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The Captured Media
June 27, 2003
By Joseph Arrieta

Captured in political science terms refers to a government oversight function that gets taken over by the very forces it was supposed to reign in from committing abuses. Think Harvey Pitt at the SEC or Gale Norton at Interior: the foxes are guarding the henhouse.

It's been obvious for a long time that the US journalism corps is captured - captured by corporate interests and idealogy. One must read in the foreign press that the lunatics are running the asylum or that wmd's that are just trailers are in fact hydrogen balloon equipment.

Bush lied through his teeth in the press conference immediately before the war, precisely stated that the whole spectacle was scripted, appeared drugged to many and refused to answer questions, yet Bush was "solemn," "grave," and "resolved" in the press coverage.

There are still a few real journalists out there - Krugman, Alterman, Ivins, Oliphant, Jackson, Kuttner, Nichols, Judas, Goodman, Conason, Meyerson, Starr, Tomasky, and Lyons come immediately to mind. These are lonely voices in a sea of sycophancy, completely obviated by an environment that - hard to believe as it may seem - grows worse by the day.

Notice that the above names appear in print - there is not one real television journalist left, save for Bill Moyers. Krugman may be a steely voice of reality and honesty at the New York Times, but make no mistake, that paper is captured.

How ensnared are they? Sunday, June 22nd, provides a perfect example in the form of David Rosenbaum. Bush lied to the entire world about the threat of Iraqi wmd's, but hey, he believed what he was saying, so it couldn't be a lie. What kind of "journalist" defends the President based upon "beliefs" that no one can verify? A captured one. Ran on page 1.

Captured journalists not only defend the indefensible with phantom facts in print, they actively work for the White House at NBC. Before Howard Dean appeared on Meet The Press NBC requested an analysis on the cost of repealing the Bush tax cuts, a central tenet of Dean's proposed economic policy. Then Tim Russert hammered Dean with it. How nice to know that our tax dollars at Treasury fund captured media to knife a sincere Democratic Presidential candidate.

There was one more permanent stain on the record for US journalism that sordid Sunday, and again it occurred in the New York Times, and again Howard Dean was the target. It was tapped by one of the worst offenders of Election 2000: Katherine Seelye, described by the Financial Times as "one of the most hostile to the campaign, doing little to hide her contempt of Gore."

The fact that Seelye still even has a job is evidence enough that the media is captured, let alone that the New York Times assigned her to the most promising Democratic candidate. The New York Times is obviously planning to trash another election.

All of this is just another sorry chapter in the regression of a once-great American journalism corps. As Democrats it's far more important to ponder this question: what do we do about it?

Continue and support the excellent work by American patriots online who watch the media: Media Whores Online, The Daily Howler, and various bloggers. Network the truth to friends, family and co-workers. Get involved in a contender campaign to spread the truth further - Congressional Democrats are worthless, as we've so obviously seen, but running for President requires a real politician.

Most importantly of all, do not give up. Bush may have $200 million in cash for the campaign and a captured press, but the Truth can only be hidden by a people that allows it to be so. Fight back in the blog comment threads, talk to all the people you know, donate time and money, write to the media.

Many of us have done all of these things for years with no apparent effect. Immediate results will not be forthcoming in this effort, but that is not why we should stop trying. We keep trying simply for the honor in doing the right thing, for paying proper homage the truth, and for the hope of our children.

If we give up there is no chance to succeed. None. As Democrats that is simply an unacceptable scenario under any circumstance. We cannot control events or the professionalism of the US journalism corps, but we can ensure that when events irrevocably show the betrayal of the sycophants at the New York Times and NBC (an inevitability) there are mechanisms in place to instantly spread the truth. There is no other option.

"Just because we were whipped a thousand years before we started is no reason to stop trying now." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Joseph Arrieta is a writer and web producer living in San Jose, California.

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