If It Bleeds, It Leads (part 3)

(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

So, what has gone wrong in our society, in our government, when the majority of the public favor a public option in health care reform, yet, our government is unwilling to provide it?  What has gone wrong when people are willing to protest the very thing they need for themselves and their families; affordable health care?

The answer to these questions can be found in two words; corporate money.

(part 1 and part 2)

Corporations exist solely to make money.  This is true for any corporation; even the media that is owned by corporations.  And, therein lies the problem.  For the media, it is about ratings and advertising revenue.  For the corporation, it is about finding new ways to increase already bloated profit margins.

The media, well, they get ratings based on whatever their target audience wants to hear, so, they put on whoever will say it regardless of what “it” is.  Take this story by John Amato over at Crooks and Liars.  I’ll repost the exchange between Cooper Anderson of CNN and Mark Williams:

COOPER: But I mean, Mark, what you’re saying makes sense to me here when I’m hearing what you’re saying. But then I read on your blog, you say — you call the president an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief.


COOPER: Is that the kind of…

WILLIAMS: That’s the way he’s behaving.

COOPER: But I mean…

WILLIAMS: I mean, if he cares to be…


COOPER: Do you believe he’s Indonesian? Do you believe he’s a Muslim? Do you really believe he’s a welfare thug?

WILLIAMS: He’s certainly acting like it.

GERGEN: You think he’s a racist in chief? Racist in chief? Is that what you called him? That’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable,

WILLIAMS: Until he embraces the whole country — what else can I conclude? He and guys like James are totally, totally isolating the rest of this country; if you’re a working-class American, then you know, that’s it.

CARVILLE: I tell you, if you’re an American, and you like what you’re hearing from this guy, if you like celebrating a man’s death, go over there with these people.

The obvious question here is, if Mark Williams is calling President Obama an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and racist in chief” on his blog, why is he on CNN at all?  The next obvious question is, how can Anderson Cooper, with a straight face, say, “what you’re saying here makes sense to me”?

This is what passes for journalism today.  A shouting match.  This is why people like Mark Williams are continually invited back to these shows, so they can get into these shouting matches on television no matter how morally corrupt their statements.  But, even beyond that, is the fact that you cannot turn on the television, especially on Sunday, without it being dominated by conservative’s and their “view points”.

As I wrote here, once you own the messenger, you own the message.  Once you own what message is put out, you control the framing of the issue.  Any issue.  And, when you not only don’t have to tell the truth, but, you purposefully lie to the audience, your opposition is constantly on the defensive because they are constantly having to respond to the lie.  As I detailed in that diary, Fox News won the lawsuit based on the fact they could lie:

During their appeal, FOX asserted that there are no written rules against distorting news in the media. They argued that, under the First Amendment, broadcasters have the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on public airwaves. Fox attorneys did not dispute Akre’s claim that they pressured her to broadcast a false story, they simply maintained that it was their right to do so. After the appeal verdict WTVT general manager Bob Linger commented, “It’s vindication for WTVT, and we’re very pleased… It’s the case we’ve been making for two years. She never had a legal claim.”

That is how President Obama and the Democrats lost control of the health care debate.  They didn’t control the message.  When they didn’t fight, the message was, “oh, he’s instituting death panels!”  If they fought, the message was, “they campaigned on working with us”.  They allowed the lie to persist, thus, they were already working from a position of weakness.  When they caved, time and again, the GOP and its message machine merely changed the goal posts.  They have been played, at every turn, for fools.  

It is this very concept, controlling the message, that has brought the blogs into prominence.  It is truly the only place where investigative journalism exists.  Some would argue that MSNBC, with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, have brought back investigative journalism.  I say that MSNBC, seeing a market for more liberal talk shows, has capitalized on it with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.  They are simply the counter to the Right’s noise machine, albeit, a much needed one.  This, too, is a reason that the blogs have come into such prominence; there simply were few, if any, “truth tellers” on television, of any political persuasion, and, during the Bush years, we certainly needed it.

Corporations make obscene profits.  In order to make even larger profits, they lavish our politicians with legal bribes in the form of campaign contributions.  This not only buys their vote, but, many times it allows the corporation to write the legislation that is voted upon.  As we learn about Max Baucus’s health care “plan”, it isn’t his at all.

When Max Baucus circulated his draft plan earlier this week, the PDF documentation page (image) indicates that the “author” was ex-Wellpoint VP Liz Fowler.  Fowler was hired in February as Senior Counsel to the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and famously boasted that “the reason that I have a lot of friends is ’cause I got to give away money.”

If Fowler did indeed write the draft plan, then how did the same framework and language find its way into an amendment submitted by Blue Dog Mike Ross in July?

This isn’t a new concept as Big Pharma wrote the vaccine immunity law that Bill Frist introduced and had passed into law.  So, between corporations controlling the messenger, and the message, they also control the votes by fiat of campaign contributions.

Maybe Senator Obama was simply naive that he could change Washington, or, more likely, he understood what the public wanted, change, a government for the people again, and campaigned on that promise knowing he had no intention of providing it.

How do the people know which is which?


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