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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crossfire: the mother of harlots and abominations of the media

MOYERS: Which is funnier? CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL?

STEWART: CROSSFIRE or HARDBALL? Which is funnier? Which is more soul-crushing, do you mean? Both are equally dispiriting in their… you know, the whole idea that political discourse has degenerated into shows that have to be entitled CROSSFIRE and HARDBALL. And you know, "I'm Gonna Beat Your Ass" or whatever they're calling them these days is mind-boggling.

CROSSFIRE, especially, is completely an apropos name. It's what innocent bystanders are caught in when gangs are fighting. And it just boggles my mind that that's given a half hour, an hour a day to… I don't understand how issues can be dissected from the left and from the right as though… even cartoon characters have more than left and right. They have up and down.

I mean, how... it's so two-dimensional to think that any analysis can come from, "It's the left and it's the right and well, we've had that discussion and that's done."

PBS NOW w/Bill Moyers
Transcript: Bill Moyers Interviews Jon Stewart
July 11, 2003

Everything about the format of Crossfire and the political chat shows established thereafter was tailored to right-wing demagoguery. The demagogues were elevated, given a platform equal to that of their opponents, who were often nonpartisan journalists sullied by the association. Every issue, observation, point, and fact suddenly had "another side": the right-wing side. That side was held up not by solid reportage, scholarship, and analysis but by bald ideological assertion, pseudoresearch, and raw partisanship. Under the Crossfire formula, if 99 percent of scientists agreed the earth was round, while 1 percent said it was flat, the two views were given equal time and, thus, equal validity in the minds of viewers.

David Brock
The Republican Noise Machine
Crown Publishing Group 2004

Now in their voting [the Spartans] usually decide by shout and not by ballot....

English translation by Charles Forster Smith
G.P. Putnam's Sons 1921

When it comes to the bastardization of TV news, Crossfire and The McLaughlin Group were THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE media. Both shows were founded by Republicans. TV host John McLaughlin was a speechwriter and adviser to President Nixon. Ted Turner was a member of the Young Republicans in 1963 and spoke to Reagan-era National Conservative Foundation in 1984. Both shows featured the bellicose Republican partisan Pat Buchanan. Both shows were precursors to the scream-fests on Fox "News."

After Ted Turner failed to take over CBS, supposedly desiring to change it to a "pro-family, pro-America type" network, he bought himself a 24-hour news network. With so many programming time slots to fill, Turner hired a lot of movement conservatives for CNN. Thus many shows began to feature "From the right, Buchanan or Novak" and "From the left, the facts." The facts were brought to the viewer by a typically milquetoast journalist and labeled "liberal." Hence, facts came to be thought of as having a liberal bias, and all political discussion were skewed right.

Thus, CNN moved the center of poltical discussion to the right while lending credence to the Republicans' bullsh*t "liberal media" mantra at the same time. After Fox outfoxed them at this game, they have refocused their efforts on being a legitimate news network. But they still gave rise to likes of Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Frost is to Nixon as _____ is to Bush?

It took interviewer David Frost to get President Richard Nixon to admit as much wrongdoing as he did. America needs George W. Bush to admit to the following Nixonesque mea culpa:
  1. There was probably more than mistakes--there was wrongdoing.
  2. I did abuse the power I had as president.
  3. I put the American people through eight years of needless agony and I apologize for that.
Who do you think would be the best person to get George W. Bush do this?

Amy Goodman

She is the fierce, independent journalist who anchors Democracy Now. With writings such as Exceptions to the Rulers, she could go uncompromisingly toe-to-toe with anyone.

Bill Maher

He was fired by ABC during the Bush administration, but went on to comedically peak while lambasting him on HBO. No question would be off-limits to Maher, and he wouldn't hesitate to call "bullshit" if Bush tried to hide behind religion.

Bill Moyers

Accomplished journalist loathed by the right for his speaking truth to power. His kind nature and demeanor might appeal to the last vestiges of Bush's soul and perhaps get him to fess up.

David Letterman

Extremely talented interviewer. He had the best McCain interview during '08 campaign. Could sneak up on Bush to get to the truth.

Keith Olbermann

His "Bushed" and "Still Bushed" segments have tireless kept track of the myriads of Bush scandals. His special comments regarding Bush were spot-on (Regrettably, he later extended this vitriol to Hillary Clinton and John McCain who are not in the same corrupt-league as Bush.) Olbermann would bring information and determination to the table, but he does not have a proven track record as an interviewer.

Rachel Maddow

Brainy with a pleasant demeanor, she would slice-and-dice Bush's record while killing him with kindness.

Steven Colbert

Faux-conservative Colbert exposed Bush's criminality to his face at The White House correspondents' dinner in 2006. Could he do the same thing in an interview?

Terry Gross

Simply the best at giving interviews. Her only weakness is that she is strictly a radio news person. Towering Bill O'Reilly ran away from the diminutive Gross in October 2003.

Two others I thought of but did not include are Jon Stewart and Howard Stern. Both are outstanding interviewers. Jon Stewart absolutely exposed the neo-con "Bush kept us safe" lies of Bill Kristol in a 2006 interview, but has said that he would probably respect the office of the president too much to properly interview Bush. Howard Stern is great at getting people to admit things, but there are deeper issues than whether or not George and Laura do anal. Besides, Howard Stern has too much of a fascist streak in him to do Bush justice.

Please fill out the poll on the side of my blog. I get pissed off. You decide.