Total Pageviews

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.