The Media's True Colors - Part 1F
This is part of my continuing series exploring the real nature and behavior of the U.S. mainstream news media - in terms of news coverage. Part 1 of this series addresses issues of basic journalism, and previous posts covered bias in journalistic malpractice on political coverage (Part 1A), accountability for malpractice against the Left (Part 1B), punishment for transgressions (Part 1C), censorship (Part 1D) and astroturf propagation (Part 1E). This part covers propaganda.
Uncovering propaganda in media behavior is a bit more difficult than one would imagine because there is a certain amount of subjectivity that can creep into such analysis. For example, there may be cases where the news coverage or media behavior is propagandistic in effect but may not have been intentionally propagandistic. Covering such cases and sifting out claims of propaganda vs. non-propaganda is truly a challenging exercise and beyond the scope of what I am able to do. So, in order to separate out media behavior that gives the *appearance* of propaganda from overtly propagandistic behavior, I address only the following types of propaganda that have been observed in the mainstream media:
- Running "news" items which are pure propaganda, without letting viewers/readers know that it is (e.g., who the source of the "news" is)
- A willingness to push talking points or propaganda for a particular political party without disclosing to viewers/readers/listeners (ahead-of-time) that one is a paid or unpaid consultant to that same party
- Actively pushing for overt, one-sided partisan propaganda (talking points) in news reports
- Financing propaganda ads supporting a particular political candidate
It is not difficult to get a sense for the ICM's (mainstream media's) comfort with the presence of GOP propagandists in their midst. Such comfort is reflected, for example, in their unsurprisingly poor coverage of Gannongate. When Jeff Gannon (aka James Guckert) and his employer "Talon News" were revealed to be a propaganda arm of the GOP/Bush administration (not to mention liars/serial plagiarists) - and that the White House gave Gannon "press" credentials on highly suspicious grounds and then lied about it - the ICM's utter reluctance to cover the details of this case and investigate the whats and whys behind it, revealed its true colors.
The examples listed below (URLs provide details) demonstrate the willingness of the mainstream media (ICM) (or journalists/columnists employed by the media) to serve as propaganda pawns of the GOP (knowingly or unknowingly), far more than any such willingness to serve as a propaganda organ for liberals or Democrats. (As CorpWatch points out, the Bush administration spent almost twice as much on propaganda PR pieces than did the Clinton administration; also see this blog post).
APPENDIX (includes some commentary on Jeff Gannon/Talon News and Rush Limbaugh)
One point should be noted in all this. Considering their Dear Leader's love of propaganda (and dislike of exposes of his paid propagandists), conservatives in the mainstream media unsurprisingly "win" hands down on this. Any media organization that tolerates this behavior (or ignores it) clearly indicates its willingness to also serve as a propaganda arm. Indeed, when one of CNN's co-founders, Reese Schonfeld, actively supports government lying and media cover-ups of Government misbehavior (truly un-American, and the opposite of liberalism and far more in line with today's so-called "conservatism"), it is not surprising that there are others in his midst who feel similarly.