Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing ~ Fear Of A Black Nation

Congrats to Our Great American Mainstream Media For Its Superlative Campaign Coverage!

~ Of Obama and his dangerous "radical" associations, at least ~

Bread and Circus in the 21st Century

In the More of the Same Department today, we find CNN joining the rest of the American media doing what it seems to do best ~ attempting to whip the public into a frenzy over a trumped-up newsbyte consisting of deliberately edited soundbytes devoid of context, declaring whatever it is a "crisis," then wandering off to the next manufactured media stunt ~ all the while ignoring REAL news ~

Your Demon was watching CNN last night ~ Anderson Cooper's 360, to be precise ~ and was astounded and absolutely appalled to find CNN once again giving Fox some major competition in the crusade to completely corrupt and distort American political news coverage, using airwaves owned by us, the public, to propagate pathetically shallow self-manufactured "news" coverage.

First they aired the predictably incendiary "clips" of the "controversial" Reverend Wright, taken completely out of context, and then tried to make it all Obama's problem with a purported "failure to address it earlier," ignoring the fact that Obama has addressed the issue already. Last month, most recently.

I almost fell off my chair in astonishment when Cooper read the question why he didn't off the teleprompter, albeit with a toneless and flat expression of voice and face that suggested it wasn't exactly his personal idea of a legitimate or pressing issue. The panelist to whom the question was addressed was also visibly taken aback by the profound inanity. I see that the Boston Globe and countless others have picked up the meme today.

It's distortion and noise masquerading as respectable news coverage ~ the sort of thing that Fox has foisted upon us for many years. Can we not discern the difference anymore? The clip is deliberately edited to create the most controversy, taken out of context, played over and over and over again, and what's more, that "news" purposely conflates Wright's alleged impropriety with Obama personally, seeking to make him answer for someone else's alleged "sins" against an America that admits no wrongs, no mistakes, no history, and certainly no self-examination (that would be unpatriotic in the brave new Bushworld we're now forced to inhabit!)

So Obama was basically forced by shrill media screeching, relentless and interminable, to answer for things he did not say, that there's no reason to think he believes (don't forget that he has had a vastly different life experience than has Rev. Wright) and that he correctly termed a short while ago "distractions." Obama did that, but with plainly visible sadness and discomfort. Not surprisingly. "Gotcha," cries CNN.

(Obama breaks completely with Wright:

Reaching desperately for some reason this crap should be relevant to anything, CNN and others (including other presidential candidates) beat the tired meme that it goes to those nebulous things called "character" and "judgment." The catch-all when they can't otherwise justify gossipy, salacious, logically disconnected coverage to any other issue of legitimate interest.

Er, yeah, no less than Hillary's little white lies and John McCain's involvement with the Keating Five speaks to their "characters" and "judgment." But never mind that. It's not news, especially when a Republican is involved.

What irks me more than anything is that, here, again, the great American corporate media that has served us so well with its edifying and astute coverage of Bushco machinations, and its ability to sniff out and investigate the real outrages upon the Constitution and illegal interpretations of international law such as the Geneva Conventions (not!), never mind other candidates' "controversial preachers" (see "Presidential Preacher Wars" blog entry below), is completely blowing yet another opportunity to address and flesh out a long-standing problem in this country, and contribute some progress to healing the racial divide by devoting just a tenth of the ink and airtime they waste on trying to whip up controversy, and to foment misunderstanding and hatred for the sake of excitement and ratings ~ reality-TV style ~ and instead do something constructive with it.

Your Demon modestly suggests they could contribute more positively by helping our history-challenged and the more self-absorbed and short-attention-spanned citizens among us to understand what Reverend Wright is talking about, instead of cynically exploiting it for the all-important (but transient) daily ratings game.

I don't defend Reverend Wright's means of garnering public attention just as the first viable black candidate for the American Presidency ascends to the national spotlight (it was a selfish "dis" on Obama which may ultimately compound the difficulties Wright's flock faces), nor do I blame him for using the attention to advance his own purposes. But I've lived in more truly diverse cross-cultural communities than most Americans, and I greatly enjoy his style, his oratory, and, above all, his intelligence. Is he radical? Is he subersive? I don't think so. Quite to the contrary. He argues passionately for us all to find common cause, whatever our racial identities, our ethnic heritage, or our religions. He may not hold the precise same views of history as the average white person, but then, that's because African-Americans have lived a different history than whites. That's all he's saying. (And I can't believe this even needs to be pointed out in the year of our Lord 2008.)

See CNN's own transcript of Wright's address to Detroit chapter of the NAACP. And again, it's a matter of that all-important context. Anyone in his right mind should be able to wrap a spare brain cell around the fact that the speech was aimed at an audience of other African-Americans, and at celebrating what he legitimately says is "different, not deficient."

Otherwise, I find most of what Wright says to be true and unobjectionable (when I can find a reliable source that reports it accurately) and at the very least valid from African-Americans' points of view ~ e.g., the Tuskegee Airmen "experiments," during which American military doctors let black servicemen believe they were being treated for syphilus when in fact the doctors were just charting the progression of the disease purposely left untreated. Instead, the media chooses to hoot at Wright for not loudly declaiming the "bizarre" idea that the AIDS virus is largely left unchecked or maybe even invented by the government because AIDS is perceived to be the problem of a misbehaving minority (blacks, gays and the stupid people who sleep with them), which may or may not have originated with him. We'll never know what Wright really thinks if it's left up to the media.

Any reasonable person, Demon thinks, should be able to at least understand why black Americans so profoundly distrust American government. Never mind slavery, Jim Crow, legally sustained segregation (the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" doctrine), still unaddressed lynchings and angry white men terrorizing the black community in white robes and pointed hoods. Whose behavior is more deplorable? Or, stated another way, who had the social power to do something about it, didn't, and wants to complain now that blacks are just whiny and don't have the wherewithal to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Er, first they have to be able to afford boots.

Oh, but Wright "praised" Farrakahn, a real radical, and an anti-semite. Doesn't that mean that Obama's commitment to Israel should be questioned?

Get a grip! Wright's attempts to make common cause with "Nation of Islam" blacks does not reflect on or impugn Barack Obama. No more than Reverend Hagee's radical views of the Catholic Church mean that John McCain believes it because Reverend Hagee must be speaking for him. Until the media starts grilling McCain and faulting him for not repudiating Hagee we can hardly be expected to take any of this garbage as anything but a hit job on Obama. I also note the complete absence of media attention to the fact that Hillary prays with a weird cult-like preacher whose main theme, according to The Nation, is "only the power elites matter." And Hillary dares to call Obama "elitist?" Why is the media not hammering on Hillary's hypocrisy? (I know ~ they'll get around to it tomorrow.) Maybe it doesn't matter because everyone already knows McCain and Hillary have no special attachments to their loopy preachers? What's the reason for the disparate treatment? I want to know, seriously. It seems creepy and weird to me that the one candidate for President who did have a genuine bond to his preacher (that he was clearly pained to break) is forced by relentless and insipid media accusations to do just that while it does not seem to be remarkable that the other candidates' preachers are patently more oppressive and hate-filled than the one just disavowed.

Worse, as to the complex, nuanced and less easily addressed (now festering) issues of race (that Wright so stridently insisted we listen to him go on about), economics and "style," for lack of a better term, on the two sides of the racial divide, CNN, joining the usual suspects in the right-wing media and blogosphere, seem to be tired of hearing that meme and want to move on ~ white America is tired of being flogged with it, it's really old news, before our time, and it doesn't generate controversy and ratings. Except for the fact that the entire country is still suffering for it, and the black community more than anyone else.

Your Demon thinks that, in the comi-tragedy that American Presidential elections have become, the very worst news here is how our corporate media "misses" so much and instead resorts to cheap shots, sensationalization and tangential manufactured "issues" to sell advertising, leaving the truth-telling, serious discussion and investigative press functions upon which the democratic process so seriously depends to wither and die.

*So what? Our ratings are through the roof!*

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

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