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The Media Armies of the Right

Russell Honore’ writes that, “It has been reported that the new chief of CNN has met privately with Republican Members of Congress recently to get their views on how CNN might be more accommodating to Republican positions when airing the news. This report should not surprise both sides.”

Now, I know Honore’ for his leadership in the effort to respond to Hurricane Katrina. He appears on news stations occasionally, and is likely on the “liberal side” but does not often talk about politics, and is probably reliable in terms of accuracy on a story like this, I would certainly believe it.

CNN has basically been taken over by Right-Wing people. John Malone seems to be the most powerful money person behind the network, and Chris Licht was recently made CEO. Both of them have kept making comments about “wanting CNN to move nearer to the center” (Malone), or telling their newspeople to stop using the term “The Big Lie,” (Licht, in January). Recently, Brian Stelter of the show “Reliable Sources” which would criticize right-wing media, was fired.

I don’t watch CNN. The only two people I watched on there were Brooke Baldwin, who was essentially fired by having her hours cut back, and being taken off election coverage; and Brianna Keilar, who was moved from her two-hour mid-day show, to co-host of an early morning show. My guess is that she is the only person left on the network who will go after the Right, and who has her own show, besides Jim Acosta, who is under constant fire there.

Despite what has almost certainly been a move to the Right by CNN, something which clearly is going to get worse before the midterms, and after that; the Right, generally, and the people now on CNN, pretend that their station is somehow on the Left. “Becoming more centrist” is propaganda for “Being one very small step to he left of Fox.” Now this story that the CEO actually met privately with Republicans in Congress, to get their suggestions as to how to make CNN more to their liking, cements this.

We are in danger of having all Far Right “news” and opinions all the time. One thing you can say about the Far Right, they don’t miss a trick or an avenue with regard to turning this country into a fascist state. They want “state news,” propaganda fed out with the pretense of it being “fair and balanced.” Maybe some American viewers are not ready to be brainwashed into believing everything they are told, as the Fox viewers do, but there are all sorts of ways to send out propaganda while pretending that you are doing a serious-minded effort to present a balanced picture of what is going on.

The Far Right has declaimed about “the liberal media” for decades, which is one of the ways that they intimidated the network into bending over backwards to help the Right-Wing side. Remember the way they covered the Dukakis campaign; Gore against Bush, Hillary against Trump, to get a sense of how much they can influence voters’ perceptions, and swing most close elections to the Republicans.

The media started out for a couple of months being reasonably fair to Biden, but then that stopped; and it soon became “all inflation all the time.” We could debate Biden’s overall effectiveness, but it would seem almost unquestionable that he has done a number of positive things, and yet his poll numbers steadily dropped. I would contend that much of that was directly due to the media running story after negative story about Biden as President,

Finally, that has stopped a bit. But it seems almost certain to me, that this is a brief cessation, that as the midterms approach, it will begin again. And the easiest area for them to do it, is with regard to the economy. Gas prices will rise somewhat, even if the owners of the gas companies just order them to go up for a month or two. And there are so many other economic numbers which are easy to spin negatively.

The economy is not going to add another 500,000+ jobs this month, so that will be reported as “a steep decline in jobs.” They already report inflation numbers as if they are month-over-month, “prices continue to soar as inflation rate rises to 8.7%.” The other day, I saw a chyron stating, “Retail sales stagnant in latest report.” First, “stagnant” is far more pejorative than “stable” or “unchanged.” Second, this is not 1926; are we supposed to expect retail sales to go up every month? Third, if they did, wouldn’t that push prices up, as demand increases? Finally, the newsperson who reported this, noted that with regard to one item, the demand was quite high, but the supply wasn’t keeping up. And that would be Biden’ fault?

They can make it sound like it all is the Democrats’s fault, that is the goal of right-wing media. This accelerates right before elections, where the goal is to upset, anger, and frighten the viewers into voting for the Republicans. The more that the media is dominated by the Far RIght, the more this is done; and there is no counter to it.

Now, what is my point in stating all this? I can’t stop it. I can choose not to watch it; and I do, to the extent that you could not pay me to watch Fox, and I stopped watching CNN. The only station I will watch with regard to news, is MSNBC, and I have my opinions as to how much I like or enjoy the various anchors, but I am sure that others might differ here and there. Overall, you still feel as if you can get a pretty informative story on MSNBC, but I do wonder how long that will last, unless the ratings are very strong.

I would like to think that people will become aware of the rightward lurch of CNN, and stop watching it. However, I have long thought that the much-emphasized “ratings game” is not as important to the people who own these networks, as the trillions of dollars they expect to make from Republicans running things, and making sure that their taxes are as low as possible. Also, “access,” and “hobnobbing” matter to these people. Jeff Zucker of CNN was so proud that Trump was his friend. Apparently Licht wants to be friends with McConnell, McCarthy, and Cruz.

For many years, I and many other people have wished that there could be a “liberal” network with high standards, and quality people on it. But as the failure of “Air America” showed, there aren’t that many liberals who want to listen to talk radio all day, whereas far right people (the term “conservative” is utterly misleading and euphemistic) love it. That is talk radio, but the fact that virtually every news outlet in the country, including NPR, which I keep reading is a shadow of what it once was, puts out a stream of news which always features Trump, always “both-sideses” everything, always puts the Democrats on the defensive, is obviously a major concern.

I don’t know if anyone has tried to research or mathematically analyze this, but I would guess that simply by adjusting the essence of the overall message any media puts out via news, from Centrist, to Right, would move 5% of the vote, maybe more. Look at what absolute inaccuracy and lies the Fox viewers have now inculcated into their daily life. It is horrifying, and one wants to look away from it. The big story right now, the documents which Trump took from the White House and would not give back, has predictably been twisted by the Right-wing media into every possible made-up permutation which declares that it is dreadful actions on the part of Biden, DOJ, FBI; while Trump is blameless, nay, a victim. It is all propaganda intended to activate their base to various ends. And it works like a hypnotist with previously suggestible subjects.

I am at the point that if the Republicans take over both houses of Congress, I will likely watch nothing, what would be the point? I will never stop caring, or voting, or supporting, but I will not sit there vainly hoping that the real facts will be told; and knowing that even if some anchor or two does, they will be drowned out by the “loudest voices in the room,” and the most powerful and pervasive. I know that there will be podcasts and various off-road sites which will try to get the stories out, but at that point, it would feel like the Underground.

There is still MSNBC, and they are desperately needed to keep the television media from degenerating into deliberate complete propaganda. Right now, we like to think that we are the majority. that the Far Right, as vocal and threatening though it is, is only about 30-40% of the country. But if everything you are told on the news stations is created and disseminated by the armies of the Right, that has the power to change the numbers; by a method resembling what DeSantis is trying to do to students in Florida.