Trivial Media in "the Nation that Stands Taller and Sees Farther"
By Paul Street at Oct 14, 2006
Hey, remember when NBC News reporter David Gregory finally lost it and became visibly angry during a White House press conference last winter?
It wasn't about the administration's numerous and continuing deceptions on Iraq.
It wasn't about the administration's lies and policies relating to global warming or to rising poverty or the growing chasm between the rich and poor inside the U.S.
It wasn't about the administration's terrible and deceptive health or education or trade policies or about anything else that really matters in the substantive realms of social or foreign policy
It was about the administration's delay in releasing information on dastardly Dick Cheney's stupid hunting misadventure – the one where the Vicious Imperial War Master accidentally shot-gunned a leading lobbyist and fellow quail killer in Texas.
It was one of many revealing media moments in this dangerous, condemned nation.
United-States-of-Americans experience an officially infantilized and trivial political and media culture that bears out the warnings of Huxley and Marcuse as well as those of Orwell and Chomsky.
There were numerous reasons to hate the presidency of Bill Clinton. There was his refusal to meaningfully support ordinary working people by reforming the nation's reactionary, management-friendly labor laws or by making a serious commitment to national health insurance. There was his vicious assault on truly disadvantaged welfare families and his oppressive, objectively racist criminal justice policies.
Clinton failed to use well-known federal regulatory levers to stabilize the obviously out-of-control stock market boom that ultimately collapsed at the end of the last millennium. He enforced mass-murderous economic sanctions that killed more than half a million Iraqi children in what his Secretary of State Madeline Albright infamously called “a price worth paying” (for the advancement of noble U.S. foreign policy goals). Proclaiming that “the era of big government” [meaning the age of social and democratic government policies] is over,” he embraced and advanced a corporate-neoliberal agenda that destroyed lives and communities en masse at home and abroad.
But none of this bothered the dominant corporate-media arbiters of American public virtue all that much.
What really got those great moral watchdogs and a significant section of the infantilized populace all hot and bothered were the steamy details of Clinton's adventures with Monica Lewinsky.
It was the semen stain on Monica's dress, not 500,000 child coffins in Iraq, that got the coverage and the attention of the nation that (in Albright's words) “stands taller and sees farther” than all the rest.
Flash forward eight years to the late summer and early fall of 2006. The U.S. Congress has just voted to legalize torture and trash the US Constitution by eliminating habeas corpus
The nation's messianic-militarist administration is mired in a disastrous and totally unnecessary overseas occupation that has killed many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americans. The reasons that it gave for undertaking that terrible action have been revealed as transparently false and disingenuous.
Half of the U.S. population now says the war on Iraq was NOT morally justified. According to a New York Times/CBS, a majority of the population now rejects administration's efforts to link the war on Iraq with the war on terror. According to a CNN poll in August, 60 percent of the population opposes the war. Sixty one percent believe that some troops should be removed before the end of the year and 57 percent want a timetable for full withdrawal.
The president rejects these policy choices as naïve liberal “appeasement” – so-called “cut and run” – even while he insists that the war is being fought on behalf of the idea that government is supposed to reflect the “will of the people.”
The already rich are getting transparently richer than ever, the poor are getting poorer and the middle is still just scratching by while the president pours untold billions into the illegal, mass-murderous, falsely sold and unpopular invasion of Mesopotamia.
The Bush administration is advancing further tax cuts for the rich while simultaneously obsessively proclaiming that we are in a life-or-death war to save civilization as we know it.
The Congress has just voted to boost the so-called “defense” budget and to thereby continue the vicious imperial slaughter of thousands of Iraqis each month.
So what's got dominant U.S. media and its mass audience all juiced up and ready to pop, with frightening political implications for the hyper-plutocratic war party in power? What's got the warmongering, tax-cutting, viciously idiotic and relentlessly Orwellian Speaker of the Republican House Dennis Hastert sitting on the hot seat?
The sexual advances of a Republican Congressman to teenage boys employed by Congress.
It's ex-Congressman Foley's attempt to make it with young Congressional pages, not recent evidence that the illegal occupation of Mesopotamia has killed 650,000 Iraqis, that's got corporate media in a feeding frenzy.
The numerous graphic images of mass civilian death in Iraq and Lebanon – I saw the picture of a dead Beirut mother buried in the rubble of her apartment building with her dead baby in her arms – just don't bring the media to this level of white hot heat.
The deepening and savage inequality of wealth inside the U.S. doesn't stoke the fires of media rage like the sexual escapades of an inappropriate Congressman.
It's all about the small, the personal, and the trivial in American media.
Courtesy of corporate media, "the nation that stands taller and sees father" than the all the rest has got its head stuck firmly up its own ass. And unlike Cheney's wayward shotgun blast and Clinton's errant soiling of Monica's dress, that is no accident