by Diane Alden
May 1, 2000
Media mergers continue to be in the news. These mergers are a horror and have nothing to do with the free market at work.
The fourth estate of governance, the press has been treading on thin ice in its responsibility toward the Constitution. First Amendment guarantees are jealously guarded, but the minions in the media are not so quick to defend the other guarantees in the Bill of Rights. Because of their irresponsibility we are witnessing a dangerous trend as we move from the regulatory state toward the corporate police state. The coverage of that fact in the mainstream is almost nil.
This is a far more dangerous trend then any we have witnessed in years as most information is now controlled by the mainstream media. Independent studies by such groups as the Annanberg Foundation show that there is media bias. Such inclination promotes left-wing collectivist causes and big government. Media is also the biggest apologist for the growth of the regulatory state. Rather than being on guard for the republic it has become a de facto arm of the state.
In a recent interview columnist and longtime Washington observer Robert Novak noted that it used to be only reporters who were leftists, now it exists from the top down. The mainstream press does everything short of murder to maintain privilege, power and legitimacy. Its efforts are defined by outright lying, manipulation of information, spreading misinformation and overlooking or under-reporting events and actions of the state and its operatives.
This will change if the next occupant of the White House is conservative. At that moment they will rediscover their "objectivity." However, the damage the mainstream press has done the republic of the United States of America makes that so-called objectivity a day late and a dollar short. Additionally, as a nation we don't have time to wait until the schools of journalism and boards at the networks rethink the way they fix the news.
Ben Bagdikian explains in his book "The Media Monopoly" (1983) at that time 50 corporations dominated most of the mass media. That was in 1983. Now it is around 10, and more are coming, including the control of the so-called "new media" on the Internet. The excitement over the Time Warner-AOL merger is going to slam the effectiveness of the "new media" into the ground. Scarier yet, CNN is part of Time Warner. Its president is a supporter of the Clinton administration and contributes to the Democratic National Committee. Therefore, most likely AOL will do what the mainstream media does now: cajole, seduce and direct its 22 million subscribers in certain preordained directions. It will happen.
The author also maintains, "It is the overwhelming collective power of these firms, with their corporate interlocks and unified cultural and political values, that raises troubling questions about the individual's role in the American democracy."
Journalist Norman Solomon lists the media giants:
· CBS and Viacom.
· NBC and General Electric. GE has owned NBC since 1986.
· ABC. This network became the property of the Walt Disney Co. five years ago. Disney is now the country's second-largest media outfit.
· Fox. The Fox network is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., No. 4 in the media oligarchy.
And among these giants there is of course cable television, with several networks devoted to news:
· CNN. The world's biggest media conglomerate, Time Warner, owns CNN.
· CNBC. General Electric owns this cable channel, ranked sixth.
· MSNBC. Spawned as a joint venture of GE and Microsoft, the MSNBC network would see activism against media monopoly as double trouble.
Is this American business and the free market as usual, or is the media's responsibility to tell the truth and disseminate information hampered by the monopolies and its own leftist agenda? Do the Big Six have anything to do with the "free press"? No. The press is not free, unless free means subject to a mindset and a pervasive agenda imposed from the top down. We have no more freedom in today's press than any country with a network of power elites who scratch each other's backs and call the shots. While the mainstream news outlets have been losing ground and audience share for years; they still provide the lion's share of information to the American public, more than any other outlet, including alternative media.
Since the Clinton administration has been in power the mainstream press has either glossed over or ignored the corruption and law breaking in his administration and government in general. Many studies show American mainstream journalism ranks with used car salesmen for what is perceived at its lack of appreciation for objectivity - never mind the truth.
My Advice to the Frustrated and Fed Up
Forget campaign finance reform; we need term limits. The downfall of the Republican or conservative agenda lies in the human instincts for power and office, and the same is true with the Democrats. The only way these fools will ever do the right thing is when they know they have a maximum of three terms and they are out.
We changed the Constitution to allow only two terms for the president. We can do the same for Congress. No more big pensions and perks, just old-fashioned service to the republic. It is baloney to say that good senators and representatives who are term limited will lose out. There are more than three good men or women per state. There are hundreds of good people who would be qualified to serve in congress if they had the money and the backing.
It would serve the republic if every single senator currently in office got the ax and soon. I hate to get rid of some of them, but the good ones are in an ever-growing powerless minority. Trent Lott and Orrin Hatch need to go back to their respective states. They serve no purpose except to make me ashamed to be a conservative. The House of Representatives is our only salvation.
"It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law." James Fenimore Cooper
Cooper's advice is good today as it was almost 200 years ago. Distrust the polls; they are only a snapshot and not the whole picture. According to the polls 70 percent of the people did not want Bill Clinton impeached. Recent polls show that has changed to 48 percent who wish he had been impeached. OK. What does this tell you? It tells you that the polls and the people are as fickle as a 16-year-old in love. If your pet politician believes or uses them he needs to leave his power, perks and pandering and get a real job.
Vote for people who promise nothing, men and women who will collect their paychecks and go home. Vote for people who will de-fund government and repeal the 16th Amendment and maybe the 17th Amendment. Vote for folks who will promise on the pain of getting their butts kicked out of government their first term that they will dismantle one bureaucracy or agency before they leave office. A fine for breaking a contract should be the punishment if they don't.
Pressure Congress and vote for people of either political party who will bust up the media monopolies. Elect people brave enough to promise never to give interviews to any media outlet that has shown bias in covering events or people. There are think tanks and agencies on both sides of the political spectrum that keep track of such things, so it wouldn't be up to politicians to make the determination.
Support your small hometown press; they usually get it right.
To all those who wrote to me, for the sake of your sanity stop watching mainstream TV news. Deep six Dan (a legend in his own mind) Rather, Peter (I am such a self-important jerk) Jennings and Tom (I really think I am a regular guy) Brokaw. For crying out loud, give up on Judy (are we there yet) Woodruff and Bernie (my batteries are leaking) Shaw.
Instead watch C-span, Discovery, History Channel and occasionally A&E. If you are going through withdrawal and must have a news fix watch Fox News with Brit Hume. Of all the so-called news shows on TV his is the best. If you live near the Canadian or Mexican border you will probably get much better news coverage of events in America than you will by watching U.S. network TV. I have watched news shows from both nations, and they are far more balanced than anything on American television is.
Listen to talk radio or download radio shows off the net. There are wonderful guys and gals on the radio. My favorites are Chuck Morse, Mike Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Ken Hamblin and Dr. James Hirsen. When I visit Atlanta I listen to Neil Boortz. He is crusty, and I could box his ears sometimes, but he is erudite and to the point and certainly not mealy mouthed. Plus he is a columnist for NewsMax.
Sean Hannity at ABC radio in New York brings a passion and determination to broadcasting, which is a pleasure to listen to. He is also host of his own Fox TV show, Hannity and Colmes. I can't watch it any more because they insist on showcasing the four left-wing harpies of the apocalypse: Clift, Ratner, Malveux and Estrich. I decided my health was more important than trying to make sense of what everyone is yelling about in the brainless cheerleading for all things Clinton. I also used to watch Bill O'Reilly, but he has no clue what the "rule of law" means, so I don't watch him anymore either.
Several other great talk show hosts write for NewsMax. Support them by listening and resist the temptation to turn on CNN just to see what is happening. They don't know what is happening, they are too busy picking and choosing what will make their left-wing agenda look good. Just remember Ted Turner plays golf with Fidel. And Ted's operative the current president of CNN sends buckets of money to the DNC and the Clinton-Gore election efforts. He is rewarded with nights in the Lincoln bedroom. Fair and balanced - NOT.
Unsubscribe from your one-sided newspaper and get your classifieds from the net. The print media in most large cities is a lost cause. Don't disappoint me, if you are STILL subscribing to the monopoly government-media outlets such as Time, Newsweek, Newsday, U.S. News and World Report - dump 'em. Your Uncles Bill O'Right and Sam need you to do this.
Get your news and views from e-zines such as NewsMax, Enter Stage Right, Etherzone, American Partisan, Spin Tech and Jewish World Review. There are so many good ones, and you know which ones they are. You can write to me and I will give you a longer list.
There are plenty of magazines in the print media that are decent. Take your pick, National Review, American Spectator, Weekly Standard, every once in awhile even the Atlantic Monthly and The Nation are on target.
As of this moment the New Media is free. That is until the statists put a stop to it. Get it while it's hot because the Internet carries news from all over the world. New Media journalists in the character of Edward R. Murrow, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Eric Severeid, Howard K. Smith and Frank Reynolds are alive and well and working on the Net.
For a laughs there is my good and dear friend Norm Liebmann, the funniest man on the Internet or anywhere else. A couple of new writers include Michael J. Bates and an excellent young satirist named Libbey Tiermann.
Vote specifically for people who will vow not to appear on Larry (almost alive) King or Geraldo (Al Capone's vault) Rivera. Boycott any political candidate who would appear on bimbo shows with Katie, Diane, Barbara, Maria or Connie - the women of mainstream TV's school of puffery journalism. As Nancy Reagan used to say, "Just say NO."
I have respect for Lisa Myers of NBC and Moiré Liasson of National Public Radio and Fox News. These women seem to have a sense of proportion and really are good journalists, but they in a minority.
Worldwide there are excellent hard-copy newspapers and magazines. They provide objectivity and news without the spin. You can subscribe right off the net. Try the London Telegraph, South China Morning Post, Moscow Times. Agence France Presse news service is probably the greatest in the world. There are many others if you look. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times are also good. I am not a one-world-globalist but I prefer the international papers because they seem to get it right most of the time.
The worldwide connection between like-minded individuals is a blessing. I have received letters from Beijing, New Delhi and Munich and they all ask what is going on in America. A German citizen said, "but you must figure it out, what is happening to your country, you are the world's last hope." Many of the citizens of the world are on our side. This has nothing to do with the U.N. or globalism; it has to do with a worldwide concern that America is losing out to the forces of fascism and collectivism.
Oodles of journals and small publications such as NewsMax's Vortex and Mike Reagan and Rush Limbaugh's newsletters are wonderful sources of information. Spend your money to support these publications. They need your support. They provide more than sufficient information to make an informed decision about what America is facing.
Haunt web sites such as Stratfor.com or Crytome.org. Find a library and read a good book. Read the Federalist Papers, a biography of Thomas Jefferson or John Adams. Study the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence and the Bible, if for no other reason than they are great literature. Read Ludwig Von Mises and you can get info about him from Lew Rockwell's web site www.lewrockwell.com or www.mises.org. Surf over to Cato, Hoover and Heritage think tanks. There is a wealth of untapped information on their sites, and it will keep you busy for weeks. EPIC is a good site, as are PERC and Center for the New West.
Put everything aside and read Frederick Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" as soon as possible. Your life may depend upon it.
Rent inspiring movies such as "Glory," "South Pacific," "Braveheart" or "The Quiet Man." I love "Patton," "Hondo" and "Young Frankenstein," but that's me. Subscribe to Internet service providers that are not mega-corporate-media-monoliths such as the giant AOL-Time Warner-CNN - to name one.
Study the Constitution and Bill of Rights as if St. Peter were going to quiz you on them tomorrow.
Hate and Hope
I received only one piece of hate mail regarding "Common Thread" and one correction. A government apologist basically said the people incinerated at Waco got what they deserved because they fought back. Additionally, the raid in Little Havana was justified because Lazaro Gonzalez and Marisleysis were media hounds and broke the law by not handing the kid over when Janet Reno (read Clinton) said so. We know of course there is no greater offense than being a media hound or telling the Executive Branch their coronation hasn't taken place just yet.
The apologist never mentioned how the "rule of law" from the 11th Circuit Court had been brutalized by Reno's DoJ and the INS raid on the Gonzalez home. Thus, in his mind the folks in Little Havana deserved the raid, which entailed 130 gun-toting ninja-style agents, although only eight carried Janet Reno's water by breaking into a private residence in full ninja mode, spouting obscenities, spraying pepper spray and breaking the heads of bystanders. The people in Little Havana deserved the abuse because some of us, such as agents of the federal government, are more equal than the rest of us.
Rule of law indeed. The rule of a government agency is NOT the rule of law. The courts determine what that is, or at least they used to. While the apologist is part of the majority the same could be said of a lynch mob. He is wrong, and the attitude is despicable. History will judge people like them; you and I have no need.
Recently, I received e-mail from three folks who identified themselves as federal government employees, including a U.S. federal marshal. The gist of their opinions was that for quite some time the government has gone too far. There are many very good people in government, and I appreciate every one of these decent people. The marshal, who shall go nameless lest he receive a night raid from Reno, wrote: "We ARE a bunch of jack booted thugs. The cretin in the White House is making it easier. He thinks that whatever he says IS the law."
A Texas Democrat who is also an immigration lawyer wrote, and I noted the terrible sorrow in his letter. I feel for him and hope he realizes where the real enemy of the poor and oppressed resides - it isn't Republicans and conservatives. It hasn't been for a long while - if ever. From the tenor of his letter I suspect that the left and the Democratic Party, never mind the POLLS, have lost the Hispanic vote.
Stats show Hispanics and Latinos will comprise nearly 25 percent of the population by 2050. The poetic Richard Rodriguez of PBS and Pacific News said recently that it will take a very short time and the Latinos and Hispanics will unite as never before because of what Clinton-Gore-Reno did in Little Havana. I have received many letters from Hispanics, and I do believe that Clinton-Gore will eventually be to Hispanics and Latinos what Herbert Hoover is to old-line Democrats.
If wishy-washy Republicans just reach out and remind them who their friends are, conservatives will be in office for a long time to come. Hispanics and Latinos are natural born conservatives. They have all the qualities that conservatives profess to appreciate and promote hard work, family, decency, love of God and patriotism. Country club Republicans and any bigots out there who don't care about them - snap out of it.
A letter from a Vietnam vet made me cry. It was titled "Trauma". He maintains that his government with the backing of the majority let him down twice: once in the way it handled the Vietnam War and currently by the way it is using or abusing the power of the state since the end of the Cold War. Ruby Ridge, Waco, Little Havana and thousands of cases of government mistreatment through the IRS, Department of the Interior, BATF, INS, and unfortunately on occasion the FBI et al. are tragedies for the republic.
Government agents are supposed to enforce thousands and thousands of rules and regulations that are impossible to read and understand. This is ludicrous. The only outcome of so much "law" is disrespect for all law because it is impossible to enforce all of it fairly.
The anti-Fourth Amendment, commando-ninja-mode, dynamic-entry mindset has done more harm to the Bill of Rights and the citizens of the United States than any fight we ever had with the Russians. Give me back the Cold War if this is what we do with the peace. This whole kick-in-the-door Clint Eastwood mentality in government has got to go. The over 100,000 armed federal bureaucrats are being used by an overactive and all-too-often abusive government. The state is abusing the enforcement privilege by failing to exercise common sense in its application.
Whoever the next president is Americans must keep demanding the downsizing of the federal bureacracy. Departments and agencies that are no longer needed, incompetent or ineffective should be sunsetted. That leaves us with smaller government.
A big part of the American problem is that the tools were in place for Clinton-Gore-Reno to trash the Bill of Rights. We have to make sure if anyone like him holds the office again he will not have the chance to move us closer to fascism - left or right. We need a return to the quaint notion of "separation of powers."
Get involved in your community and speak the truth even when that is a tough thing to do. When someone says you are being too judgmental or intolerant when you stick to your principles, just remind them that excusing excesses is not tolerance, and some ideas ARE better than others. If someone says you are anti-government, tell them you love your country - you don't trust your government - Thomas Jefferson and George Washington told you not too. They did that in letters to each other and in the Federalist Papers with warnings about what happens when the populace is not vigilant. Government will run amuck. I repeat - that is WHY they gave us the Bill of Rights with the warning, "You have a republic if you can keep it."
A great man once said: "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. ... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists." Martin Luther King Jr.
First do no harm. Tolerate people but do not necessarily champion their actions, ideas or causes. Mostly, keep fighting the good fight. Make Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Washington proud. Pull the Constitution out of mothballs and take America back.
Diane Alden is a research analyst, writer, historian and political economist. She writes a column for NewsMax, Etherzone, Enterstageright, American Partisan and many other on-line publications. She also does occasional radio commentaries for Georgia Radio Inc. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 may 2000