of an Internet Junkie
Since long before the tragedy of September 11th, I've been
a true Internet political junkie. My morning fix begins with
Smirking Chimp and Buzzflash to see what stories they're linked
to. More often than not, I've already read them at MediaWhoresOnline,
Democratic Underground, CommonDreams, Online Journal, Slate,
Salon, AlterNet. BartCop, Working for Change, American Politics,
Liberal Slant, Consortium News, etc., etc.,… there are hundreds,
but I limit myself to around 20.
In the process of stressing myself out and neglecting work,
I've come to a couple of conclusions I would like to share
with my fellow junkies in the hopes of extracting some meaning
from this confusing sea of information.
We know too much.
Not in the Orwellian sense of black helicopters coming to
take us away (what was that whirring sound?) but in the sense
of having an overabundance of shocking information about what's
taking place in the world. Faux News watchers and Rush Limbaugh
listeners live in a simple world where America fights to save
"Freedom" from those godless Islamics. However, the rest of
us have seen a frightening web of deceit and intrigue.
The CIAs, Bushes, Cheneys, and Bin Ladens of the world have
orchestrated our present madness in the interest of weapons
sales, a potential $4 trillion worth of oil and gas, and even
profits from the sale of Anthrax vaccine, if you can believe
that. We know just how profoundly ugly things have become,
and that reality is not as simplistic as mainstream news would
have us believe.
It's not enough to just read the stuff.
If you're like me, you mainly read but also contribute the
occasional tidbit to the message threads. No matter how trenchant
our observations to each other, I can't help but feel that
all of it is just whistling in the graveyard if it can't translate
into some kind of action.
MadDog77: "Hey guys, Bush just declared martial law,
and put a new tax on air!"
TexasSue: "Wow, MadDog….that really sucks."
CarneyMan: "Those guys are such idiots…somebody oughta
The Arabs have a saying for this phenomenon: "The dogs bark,
but the caravan moves on."
An essential part of the Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld juggernaut
is momentum, and their "caravan" is moving forward while we're
busy exchanging notes and correlating information. And, as
we know, Bush has his own version of the Arab saying: "Who
cares what you think?"
It's hard to share our knowledge.
Although I love my brother dearly, somehow he morphed into
a Republican in recent years; we stopped talking about politics
somewhere between November 7th and December 12th of last year
when he opined that "it's downright criminal what Al Gore
is trying to do in Florida." (Counting votes in a presidential
election… truly despicable.)
Anyway, with heart in mouth, I recently sent him an article
from the London Guardian on "Why Americans have no idea why
they're hated." His response was a suggestion that I should
be handling public relations for Bin Laden. So much for my
plans to educate him about the Carlyle Group and their dubious
The GOP's scorched-earth approach to politics has so poisoned
rational discourse that there's little opportunity to share
important knowledge with those being spoon-fed mainstream
Infotainment "news". The gap between liberal and conservative
is now a giant abyss, which is probably why we keep our opinions
about Bush to ourselves at cocktail parties.
Liberals can't get anywhere with the present biased media.
Al Gore had no reputation as a "chronic liar" until he began
to battle with Karl Rove's propaganda machine, and the same
fate that befell this thoughtful and decent man lies waiting
for anyone who takes up the Democratic cause in 2004. The
GOP has absolute dominion over the airwaves, pure and simple.
The mainstream media, beginning with Fox and NBC, anointed
one of the deadlocked candidates as "winner" and the other
as "sore loser," and cast the die for the travesty that
followed. The US is crying out for objective, balanced media,
and the survival of Democracy depends on it. So how on earth
do we fix it?
It's about money.
The huge multinational companies who pull the strings of
both the media and our new "Corporate" government are motivated
by profit, and nothing else. So how does a media company like
Fox get revenue? By selling advertising. Now, tell me what
would go through the mind of a CEO whose company sponsors
FOX news after receiving an avalanche of letters like this
President and CEO
I am a member
of Consumers for Democratic Media, a coalition formed to take
action against the extreme right-wing bias in today's broadcast
and print media, which now places America's cherished institution
of a Free Press in jeopardy.
to your company's sponsorship of FOX News, with its blatantly
pro-GOP agenda, means that, as a consumer, I will therefore
exercise my rights to:
any purchase of General Motors products
family and friends to boycott General Motors products
Actively encourage friends and relatives via the Internet
to join this boycott
Continue such actions until you withdraw your advertising
or convince FOX News to change their biased policy and begin
offering objective and complete news coverage which includes
liberal and contrasting viewpoints.
one person. But I'm one of 50 million liberal/moderate voters
whose votes in the 2000 election were thrown out, in part
because of biased media coverage, and one of the millions
who understand the importance of a Free Press to the survival
of American Democracy.
If the American
Corporation is willing to play a part in the cynical manipulation
of the public through biased media, it would do well to heed
those from whom its wealth flows: The American Consumer.
Fox News Network
Until the Campaign Finance Bill is passed, there is no hope
of Democratic party action. A few short weeks ago, I would
have included in these observations the idea of encouraging
the Senate and Congressional Democrats to take decisive action
against the GOP onslaught on the Bill of Rights. I abandoned
that concept when I learned about Mrs. Tom Daschle's lobbying
on behalf of the airline bailout, and realized that money
touches everyone. There's no Santa, no Easter Bunny, and no
real opposition to the Bush agenda beyond reducing a $1.6
trillion giveaway for the rich down to $1.3 trillion. Whoopee.
Once again, it's all about money, and it needs to be removed
from the political process just as its impact on the dissemination
of news needs to be changed.
I know that proposing consumer pressure against unlimited
Corporate power is not up there with the Chinese student facing
down the tanks in Tiananmen Square, but it's an honest attempt
to do more than just reading and worrying. If you agree, PLEASE
copy this to as many people as you can, and feel free to borrow
the letter's form for your use. Any suggestions for "viral
marketing" of this idea would be most appreciated…Also useful
would be to compile a list of companies advertising on mainstream
The stakes are much too high. Let's do something besides
read, whine, and worry.
Yours for better days.
P.S. Is there a better illustration of what's wrong with
American media than Fox's bizarre network promo? If you haven't
seen it, it's an emotive, soul-stirring montage of the waving
flag, soldiers exchanging salutes, and jets taking off from
aircraft carriers, climaxing with the logo: "Fox Sports".
To which I can only say: "Huh?"