The trillion dollar propaganda machine
By Joe Schembrie
If George W. Bush loses this election, it won't be because of a convention kiss. It won't be because he wasn't conservative enough or liberal enough. It won't be because of his lack of experience or a disreputable past.
It'll be because he's up against a trillion dollar propaganda machine known as the Liberal Media.
And a trillion dollars is probably an understatement. The AOL-TimeWarner deal, if it goes through, will form a conglomerate worth over six hundred billion dollars just by itself. Add in the other TV network/magazine/newspaper/movie production conglomerates, and you'll end up with trillions of dollars in capital investment. And all of it is dedicated toward the cause of liberalism.
Forget the influence of liberals in the groves of academe. The average voter never encountered a social science college professor in his life, and even if he did, he probably came away from the experience unimpressed.
Forget the liberal propaganda instilled by the public school system -- if anything, that thirteen-year sentence in civic propaganda is probably a great assist to the conservative cause.
And forget the labor unions, whose forcibly-extracted dues are provoking unrest within the ranks.
Nope, all the supposed sources of liberal political power fade in comparison to the news and entertainment mass media. People who would critically analyze the words of a college professor, public school teacher, or their own union boss will swallow anything they see on TV or in a newspaper or magazine headline. Not that the public doesn't recognize something fishy is going on -- but they continue to buy into it nonetheless.
What harms the conservative cause the most is not the editorializing, it's the card-stacking. The media will talk for months about Bush's alleged drug use, but not a word about the many eyewitness accounts of Clinton and Gore drug use. That Bush and Cheney worked in the oil industry is enough for journalists to keep insinuating bribery and corruption for years to come; Al Gore's red-handed bribe-taking at the Buddhist Temple is already long-forgotten.
Worse than anything the news media does, is the not-so-subtle character assassination in the so-called 'entertainment' media. Late-night comedians have planted the notion that George W. Bush is an idiot -- though his SAT scores were higher than Al Gore's and, unlike Gore, Bush actually finished graduate school. But that won't stop Letterman from wisecracking that Bush doesn't know there are ninety minutes in an hour and a half and that there are only fifty (not fifty-two) states in the Union. Don't forget to laugh.
The more subtle they are, the more outrageous they are. During the Lewinsky scandal, you couldn't watch a television sitcom without learning a Valuable Lesson that concludes it's best to 'let sleeping dogs lie' when it comes to adultery. And by the time you finished digesting that, along came another story line, teaching America's youth that telling the truth only hurts people. The government rewards television producers for inserting anti-drug messages into their story lines, but partisan nihilism comes for free.
People who will never watch a news program do watch these entertainment shows, and form their political perceptions thereby. The Republican presidential candidate has a budget of about a hundred million dollars for brief TV commercials with which to counter this round-the-clock, trillion dollar propaganda machine's onslaught. Expect October Surprises.
The mainstream media today is perhaps the most spectacular case of market failure in the history of capitalist economics. Detroit tried to unload big cars on the driving public, and failed. Coca Cola tried to ram New Coke down the throats of consumers, and failed. But for decades now the dominant liberal media has spewed liberal pap onto the eyeballs of an essentially conservative viewership, and their monopoly remains unchallenged. Will market forces ever prevail?
Translation: Will people ever get wise?
Perhaps someday. Talk radio and the Internet are eating into the liberal media monolith, and the networks and newsmagazines are showing nearly a ten percent annual decline in viewers and readers. If trends continue, the captive audience of the liberal media will be cut in half by 2008.
But that is scant consolation for an ex-fighter pilot with a master's degree, who for now must endure being called stupid by the college drop-outs running the late night talk shows.
Joe Schembrie is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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