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Greg Palast: I'd Rather Not Say Good-Bye, Dan

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 08:58 AM
Original message
Greg Palast: I'd Rather Not Say Good-Bye, Dan
From GregPalast.com
Dated Wednesday March 9

I`d Rather Not Say Good-Bye, Dan
By Greg Palast

Without his make-up, Dan looked like hell warmed over: old, defeated, yet angry. And he told our television audience something that just blew me away. American journalists, Dan Rather said, simply may not ask tough questions about George Bush or his wars.

Its an obscene comparison," Rather said, "but there was a time in South Africa when people would put flaming tires around peoples necks if they dissented. In some ways, the fear is that you will be neck-laced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck."

Talking to another reporter, Dan told it straight about the careerism that keeps US reporters in line. Its that fear that keeps (American) journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore-in on the tough questions so often.

Silence as patriotism. He admitted, One finds oneself saying, I know the right question, but you know what, this is not exactly the right time to ask it." It was making him ill and he was ready to say, basta, enough. Suddenly, there was fire in those eyes.

Palast is brutal. Since Rather is hardly the only offender on the air, one might argue that Palast is not being entirely fair by focusing on Rather and not mentioning Brokaw, Jennings or any of the gray talking heads or fashion model anchors who have read the news at CNN over the years. They are guilty of the same crimes as Rather.

However, these crimes against jounalism are real. In so far as it is the responsibility of a free and independent press to inform the public, these crimes against journalism are also crimes against the people of America.

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 09:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. This quote is more true than not, though...
Rather died as a journalist years ago by accepting the evil gag orders of the media moguls. Still, I applaud his attempt with the Bush story to kick his way out of his professional coffin. Unfortunately, his current silence simply gives aid and comfort to the censoring corporate news-killers.

Tonight, Rather read off his last "news" broadcast, if you can call it that. To Dan the newsman, and to American journalism, all I can say is, rest in peace.


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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. That's another bone I'd have to pick with Palast over this piece
Edited on Wed Mar-09-05 10:44 AM by Jack Rabbit
EDITED for spelling of a proper noun

Being hard on Rather is like blaming the getaway driver for an armed robbery. Palast indicates that he was getting his marching orders from network executives and they got theirs from the executives at AOL/TimeWarner.

The film Network (Sidney Lumet, screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, 1975) was prophetic in many ways. Most people can see in The Howard Beale Show the kind of tacky late-afternoon "news" program that dominated the airwaves years later, programs like Maury Povich, Ricky Lake, and Geraldo.

That's true enough, but what most people don't see how the network news went full circle under the direction of Frank Hackett (Robert Duval) and the corporation that bought the network. At the beginning of the film, Hackett gives a speech to stockholders calling the expectation that news division will lose money "an affront to fiscal responsibility" that he will reverse. He will do this by making the news more entertaining, even if that means it will be less informative. It is to that end that he takes the news program away from Max Schumacher (William Holden), a seasoned newsman, and gives it to entertainment director Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway). This works for a while, but soon the public gets tired of the program, the ratings fall and the network executives seriously consider canceling it. However, by this time The Howard Beale Show has staring delivering messages on behalf of Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), the head of the corporation. At the end of the film, Hackett reports that Jensen will not allow the program to be canceled, no matter how much money it loses, because it is delivering a message to the public that he wants aired.

So in the end, the network news of the fictitious UBS goes from being a money loser justified as programming in the public interest (that also provides a lead-in to network prime time programming) to being a profitable program to being a money loser justified only because it provides an outlet for corporate propaganda.

As part of the film's publicity campaign, Paddy Chayefsky would appear on talk shows and state that Network wasn't satire, it was reality. Most people at that time, this observer included, wrote that off as a ludicrous remark aimed at getting attention. More and more, we see that Chayefsky was serious.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Chayefsky may have gotten his inspiration from Roone Arledge..
ARLEDGE, ROONE

U.S. Media Producer/Executive

Roone Arledge, president of ABC News, has had a more profound impact on the development of television news and sports programming and presentation than any other individual. In fact, a 1994 Sports Illustrated magazine ranking placed Arledge third, behind Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, in a list of 40 individuals who have had the greatest impact on the world of sports in the last four decades. In addition, a 1990 Life magazine poll listed Arledge as among the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century."

In 1960, Arledge defected from NBC to join a struggling ABC. The next year, in his role as vice president of ABC Sports, Arledge created what would become the longest running and most successful sports program ever, of ABC's Wide World Sports. He brought his production specialty to ABC, and overhauled sports programming, including introduction of such techniques as slow motion and instant replays. These production techniques enabled Arledge to create a more exciting and dramatic sports event. He combined his production skills with "up close and personal" athlete features, which changed the way the world viewed competing athletes. He was one of the first users of the Atlantic satellite, enabling him to produce live sporting events from around the world.

http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/A/htmlA/arledgeroon/a...
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. I think Arledge was part of the inspiration for Network
I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Arledge did a lot in the middle and late seventies to cheapen television news. On television critic at that time, decrying his influence on television news, called him "Ruin Arledge".

Nevertheless, Arledge was still pricipally a network man. ABC in those days was a broadcasting company, not part of Disney, a larger corporate empire. If an analogy can be drawn of Arledge's influence with the film Network, it would be how he compares with Frank Hackett and Diana Christensen, not Arthur Jensen.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. LOL's.....you and I are always "Nitpicking." n/t
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Not only was Cheyefsky serious and a prophet himself,
his movie is almost banal and anachroistic given the absolute and total SHATTERING of his "mad vision" (at least it seemed that way in Old Free Aerica, circa 1976) by Amerikan Reality.

The Mao Tse Tung Hour? ...been there done that now thousands of times (COPS, Real TV, probably bunches of other crap I don't know about)

Network, one of my favorite movies, has not only come to pass in full but well BEYOND and closer to Orwell than to Cheyefsky.

And now I know what it feels like to live in the book "Farenheit 451".

At least Bradbury got the particular detail of professional book burners/fireman incorrect.

Otherwise, from a character point of view, his book fully and firmly describes modern Imperial Amerika, up to and including Sony Walkmans and Commercials blaring on the Subway.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Chayefsky was prescient in his movie "The Hospital" as well.
A good prediction of what health-care in the US would become. His black comedies were the best.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. Network was SO far ahead of it's time
should be required watching in all mass comm. schools
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gumby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:06 AM
Response to Original message
2. The Fear Factor.
It puzzles me that "fear" is given as an excuse to why "journalists" won't ask hard questions of Republicans and do just the opposite with Democrats.

The journalistic extremes are profound. George Bush's endless scandals get NO press examination after 8 years of a journalistic anal probe of the Clinton administration. During the Bush/Gore race, the MSM actually made up lies about Gore and repeated them just as often as they gave Bush a pass. Then there was the Dean Scream.

It seems to me that this is about more than fear and money. Does the MSM have a natural adoration of fascism?
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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. See post number 3, above.
I think that explains what's happened.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. the reason is this

Republicans play dirty, and will ruin the career of anyone who actually tries to ask a real question. Dems don't act like this for the most part, but for some reason, rethugs still get the 'moral highground' label.

The end result is what we have here: Crimes against Journalism. American Journalism has lost most of its credibility internationally, and it will take years to repair. But I guess they're happy as long as they get to keep their jobs, even while living on their knees.



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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. And the legacy is that pundits like Matthews, Russert, and their ilk
Edited on Wed Mar-09-05 10:26 AM by KoKo01
use "combat and sports analogies about "the game of politics" which kept the "sports theme" going. So we have sports as entertainment, news as entertainment and sports combined and the Big Bucks keep rolling in as Americans are more and more confused and entertainment and sports as news. Limbaugh, Faux and the Repugs have carried this to the extreme in their combative language and style.

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Jack Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. That's really not the most of it
It's part of it, but not the most important part.

The problem with leaving your analysis where it is is that it assumes the model for what is happening in America today is classical fascism. It is something else. In classical fascism, the state had supremacy over the corporation. In today's America, the corporation has supremacy over the state.

In one sense, it makes little difference. This new paradigm is also founded on the belief that some people have a natural right to rule over others. It is every bit as anti-democratic as Mussolini's fascism.

Bush is not the real enemy. He is merely their waterboy in the executive branch. The real enemies are the real people behind the artificial persons. They are personified in the film Network by Arthur Jensen, who delivers a lecture to Howard Beale (Peter Finch) that contains all the theories of contemporary global capitalism, except that the Cold War was still in progress at the time.

Until we realize that we're up against something new, we will fail to defeat this enemy. Talk comparing Bush to Hitler or Mussolini is misleading and dangerous.

The Rise of Yuppie Fascism by Jack Rabbit
Part One, Democratic Underground, February 5, 2002
Part Two, Democratic Underground, February 12, 2002
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gumby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-05 02:19 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. Isn't fascism always "new?"
While I haven't finished your 2part series yet, I may be premature in asking. But, I've always thought that one of the major aspects of fascism is it's "newness." Fascism seems to be defined by it's chameleon characteristics. Fascism has NEVER been defined by one country or one century. As such, fascism defies definition. That's what makes it so illusionary.

This is where "traditional values" rears it's ugly head: if it walks like a duck.......

Ducks are sometimes lethal fascists.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-09-05 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
14. "...are also crimes against the people of America" nails it on the head
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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-05 01:26 AM
Response to Original message
15. Palast should live so long before he is half the journalist Rather is.
Please. From the Civil Rights Era , Vietnam, The Gulf War, The Iraq War, Watergate, Iran Contra, being anthrax-ed, being on the hit list of at least three presidents, being beaten up and threatened, dodging bullets and breaking more stories than most of us can remember reading, one of them being the JFK assassination, Palast thinks he is even fit to critique tis man? What a joke!
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-05 01:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. I agree, Saracat.
I think Dan Rather has been sadly maligned.
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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-05 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Thank you.
Some who have never had to put themselves in danger, in pursuit of free speech ,feel free to denigrate someone who has dodged bullets in pursuit of that right. Go figure.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-05 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
19. Dan sold out his honor and integrity
and his countrymen in the process.

The saddest part of all is that he had the power to make an issue of it- and maybe help stem the tide before things got this far.

Unfortunately he turned out to be a coward- and a man truly worthy of derision.

Good riddance.

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