On Tuesday, September 5th, at least three things will change. Congress
will finish vacationing and return to its long and difficult task of destroying
the world; many of us will welcome our Congress Members back to Washington with
a giant protest camp called Camp Democracy; and Network News will officially
go Cable with Katie Couric playing the role of Edward R. Murrow.
That's right, Katie will be "anchor" and "managing editor"
of CBS Evening "News". And she's already hard at work. "It's
very exciting," she says, "because you're benefiting from all the
terrific people and systems already in place, yet hopefully creating something
different and fresh. Whether you're talking about the music and saying 'Can
the trumpets be a little brighter?' or figuring out the sets and the graphics,
it's a lot of fun."
No, that last paragraph was not a string of typos. That's what she's working
on. Katie's not hard at work trying to correct a situation in which millions
of Americans believe falsehoods fed them by their televisions (Iraq was behind
9-11 and had WMD; U.S. elections are verifiable and credible; global warming
and evolution are "just theories"; Arabs and immigrants are the causes
of our troubles; the "president" isn't fed words through a wire in
his ear; the economy is doing well; etc.). No, Katie is hard at work brightening
Good night and good luck and you're gonna need it.
Katie's crossover from entermation to infotainment is remarkable only because
she's not on cable "news," in which looks and lungs have long outweighed
journalistic abilities. The story of cable news from "inside the sausage
factory" is best told, as far as I know, in Jeff Cohen's forthcoming book
"Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media."
Here we follow Jeff on a hilarious voyage into the belly of the beast as he
moves from hosting "Crossfire" on CNN to balancing unfairness on Fox
News to providing punditry on MSNBC while producing the "Phil Donahue Show,"
a show that was MSNBC's most popular when that cable network killed it because
it was insufficiently supportive of the coming war, the one the President said
he was working so hard to avoid and certainly hadn't decided upon.
Jeff is a friend of mine and a teacher and mentor of mine. When I read this
book I hear his voice speaking it. And I've heard some of these stories more
than once. But to have them all down here in this honed and perfected form is
a treasure, and a terrifying tale. Through the course of the book we see exactly
how awful our public communications system is, and we realize that it grew worse
during the years covered by this book and continued to grow worse right up to
this Katie Couric moment.
Jeff preceded me as the head of communications for Dennis Kucinich's presidential
campaign. When I took over, the media had no interest in Dennis. When I finished,
the media had no interest in Dennis. Time after time we saw Dennis receive the
most applause at a candidates' event but go unmentioned in the next day's stories.
Thousands of people told me "I'd vote for Dennis if he had a chance,"
because the media had told them he had no chance, and they'd mistaken their
televisions for their democracy, and obeyed. Reading this book heightens my
respect for Jeff immensely, because I see that he has faced this level of frustration
for years, and faced it up close and personal, and stayed cheerful through it,
and not compromised.
Was there a media conspiracy to shut a peace candidate like Kucinich out of
the news? If you read this book, you'll understand that for the most part the
simplistic smoke-filled-room notion of such a conspiracy is superfluous, but
you'll also understand that all sorts of hard evidence documents the media outlets'
decisions to give peace no chance.
Jeff also documents here the closeness of media executives to the Bush Administration
and the extent to which they knew the war had been decided upon even while pretending
to cover a debate over whether there should be a war, all the time basing their
rating strategies on the coming bombing missions.
Read this book: http://www.jeffcohen.org/CNC.html
Read from Looking Glass News
Couric: the Pretty Face of Corporate Propaganda
MATTHEWS : " I JUST LOVE THIS GUY AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF "
At the Feet of the Powerful and Throat of the Weak
Peter Jennings: Excuse Maker for War and Empire
Kurtz, Unreliable Source
Koppel: "Natural Fit" at NPR News and Longtime Booster of Henry Kissinger
5 Corporations Now Control Majority Of US Media
Matthews: 2005's Misinformer of the Year
Clownification of America
corporate-controlled media: garbage disguised as news
Life and Crimes of a Global Goebbels
Girls Bleed, Only One Leads
Vice President of Racism
AND THE HIVE MIND
Mind Control Through Network Television: Are Your Thoughts Your Own?
Techniques for Truth Suppression
Doors Of Perception: Why Americans Will Believe Almost Anything
at the Gate: He Who Controls Television Controls the Masses
of Media Manipulation
The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA