The GOP’s Fifth Column – The Media
Vol: 14 Issue: 27 Wednesday, November 27, 2002
What do the Washington Times, FoxNews and Rush Limbaugh have in common? According to Al Gore, two things. First, they are the ‘major institutional voices’ in America, now.
Not CNN, or the New York Times, or ABC, NBC and CBS, or the Washington Post or the LA Times or the San Francisico Examiner. Evidently, these are second string against the mighty Washington Times or Fox News Network.
The second thing these major voices have in common is that they are really GOP strongholds masquerading as news.
With the exception of Rush Limbaugh. He isn’t masquerading as anything. He doesn’t pretend to be news, neither does he pretend to be balanced. But it sounds good in a speech.
“The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party,” said Al Gore in a recent interview.
“Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh there s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media . Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks that is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of what s objective as stated by the news media as a whole.”
According to Al Gore, it is impossible for him or his fellow Democrats to get a fair shake in the press, since it is controlled by the Republican party.
“Something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk-show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers that play this game, The Washington Times and the others. And then they ll create a little echo chamber, and pretty soon they ll start baiting the mainstream media for allegedly ignoring the story they ve pushed into the zeitgeist. And then pretty soon the mainstream media goes out and disingenuously takes a so-called objective sampling, and lo and behold, these R.N.C. talking points are woven into the fabric of the zeitgeist.”
Gore also said he believed that evolving technologies and market forces have combined to lower the media s standards of objectivity.
“The introduction of cable-television news and Internet news made news a commodity, available from an unlimited number of sellers at a steadily decreasing cost, so the established news organizations became the high-cost producers of a low-cost commodity,” said Gore.
“They re selling a hybrid product now that s news plus news-helper; whether it s entertainment or attitude or news that s marbled with opinion, it s different. Now, especially in the cable-TV market, it has become good economics once again to go back to a party-oriented approach to attract a hard-core following that appreciates the predictability of a right-wing point of view, but then to make aggressive and constant efforts to deny that s what they re doing in order to avoid offending the broader audience that mass advertisers want. Thus the Fox slogan We Report, You Decide, or whatever the current version of their ritual denial is.”
(Hey, Al – I thought you were in favor of technology?)
“We understand that Gore is frustrated,” said R.N.C. spokesman Kevin Sheridan. “He s the leader of a party without a message. But if he thinks that the Republican National Committee can control the American media, then perhaps he needs a break from the book tour.”
Of course, some of the harshest criticisms of Mr. Gore have come from distinctly non-conservative quarters. Mr. Gore seemed particularly stung, for example, by an op-ed written by Frank Rich of The New York Times, suggesting that his new spontaneity was a charade.
“When people write a line like one that I read this morning quote, People do not change, period, end quote well, there s a difference between learning from experience and self-reinvention,”
Gore said. “People do change, particularly in America. If you don t learn from the experiences you have in life, then you re not trying very hard, and if you don t make mistakes, you re not human . If people who make their living criticizing anybody and everybody want to add me to their list, that s all right. Hell, they ve got to make a living.”
Although Gore has a solid core of support, many Democrats do want a fresh face to take on George W. Bush in 2004. The same formal and informal polls that show Gore with substantially larger backing than any other Democratic hopeful also show that a great many donors, opinion makers and party leaders are uncommitted and leaning toward Anyone But Gore.
“Maybe I bear the blame for some of it,” he said. “I haven t been very good about calling all of the insiders over the last two years, and maybe some of them have a beef with me because of that. I know they have been courted assiduously by some of the others who are considering a run for the White House, and it may be that some of them have already signed up with other people. If I do decide to run again, I think there s a lot of support, but I d also have to work really hard to get a bunch of them committed back to me.”
This story is important mostly because it is so ridiculous — and because it will provide an object lesson in how propaganda works, since we got to this one in its infancy.
Gore is a master at a particular brand of propaganda that depends on deep division and uses a kind of hypnotic ‘mantra’ repeated over and over again until it sounds like truth.
Like, repeating ‘every vote should count’ while simultaneously suing to have thousands of military votes disqualified since they wouldn’t like have broken his way. Not that I want to revisit Election 2000, but that is where all the best past examples of his technique can be found.
Gore’s assertion that the major media is in the GOP’s pocket is an example in the making. That is not to say that Gore doesn’t believe it himself – he’d rather believe the whole press corps is Republican than believe what they write about him.
Gore himself said of his current press image, “MAYBE I bear the blame for SOME of it,” he said. But the rest is the fault of the Republicans who control the media.
But this is vintage Gore ‘us vs. them’ political propaganda. The Washington Times is conservative in viewpoint, but to call it a media trend-setter is ridiculous.
The Washington Times is notable only because it IS a conservative newspaper struggling to survive in an overtly liberal environment.
FoxNews is beating CNN because it presents BOTH sides — which, compared to CNN, would make it LOOK conservative, since CNN is so overtly liberal that it enjoyed the nickname “Clinton News Network” throughout his administration.
Rush Limbaugh never pretends to be anything but a Republican. But the charges will stick with Gore’s constituency; to them, three media outlets that aren’t liberal constitute a right-wing majority.
Gore’s political capital is dissention and division — it has served him well throughout his political life.
(Try and find a Gore speech that doesn’t use the word ‘fight’)
When Al Gore says the mainstream press is run by the conservative right, it is just a dumb statement. When it gets picked up by his political operatives and repeated over and over again, it begins to sound like the truth.
The fact that it is so obviously untrue works in favor of the propagandist. Hitler explained in ‘Mein Kampf’ that the more outrageous the lie, the more people that will believe it, since the assumption is that no leader would say something that contradictory unless it really WAS true.
The whole purpose of presenting the Gore story here wasn’t to beat up Gore — he can do that all by himself. It was to demonstrate the power of propaganda to convince the masses that black is white or up is down at will.
Propaganda and semantics were elevated to a science during the last century, and the advent of television gave us new terms like ‘sublimatics’ to explain how brainwashing works. All these tools were developed at just the right moment in history.
The infrastructure of antichrist continues to develop before our eyes as the hours count down for the last generation of human government. Everything is in place.
“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)