As long as we have people like CNN's John King, of which make up the majority of our 'talking heads', any 'change' we can hope for will be dashed on the rocks of American Corporatism.
King: So Donna, what is happening? You know, we had an election in November. What we thought we got was united government, a Democrat in the White House, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. Instead it seems that we just have a different kind of divided government. You have a Democratic President that's fighting with wings of his own party in congress, including, this is from Democracy for America. It's an email. It's a liberal organization. It is now sending an email to its supporters essentially saying send us money so that we can "run tough ads pressuring Democratic Senators who've taken millions of dollars from the health and insurance interests while standing in the way of one of President Obama's top priorities".
King: I mean, they all raise money, but they're essentially saying they're being bought to block President Obama. [vid at the link]
No shit, a grammar school child can see the obvious. What is the insurance industry throwing at Congress, $1.4mln/day?
And King and his ilk are being bought, whether by direct payments or with the promise of 'access', to either act clueless or to actively help the Republicans (and Democratic Blue Dogs) assure our corporate insurance system lives long and prospers.
I posit that, were it not for our 'corporate media', Bush would have never finished his first term, let alone been 'reelected'. Had the truth been told, had the hard questions been asked after September 11th, we wouldn't be in the dire economic straits we're in now. Had all of King's buddies, back in '96, called the Clinton 'scandals' for what they were, had they held the congressional Republicans accountable for making mountains out of mole hills, maybe we wouldn't be in two wars we can't afford, with the economy tanking, and our health care system in shambles.
Gord touched on this a bit the other day, mentioning the great David Halberstam in relation to the death of War Criminal McNamara, and Greenwald has a great essay up this weekend, about how the media has become a paid propaganda arm of the government (namely the permanent Republican/Conservative residents of Washington). There are few like Cronkite and Halberstam (and Murrow of course) and, as Greenwald points out, it is by design:
When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam died, media stars everywhere commemorated his death as though he were one of them -- as though they do what he did -- even though he had nothing but bottomless, intense disdain for everything they do. As he put it in a 2005 speech to students at the Columbia School of Journalism: "the better you do your job, often going against conventional mores, the less popular you are likely to be . . . . By and large, the more famous you are, the less of a journalist you are."
In that same speech, Halberstam cited as the "proudest moment" of his career a bitter argument he had in 1963 with U.S. Generals in Vietnam, by which point, as a young reporter, he was already considered an "enemy" of the Kennedy White House for routinely contradicting the White House's claims about the war (the President himself asked his editor to pull Halberstam from reporting on Vietnam). During that conflict, he stood up to a General in a Press Conference in Saigon who was attempting to intimidate him for having actively doubted and aggressively investigated military claims, rather than taking and repeating them at face value ... [em in orig]
Now it's just about regurgitating talking points from the people who have enough disposable cash to assure the best outcome (for them) of legislation designed to protect the American people.
An aside: For those of you who got a hundred grand to throw away, try this experiment. Throw it around in Washington; better yet, get a couple friends with that kind of money, pool it, and then throw it around in Washington. See how fast you start hobnobbing with the 'in crowd'. But I digress.
All of that was ignored when [Halberstam] died, with establishment media figures exploiting his death to suggest that his greatness reflected well on what they do, as though what he did was the same thing as what they do (much the same way that Martin Luther King's vehement criticisms of the United States generally and its imperialism and aggression specifically have been entirely whitewashed from his hagiography).
So, too, with the death of Walter Cronkite. Tellingly, his most celebrated and significant moment -- Greg Mitchell says "this broadcast would help save many thousands of lives, U.S. and Vietnamese, perhaps even a million" -- was when he stood up and announced that Americans shouldn't trust the statements being made about the war by the U.S. Government and military, and that the specific claims they were making were almost certainly false. In other words, Cronkite's best moment was when he did exactly that which the modern journalist today insists they must not ever do -- directly contradict claims from government and military officials and suggest that such claims should not be believed. These days, our leading media outlets won't even use words that are disapproved of by the Government.
And thus, today, guys like King feel empowered to present something other than the truth. Fox 'News' is the worst, by far, but by now it's nothing more than an obvious joke, as much as people realize WWE wrestling is really fake. CNBC I refer to as the Financial Fox. CNN and MSNBC aren't really that far behind. CNN has King, Foreman, and Dobbs and MSNBC has, paraphrasing another blogger (I forget who), "Pat Buchanan sleeping on a cot in the Green Room". Was a time, such an obvious bigot wouldn't have a regular job in the 'mainstream media' and had he said what he says, been laughed off any show he did appear on.
It's all about power and status. It's the reason most of these talking heads are making a tax increase on the rich seem like the Sheriff of Nottingham coming to collect the King's tribute from the peasants. If you haven't realized it, all those idiots on TV who talk at you are pretty well off. You know their tax rate will go up. Something like 97% of us make less than $250K a year yet to listen to them, we're all about to get reamed .060 oversize.
Whether we like to admit it or not, everybody is in the corporate pocket except for the majority of Americans who have to pay their bills on time, wonder if they can afford to put food on the table, fix the car, and pray they have some sort of safety net in case someone in the family gets sick lest they lose it all. In a government of, for, and by the people, in a fourth estate designed to protect those same people, the good of the people comes a distant second to the good of the corporate bottom line.
The best, it seems, we can hope for is to collect a few crumbs from the floor after the giants are done eating. It's disgusting.