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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Politico-Media Complex Is More Dangerous Than The Military-Industrial Complex

Nowadays th' larceny is discovered be a newspa-aper. Th' lead pipe is dug up in ye'er back yard be a rayporther who knew it was there because he helped ye bury it. … Th' newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward. -- from Finley Peter Dunne's Observations by Mr. Dooley (1902)

President Dwight David Eisenhower
by Ralph Benko, Contributing Author: The rise of a politico-media complex is even more worrisome than the military-industrial complex.

In his Farewell Address President Dwight David Eisenhower famously warned America about the “military-industrial complex:”In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
That was then. Now, the incumbent president is challenging the media's conduct, accusing it of a witch hunt. Three prominent journalists have resigned from CNN.com after it recently retracted a story "linking a ... Trump confidant, to a Russian investment fund."

Old School journalistic icon Bob Woodward, in remarks reported by Andrea Vacciano in The Daily Caller:criticized the media’s open bias toward President Trump on Tuesday in remarks following a screening of “All The President’s Men” in Washington, D.C.. . .   If Ike was right that "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel ... that security and liberty may prosper together" then what happens when much of the media makes it difficult for the citizenry to "be alert and knowledgeable?"

What politicos do best -- very well indeed! -- is traffic in symbols. Hence the larger-than-life dimensions, and beautiful accoutrements, of the architecture of the capital, beginning with the Capitol and radiating down DC’s monumental and federal core (and outlying provinces such as the Pentagon).

But their power is constrained absent amplification by the media. And much of the media lives by photo ops both real and virtual.

Real is obvious. It is no coincidence that TV news correspondents position themselves outside impressive federal edifices like the White House and Capitol building, using these as a backdrop. That backdrop provides a sense of majesty. That in turn conveys authenticity to stories that, too often, are flimsy. Good backdrops help produce ratings.

The "virtual" photo op is a dramatic narrative, a story replete with good guys and bad guys, whether or not concocted. Think of the persistence of "The Russia Collusion Story That Won't Die" irrespective of the lack of supporting facts.

The propensity on the part of governments to manipulate symbols over substance is not a new thing.

The Wizard of Oz in L. Frank Baum’s eponymous story represented the president. He was a little man behind a curtain manipulating an awe-inspiring image of a great head.

And collusion between the politicos and the media has occurred in fact not allegory:When Hearst Artist Frederic Remington, cabled from Cuba in 1897 that "there will be no war," William Randolph Hearst cabled back: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."Now the politico-media complex has risen to extravagant power.

Deadline.com published, soon after the presidential election returns, a riveting, insufficiently noted, piece by Michael Cieply who had spent almost 12 years at the New York Times as a correspondent and editor: . . . It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”

The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”
What does this mean? Well, it’s the eyewitness testimony of something we on the right have always believed but previously could only prove through circumstantial evidence. Much of the media, at least those following the Times lead, fit their reporting (and even, at times, misreporting) to a narrative rather straight up news.

. . . Pity so few have noticed.

Let’s reprise the two key takeaways here: “We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.” And, “Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: ‘We set the agenda for the country in that room.’”

Herein appears to be the root of what President Trump calls “fake news.” “Map a narrative a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.”

There’s a beautiful old-fashioned word for it. Propaganda.

. . . We observe the formation of a powerful narrative, created by the politicos and amplified by the media. That narrative exerts more power over our lives than the military-industrial complex ever dreamed of doing.

Will Donald Trump, if he can steady his aim and avoid what one of his advisors characterized as FML tweets, be able to convert Twitter into a slingshot with which he might slay the huge, heavily-armored, Goliath of media-driven narrative?

The outcome is not foreordained.

Camille Paglia recently told Sean Hannity:It’s obscene,” she said. “It’s outrageous, OK? It shows that the Democrats are nothing now but words and fantasy and hallucination and Hollywood. There’s no journalism left. What’s happened to The New York Times? What’s happened to the major networks? It’s an outrage.    . . .The story of the politico-media complex, not unfounded speculation about election tampering collusion, is the real news.

Ike: "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel ... that security and liberty may prosper together."

Read the full column here.
-----------------
Ralph Benko is an advisor to nonprofit and advocacy organizations, is a member of the Conservative Action Project, a contributor to the contributor to the ARRA News Service. Founder of The Prosperity Caucus, he was a member of the Jack Kemp supply-side team, served in an unrelated area as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House.

Tags: Ralph Benko, Politico-Media Complex, More Dangerous, Military-Industrial Complex To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:45 PM - Post Link

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