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AdLib On June - 2 - 2011

Last night, Bill Moyers was a guest on The Daily Show (video below) and through his conversation and example, demonstrated how bankrupt modern day journalism has become.

Though the issue of financial deficits currently consume the political agenda in Washington, the glaring deficit in knowledge and truth among the American public looms as a greater threat to the prospering of our society and democracy.

What good are balanced budgets and resolved deficits if a poorly informed citizenry loses control of their democracy to corporations and the wealthy? An economically sound tyranny is hardly preferable to an economically messy democracy.

Thankfully, our venerated press are using their critical position in our society to explore the underwear of a congressman and closely follow the fake campaign of a woman who is seen as unfit for office by a majority of her own party.

By doing so, they are throwing grit in the eyes of America, blinding Americans to what’s really going on around them. We are inundated with the salacious and trivial instead of how Climate Change is threatening our very survival on the planet, how a mercenary upper class is robbing Americans and their children of their wealth, democracy and future and how our education system and standard of living are deteriorating and dropping our nation’s standing below most other developed countries.

This is why hearing the insightful, reasoned, folksy and knowledgeable voice of Bill Moyers last night, sharing observations about what journalism was and still is to him, was so resonant. Here are parts 1 and 2 of Bill Moyers on The Daily Show:

 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Moyers Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

 

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Moyers Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook


 

Moyers was part of the last generation of conscientious television journalists who sought and reported actual news and substantive, previously hidden truths. As Moyers and Jon Stewart discussed last night, the problem with modern day news is that they have slashed their news gathering budgets and substitute opinion or narration of others’ opinions as news.

Consider the typical newscast on any of the news channels. The majority of newscasters/hosts are not trained journalists and in fact, are often just actors/performers reading teleprompters or following instructions that are dictated into their earpiece.

They recite information that other organizations have gathered with the spin that their management has chosen to put on it. Even their seemingly spontaneous moronic banter is dishonest and rarely just that, it is often pre-arranged or piped into their earpiece.

Then there are the interviews where these hosts often play the role of The Price is Right models, they sweep their arms towards their guest propagandist(s) and smile widely, presenting the Flat Earther and the scientist as equally legitimate because there are always two valid sides to every issue (such as being pro-AIDS and anti-clean water).

The main decline of the tv news industry began when news divisions of networks and later cable news, were required to turn a profit. Up until the 70’s and 80’s, news divisions were loss leaders, they were a public service that were required in a democracy and never expected by networks to be a profit center.

With the gobbling up of tv networks by huge corporations (if you haven’t seen the movie, “Network”, it’s all exposed in such searing satire and insight courtesy of Paddy Chayefsky), the corporate imperative to earn the most revenue from all directions, was the death knell for the concept of news as a social responsibility. It was now an inefficient division of an entertainment business whose revenue stream needed to be made far more profitable.

This meant slashing the unnecessary expense of investigative reporting and international news bureaus, they don’t produce any direct revenues (also, investigative stories could expose their own secretive corporate agendas and political lobbying that benefits them at the expense of the public). To fill in the gap this created, they provide provocative stories and guests that will titillate and entertain…after all, this is show business.

Thomas Jefferson and other Founders saw the press as the final safeguard in our democracy. If all else failed, if the three branches and their balance of powers rotted, the press would be the unofficial fourth branch of government that protected our democracy.

Now that corporations, which are sociopathic and anti-democratic by design, own the mass media in America, that safety net is not only gone, it has been turned into a blindfold. Corporate news outlets work hard every day to keep Americans distracted from focusing on the most important and meaningful truths that they need to know to be empowered. They spoon feed corporate-think as fact, framing issues as they choose but presenting them as unquestionable reality. They now create events and realities instead of just reporting on them.

The press made Sarah Palin what she is and gave her the power she has. The press made the Tea Party what it is and gave it the power that it has. The press succeeded at convincing the public to support going to war in Iraq and nearly succeeded in killing healthcare reform.

The cliche states that knowledge is power and the proof of that is inescapable. To any who doubt this, look at the opposite end of this proposition, how powerful are the most uninformed? Does critical thinking and independent thinking prosper among the lesser-informed or is unquestioned conformity to the views of their authority figures more often the case?

Bill Moyers’ Journal, like his previous shows and specials, did just the opposite. They informed people about truths they really need to know in a democracy, not by bringing on talking heads from think tanks and partisan publications but through thoughtful questioning of those who know the most about a particular subject.

Here is a link to Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS’ site, you can view episodes there on such a wide range of topics with a remarkable array of people who share very enlightening and valuable insights:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04302010/watch.html

It’s unlikely that there will ever be a return to the integrity of journalism there once was and of which Bill Moyers was a valuable part. Hopefully, his example and those of his generation will at least inspire those bloggers on the web, who aren’t a part of the corporate media machinery, to do the job the Corporate Media won’t do anymore. To seek and tell the truths that they won’t tell. To be that safety net for democracy that Jefferson saw as necessary to preserve American Democracy.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

63 Responses so far.

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  1. BlueStateMan says:

    Why are so many people in this country so happy to be so uninformed.. so willing to accept what they see on the “news” without question?



    The depths to which our “4th Estate” have sunk is the result of a deliberate plan to obscure the differences between contrived drama and reality.. and it will be very difficult to turn around now that several generations have already been indoctrinated.



    After the so-called “Liberal Press” had successfully caused the resignation of Richard Nixon.. and the imprisonment of many of his Administration, the right-wing knew that it had to make changes. 

Did the disgraced GOP see the error of their ways and try to conduct themselves as honest lawmakers , trying to help govern in the spirit of compromise and genuine debate?



    Nope.

    

They decided to just call their friends occupying the boardrooms of America (and elsewhere), get a few financial syndicates together and buy most of the corporations that owned news operations and then control them to the extent that zero “negative” news exposing their criminality would reach the mass market, and only their particular political propaganda would be presented.
 


    The “privatization” of truth.

    They then hired the first of their “beards”, a vapid, 3rd rate actor named Ronald Reagan who did what he was told, and, in one of his first acts as President, canceled the “Fairness Doctrine” (which mandated that those who broadcast editorials while leasing parts of the public airwaves allot equal editorial time to the Public who OWNS those airwaves so as to express opposing viewpoints) the last vestiges of a truly free, independent press was sent into oblivion… giving only those with lots of money a forum in which to spread their lies… at the same time silencing the views of all others.

    

It’s more than ironic that, since Reagan’s ‘claim to fame’ as an “actor” was co-starring with a CHIMP , that the second ‘beard’ injected into the Oval Office was the CHIMP ITSELF.

    It’s worse now than ever… even more reason to fight with everything we have… for without honest information, we are lost.



    The medium in which we are now communicating is most likely our LAST hope.

    

Let’s not give up.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey BSM, no, we can’t give up and your comment is proof that we’re not.

      The web has become the new “press”, the place where propaganda is questioned and truths are sought out.

      It is a terrible loss to have the MSM a corporate subsidiary but that is unquestionably what it’s become. There are exceptions but for the most part, the MSM exists to distract the public and keep them from focusing on anything other than being good little consumers and sheep.

      The fact that we’re discussing this publicly in this article on this site with many others joining in who recognize these truths should actually be affirming.

      And the younger people out there don’t even get their news from TV, they get it from the web. The solution to this problem seems to be in process and all thanks to technology.

      Older folk watch Fox and are among the worst informed. Younger folk watch The Daily Show and Colbert and they populate blogs. As the older folks die off, so will a degree of influence that the corps and their networks have.

      BTW, I like your phrase, “The Privatization of the Truth”.

      And as for people being happy to be uninformed, some are some aren’t. To some, ignorance is bliss but for others, it’s a pre-requisite for registering Republican.

      • bito says:

        More bloody ageism! 😉

        Older folk watch Fox and are among the worst informed. Younger folk watch The Daily Show and Colbert and they populate blogs. As the older folks die off, so will a degree of influence that the corps and their networks have.

        “I’m dancing as fast as I can.”

  2. Khirad says:

    And those of us for whom the old school journalists like Moyars are but a fuzzy memory from their waning years, or not a memory at all, why, there’s a certain Plato’s Cave to it all in the new cacophonous media-crity, numbed by all the “Breaking News”.

    • AdLib says:

      Just as those who love music and literature become familiar with the classics, those who love freedom of expression would no doubt appreciate going back and watching how the best journalists practiced their craft.

      What you point out is important though, the generations that grow up only seeing the exploitative, misleading and obscuring corporate press that dominates the media today know no differently, to them, this is what a free press is.

      On the other hand, since younger people are less likely to get their news from TV than the web, technology may unintentionally undermine the corporate MSM’s best made plans.

  3. bito says:

    Adlib, among your many good observations, I think the one that bothers me the most is the concept of “if we have a person from both sides of an issue, then there is a middle answer and we were ‘fair.'”

    What? They have a mother of an AA wife/mother of a husband whose husband/son was lynched vs. a KKK member and there is some “middle ground” on “OK, we should have only flogged him” and that is where civil rights are found? The middle ground is satisfied?
    Not just civil rights, but voting rights, womens reproductive rights, climate change, health care… the list goes on.

    My intelligence (what little I may have) is insulted with having a bigot as a ‘balance’ on and calling it fair and washing their hands.

    Another point that has bothered me, that with the advent of so much corporatism and consolidating of media, not only have the investigation reports and reporters been “found early retirement” but so have many of the senior editors. The loss of “institutional knowledge”, they cost too much. So much easier to hire a tech smart younger person (no dedicated pension) than the older person that actually knows some background from more the 15 minutes ago.

    Ha, the “middle ground”!

    AP’s “Fact Check” Distorts the Fundamentals of a Republican Plan to Reshape Medicare.

    And how many “news” organizations ran with the AP story without fact-checking? Plenty, ya betcha.

    • AdLib says:

      It burns me up too, Bito. It is the cheap, lazy and ignorant way to run a news channel, “We got a guy coming on who believes in gravity, Find someone who doesn’t so we can be fair and balanced!”

      It also feeds into the creating-conflict agenda of these news slums, they KNOW that having on a talking head who says that Hitler was actually a humanitarian will make people watch more and thus increase their ad revenue.

      As you say, truth is not balance. There were two sides on slavery and women’s suffrage, one can only imagine if these news stations were around at the time, how they’d nod thoughtfully at a slave owner declaring that blacks actually prefer slavery.

      I don’t think the network execs truly believe there are two equal sides to every issue, it’s just a profitable business practice. Not to mention, helping to fog viewers minds to there being any truths or principles they should categorically believe in.

      US News Channels -- Keeping the public uninformed on everything except pictures of men’s crotches since 1980.

    • SallyT says:

      Bito, have I told you lately how much I appreciate you finding articles that I need to read? Well, I do and you save me so much time in finding them. Thank you!

      • bito says:

        Thank you Sally, blame my parents with their ” We spent a lot of money on those books, look it up!” That and from my teachers ” your research is great” a kind way of saying your “writing really sucks.” ? :-)
        I appreciate everyone’s links on the site, I also like to learn.

        • SallyT says:

          Won’t blame the parents.
          Also, since I must continue one last time with my admiration of FDR, I thought you would like this quote:
          A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.
          Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio address, Oct. 26, 1939

          • bito says:

            Sally, I admire FDR and his administration immensely, without many of his policies, I may not have even existed.

            Thank you for the quotes and please post more-more and more of them. As true as they were then they are still true today.

            • SallyT says:

              Oh, Bito, can I quote the guy who followed FDR, Harry Truman, too. Being from the “show me state” originally, I can’t leave out Harry.
              Being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or he is swallowed.
              Harry S. Truman

            • SallyT says:

              Thanks, Bito! You have given me a purpose on here. I will be a FDR Quoter. Is that a word? Okay, I will be a FDR Quarter Horse.

              When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

              Franklin D. Roosevelt

  4. funksands says:

    Bill Moyers was an ethical and thoughtful journalist to be sure. But he also had immense talent that I think is sometimes overlooked. I’ve always been struck by his uncanny and intuitive knack of penetrating to the important parts of a topic.

    That can be a learned skill, but is also owed much to talent.

    Ad, a wonderful article about a great man.

    • AdLib says:

      Cheers Funk!

      I would watch Bill Moyers interview in such a casual and understated way and as simple as it appeared and felt, I marveled at how he drew out the most remarkable and insightful statements from his guests.

      I can’t think of anyone else who has that kind of ability.

      He is sorely missed.

  5. KillgoreTrout says:

    Great post AdLib. Mr. Moyers mentioned Susan Jacoby in the second video of Stewart’s interview. I found this and offer it, because it is just what Moyers was talking about;

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02152008/profile.html

  6. Chernynkaya says:

    Adlib, thanks for another outstanding and motivating post! I have tried to think of what we can do to keep our press unbiased and to force it to do the job the Founders understood was essential to maintain democracy. There is no magic bullet, of course, and there are no easy answers. But it seems to me it boils down to we citizens demanding it—as does every other issue we see in this country that makes us upset. It’s really a truth that many of us don’t want to hear: we are the change we are waiting for. It takes constant and relentless scrutiny. That’s why it’s so hard—people must get involved and few want to be bothered. Hey, I don’t want to be bothered either! I have other stuff I’d rather do. But I also like living in a free country, where I can play a part on my own destiny. I like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. I like reproductive choice. I like good schools. I like clean air, water and national parks. I like the ocean. Personally, I like endangered species too. If I don’t have a responsible press, I won’t get those things. And it’s a vicious cycle; without a free and honest press, there will be poorer education which in turn will allow the corporate press to triumph which will further erode all the things I like about America.

    Since more and more people are disengaged from participating in government or in ensuring that we prevent a plutocracy, the burden falls on those of us who are engaged. The other side has their partisans and we have ours. The other side has the power of money, but we have the power of numbers. The rest of the population will live their lives based on which side wins. It’s pretty much as reductionist as that as I see it now. We have already lost so much ground re: the press, but I honestly don’t think it is in any way irreversible. The new media is making a dent. There are new muckrackers, bless them. But if we want more Bill Moyers’ and if we want a respectable press, we have to insist—repeatedly. That’s the key—speak out each and every time we see bias or piss-poor reporting. Over and over again. Here’s a good start:

    Join the Action Alert Network
    FAIR’s Action Alert network is a powerful activism tool that encourages the public to become critically engaged with media. FAIR distributes timely, focused reports via email, critiquing a particular instance of media inaccuracy or bias, and encourages members to communicate directly to journalists to demand more responsible reporting.
    This activism get results -- we’ve forced rewrites of stories, propelled undercovered stories from the sidelines to the mainstream and succeeded in getting different perspectives into the news.
    It’s easy to sign up – just enter your name and email address in the sign up box on this page. We keep our list low volume – generally only one or two emails per week.
    Get involved in the FAIR fight for better media coverage – sign up today.

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=6

    Activism Resources
    FAIR’s Media Contact List: Contact national media and make your voice heard!

    FAIR’s Media Activism Kit: A step-by-step guide to getting involved in media activism, from letter-writing to organizing a demonstration. Includes an essential resource list.

    Media Activism Groups: Find out what’s going on around the country and in your area.

    Online News Sources: Where to keep up with the news

    Challenging Hate Radio: A Guide For Activists. Some tips on documenting hate speech, and what activists can do about it.

    I can tell you that when I have written to the media, I don’t always get a reply, but I sometimes do. More importantly, I have SEEN that when enough people write, networks act accordingly. The last time was when there were zero Dems scheduled on Meet the Press. People complained and they hurriedly changed their line-up. There were more example recently, but they escape me at the moment. It still works and we need to stay vigilant to make sure it always will. (But I know I am preachin’ to the choir here! Who knows though, someone unknown might be lurking.)

    • AdLib says:

      Cher, thanks so much for this, a great organization and service!

    • bito says:

      Cher, to add to your excellent ‘take action’ comment:

      Senator Bernie Sanders Belongs on the Sunday Shows

      Senator Sanders is a bold voice, and one that’s missing every Sunday. He’s a passionate advocate for the middle class and yet his last morning show appearance came late last year.

      Compare that to Sen. John McCain, who leads everyone with 10 appearances this year alone. His friends and ideological allies, Sens. Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman, round out the top seven interviewees this year, with six and five appearances each.[…]

      Will you call or write the network producers and tell them to Bring Senator Sanders On? (Their contact information is at bottom.)[….]

      Face the Nation: Carin Pratt, (202) 457-4481, [email protected]

      Meet the Press: Iliana Drimmer, (202) 885-4598, [email protected]

      This Week: (212) 456-7777 (push 5 and address your message to Rick Kaplan, executive producer of This Week)

      State of the Union: Michelle Jaconi, (404) 827-1500, [email protected]

      Besides Bernie, when do we ever see: Amy Klobachar, Al Frankin, Sherwood Brown, Senator Whitehouse, Senator Boxer…. Where are the liberal voices?

      H/T The Political Carnival and GottaLaff.

      • SallyT says:

        Yes, Bernie Sanders! He is an Independent and a Democratic Socialist to boot. Why isn’t he on? It ain’t like he is the only one in office…..oh wait, he is! He should be on for that fact and the fact that he is a great voice for the middle class.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Perfect, bito. Just exactly perfect.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      cher, thanks for linking to FAIR! I just signed up. I think this a fabulous idea. Far better than “the sound of silence.”

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Wow! Thank you so much, Kilgore!

        • KillgoreTrout says:

          My pleasure. I am just excited about having an avenue for my take on the intentional inadequate and dishonest practices of our modern media.
          FAIR reminds me a bit of the “underground,” newspapers that got the message out, in the 60s. We certainly need a “free press,” now more than ever.

  7. agrippa says:

    Journalism has, most of the time, been very political. There were, and remain, a few newspapers/news journals that tried to be impartial. But, those publications have been in the minority.

    The political parties have used the press to make their point; and, at one time, the parties or president have had their own newspapers.

    So, the politcal naure of the media is nothing new. The fairness doctrine worked against that, but that is gone now.

    • SallyT says:

      Cher, I’ll sign-up. Can they help me with my Class of 68 and all of my fellow students that went from “sex, drugs, and rockn’roll” to the Tea Party?” I get bombbarded with emails and jokes against liberals. I think I am the only one that came out a liberal or else the others aren’t speaking up.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Sally-- we are only one year apart! But I think our classes must have had more to do with geography than age, because all of my class of ’69 (from Los Angeles) grew up to be flaming liberals, even though they were practically ALL conformists in HS. Pretty funny, now that I think of it. And thanks for signing up--Fantastic!

        • SallyT says:

          Yes, geography does make a difference and you probably had better weed. My class is now part of the MidWest thinking you find in MO now. But, it wasn’t always that way, at least not in my old area.

  8. texliberal says:

    Moyers always hits the ball out of the park. What else would you expect, he’s a TEXAS LIBERAL.

  9. Parsifals says:

    Adlib, yes I did see Moyers interview Howard Zinn.

  10. ADONAI says:

    From Wikipedia:

    On June 4, 2003, Moyers gave an “inspiring” speech at the “Take Back America” conference. In it, Moyers defined what he considered to be Karl Rove’s influence on George W. Bush’s administration. Moyers asserted that, from his reading of Rove, the mid-to-late 19th century were to Rove a “cherished period of American history.” He further stated, “From his own public comments and my reading of the record, it is apparent that Karl Rove has modeled the Bush presidency on that of William McKinley…and modeled himself on Mark Hanna, the man who virtually manufactured McKinley”, a man whose primary “passion” was attending to corporate and imperial power.

    Furthermore, Moyers indicated that Hanna gathered support for McKinley’s presidential campaign from “the corporate interests of the day” and was responsible for Ohio and Washington coming under the rule of “bankers, railroads and public utility corporations.” He submitted that political opponents of this transfer of power were “smeared as disturbers of the peace, socialists, anarchists, or worse.”
    Moyers also referred to what historian Clinton Rossiter called the period of “the great train robbery of American intellectual history,” when “conservatives—or better, pro-corporate apologists” began using terms such as “progress”, “opportunity”, and “individualism” in order to make “the plunder of America sound like divine right.” He added that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was also used by conservative politicians, judges, and publicists to justify the idea of a “natural order of things” as well as “the notion that progress resulted from the elimination of the weak and the ‘survival of the fittest.'”

    He concludes, “This ‘degenerate and unlovely age’, as one historian calls it, exists in the mind of Karl Rove, the reputed brain of George W. Bush, as the seminal age of inspiration for the politics and governance of America today.”

    I gotta say, he pretty much nailed it. That’s the kind of analysis backed by history and study that you just don’t get now a days. Lots of “left leaning” journalists attacked Bush but very few of them put it in perspective like Moyers does.

  11. jjgravitas says:

    Perhaps this explains why the political satire on Saturday Night Live isn’t funny anymore and hasn’t been for years.
    Currently spinning in their graves: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Orwell

    • AdLib says:

      It is hard to satirize the news when their top story is called, “Weinergate”.

      I’m less surprised that SNL’s political satire isn’t funny anymore than I am in learning that it’s still on the air. 😉

      The Daily Show and Colbert are an unending fountain of brilliant political satire so it can be done but it takes a degree of cleverness that SNL rarely exhibits anymore.

      • jjgravitas says:

        You’re quite right, but my initial point, which I failed to make, was that the SNL of today is an established NBC entity, and as such is completely under the control of network executive decisions, which I am sure has a lot to do with how the humor at SNL has been homogenized to the point of pointlessness. It’s humor level now is about that of the Sunday comics. Which is a shame because I used to like them. NBC recently has one of the worst records in network TV programming, having cancelled good shows in order to focus on bad ones. So the point is really about Network decision-making.

      • foodchain says:

        Although crotches do seem to be in SNL’s area of expertise

      • SallyT says:

        What would we do without Watergate to use for naming every scandal since? Thank goodness the Dems weren’t at the Waldorf or we would have Weinerorf.

  12. SallyT says:

    AdLib, much has been lost in journalism and most likely will not be found. But, journalism has always been a tool for those in power or seeking power. By no means do I wish to challenge you, certainly I would lose, but I must make a statement in regard to Mr. Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man but he was a man seeking power and desire for his opinions to be just. I know he was one of our founders and he has been raised to heights of goddly. But, he was a man with faults, too. He used journalism and the press for his own purpose just as it is used today. Of course, he did not have the volume of it as we have now. There is a wonderful book titled “A Magnificent Catastrophe” written by Edward J. Larson about the election of 1800 which gave birth to our now two party system and etched the lines of partisanship we live with today. Of course this was the contest between two of our founders, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. If you read this book, you will see that nothing really has changed in politics. It took off in a run that even our founders couldn’t control. (In fact, in reading it I caught myself laughing at the similarities of some of the methods used today and even the topics. Especially the use of religion.) Jefferson played the game and he played it well. I do not mean to take away from your article, AdLib, but I do feel that there always need to be someone to say, “Our Founding Fathers were on the right track but they were men and didn’t always know the way down the road.” We need to study them and learn the truth of their desires for our nation. Even the desires that they themselves couldn’t follow when lost in their desires for power.

    • Parsifals says:

      I suppose I’ll take minor umbrage with your statement Sally that journalism is and has always been about power. Perhaps the owners of the media seek power and many control it, but the humble journalist often goes into the field to write, explore and educate the public and themselves.

      As a writer myself, who gets paid occasionally, I have no power, but I may have some influence. My latest article was about fly fishing, not much power in the subject. However, I did get feed-back from one of our esteemed elders who makes some of the finest flies that, “your article might encourage our erstwhile anglers to get out there.”

      Is that power? I suggest not. Was I informative and enthusiastic about the subject? Yes. Hence I both educated and influenced one fisherman.

      • SallyT says:

        I did not say journalism was about power. I said it was used as a tool for those in power or seeking power. Fly Fishing would be a great article for those wishing to seek/catch fish. Why you took that statement personal???? Anyway, I did not say as you have stated.

        • Parsifals says:

          You may be taking this response more seriously than my intention. I didn’t take it personally at all but rather was defending the profession. :)

          • SallyT says:

            Perhaps I took it more seriously than your intention. But, why you felt a need to “defend” the profession when there was no attack made against it???? I did feel a need to clear a quote you stated incorrectly.

    • AdLib says:

      Appreciate your points, Sally.

      There have indeed been nasty partisan battles since the founding of the nation and I certainly find myself siding more with Adams than with Jefferson historically.

      However, my point is not as much about how Jefferson and other politicians sought to influence a free press to their political advantage but that there was pretty much unanimity at how crucial a free press was to a democracy.

      This was an important discussion at the time of the drafting of The Constitution and it is no accident that the First Amendment to the Constitution contained the protection of a free press.

      Jefferson was a politician and while brilliant, had some views and traits that were not as admirable as others. Yet, when it came to establishing freedom of the press, Jefferson and most if not all of the other Founders were united in the importance of this to a true democracy.

      • SallyT says:

        Like I said, I did not wish to take away from your article but just to point out that people with the best of intentions do sometime fail with those when seeking for themselves. I think this is very true now as then and why we are disappointed with our politicians. Yes, they wanted freedom of the press but they also wanted control of it, too. Sedition Act for one. However, there have always been those that remind them that the main purpose was to keep it free and even to fight to maintain it. In my personal opinion, Thomas Jefferson would be turning over in his grave about the corporate control that our nation suffers from now which is also your point. Yes, Adams, Franklin, and Madison would be rolling with him, too. Perhaps that is why there are so many earthquakes and tornadoes right now. Hamilton would be celebrating, maybe. But, the corporate control is the real enemy of that freedom. Jefferson in his use of the press did not own it or buy it. He did feed it with articles. It was the press, after all, that helped to started our revolution.
        Again, I wasn’t challenging you.

        • AdLib says:

          I understand, Sally, no worries.

          Your point about the dichotomy between Jefferson and others supporting a free press then wanting to subvert it to benefit themselves is very well taken and a far too common type of situation among politicians.

          They sometimes support a principle adamantly…until it’s not helpful to them.

          Jefferson was indeed quite anti-corporate and he and the other Founders could probably solve our current fossil fuels issues if the energy from them spinning in their graves could be harnessed.

          The current imposition of plutocracy into our democracy would appall them, having dedicated themselves to creating a system that was representative of the many.

          Agreed, corporate power and that of the wealthiest in this nation are the biggest threat to it. Until we can reign in their influence over our government, the threat to our democracy only grows greater.

          • SallyT says:

            We are singing from the same Hymns. Corporate power and the wealthies not only have taken freedom from the press but seek to take freedoms, choice, and benefits from all of us.

  13. Parsifals says:

    Thanks, Adlib,

    If you haven’t, you might try to catch or upload Moyer’s talk on Alternative Radio (this week EDT) honouring Howard Zinn. It was brilliant, and it took my breath away. I was in the car, and even after I arrived at my destination, I sat still to hear his conclusion(s).

    He spoke candidly and directly to the fragility of the democracy.

    • AdLib says:

      Cool, I will definitely catch up with that, thanks!

      Did you see Howard Zinn on Bill Moyers? A great episode!

      Here’s Part 1:


      Part 2:


      Part 3:


      • bito says:

        And may I add this:

        April 27, 2007
        Bill Moyers talks with Jon Stewart

        http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04272007/watch.html

        • AdLib says:

          Thanks Bito! I saw that episode when it was originally broadcast, probably the best and most insightful interview of Jon Stewart ever.

          • bito says:

            AdLib, can we get Jon Stewart to replace David Gregory on MTP? Seeing Jon Stewart in a serious conversation shows why his satire is so smart.

            • AdLib says:

              The thing is, when Stewart gets serious on other shows, he’s sometimes ridiculed for it. As if, his being serious about issues isn’t allowed.

              Yet, what many miss is that without a serious, principled perspective within himself, Jon Stewart wouldn’t be able to craft effective and humorous ironies about politics, politicians and the media.

              When he’s had certain political “villains” on his show, he has sometimes stripped the facade off of them in a way David Gregory is wholly incapable of doing (Gregory is such a poor interviewer). One of my favorite examples is the old classic, Jon Stewart on Crossfire, exposing it for the sham it was and the show was cancelled shortly after being “outed” by Stewart:


            • bito says:

              AdLib, I do remember that one and think he may not be taken seriously is because he challenges, exposes their ( the media) their shallowness.
              This is one with Moyers and Stewart in 2003 and yet it continues. How do “serious” discussions on the two major topics of the day: “Penis and Palin” help the the country in any way? Why are all the talkers about left and right when the problem is up and down? Where is the the “presenter” that asks about the Ryan budget to a R ” why does the plan add 6 trillion to the debt? and “with tax rates at a 50 year low, why do you further lower taxes on the richest?” “in giving tax breaks to the richest, in your words ‘the job creators’, why at this time in huge corporate profits, are the not now creating jobs?”

              Oh, sorry Senator, we don’t have time for your answer because we have breaking news, S’arah got off her bus wearing shorts and we have to go to that breaking news.

              Anyway,

              July 11, 2003
              Jon Stewart
              In 2003 Jon Stewart appeared on NOW WITH BILL MOYERS. During that conversation they touched on matters from the state of politics and the state of comedy and the role of the media.

  14. Parsifals says:

    One of the few, left, who is/was a journalist.

    And Adlib, my deep apology I wanted to rate this 10, but hit five by mistake.

    • AdLib says:

      It is kind of astounding that such an integral part of our society and democracy could be corrupted so quickly and invisibly to so many.

      Makes you realize how fragile our democracy really is and how fast and easily it could be damaged.

      BTW, no worries about the stars, Pasifals, the intent is all that matters so thanks!


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