Saturday, May 31, 2008

tried to mix with those animals, and it just left you full of humiliated confusion

Was Press a War ‘Enabler’? 2 Offer a Nod From Inside

In his new memoir, “What Happened,” Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, said the national news media neglected their watchdog role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, calling reporters “complicit enablers” of the Bush administration’s push for war. Surprisingly, some prominent journalists have agreed.

Katie Couric, the anchor of “CBS Evening News,” said on Wednesday that she had felt pressure from government officials and corporate executives to cast the war in a positive light.
[...]
At the time, Ms. Couric was a host of “Today” on NBC.

Another broadcast journalist also weighed in. Jessica Yellin, who worked for MSNBC in 2003 and now reports for CNN, said on Wednesday that journalists had been “under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation.”
Well that's clear enough, and us DFHs have been saying it for years. But what really shocked me was the flat out lie GE, (the owner of NBC), responded with later in the article:
A spokeswoman for General Electric, which owns NBC and MSNBC through its division NBC Universal, declined to speak about the specifics of the comments but said, “General Electric has never, and will never, interfere in the editorial process at NBC News.”
That statement goes against all evidence:
Shortly after George W. Bush declared his candidacy for president in June of 1999, General Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch was contacted by Bush political advisor Karl Rove. Welch later informed associates that Rove told him a Bush administration would initiate comprehensive deregulation of the broadcast industry. Rove guaranteed that deregulation would be implemented in a way that would create phenomenal profits for conglomerates with significant media holdings, like GE.
[...]
In 1988, NBC News president Lawrence Grossman insisted to Welch that news was a public trust and should not be subjected to the same pressure to make profits that was applied to other GE units. Welch fired him.

In 1999, the GE chairman decided that it was no longer good enough for NBC News to just be profitable. Seven years of a frequently uncooperative Democratic Administration, combined with the Rove-inspired vision of spectacular profits through deregulation, now motivated Welch to take action.

He began to aggressively, but very discreetly, evangelize the gospel of corporate media as corporate lobbying tool. It was not a new concept; in the opinion of many, it was already the status quo. But from Welch’s point of view, the corporate news organizations were not living up to their potential.

The mainstream media could make George W. Bush president.
[...]
Welch viewed Al Gore as the candidate of the parasites. Gore voters were not the generators of wealth; they were the consumers of taxes. Welch privately described the typical Gore voter as “someone who needs all these goddamned social programs because she’s too goddamned dumb to keep her legs crossed and too goddamned lazy to get an abortion.”
And it's not like Welch is alone, Rupert Murdoch has done the same thing in the print media.

There is no longer a divide between the corporate and news divisions, and for GE to pretend otherwise is just ludicrous.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has more:
Interview with former "Donahue" producer and MSNBC pundit Jeff Cohen

One of the most amazing aspects of this week has been watching network media stars feign shock over the fact that anyone could suggest that they were "deferential, complicit enablers" of the Bush march to war. It's as though they never heard anyone ever suggest such a thing until George Bush's own Press Secretary mocked them for being meek, uncritical disseminators of government propaganda, and now -- they seem to want to convey -- they're just so confused and astonished that anyone could possibly think that about them.




Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

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