| America Needs a
Today I’d like to explain why I
feel that Americans need, at this moment in time, a national leader
so bold that he’s willing to risk his political career, and even his
Without sweeping changes in the infrastructure of our national
discourse, progressives, even moderates,
will never again win the hearts and minds of the majority of
Americans. Most of you reading this are in
a small minority. You are the ones who have abandoned the
corporate news media for sources you trust,
for like-minded commentators, and for court jesters who speak truth to
power. The vast majority of
Americans still believe that American journalistic standards are the
world’s highest and rely on short
snippets from broadcast news to keep them informed. Those with
stronger opinions isolate themselves
among political allies. Most have paid little attention to the
long and careful breakdown of ethics originally
forged by such American legends as Edward R. Murrow.
If you ponder why Americans seem to be at each other’s throat to a far
greater extent than at any time
since the Civil War, you need only look so far as my preceding
paragraph. In years past, I spent a large
amount of time arguing for the return of the Fairness Doctrine and
related laws and regulations.
I anticipated the America that has come to pass without them.
Rush Limbaugh has frequently referred to the Fairness Doctrine as “the
hush Rush law.”
He’s essentially correct. The Fairness Doctrine would have
required Limbaugh to give equal time on
his program to spokespersons opposed to his political
vomit. If he failed to provide that time, he’d be
denied access to the broadcast infrastructure across America. And
so would Fox News. The Fairness
Doctrine and its attendants would deny the use of propaganda proponents
from both the left and the right.
Further, Americans would not be able to shield themselves from
political opinion they did not immediately share.
I recently spent some time driving across America from Vermont to
California. What should strike
anyone who takes the time for this journey is that practically every
television in every bar, truck stop,
roadside diner, and motel broadcasts Fox News twenty-four hours a day,
seven days a week. What will
not immediately occur to you, unless you think about it, is that this
is quite simply the way the vast
majority of Americans get their news. While going about their
daily business, they gather information
from publicly viewed television sets and from talk radio. Nobody
is more aware of that fact than
Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes.
By the Ailes design, Fox News identifies two or three talking point
sound bites per day, and hammers
them relentlessly throughout the day. Folks who trust the
information they get from broadcasting absorb
those brief, unexplained talking points and the Fox News nutshell
version of American history.
Don’t waste your time arguing any opposing view or asking these people
to check another information
source. They don’t have the time. They are far too busy
protecting the remnants of what they have,
while Fox News tells them who to blame for their losses.
A politician with communication skills, such as Barack Obama has shown,
might still find some success
in beating back the misperceptions with the diligent use of the bully
pulpit. President Obama has chosen
not to do this. As a result, any success he has forged will be
quickly overturned with the electorate’s
broad approval the moment he steps down from office. Without a
president with the tenacity of Harry
Truman and the speaking skills of John F. Kennedy, this will continue
to be Rupert Murdoch’s America.
The rest of us will only be allowed to live in it. Maybe.
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