Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fox in MSNBC's clothing

"The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

-From former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

After Jesse “The Body” Ventura finished as Gov. of Minnesota in 2003 he signed on to be an MSNBC analyst. It was not widely known probably because he was not on the air much. Sunday April 13, 2008 I watched him talk about it on Fox News with Geraldo Rivera. He spilled the beans about MSNBC’s censorship.

Ventura said MSNBC almost never used him and finally let him go, “Why?” Rivera asked. “I was against the War” Ventura replied. The network was confused because, as Ventura put it, “I am a former Navy Seal, so they thought I would be for the War.” Let this be a lesson to all of us.

Many articles were written about MSNBC “coming out” as the left leaning version of Fox News in 2007, but I am not sure that ever happened. MSNBC has tried to brand themselves as the antidote to Fox News. Mostly on the back of Countdown With Keith Olbermann and his “special comment” segments bashing the Bush Administration. Friday May 16, 2008 Air America radio host Thom Hartman referred to Olbermann as “the voice in the wilderness.” He meant that Olbermann is the only liberal voice with his own show on all of cable news.

Can MSNBC claim to be the liberal station in 2007 when they were beating the drums of war in 2003? Hell no. Here are a couple reasons why: their over use of Pat Buchanan. He has been more conservative and racist than anyone on Fox News for so long that maybe it is no longer shocking and just a comfortable routine. I remember watching Hardball host Chris Matthews gushing after the 2004 vice presidential debate, “Cheney is such a heavyweight” he said.

Once a friend said, “Fox is conservative, MSNBC is liberal and CNN is right down the middle, right?” Although that opinion may be from a “low information voter” or someone who is not a news junkie, I think generally that is how the public views the three big cable news channels.

The three cable news stations want and need the War for ratings. I watched a lot CNN’s Gulf War coverage in 1991 because it was the only English language channel I could get while living in Presov, Slovakia. CNN was not a player until that war. After thinking about the last sentence it makes sense that none of the networks would allow many dissenting voices towards the War if any.

That is why I started out with what Ventura said. His words were straight up, easy to understand and further proof that much of the main stream media was in cahoots with the Bush Administration to make sure the War happened. The media may be as big a player as any in keeping up with our aggressively violent culture.

I am not sure if it has been subliminal support of these violent foreign policies by broadcasters and reporters or something more sinister and blatant. I tend to lean towards the latter because my experience in the broadcast media is that lifers are not ideologically driven to their jobs but instead “do formats.” Tony Snow used to work for Fox News and is now with CNN. Bill Hemmer used to be with CNN and now is with Fox News. The list goes on. It is just a job to many of these guys and that is why they can jump to stations geared towards different demographic audiences.

What I am trying to say is that the media cheer led us into war and we should know that and be aware of that. It may be just as bad an act as pushing the button to drop the bombs. Rationalizing the killing of mass amounts of civilians on the airwaves is a terrible thing to do and if you shrug it off five years later and say you “changed your mind on the War,” well that is even worse because you did not take other lives seriously.

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