Dueling Twins


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The 'Dueling Twins'

Then hail! thou noble conqueror! That, when tyranny oppressed, hewed for our fathers from the wild. A land wherein to rest.

Mary Elizabeth Hewitt

CNN: Communinist News Network at its Best


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Media For Sale

James Hall, From the Left

If Sartre expects me to disagree with him, he's mistaken. Today's corporate media, the result of merger after merger in the media business, are more equipped to sell soap than tell truth. And the media are as morally confused as other Americans who believe that patriotism means "me, too." Our founding fathers, who thought of the press as a vigorous marketplace of ideas, would be sad to find that today's media empires are nothing but a chain of supermarkets selling the same brand-name merchandise.

Yet one can't completely blame the media supermarkets for one-sided coverage. Today's corporate newspapers and television are a business, and business depends on popularity. Say the wrong thing, as political comedian Bill Maher did on his "Politically Correct" television show on ABC, and the sponsors quickly pull their products, leaving controversial ideas floating in a commercial limbo. Or write something critical of the media's drum-beating for war, as Susan Sontag did in The New Yorker on CNN's coverage, and you find yourself vilified alongside Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

The Bush administration, which through its spokesman Ari Fleischer warned critics like Maher to "watch what you say," is also to blame. It has attempted to muzzle the coverage of al-Qaeda's statements in the US media, and even went to the Arabian state of Qatar to try and curb Al-Jazeera, the successful Arab television station that has aired views from all sides. Of course any government with an 80% approval rating will find plenty of corporate moguls eager to follow its lead.

What's needed is an honest debate on the issues, a debate that the corporate media appear to be incapable of giving us. If one wants to see a legitimate difference of opinion about the War on Terrorism, one is forced to go to the small magazines and fringe presses like left-wing, The Nation, or the right-wing Eagle Forum. It's only in these small presses, not controlled by the media corporations, that one hears the voices of dissent, the calls for peace or for different approaches to President Bush's declared war on terrorism.

There's room for differences and debate here. I believe that the US belongs in Afghanistan, keeping the al-Qaeda too busy to plan their next attack on the US. Sartre thinks that a withdrawal from Afghanistan, Arabia and a de-coupling of support from Israel will solve the problem. If we are to arrive at the best approximation of truth, we must have a vigorous debate on the issue, and examine the problem from all sides. If I cut off Sartre's words, or he mine, the country is not served by having one less point of view to consider before acting intelligently on the issue.

It's natural for Americans to stand together when attacked. It's natural for us to rally behind our commander-in-chief and provide him with the support he needs to answer that attack. What's unnatural, particularly for a democratic nation with the right of free speech and a free press, is for Americans to shout down or clamp down on the opinions of other Americans and deny them their voices.

It's equally unnatural for a vigorous press to kowtow to an 80% approval rating. If the commercial-oriented media empires, the AOL/Time-Warner/CNNs, the CBS/Viacoms, the ABC/Disneys, and the NBC/GEs are afraid to show viewpoints contrary to the majority opinion, perhaps it's time to break up these press conglomerates and let each magazine and television studio find its own voice, as the smaller, more courageous presses have done.

If we go back in history to the courses of great nations who went astray, we often find that they misled themselves into taking actions without fully discussing and understanding the consequences. They fell victims to their own one-sided mythologies. The remedy to this one-sidedness is a vigorous political and ideological debate on every issue. We have come to expect this sort of debate to be carried on by our press, for whom the founding fathers provided special protection against government interference. It's time to ask if the media mergers we've permitted to happen are a source of strength or weakness for America.

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Final Word:

Sartre, leave off watching out for those black helicopters for just a minute and listen to what I say--the Press isn't corrupt because of some ideological bias, unless you consider making money to be an ideological bias. The Press gives the majority of Americans what they want just as their parent corporations give them the kind of entertainment, goods, and services they want. There's no vast conspiracy creating the pabulum the media feeds us today, except the conspiracy to create an inoffensive, garden-variety news that offends no one and enlightens no one.

The Constitution defends a vigorous Press against interference by the government, but nothing saves a mediocre Press from itself. In today's post-September 11 America there's less toleration for divergent opinions. That's a shame, for it means that in a sense the terrorists have already won a victory of sorts in shutting down the debate that makes America the land of the free it has been. Many Americans feel the need to express a patriotism that leaves little room for dissent. And that makes us less than what we were before the jets were hijacked.

But it needn't stay this way. We can refuse to accept a one-sided news media, no matter how patriotic it might sound to us. We can patronize those papers, websites, and news programs that offer divergent opinions. And we can challenge the opinions of those who believe that the war effort precludes following anything but the party line. We can support those who voice contrary opinions, even if we do not agree with them.

We have a difficult road ahead of us, one that calls for deliberation, analysis, and the give and take of debate over what America's goals in the war of terrorism ought to be. Who is a terrorist, and how should we deal with them? How far do we go to meet those goals? Though our elected leaders may have ideas on that subject, we owe it to the generations of past and future Americans to have a role in making these crucial decisions ourselves, and we rely on an independent Press to provide us with the necessary information and the debates required to make the decisions required of us.

James Hall, From the Left


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Media and the
'Splendid Little War'

We all heard that the first causality in war is truth. So why should we be surprised that the coverage of the Afghan 'police action' is being told from the podium of government press conferences? Where is Dan Rather, crawling on his stomach in local garb? Yes we are watching those video camera spots that look like a bad edit after an all night party. But are we really getting the real story? Of course not is the answer that you can always rely upon, when in doubt.

So why does the public consistently accept the official line that is broadcast twenty four hours everyday? Professional therapy is required to get the subconscious reason, but it is sufficient to say that people want to believe what the media tells them. Marshall McLuhan was right, "The Media is the Message". Independent thought is a commodity that the public religiously avoids. Allusions, even when unpleasant, are preferable to the harsh reality of truth.

For those who pursue serious news are well aware that the international press has a view of political events, quite different from the mainstream U.S. media. We should not conclude that these foreign enterprises are any more accurate that domestic, but we can accept that their slant resides within their own cultural viewpoint. And that is the important part of the message that few American ever see, hear or read.

Facts should be derived from empirical data and be clearly defined. But the meaning of specific events are quite different when seen through the eyes of the cultural filter. Christiane Amanpour seem more exotic than many of the location that she reports from. But her reporting slant becomes clear when seen within the context of her shared views with hubby James Rubin. You remember him, that Clinton State Department disinformation mouthpiece that was frequently pitching the administration line, (or is that lie) !

The Christiane Way - Zinos.com

CNN is still the communist news network, but now there is a new kid on the block. Aljazeera, out of Qatar is the new heavy weight. As I observed, first hand, and reported in a previous article about Morocco, the satellite dish is the most prevalent concession to western technology in the Arab world. Afghans may not have easy access to the images, but most of the rest of Moslem world are able to observe and hear the word. But the message that is being reported has many of the same political under tones that raises suspicions that the hidden hand of intelligent community design lurks behind the slick photo images and selection of content.


The primary watch dog function of the press has blurred the line between investigative reporting and government press propaganda. Many times the media takes on the role of a bureaucratic outreach extension. It has long been established that the Washington Post is a direct conduit to the CIA. One wonders just who does the reporting and who is the source?

Most of this background is known, but few appreciate the enormous influence that continual immersion of these messages has upon even the most critical skeptic. Reality is perception to most people. The disconnect between confirmed facts and molded inferences of manufactured images and narration, produces a clinical therapy not mean to cure but to spread a contagious disease. That ailment relinquishes scrutiny as the test for veracity. The coverage that we have all seen leaves us lacking in understanding and begging for a rational bases for involvement in an emerging quagmire.

Briefing from ex-military experts only reinforces observations that these professionals have their own propensity to buy into these allusions. We are suffering under a social constrain that prevents meaningful conclusions, because the proper questions are seldom asked, and almost never answered. Are we really informed or are we being tranquilized into accepting the official version of reality?

The media is the most powerful tool to train docile vassals. It is unrelenting in its influence and its hypnotic state. The trance that comes from desensitization only supports further infliction of combat and 'collateral damage'. The real story is hidden from the public and for good reason. We are not all walking dead, just yet. Those zombies that parrot the party line are the ultimate product of our educational system. Non critical thinking dupes, just waiting for the next commercial to interrupt even the slightest unpleasant message.

Operation Just Cause is just the latest disengagement from reality. Cheers from the crowd at the bull fight arena has a sense of purpose when the drama of life and death is played out. But our nature lusts for violence and a different kind of erotica. The current climate of outrage mimics a desire for vengeance. The media will not cover the true nature of the hostilities, but it will ascribe to William Randolph Hearst's adage: "You furnish the pictures. I will furnish the war." Amanpour is all too eager to comply. And you are all so willing to accept the offer.

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Oscar Wilde once said: "Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong". Well this time the 'bad seed' is using the back door to deliver his message. The public shares in the responsibility of news 'lies' BECAUSE they refuse to shut off the media, not because they watch it. James is entirely correct in his defense of an honest debate. When opposite political persuasions agree on the necessity for breaking the monopoly of 'PC' reporting, the question becomes: "Why can't the media tell the TRUTH"?

No doubt the corporate mergers stifle varied viewpoints, but the problem has a much more sinister nature to it. The answer lies in who controls, manages and edits the news. What is their political agenda? Surely, the word Truth is not even in their spell check! So why does the majority of the public continue to take the lead for their own opinions, from the talking heads? And how is it possible that some will defend the New York Times as the best newspaper in America?

Again, the pundits of disinformation have applied their trade effectively upon a half-witted population. Critical thinking has become a rare practice. When dissension is attacked, the first charge is: "He's one of that black helicopter crowd". That other James, once leveled that claim upon this voice of dissent. So why should we lend our ear to those who read the propaganda machine as a regular diet? If they know it is all trash, why do they continue to pollute their mind, by feeding on it?

The 'tongue of common sense' in the underground press is worthy of selection. Their menu is diverse enough to appeal to all viewpoints. Dine on their bill of fare, or risk food poisoning from the media giants. There is a communal interest for all the public, of any ideological conviction. It is to remain free from the tyranny of government lies. The mouthpiece for their perception of distorted reality has been receiving mail laced with tainted powder. Should any of us be surprised? Or is this another one of those subjects that is taboo to examine where the blame lies? The good news, Rather refuses to take Cipro . . .

James Hall - 'The Right'

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Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it.
Susan Sontag

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