those two publications was as different as that of Fox News and this website. It’s as if it is just a matter of history to see that the official government endorsed view of reality is engineered to perpetually spawn a market for media which was designed to subvert the distortion of reality by the unscrupulous businessmen hoping to curry favor from the politicians.

The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and their Port Huron Statement is credited with being the source of inspiration for the underground press movement. The Village Voice and Paul Krasner’s magazine, The Realist are acknowledged to be the prototypes from the Fifties for the underground newspaper movement of the Sixties. Passing mention is made of the role underground newspapers played during the German occupation of Paris (France, not Texas).

McMillan takes a close look at the stories about the start of the Los Angeles Free Press, and the Paper in the East Lancing Michigan area near Michigan State University (MSU), and the Rag in Austin Texas. The author itemizes numerous parallels and ties between the Paper and events in Berkeley CA.

In chapter three, McMillan looks at Berkeley’s association with a widespread belief in the late Sixties that smoking dried banana skins was just as important to enthusiasts of psychedelic experimentation as was the dreaded marijuana plant that spawned a nation wide panic over the concern that the youth of America were risking falling into the life of a drug fiend just for a few momentary feelings of elation called “highs” or “kicks.”

McMillan, in a book that is heavily annotated with scholarly references to provide a lifetime of work for at-home fact checkers, cavalierly quotes numerous efforts by the underground press to substantiate and validate the urban legend that the peels of the tropical fruit could, if dried and smokes like tobacco, produce a transitory feeling of bliss known as “Mellow Yellow.” In every case, the road test was declared to substantiate the claim, but then McMillan notes that the FDA declared the belief to be a “hoax.” He undercuts the work of the government agency by injecting an unverifiable line from a contemporary stage play that asks: “Now do you think a responsible government agency would mislead the American public?” McMillan doesn’t include the words “nudge nudge wink wink,” but he ignores the strong possibility that he may be responsible for possibly causing a number of young and gullible readers to jump to the conclusion that the “hoax” explanation was itself the real hoax and thus subsequently lures them into a “don’t try this at home” bit of fact checking.

Chapter four, which details the rise of the Liberation News Service (LNS) indirectly focus on Berkeley because the organization, which came to sudden prominence in the journalism industry because of its coverage of both the “Battle of the Pentagon,” which started on October 21, 1967 and the week long student strike at Columbia which erupted spontaneously on April 23, 1968, had one of its first three teletype machines in Berkeley, when the organization started using them in February of 1968 (page 103).

Since the students didn’t permit reporters from Establishment media into the building, journalism student Steve Diamond was one of the LNS personnel who acted as a human news wire network between the various occupied buildings and got a unique perspective on the evolving events. Diamond is quoted (page 114) as saying in September of 1968: “We’ve educated a generation that no longer buys or needs daily newspapers.” Isn’t that sentiment being echoed these days on the Internets?

The lively and entertaining events that occurred when the staff of the Berkeley Barb revolted and formed the nucleus of a rival publication that came to be called The Berkeley Tribe were glossed over quickly on page 122 and again in Chapter 6’s footnote no. 84 on page 239.

[Personal note: This reviewer, while covering a 2010 story, in Berkeley CA, of the cripple peoples’ rights protest known as “Arnieville,” heard a recounting of that bit of underground newspaper history and is of the opinion that that facet of the topic at least deserved a longer and more conspicuous place in the book’s main body of text. We learned later in the book that the squabbling at a fictional underground newspaper, the Back Bay Mainline, was the basis for the 1977 film Between the Lines, which was set in the Boston area.]

McMillan quotes Bob Woodward’s 1974 assessment of the situation: “The underground press was largely right about government sabotage but the country didn’t get upset because it was the left that was sabotaged.”

The chapter about the power struggles in the editorial offices across the USA ends with the transcription of Thomas Forcade’s statement presented to a Congressional hearing on May 13, 1970. The words would be a hilarious blast from the past if the subtle implications of the move to impose “net neutrality” were only a figment of the imaginations of the conspiracy theory lunatics.

For the underground press, the question of “who decides” was a matter of basic philosophy. Their debate established once and for all that no topic was off limits in a free press. Internet sites would later make the one essential exception for conspiracy theories, but essentially continued the “no holds barred” philosophy established in the Sixties.

The Liberation News Service, as the summer of 1968 drew to a close, split into two rival factions. One wanted to move the headquarters to a farm in Vermont and the other thought that staying in the country’s media hub in New York City made sense. The events that followed sound like the scenario for a Three Stooges episode. The press was hijacked and a late night confrontation at the farm had ominous potential endings.

It was the high water mark for the underground press phase of American Journalism. The Seventies saw the emergence of the “alt” era of the newspaper business.

In the book’s Afterword, McMillan points out the similarities and parallels between the Sixties underground newspaper fad and the new trend of writers expressing themselves via blogging, which raises the question: Will future media scholars write books about the early days of the Internets? McMillan’s book will leave hippies asking this question: “Other than new labels and slogans for old issues, does anything really change from one generation to the next?”

For someone who can remember getting details of the shooting of James Rector from copies of the Berkeley Barb that were “hot off the press,” and who remembers the opportunity for catching a free Stones concert at Altamont as being an invitation to participate in a traffic jam of historic proportions, reading McMillan’s book was an enjoyable preliminary means for gathering material for a new column, but as to the readability appeal of this book for someone who hadn’t yet been born when Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey for the right to a free squat in the White House, we’ll let you know if a friend in Concordia thinks about it if they send us a review after we send them our personal copy of this new book from Oxford University Press.

It is apparent that the lessons learned in America during the Sixties about gaining control of unruly mobs are well known in Cairo today.

(We are relatively certain that any Berkeley citizen who still has copies of the Berkeley Barb among the material in their personal archives will like this book.)

On page 76 McMillan quotes the editor of the Barb, Max Sherr, as saying: “We’d plant small articles in the paper saying ‘There’s a rumor that something is going to happen on Telegraph Avenue Friday at two o’clock.’ So people would show up on Friday to see what would happen, someone would say, ‘Hey, let’s close off the street,’ and something would happen.”

Now the disk jockey will play Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” Harry Belefonte’s “Banana boat” song, and Country Joe McDonald’s “Fixin’ to Die Rag.” We have to go over to San Francisco to check out an event that is being called a Neal Cassidy birthday party. Have a “groovy” week.

December 17, 2010

The Trumped-Up Espionage Case Against Julian Assange


July 22, 2010

Right-Wing ‘Journalism’ for Dummies with Andrew Breitbart


May 21, 2009

Dowd Dood It


Further reading:

“NY Times’ Maureen Dowd Plagiarizes TPM’s Josh Marshall”
TPM, May 17, 2009.

“Gerth blames NY Times editors for Whitewater ‘mistakes’”
Eric Boehlert, Media Matters, June 5, 2007.

“Where’s the Media Mea Culpa?” [on Whitewater]
Joe Conason,, March 28, 2002.

“United States journalism scandals”

March 5, 2009

At long last, Rush, have you no decency?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:02 am

Bill O’Reilly told his radio audience that his mission was to point out errors committed by pin-heads in the media. After we ran columns about meeting an Australian woman who had worked on a war crimes trial connected to WWII and said that Bush qualified as a war criminal and, after looking up what was said about war crimes at Nuremberg, we noted that President Bush might merit some serious consideration for inclusion in a war crimes trial. Then we specifically invited Senior O’Reilly to honor his commitment to scrutinize our performance as his audience’s proxy and point out any errors. He didn’t challenge us and his “no spin zone” radio show went off the air last week. That settles that.

[Isn't it a sorry state of affairs when the self-proclaimed "World's Laziest Journalist" has (with those two on-line columns) done more to assert and establish that President Bush committed war crimes than (to the best of my knowledge and Google search ability) any writer for any of the major daily newspapers? It's better than no one saying anything but it looks very pathetic to citizens in other countries.]

Should we turn our attention to El Rushbo next, or should we first ask how can we get an invitation to come on Dennis Miller’s radio program so that we can compare him with Robert Brasillach? Of course he might not be too eager to be compared to the man who was executed for collaborating with the Germans during their occupation of Paris and environs.

We’d like to hear Dennis Miller’s opinion of just how contagious Bush’s circle of criminal contamination extends and who merits legal redress at a war crimes trial.

Miller’s trying-so-hard-to-be-hip style of unquestioning allegiance to the President reminds us, when we listen to him, of Robert Brasillach who was also very enthusiastic about one particular political ideology.

All during the Bush era we couldn’t square the journalists’ self-proclaimed image as Edward R. Murrow clones while they all, with the notable exception of Keith Olbermann, acted as if they were the personification of the cowardly lion. Was there one other rebel in the mainstream media whose modus operandi wasn’t: “ya gotta go along to get along!”?

Now that Bush is gone it would be relatively easy for nationally known journalists to say something about how they wanted to speak out, but had some namby-pamby reason for remaining quiet, but they still haven’t denounced their own reprehensible professional conduct. Do they think that just because Bush has moved on to the Presidential Library phase of his life, it’s all over and they don’t have to look back?

When Bush invaded Iraq and the journalists were told to “Sieg Heil” or face accusations of being unpatriotic, no one uttered a peep in protest. Do they think that if Rush engineers a Republican Presidential win again in 2012, that the neocons will be chastened and reformed by the Obama example?

Some Republicans wanted a 1000 year majority in American politics and just because they aren’t in the driver’s seat this term, doesn’t mean that they’ve folded their tents and (as per a line in a Lord Byron poem) stolen silently away into the night. For Rush and his toadies, seeing Obama in the Oval office is just like a baseball game where the one team has the lead for the first and second inning, but then is behind one run when the third inning is over. Journalist who ignore the continuing threat from the neocon talk radio propaganda brigade are giving them a pass and do so at their own peril.

True journalists who would emulate Edward R. Murrow would do better to think of Rush Limbaugh as being similar to Senator Joe McCarthy. McCarthy’s political style was not fair and balance and Rush’s bombastic attacks bring to mind the line asking: “at long last, sir, have you no shame?”

Lion tamers’ most important rule is: never turn your back on an animal while you are in the cage with him. Do journalists honestly think that Rush would hesitate one second to tell his dittohead audience a crucial fib if it would produce the Presidential election results he wants?

Just because the conservative talk show hosts tell people with a Southern drawl: “Your a great American!,” doesn’t mean they be accorded the same level of enthusiasm overseas. We know of one fellow who got decked by a sucker punch in the Kings Cross section of Sydney and then beat up rather effectively (broken ribs?) by some locals who weren’t as pro-Bush as their country’s leaders.

Australians are very well informed about American politics despite the fact that not many of them know who Rush, Sean, and Dennis Miller are, let alone listen to them religiously. If they are knowledgeable about the subject and think that some war crimes have been committed, then, perhaps, the ditto heads are being misinformed?

Edward R. Murrow risked his professional career to take on a political bully. His heirs would do well to point out Rush’s shoddy debating tactics or (perhaps) face the prospect of seeing him installed as the person in charge of a Citizen’s Press Oversight Commission after the 2012 election of a Republican President.

Meanwhile, Dennis Miller is probably reaching a daily audience bigger than any newspaper writer has available.

Edward R. Murrow said: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” Dittoheads detest dissent.

Now, the disk jockey will play a song just for Dennis Miller: Leslie Gore’s “You don’t own me.” And to Bill O’Reilly who doesn’t have a radio show now, we’ll say: “Good night, and good luck.” It’s time to roll the credits and we want to go check the mailbox to see if there’s an invitation from Dennis’ producer. Have a “enjoy freedom of the press while you still have it” type week.

January 28, 2009

Thank you, Dennis Miller! ! !

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:04 pm

After writing a column lamenting the demise of hypocrisy, this columnist was forced to realize that it’s not dead after all. A morning monitoring, recently, of the Dennis Miller radio program produced a Phoenix moment. Hopes to be able to continue a connoisseur’s appreciation of sanctimonious Republican drivel sprang back to life almost immediately.

The column was a hasty misjudgment. Miller’s attempt, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, to goad journalists into mauling every aspect of the Obama program was so encouraging and reassuring for someone who now realizes that Dracula will die before Republican hypocrisy is laid to rest.

Anything but complete obeisance to the Bush press policy that stenography is excellent journalism and that any antagonistic questions from the press is tantamount to treason are applicable only during a Republican President’s term in office.

When a Democrat takes office, it’s time to take the gloves off. The Republican radio personalities will never say anything disparaging about a Republican and never concede that a Democrat has done anything that is not reprehensible and despicable, but the “pro liberal”media must, for the rest of Obama’s term in office, become completely antagonistic and skeptical to prove that they are fair and balanced.

Any derogatory comments made by the “pro liberal” press about a Democratic President will be as welcome as a cash contribution to the Republican National Committee. Any positive assessments of a Democratic President will be challenged and discredited by Republican lackeys in the radio game and be denounced as an example of prejudicial propaganda masquerading as “journalism.”

Miller punctuates his comments with guffawing but doesn’t indicate if he is chuckling with his listeners about how quickly the news media have forgotten that Bush had them fully trained to ignore his deficiencies, or if he is laughing at his listeners about how stupid they are to believe his two-faced standards.

Miller’s Tuesday program was soothing reassurance that a four year long supply of hypocrisy raised to the third power will be available for those who have become addicted to it.

El-Rushbo has indicated that he will wallow in disloyalty to the new Commander-in-chief, so don’t tune in to him to hear a daily dose of hypocrisy in action.

As viewers of the film “Gone With the Wind” know, tomorrow is another day and perhaps a listen to Sean Hannity will provide a new and powerful hit for a hypocrisy junkie! ! !

Andre Gide has said: “The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Now, the disk jockey will play a recording (from 1943?) of Fats Waller’s “You’re a Viper” (just for you Dennis) and we’ll be out of here faster than a Dendroaspis polylepis can slither. Have a “have a nice day” type of week.

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