After reading Al Gore's speech, my mind has been on this notion that the American media is liberal in bias. Conservatives don't trust the media because for years it's been drilled into their heads that the media is liberal. Propaganda has a strange way of altering our perceptions so once you believe the media is liberal, that's what you see when you watch TV. On the other hand, liberals don't trust the media either. They don't think the media is liberal. They look at the corporate ownership issue and the corporate sponsorship issue and the way the media is for the most part ignoring the concerns of liberals and puppeting the concerns of the Bush administration and promoting the Neo-Con agenda and they say the media is not liberal.
I was thinking about this debate this morning and had a few new ideas run through my head. One is this conservative tactic that has become the norm in conservative/liberal debate where the conservative "goes for the jugular" by trying to discredit the character of the liberal opponent. By this, I don't mean a conservative in a debate with me about, let's say, Al Gore would defame Al Gore. I mean an opponent would defame me personally rather than focusing on the issue being debated. It's one thing to point to my support for a liberal issue and question that support. But it's another thing entirely to criticize my education or my intelligence or my mother or my service record or my loyalty to my country or my generation or anything else that characterizes in general who I am. Defacing your opponent in a debate isn't good debate, yet is has become a mainstay in conservative thinking and technique. Intimidating critics by defacing their character is done literally all the time on conservative talk radio and has become the norm for conservative/liberal debate.
I'm not suggesting that such debates should leave out the origins of the debaters' opinions. That's fair game as far as I am concerned. If I seem liberal, by all means point to the sources of the liberal ideas that I throw out. Criticize those ideas all you want. But that's not how the game is played anymore. The game now is a sophist game of destroying your opponent by whatever means works. Whether your criticism is based in truth or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters in debate now is how skilled you are at defacing your opponent. Listen to conservative talk radio with this idea in mind and see if what I'm saying isn't true.
So how does this apply to the notion of "liberal media?"
I think there's a new definition of political correctness at play now in American political debate. Conservatives have almost completely convinced America that it is not OK to criticize conservatives. It is fine to criticize liberals. That's no problem at all. In fact, criticizing liberals is normal, common, happens all the time. Listen to talk radio for a few minutes and you'll hear it. But it is not OK anymore to criticize conservatives. It's unpatriotic. It's sacrilege. And why is that so? Because the Right is right and anybody who criticizes what is right is evil. You're either with us or you're with the terrorists.
Conservatives have an agenda of eliminating liberalism from American politics, eradicating it. If you're a conservative and you don't believe what I just said, you haven't been listening to your own people. Pay attention to conservative rhetoric. Listen to Rush Limbaugh or any of the other hate radio hosts. Liberals are the enemy. Liberals are wrong. Liberals are atheists. Liberals are homo. Liberals are baby killers. Liberals think man evolved from the apes. Liberals want to steal your money and give it to the poor to buy their votes. Liberals want to destroy capitalism. Liberals are in bed with the Communists. Liberals are in bed with the terrorists. Liberals are all on drugs.
On the other hand, conservatives defend God. Conservatives defend your money. Conservatives support the fight against the terrorists who threaten our way of life. Conservatives defend freedom.
Conservatives are right. Liberals are wrong. And conservatives know that the best way to silence the media is to criticize them, call them names, call them "liberal" whenever they report anything that opposes or hinders the conservative agenda. And it works very effectively. And that's what Al Gore was talking about when he said that the American media can no longer be trusted to report the news. The American media has been intimidated by conservatives to the point where they are now afraid to accurately and openly report anything critical of conservatives.
The problem is, the media openly reports conservative propaganda. The media has embedded itself in the current American conservative government. The result is that what we see in the media seems to be representing the middle of the road politically. That is our perception. We perceive that the mainstream media is covering both sides of the political spectrum. We live in a surreal world where Fox News is "fair and balanced." We live in a world where CBS News is "liberal."
But what we don't live in is a world where any mainstream news is actually liberal, not CBS, not NBC, not ABC, not CNN, not even PBS. No mainstream American news network is actually liberal. The liberals have no free voice in America. The way to prove this is to actually find a liberal voice and compare it with the mainstream media. I'm not going to tell you how to do this or where to go to find it, but I assure you that it is possible to find truly liberal news still in this country and when you do, you will immediately be able to tell the difference between that and the mainstream American media.
As for me, well I just don't believe very much of what I see on TV. I look around. I have taken off the blinders and opened my mind to alternative perceptions. I have come to realize that the conservative agenda isn't for me. It simply isn't genuine. But then again, the liberal agenda doesn't seem all that genuine to me either. I am just as much afraid of Communism as I am of right-wing fascism. To me, they are two peas of different colors in the same pod. I fear government secrecy. I fear propaganda in the media. And I fear the results of uncontrolled psychological abuse which is exactly what I see going on now in America. I fear what those who listen to and believe conservative hate radio will do to our country. It's time to start listening to the other side, but in reality it's time to start thinking outside the box, color outside the lines, advance beyond the old boundaries of synthesizing "conservative" and "liberal" and find something more meaningful, more promising, more open, and more truthful.