The Mainstream Media is Culpable in the Murder of American Democracy

Is the American electorate the least informed in the world? It is possible. I mean, after all, we’re looking at a possible century-long reign of Republican crazy as a result of the past two midterms. If you’re like me, you begin to wonder after a while if everybody but you took a stupid pill.

Or just watched too much TV. We have Fox News, after all, and even with declining ratings, a lot of people watch Fox News. Their old folk base stubbornly refuses to die off, or maybe there just are not enough young people NOT watching it. But even if you avoid it at home, you can’t escape it in stores and restaurants, so even if you don’t want to hear it, you’re bombarded nonstop with lies and distortions.

And let’s face it: there are a lot of vulnerable minds out there that should be protected from this stuff, and I’m not just talking children.

Certainly the midterm election results give one pause as well, with voters going with ballot initiatives in complete contradiction of the party they actually sent to Congress. Makes you wonder if they really understood any of the issues they were voting for, or if they really knew what their Republican candidates were for an against.

Extremism is hidden, after all, by the mainstream media. Fox News certainly doesn’t disclose the really crazy stuff; the crazy stuff you do see on Fox News is just the tip of the iceberg. The mainstream media is even worse than this, completely ignoring, for example, the extremism of supposedly mainstream Republican candidates while promoting the fantasy that the Republican Party has reigned the Tea Party in. In fact, the Tea Party is so reigned in that Ted Cruz has been anointed by those ultra-extremists as de-facto leader of both chambers of Congress, right over Mitch McConnell’s balding pate.

The problem is, the Republican Party is just as – if not more – extreme, than it was pre-reigning in. What seems to have happened is that the Tea Party craziness has been further mainstreamed, subsumed by the Republican establishment until the need for Tea Party radicalism has gone away.

And despite the fact that the ballot initiatives show widespread support for liberal and progressive positions on culture-war issues, the mainstream media is now claiming that the election proves the country has become a center-right country.

Right. That’s why most Americans support liberal positions like marriage equality and raising the minimum wage.

If the election results – leaving out the carefully ignored ballot initiatives – are supposed to prove their thesis of a center right country, how about the voter suppression, voter intimidation, and outright fraud the mainstream media completely ignored? And how about the district gerrymandering, which was also carefully ignored?

If America is stupid, it is not only underfunding education and overfunding charter “schools” but the mainstream media that is the blame. Look, there are reasons Republicans hate actual schools, because even under-funded, they actually educate kids. And there are reasons they love charter schools, because like all privatization, charter schools are money making schemes that make Republicans rich while educating no one. In fact, we’ve already seen that to celebrate their midterm theft of American democracy, Republicans are anxious to promote and support charter schools.

And why not? If you can’t steal elections any other way, just keep folks dumb enough to do what you tell them to do and think what you tell them to think. It’s working. Look at all the folks who think raising the minimum wage will destroy the country. Do you know people like that? I do. Blame Fox News for that, yes, but also the mainstream media.

You don’t see many moments of mainstream media candor where, as CNN Money did in January, it is revealed that 75 leading economists back raising the minimum wage. The mainstream media much prefers the conservative narrative, but of course, the mainstream media is a corporate media and it’s no more anxious to pay its employees a living wage than any other corporation.

We are facing a national crisis. An electorate too stupid to understand the issues and too unmotivated to vote even if they did. This midterm election was a national disgrace, and not only because of Republican propaganda, dark money, and electoral corruption, but because of widespread apathy.

You can be sure that Republicans will do all in their power between now and 2016 to ensure that Democrats never get elected again. We can laugh at Oregon Rep. Greg Walden’s claim Wednesday that, “We’re back to a majority as big as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority,” and certainly with his outrageous lies as to why that might be true, but we really shouldn’t laugh, because it might be true.

The Republican Party has completely de-legitimized liberal and progressive politics. We are now people who can have our heads held under water until we stop breathing, who can be “made to squeal,” not like pigs, but like rape victims in Deliverance, from where the line comes.

You know you stand in dark times when the mainstream media stubbornly refuses to report these outrages, or when the president’s offer to work with Congress is met, not with the relief it deserves, but with outrage.

What’s more frightening yet is that you won’t hear about that outrage from the mainstream media. Americans should not have to work so hard to get informed, and they won’t bother until they realize they are being kept uninformed. You can’t expect to have questions answered if you don’t know which questions to ask.

But until something is done to bring about change, American democracy will stand in front of a corporate executioner. If the trigger hasn’t been pulled already, it won’t be long until we collectively topple, like an ISIL victim, into a grave we have been forced to dig for ourselves.

Update [11.7.14: 1:58 pm] This post has been updated to reflect the anointing of Ted Cruz as de-facto leader of Congress.

Update [11.9.14] The original image used for this post has been removed as it has been brought to my attention by a reader that the artist, David Dees, is a holocaust denier

38 Replies to “The Mainstream Media is Culpable in the Murder of American Democracy”

  1. The MSM are no different than the GOP: they whore for the same people the GOP whore for, and that includes MSNBC

  2. When the thugs,(republican’s) get through establishing Charter Schools all across the country and manage to dumb down the population, to the degree they want, I wonder what then, will this country be? Charter Schools are just one more way rethugs make money. Next will be highways (All), National parks, Why not sell the whole country? Piece by piece, have little fiefdoms? Would they be happy then?

  3. Double H, I pay very little attention to the MSM because it is a corporate entity. When Edward R. Murrow stood up against Senator Joe McCarthy, he was demoted by CBS boss William Paley because Paley was concerned about the bottom line. Sure there are flashes of light that expose wrong doing, but by and large, what is important at the end of the day is how much money was made, and will they be able to keep their sponsors.

    This election proves again that when Democratic voters don’t vote, Republicans win.

  4. The MSM is comprised of large, wealthy corporations, with highly paid CEO’s. Why would anyone think they have any vested interest in exposing the GOP strategy? They are part of it.

  5. Powerful essay that details exactly what’s happening in the United States.

    A dictatorship – the Republicans’ wet dream for America – needs a solid propaganda machine in order to dumb-down and keep the populace under control, and there hasn’t been a more solid, more expansive propaganda machine than U.S. Corporate Media.

    There is NO WAY anything can be done to counter this bait ‘n’ switch from reporting the news to skewing it in the oligarch’s favor other than to make these propaganda sources obsolete. First, though, the electorate needs to accept and understand that we no longer have a 4th estate and that’s a very, very tall order.

  6. Great article but it also a sad article. We can go back to the fairness doctrine to when Bill Clinton sign the tele communications act which led up to the courts saying even though you call yourself news you can outright lie.

    I don’t watch the news anymore so I cant tell you what they put out there but seeing some of the comments from certain people I just shake my head and tell the idiots to move along.

    We as progressives are not always right. We make mistakes but when we do its not out to lie for our positions is that we don’t have all the info so we seek out knowledge. For the past 30 years the country has been fed that if you know something you are an elitist.Education is not valued only what your gut feels matter.

    And with only 36% voting and the village thinking that’s a mandate it will only get worse. So buckle down because you aint seen nothing yet.

  7. You won’t believe it, but fanatics in Ohio want to make top flight state universities “Charter Universities.” I hope the voting public in the Buckeye State will wake up to the GOP destroying our state wired on Ayn Rand who was the biggest hypocrite on God’s green earth.

  8. This shouldn’t be no surprise to anyone who been paying attention. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC fired all of their indep. pundits. Then they start hiring either Faux rejects or Faux-lite.

    Every media outlet tote KKK/GOP talking points & if they don’t, they’re fire or they resign.

    Integrity is dead in journalism. Its all greed for $$$.

    It starting back in 2010 when we fail to show up at the polls. And we seal the deal in 2014.

  9. This is an excellent read! Thank you for sharing. We are becoming a nation of idiots. Who knows where this is headed at this rate? I’m quite concerned. WE could collapse under all this greed and hate! WE have certainly lost our values and lost our way. We have given our power to the executioners! It reminds of that commercial where the young teens decide to hide behind the wall of chain saws in a horror video with the bad guy watching how stupid they are! We need a strong faith and initiative to get through this one as they gain more and more power to the point regaining democracy may be out of reach. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!! This is not a joke! People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake!

  10. I understand McCain wants to start a war – any war, also Burr (dumb as a rock)who never served a day in the military, knows nothing is to be oversight of the CIA (I would say the torture investigation now never sees the light of day).
    We are totally screwed.

  11. But but the emos led by glenwald and the snowman will blame Obama. I hate the so called professional left

  12. I don’t know how to post links but I had a video on my Facebook news feed called: Is America the Greatest Country, a video by Ashraf Kochia, this is excellent. This is worth the time to look it up.

  13. Now I am really mad, the horrible Chuck Toad
    has written a book (I did not know he could write) very much against the president – as though Toad would know anything.
    I sent an email to NBC saying that his partisanship disqualifies him from MTP. I need help and others to join me and do the same – please!

  14. I am a longtime media professional and we need to understand the even more basic and insidious side of this. It’s crucial to remember that the mainstream media corporations have a completely selfish motive for keeping this going — all that campaign spending is going straight to them to buy time for TV ads. The more is money is spent, that money goes directly to them through their various network ad sales departments. A political season is better for them than any other sales opportunity in terms of sheer profits. That these media companies would in *any* way want to be presenting entertainment content that might stop the madness is unthinkable. And understand that *everything* is entertainment, whether it goes under the category of News or not, because it’s supposed to keep eyeballs watching and it’s rated and that means they will do whatever it takes to make it work for their bottom line. News is just another moneymaking commodity. Dismaying, unethical, outrageous but true.

  15. some of us try and point out the truth to the uninformed…but they refuse to see no matter how many times you post the truth….their hatred overrules their brains…

  16. When Edward R. Murrow stood up against Senator Joe McCarthy, he was demoted by CBS boss William Paley because Paley was concerned about the bottom line.

    I never heard that story before.
    Many thanks for the enlightenment.

  17. It is a sad state of the non-union, where dumbing of the population is the goal. The public libraries everywhere are dismanteling their book collections in favor of electronic media, and making certain items harder to find, and some have completelly disappeared.
    In AZ, the law school has becomed a private university, it is still in the same place, run by the same people, except it cost thousands of $$ more and the new professors are part-time and will never get tenure. The university sporting fields have been sold to private corporations who are Manhattanizing the place & the wonderful main campus has been fractured and the schools relocated all over the metro-area. How did it happened?
    I have no idea! I am sure the president of ASU, AKA “King Crow” is well connected with the people taking over the properties.
    Meanwhile, the students tuitions continue to escalate.
    The media did not serve the AZ public in exposing these events, just served their masters, by staying quiet.

  18. Me<one pissed off dem. The only cable news I watched prior to the election was CNN.
    For at least two full weeks prior to the midterms this was the constant mantra repeated thousands of times:
    "Obama an unpopular president"
    "Obama popularity low in the polls"
    "Obama an albatross"
    "Obama poll numbers take a dive"
    So voila, mainstream media takes up the drum beat. Might I add in all of this not once did I see CNN compare Obama's poll numbers with former presidents in order to give some perspective. CNN takes gop talking points and makes them seem legitimate. GUILTY!!

  19. I truly believe that a lot of American voters are incredibly dumb. Here in Michigan, Leelanau county voters voted for Gary Peters for the Senate (good thing; he’s a liberal Democrat and will be an excellent senator) but they also re-elected Dan Benishek to his seat in the House. “Dr. Dan,” as he likes to refer to himself, is a teabagger who voted against the interests of his constituents and of the American people at every opportunity over the last four years. He was a part of the last two House sessions which sank the reputation of Congress to a new record low. Why? Probably because of Koch brothers’ money and the fictional ads they screened constantly during the campaign. And because voters are dumb? I’m glad they voted for Gary Peters but why would they turn around and send “Dr. Dan” back to the House when he is a good sized part of the problem?

  20. Even Nate Silver says the polls were wrong. This was supposed to be a close race and some dems winning. He never talked about the lost voter registrations, suppression, rigged machines, misinformation, lies, gerrymandering, cut days and time to vote. Could it be the polls were right and they stole the election? We need to ask why it was so important for them to win this time. They won’t do anything but harass President Obama and take away as many more rights that they can. Which in turn will cause them to lose in 2016. Is the hate for us all that matters, other than greed of course.

  21. When our courageous democrats ran from our president and their own accomplishments (ACA, economy, etc.) I think we knew the electorate would not show at the polls. I get sick to my stomach when I think of the next 2 years and the hell we are facing. With all my being I wish I could get the hell out of Kansas. Being elderly and strapped with a home that is not worth what I paid for it 14 years ago I know that I am doomed to stay in this God forsaken hell hole. Oh, woe is me!

  22. It is not that America is being dumbed down. The problem is found in the word selfishness. Many of our adult people are so selfish in their dumb stupid mindset theses days that it is destroying our nation. Case in “pout”, the news media got everyone in believing that money is the root to all happiness. And if you are to have it, it is better to vote republican. Never once informing the people how selfish and evil they are. Sadly, some will say that selfishness don’t make people do stupid dumb things. One quickly remind them that the POTUS record speaks for itself. One has to be selfishly dumb stupid to believe otherwise. Selfish democrats ran from the POTUS excellent record. While the repubs offered absolutely nothing and the selfish vote them in. Why!!! Because people’s nature is to ignore good works and cling to that nature that something has to be bad in good. Repubs with their news medias are experts at painting that picture and play to that selfish nature in people. Off-base m…

  23. Anyone paying attention over the last 30+ years knows this didn’t just happen. It was all part of the repub plan to take over. They divide us using hate, fear, lies and tons of money. Look at their voters. Mostly white who have been lied into believing that the country is being taken over by folks who don’t look like them, sound like them and who want to change things in a very scary way. I’m a white woman and I am part of who they hate too because I don’t want them telling me what I can and can not do with my life choices. The takeover is almost complete. No wonder Canadians and Europeans ask what the hell is wrong with us?

  24. Next time somebody yells LIBERAL MEDIA IS IN THE TANK FOR OBAMA let them take a look at this little bombshell that should have cost Joni Ernst the election.

    Gretchen Hamel, a campaign spokeswoman for Joni Ernst’s U.S. Senate campaign, was arrested on Oct. 29 for operating while intoxicated and resigned the morning after the incident.

    Why was this not reported when it happened?
    Funny how that works

  25. The fact remains that we are left with at least a decade more of an ultra-conservative congressional majority. We know how this will all end, war and deep economic recession. The only solace I take is knowing eventually the nation will wake up and put back into power a Democratic government. Thing is when this inevitably happens how much damage will the neocons have done to our nation in the meantime? Look how much damage eight years of GWB/Cheney did to America when they had a GOP congress for six years. History shows though for every bad conservative government we sometimes get an FDR type great president out of it. We can only wish.

  26. NBC ABC CBS right along with them; the billionaire owners of the media have destroyed the independent press; they are pushing the ultra conservative agenda the same as the Koch brothers.

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