For years, conservatives have complained that the American media are “liberal,” and “spin” the news to make them look bad. They have besieged the media with their complaints, demanding that their “facts” be given equal time with the media’s “facts.”
I don’t know whether the American media were ever “liberal,” but I know they’re not even “centrist” today. Relentless pressure from politicians, advertisers and activists has pushed news reports and commentary farther and farther to the right over the years, and today you have to seek out fringe sources on the web to find anything that remotely resembles a “liberal” voice.
Meanwhile, right-wing billionaires have funded a shrill propaganda machine that fills the airwaves and the internet with false “facts,” and spreads disinformation and confusion throughout American society.
“Talking points” developed by public relations consultants echo throughout this vast propaganda network. And the so-called “mainstream media” are obliged to include these pseudo-facts whenever they discuss a political issue.
Even MSNBC, which is touted as the “liberal” answer to the far-right message on Fox News, is giving more air time to conservatives these days. It used to be that only Chris Matthews would dredge up right-wing outliers like Michele Bachmann to debate the issues of the day. But now, even Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz seem obliged to give conservatives equal time on their shows.
In recent years, television outlets, print media and radio stations across the nation have been gobbled up by conservative propagandists and faceless corporate networks with naturally conservative agendas.
The Washington Post has drifted inexorably to the right and is now in limbo following its purchase by Amazon czar Jeff Bezos.
Sadly, the venerated New York Times is also showing signs of contamination by far-right propaganda. Recent attacks on President Obama, for example, have included an op-ed piece by Russian strong-man Vladimir Putin. Why on earth would the Times print something like that?
And today, the supposedly “liberal” newspaper published a “hit piece” on New York mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio. The Times tries to paint him in a sinister light, implying that he is some kind of closet leftie. But the attack is blunted by the fact that de Blasio has made no secret of his liberal views or his activist past.
The charges against de Blasio would be laughable in any other Western democracy, but to some Americans they could be damning. The Times (falsely) levels this accusation, for example:
As he seeks to become the next mayor of New York City, Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has spoken only occasionally about his time as a fresh-faced idealist who opposed foreign wars, missile defense systems and apartheid in the late 1980s and early 1990s. References to his early activism have been omitted from his campaign Web site.
Only in America is being such “a fresh-faced idealist” threatening. And only in this kind of political climate would the Times score points by revealing:
In a recent interview, Mr. de Blasio said his views then — and now — represented a mix of admiration for European social democratic movements, Mr. Roosevelt’s New Deal and liberation theology.
How damning is that, I wonder. I would’ve thought anyone with a shred of common decency would be guilty of such sentiments. But then, I’m one of those dreaded liberals you’ve been warned about.