Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Media Bias or “What Liberal Media?, Chap. 1,000”

I’m returning to theological and other topics and staying away from posts directly on U.S. politics for awhile (probably until the DNC in August and RNC in September) unless events give me no choice. But I couldn’t help note an article on the Huffington Post by Max Berman that illustrates my longstanding claim that the U.S. mainstream media is biased in favor of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his campaign for the presidency. (Heck, even MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, a Democrat who cheered for Hillary Clinton-with no pretensions of objectivity AT ALL–throughout the primaries said rightly that the media “IS McCain’s base.”)

Berman’s article shows that McCain has had a week of gaffs and screw-ups and outrageous statements (by him and by his surrogates like former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) that, if ANY ONE OF THEM had come from the Obama camp, would have spelled the end of the campaign. But the mainstream media barely gave them a notice, concentrating entirely on Jesse Jackson’s rude comment about his intentions toward Obama’s genitalia.  Once more, “what liberal media?”

Read the full article by Berman, but I’ll review the highlights. It is clear that, even to elect a centrist like Obama, never mind to create a truly progressive politics in this nation, media reform is VITAL. Here’s a recap of McCain’s week that you won’t hear on the TV talking heads:

  • Called Social Security “an absolute disgrace” because current workers pay for the benefits of retirees–just as they have since the 1930s. THE centerpiece of the New Deal, the most popular government program in the country, a disgrace? If ANYONE in the Obama campaign had said anything REMOTELY like this, pundits would already be calling FL (and probably the election) for McCain.  Since the media are ignoring or downplaying this, I DO hope the AARP and other groups for seniors are making political ads about this NOW.  Didn’t the HUGE flop of Bush’s 2005 attempt to privatize Social Security show that Americans reject this out of hand? But undoing ALL of the New Deal remains a conservative GOP priority and McCain is playing to his base.
  • Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, McCain’s top economic advisor (unless the rumor is true that McCain is firing him), who WROTE McCain’s entire economic platform, said we are in a “mental recession,” and the nation is full of “whiners.” No wonder McCain got such a cool reception from blue collar workers in MI on Friday.
  • Iraqi leaders call for a withdrawal timeline. Despite the fact that McCain once promised that the U.S. would respect Iraqi sovereignty and have “no choice” but to leave when they ask, he first claimed they didn’t say this, then said it was an election stunt, then claimed that it would have “no bearing” on his plans for Iraq and then denied that he EVER claimed that he would leave when the Iraqi government said we should! Flip-flopping? Yes. Spreading democracy? Only if others’ democracies agree with our plans.
  • McCain release an economic plan that no economist thinks is at all realistic and is completely vague as to how it could be accomplished.
  • McCain, who has said we will stay in Iraq 100 years if necessary, now says he will save the economy by bringing the troops home since the war will soon be over. Why has this flip-flop gotten zero air time while Obama’s attempt to withdraw responsibly and listen to leaders on the ground has been falsely portrayed as a reversal or waffle?
  • McCain campaign has misled people about support from leading economists–who actually thought they were signing something else. Nice.
  • McCain, who once sang “Bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ classic, “Barbara Ann,” now makes a joke about killing Iranians.
  • McCain denies ever saying that he was not an expert in economics. See the video evidence to contrary at the link above–or repeatedly on Youtube, for that matter.
  • McCain distorted his record on veterans’ issues in response to a question from a Vietnam-era vet–who proceeded to call him on it.
  • McCain claimed that Aghan president Karzai’s relationships with Pakistan are “improving,” showing that his vaunted “foreign policy expertise” is not even equal to that of my 13 year old, daughter! As the last 8 years have shown, no one that confused about what is going on in the world should be allowed to lead this nation. I can see scenes of reading My Pet Duck during a major policy crisis looming now.

Berman’s article doesn’t mention that McCain opposed the fixing of Medicare’s payment to doctors (the only Senator to miss the vote), which was reducing medical care to the elderly. McCain has advised Bush to veto it, but it has passed both houses with veto-proof majorities.

Oh, and last week Pres. Bush and McCain were both claiming that McCain helped to pass the new G.I. Bill. FALSE. That bill, now law, was the creation of Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sec. of the Navy under Reagan, whose son is a Marine serving in Iraq and who has opposed this war from the beginning. McCain opposed this G.I. Bill as “too generous” to veterans we send in harm’s way (often on specious premises, such as with this war based on lies) and would lead to people getting out of the military to pursue college! When the Webb Bill passed the senate despite McCain, he urged Bush to veto it.  Now he wants to take credit for it–and the media refuse to call him on it.

Am I disappointed in some of Obama’s moves to the center? Yes.  Do I see him as a HUGELY better option than McSame? Absolutely. This nation, already in deep trouble because of 8 years of Bush, cannot afford even 4 years of McCain.

(BTW, anyone who thought that the first black president or the first woman president, etc. would be anything other than centrist is kidding themselves. Obama needs to be bolder, again, but no matter how centrist or how liberal or how ANYTHING, FOX News and co. will portray him as a radical terrorist in disguise.  The only black candidate they WOULDN’T portray that way is Alan Keyes–that rightwing nut job would be called “reasonable,” and “moderate,” not to mention, “a credit to his people.”)

We need media reform SO much.

July 13, 2008 Posted by | media reform, U.S. politics | Comments Off on Media Bias or “What Liberal Media?, Chap. 1,000”