Every now and then there are moments in the American media that defy description. Nevertheless they must be addressed.
Case in point: Washington Post “media critic” Howard Kurtz’s article today about FOX News Channel’s “reporters'” growing discomfort with the shenanigans of FNC darling Glenn Beck, he of the mighty chalkboard of insanity, his ludicrous fits of crying, his manic desire to be a political player, the fearmongering, paranoia and Stalin-Mao-Hitler-Marxist-Communist-Racist-Obama-hating cavalcade of madness. The meme that Beck is merely an entertainer and that FOX personalities are worried that the new star on the block could damage its relationship with the White House and the channel’s reputation are laughable at best. After all, Beck organized the infamous “9/12” rallies, a non-news event enthusiastically covered by FOX, complete with inflated crowd estimates. Beck, in displays of false modesty, claims to be a mere rodeo clown. Nonsense. He’s a liar, an ignoramus and a dangerous Father Coughlinesque demagogue who has done enormous damage to political discourse and the profession of journalism. (Beck would probably decry Coughlin’s loyalties but the technique remains the same).
Beck apologized recently for wasting his audience’s time following a hilariously absurd and demented interview with disgraced tickling enthusiast and former Congressman Eric Massa. But not to worry, he’s back to whatever passes for normal now.
FOX’s “news” operation didn’t show restraint or a desire for fact-checking while helping pump damaging, and false stories about the Clintons into the media churn, with the Vince Foster conspiracy theory still holding a strong showing behind the JFK assassination.
And it’s not as if Beck makes money for the network. He’s a loss leader (here’s a partial list of companies that have pulled their ads, despite Beck’s strong ratings). There are rumblings that Rupert Murdoch’s children are fed up with the drama surrounding FOX News’s foolishness, but you can bet that as long as daddy Rupert is in charge and Roger Ailes continues to draw breath nothing will change.
The Kurtz article follows an absurd piece in the Washington Post by former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines. With wide-eyed wonder, he ponders the vexing question of why reputable media organizations don’t call FOX out as a propaganda mill. This from a man who if he had a sense of shame would have the decency to keep quiet about media ethics, considering that
reporter Bush/Cheney stenographer Judy Miller’s wildly incorrect WMD/Chalabi articles started being published in the NYT on his watch. The New York Times, which sets the agenda for all other publications in the United States, was thereby complicit in pushing falsehoods that led to an unjust and unnecessary war, costing thousands of American lives and ruining the U.S.’s reputation around the world. Good work, Howell.
But to answer your question, Howell: Cowardice. The American media are sheep. You’re welcome.
American reporters love to express their wonder at the Pakistani media’s love of conspiracy theories and wrinkle their brows over what a terrible impact the dissemination of false and sensationalistic information could have on the U.S.-Pak relationship. Look in the mirror, people.
— Cross Post from: The Pakistan Update