Sunday, February 25, 2007



-By Mags

I have taken lately to talking back to my television set. I am not sure how long this can last. I do not live by myself, although I spend a great deal of time alone. Lately I have read some stories about how, as Nixon started circling the drain, he started talking to the portraits in the White House. I am not sure this is the same, but still... I worry.

Months ago on C-span I watched a panel discussion about the blogosphere. The participants were doing a whole bunch of hand wringing over the reliability of the information in the blogosphere. Oh my, what will people do if they rely on someone other than us to inform them? How will they ever achieve balance?

Tony Snow, David Gregory, and Richard Wolfe had a little fun at the expense of the blogosphere the other day. Washington insiders never tire of yucking it up over the foolish idealism of bloggers. We just don’t know how the game is played. For them this is a source of amusement, that is, when it is not scaring the bejesus out of them.

That newspapers are losing readership is common knowledge these days. Layoffs from major publications around the country are the stuff of news articles on the net and one would think within those very publications which find themselves making the cuts. (But, don’t worry, the economy is strong.)

Balance, it seems, is a word bandied about by the media, paper and electronic. Few achieve it, but even if they did, balance is not what we crave right now, at least not me. I crave instead INFORMATION. That thing that Tony Snow, David Gregory, and Richard Wolfe insisted they offered us by way of their medium... the one they call journalism.

Now, that Bush’s lies about WMD are public, and the Libby trial has exposed the misdeeds of the White House in outing a CIA agent whose job it was to investigate WMD, the mainstream press pretends that it is doing its job by reporting on these matters. They might be. But, bloggers have been discussing Libby for a long time. And, I defy Snow, Gregory, or Wolfe to tell me that the information is not important, or that it rates up there with Brit's hair shear in hard newsworthiness.

What happened in this country in 2000 and 2001 is that the media was complicit in the theft of the highest office in the land. The MSM fawned over the newly powerful boy child of the corrupt and very rich Bush clan and they can barely shake themselves from continuing to do so even today. And, we all know that the only reason they feel safe to report the truth now is that Bush and Cheney’s poll numbers are so dismal that there is no worry of retribution, not any more.

When the MSM failed to report the stolen election, the grassroots sprang into action. When network news failed to connect the dots, web sites like Buzzflash and decided to take up the slack. Others were added, Firedoglake, The Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo,DWT, just to name a few. When no public officials, and when no MSM media would discuss the election, the internet took on that fight. I remember those early days back in 2001. At first it was a matter of discussions on discussion boards, but the movement to tell the truth of Florida 2000 grew quickly. Those of us who knew exactly what would be the pattern of a Bush reign began pounding on keys and making waves.

For many on the left, what Bush and Cheney have wrought was predictable. But, the Washington insider structure is old and secure. They say that people who work together will do what they need to do to get along rather than make waves, no matter what moral issues are at stake. Nowhere is that principle more visible than in Washington, DC. It is my guess that the members of the Congress and the Senate have more in common with each other than they do with their constituents. Once the newly elected hit the streets of DC the rules change for them. They are part of the system. They are no longer just John Q Public. The fresh idealism becomes inconvenient, problematic in their new environment.

The same looks to be true for journalists. Their desire and professional need to get along with Tony Snow upstages the need to get real answers for the reading and viewing public. Perhaps they think that the American public cannot digest the facts... or maybe they want to be sure we do not try to do so without the DC spin, the happy talk. Bloggers are painted with a broad brush as inexpert, and single minded, mean spirited. We do not play the game. We do not follow the rules. We do not go along to get along.

The blogosphere is a threat to the establishment, not because it is inexpert or mean spirited, but it is a danger because it does not play the game and will not follow the "rules." The blogosphere is largely a service. It is a gap filled by those willing to ask the tough questions, by those who love the real America and not the K Street replication of it. The blogosphere answers to the real people, not the perceived public, the one Tony Snow holds in his mind as he obfuscates and misdirects. The blogosphere is the tide against the old boys club. It is the tide against pretense. It is the raw struggle of people against corporatism and the state of perpetual war. The blogosphere is us, it is the people. It may yet become part of an established order at which time it too will have to fight for its moral soul, but right now it is us. It IS America fighting to remain American.

What David Gregory and Richard Wolfe and any member of the Inside-the-Beltway or the mainstream media need to remember is this-- Tony Snow is a lost cause no matter how it shakes out-- the American public with whom their networks court favor are bloggers or readers of blogs. We watch and listen because we are involved and because we know the truth. Fox News network is losing viewers because they fail to heed the turning of the tide, because they misread the majority of the people, because they fail to understand that if you cannot tell the truth to us, we find a way to get at the truth, and tell the truth to ourselves. The massive public is not quick to move, but move it will. When the gaps in the established institutions get too large, the people will fill those gaps themselves. We will find a way to function outside of that establishment. And, so we have.

If nothing else, the MSM ought to be praising those with the courage to blog. The blogosphere made it safe for the MSM to come out of hiding, no matter how timid and tepid that emergence proves to be.

The established order must determine whether to beat it or join it when dealing with the blogosphere. The formal journalists can be the first to tell the truth, or it can remain a Johnny come lately when offering the public commentary on current issues. MSNBC might be breaking new ground on network news by actually reporting the news, but it is not news by any stretch of the imagination for bloggers who have been offering up these items for years. What we have here is the MSM finally coming out of hiding as the poll numbers for Bush make it safe for them to report. The bloggers waited for no such occasion, but helped to create it.

Americans have watched the game for a long time. We know it is a game and we know it is a show for our benefit. We know that the insiders play by unseen rules. We know it, and finally there is a technology that allows us to discuss how much we abhor this gamesmanship, this insider corruption of the American way of life and America itself. No amount of public chiding or denigration will change that.

The news media and the public face of government can evolve or die. It is their choice to make. They can take the lead of the American people or they can continue their game. But, what they cannot do is make the illusion they intend to create with their public personas real. They can denigrate the blogosphere, but they cannot change the fact that we are investigating and exposing. They cannot change the fact that blogs are out-reporting them. Blogs are fact checking and establishing relationships with inside sources. Bloggers are crashing the gates. The panel discussions featuring the hand wringing of insiders are nothing more than fits of sibling rivalry as the new kid enters the circle. Bloggers will hold their feet to the fire. Bloggers will not make journalists less accountable to the truth, but more so. At this juncture, it is difficult to imagine a wayward MSM that no longer has to give way to information already being shared privately by the public. But, before the blogosphere that is what we had. No longer can the MSM independently frame the questions and the debate.

I don’t know about you, but more and more I turn off the reporting I see on television and opt for reading the truth instead. I opt for more on the topics that are important and are of interest to me than to watch hours on end of commentators hand picked by the MSM for me to hear. Yes, I talk back to my television. But, more and more I turn it off. The voices coming from it are irresponsible and illogical. They are voices of the established order bought and paid for with corporate money. They are not rocking the boat. They are gingerly sidestepping the truth and soft pedaling the issues that have lasting consequences for us all.

The great hope of the world is the spread of truth and the ideology of peace. The blogosphere could be the means. People telling people, people connecting with people and people working with people, who could be the means to a world much closer to peace and egalitarian prosperity than what corporatists and establishment hacks wish to see.

We are the kind of folks who talk back to our television sets because we can no longer stand idly by and listen to the irrational voices coming from that box trying to justify war, oppression and inequality. We have listened to the MSM babbling on for way too long.

The lid is off the box. It is too late to put it back on now. We will keep asking the questions. We will keep searching for data to measure accountability and we will talk until we are all blue in the face. The blogosphere is the voice of America, the voice of the world’s people. The blogosphere will not play the game. We are not the establishment. We do not want to be the establishment. We will not be a vehicle for entertainment only. We do not exist to hypnotize the masses or for their viewing pleasure.

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At 11:04 AM, Blogger Maya's Granny said...

Newspapers are good for the funnies and TV for stories. For news, the blogs carry it years before the MSM. And, I can get exactly the funnies I want on the net, and books tell better stories.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Zappatero said...

they just reran that panel today and 2 things struck me as weird: 1) why was Tony Snow moderating and cajoling his foes on the journo side? and 2) Tony asked them what their biggest story was, Wolffe smiled at the backroom banter he got to witness at G-8. It was all about him, not about any particular story he uncoverted.

We're still in for it with these pampered pros still on the job.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger FaulknA said...

I gave up television over 10 years ago and began getting my news on the internet. I saw W coming and am amazed to this day that he's gotten this far. All of my worst nightmares have come true with these criminals in charge. Greed, avarice, and hate are the words that best describe them. What level of denial do you have to maintain to still support these criminals?


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