Monday, October 26, 2009

Must Read: When the Media Is a Big Part of the Problem

"If you want to know why President Obama has not fought for a public option for health care reform; why he has caved to Wall Street on financial reform; why he has been AWOL on the most important labor law reform legislation in 75 years (despite his campaign promises) – just look at the major media. President Obama’s whole political persona is based on media strategy, and on not taking any risk that the major media would turn against him. That is how he got where he is today, and how he hopes to be re-elected."

Author: Mark Weisbrot in The Guardian Unlimited
What kind of a public debate can we have on the most vital issues of the day in the United States? A lot depends on the media, which determines how these issues are framed for most people. Take the war in Afghanistan, which has been subject to major debate here lately, as President Obama has to decide whether to take the advice of his commanding officer in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, to send tens of thousands more troops there; or whether to heed public opinion, which actually favors an end to the war. This month, one of America’s most important and most-watched TV news programs, NBC’s Meet the Press, took up the issue.
The lineup:
Retired General Barry McCaffrey, former Army General and Drug Czar (under President Clinton) turned defense industry lobbyist. In a news article on McCaffrey entitled “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex, the New York Times reported that McCaffrey had “earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defense industry powerhouse by buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” McCaffrey has appeared on NBC more than 1000 times since 9/11/2001.
Read the entire article here.

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