Progressive Writers Bloc

Are Their Lips Moving?

Uncle Bill Warner

"How can you tell if the President is lying?....His lips are moving!" You've heard that one, I'm sure. There has always been a concerted effort to "educate" the public to a certain point of view from the "bully pulpit" of the White House. The U.S. propaganda machine is so powerful today that 40% of the American people believe there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qu'ida, despite that having been long-exposed as a lie! The President said it, didn't he?

Under a totalitarian dictatorship, there is not a lot of worry about what the people think. Disagree, and find yourself incarcerated, tortured, or "disappeared" or perhaps all three. Noam Chomsky, in his classic film "Manufacturing Consent", posits that a government that is freely elected can 't just do anything it wants to, as the people have a vote every couple of years, and it can be ousted from office. To work its will, it must convince people that what it is doing is right and good for the country.

On TV a beer maker shows happy people partying, not a dead family on the road that has been wiped out by a drunk driver. In Army-controlled footage on Iraq you see mostly shots of our troops "doing stuff" in Iraq, with 100,000 dead and mutilated Iraqis somehow getting ignored. And how about the 15,000 "invisible" wounded and maimed U.S. troops? Occasionally, a little reality slips through, such as the Abu Ghraib photos or the "illegal" snapshot taken and put on the Internet of the flag-draped coffins being secretly off-loaded at Air Force bases in the dead of night, or the "outing"of Jeff Gannon.

Remember Lincoln's observation that, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time!"? Well, it seems like the goal of our leadership these days is more interested in ruling than governing, and therefore a massive effort is being made to deceive all of the people all of the time. If you can control the "news" that reaches the people, you can pretty much control their beliefs and actions. How much of what is really going on is getting through to us? Not much, in the mainstream media, anyway. Will the White House try to get ALL the news under its control? Sure looks like they'd like it that way.

I was talking to a young man in his late 20's the other day about the news. He told me he had worked in public relations in the Army, and that they routinely fed stories to the press that were printed verbatim, despite being pure propaganda pieces for the most part. He said he never believes anything he hears on the news, as he knows how it is being manipulated. How much faith can we have in what comes to us over the corporate media?

Consider who owns the media. Can you have TV networks owned by major war contractors like GE and Westinghouse and expect to get unbiased war stories? Can you have radio networks that systematically deny equal access to all points of view that do not jibe with those of the owners, like the Clear Channel people? With 9 out of 10 radio call-in programs being dominated by former right-wing criminals like G. Gordon Liddy or Oliver North and downright liars like Rush Limbaugh are we really getting the stuff we need to make decent decisions? On TV, Fox News is a bad joke (totally dominated by the right wing and Rupert Murdoch). CNN and the rest are hardly much better when it comes to being "balanced." Most Left-Right debates are between people a little to the right of center and people who are a LOT to the right of center, with an occasional kook from far out in left field just to discredit the mainstream progressives.

The list of lies is endless. The myth of the "liberal" media, the WMD fairy tale, the pro-pollution "Clean Air" act, the kill-the-public schools "No Child Left Behind" act, the logging industry's "Healthy Forests" act, Social Security minus security "reform," and so on. The Bush Administration, in addition to moving their lips, has now started a new news service (Rumsfeld TV) run by the Pentagon, using taxpayer funds to present the pro-military take on everything. As we don't have a Department of Peace, no opposing view are presented. They will be feeding material to the Republican-owned media, and it will soon be coming into your homes on a regular basis.

Then there are the journalistic prostitutes like Armstrong Williams who have taken tens of thousands of dollars from our fearless leaders to write supposedly "objective" pieces promoting certain policies like the "No Child' s Behind Left" act. And how about Jeff Gannon, AKA Guckert who strangely had unlimited passes to White House press conferences where he was planted to steer the questioning by asking "softball" questions? His "news" organization, "Talon" we now know was just a web site set up by the Republican Right. Now that his cover is blown he can always go back to being a $200/hr. gay prostitute, but someone else will take his place, I'm sure. (By the way, did you hear about him on Fox News? Unlikely. Go to Google and see what you've been missing.)

I noticed that the Gannon story was not given much play even in the non-Fox news. Type "journalist prostitute" into Google and you'll get about 350,000 hits. Hmmmmmm. I wonder where the "liberal" press went? Who benefits when we are deceived or simply left uninformed? Watch their lips ...

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