Monday, June 20, 2005

Screw the Putsch: The CPB's War on Balanced Public Programming

I've vowed to not get into political disourse in my chronicles because with the bizarro universe we seem to be mired in, that would become an exercise in futility...plus, there aren't enough hours in the day to keep on top of the seemingly endless stream of subterfuge oozing out of D.C... I'd love to keep things light 'n funny on this thing but lately it's gotten harder to bite my tongue: heed the warning...

Putsch -- pronunciation: 'puch; Etymology: German -- a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government.

Brownshirts -- The SA (Sturmabteilung) or Storm Troops, the private army of the German Nazi party, who derived their name from the color of their uniform.

Over the past few days I've been reading in newspapers and web sites that plans are underway to give the old chop-chop to federal funding which would make it all but impossible for children's educational shows, fine arts programming and the handful of news shows that haven't become total jingoistic shills for the corporate-run news-tainment complex that has made it virtually impossible for the average joe to get any hard news in the mainstream media. We all know that Fox is a joke, CNN is a punchline and I won't even get into what the "big three" tent pole news outlets (ABC,CBS & NBC) have decomposed into...


The recently retired Bill Moyers (winner of over 30 Emmy Awards for his journalistic contributions on the long running "NOW with Bill Moyers" on PBS ) warned about this sort of thing two years ago. Ironically, he's a part of the this whole ideological snafu as balanced news shows like Moyers' raised the conservative eyebrows of Kenneth Tomlinson, the Republican head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's board of directors who apparently used CPB funds to do a "study" to see if the guests on Moyers' program were "too liberal" for public consumption. -- the CPB is a private nonprofit organization that allocates federal monies (your dough) to smaller local stations and as such, provide about 15% of public broadcasting's revenue which doesn't make them as beholden to sis-boom-bah for corporations. This new turn of events will place the the "Foxes" in charge of guarding the chicken coop; Tomlinson used to be Michael Powell's bag man back at the FCC (remember the Janet Jackson "titty-gate" cock-up?), dude is pushing to strip public funding from information sources like PBS and NPR and privatize them...which is exactly what all other media veins already are...the truth will have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide in TV and radio lands (where a disproportionate number of Americans cull their information on current events) as the masses are spoon-fed nothing but pop culture, re-runs and sanitized, facsimilies of hard reportage doled out in soundbites and pap-like doses of neutral newspeak -- Americans will be forced to bite down on what Mao Tse Tung called "the candy coated bullet." I'll quote an address Moyers gave last week in which he described the role of the media and what the news has become "...to provide a firewall of thought and ideas...to punish journalists who make princes and priests of those we view...news is what people want to keep hidden -- everything else is publicity." That's word, son.


The CPB gets all of it's money appropriated from the taxpayers but with the house overrun with Republicans waiting in the wings to give the snip-snip to publicly funded news and radio, all of this comes off as another Machiavellian power grab to re-direct even more idealogical muscle toward the very few (corporate interests) from the many (all of the rest of us)...Tomlinson's actions are questionable at best and what's scary is that this GOP cheerleader's behind the scenes button-hooking might precipitate the death knell of public broadcasting as we've known it...free. The very reason that the CPB was cobbled together was to insure that this sort of thing won't occur again -- Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon tried to put the kibosh on public broadcasting back in his day but fortunately for generations of school age children, he got his hands caught in the Watergate cookie jar...I'd wager that we could light up a city the size of Cleveland with the kinetic energy generated by Benjamin Franklin's spinning corpse...


As I write this, I still wait with abated breath to see if the worm is really turning or if everything I've been seeing transpire from the sidelines of public discourse is just an anomaly...if I've blacked out and am dreaming from my pod or something...If the administration in power has taught me anything, it's that this might be an exercise in the obfuscation of something that's even more hair raising...Rod Serling couldn't have come up with some of these porkie pies that we've been expected to swallow while "the Red State Gang" pooh-poohs the collective intelligence of the hoi poloi...Personally, I say, they're always three steps ahead of the public's reaction...I'm still salty about that thing in Florida, son...everytime something like the above happens, we get headlines and news chatter to the tune of 40 million credit card accounts stolen which is already taking a back seat to the conservative's plan to re-appropriate public broadcasting funds -- it just won't go away. The hue and cry from the public is starting to rise as more and more begin to realize what these amoral thugs are doing to our country as they thump on the "good book while wrapped up in Old Glory. I'd like to think people are starting to wake up from their 6-year slumber and recognize the implications of what "the White House Gang" (or Uncle Scam and the United Snakes, as I like to call 'em) are doing to this country. I think the rivers of denial that the GOP puppet masters have been feeding those of us averse to thinking is starting to dry up -- you can stick your head in the sand for only so long before the fascist-zombie dry-hump becomes abrasive...(yeah Sport, I went there)... To my amazement the CPB story has grown legs as even dyed-in-the-wool conservatives seem to have gotten the zap on their heads. Everybody's a sucker for the truth and let's face it: time marches on and we're never going to return to yesteryear, people...


The halcyon days of getting tucked in by an avuncular "and that's the way it is" from Walter Cronkite have gone the way of the sans-a-belt pant-suit and the platform shoe...Bearing all that in mind, I urge all who read this to check out the links given above and below. (Oh yeah, click on the header to see how you can contact your congressman) Look for commentary from people like Molly Ivins or Matea Gold and Jube Shiver of the L.A. Times. get as close to the loop as you can and check out The Washington Post Get off your arse and shoot on down to the library for informative books like Welcome to Doomsday (a book written by Moyers, no less)...connect the dots for yourself like the late Gary Webb did -- I think many are slowly coming to grips with the fact that information gathering is going to be a required survival skill because mainstream media has become complicit in the big lie. Back in Franklin's time, there were literally hundreds of small publications in circulation (like cyberspace is now) -- some were good, some not so good but there was dialogue (like the blogosphere is now) -- the political and ideological slight of hand trickery that Tomlinson and his ilk are trying to pox on the rest of us from the safety of cognitively insulated boardrooms goes against the grain of what the average working American stands for. It's as if they're walking around in a separate reality while gilding the lily on our rights to know what's going on using journalistic brownshirts on big network TV & neo-CON - radio shows to create an echo-chamber of yes-men -- (automatons like the toxic Ann Coulter and that hooker Jeff Gannon are prototypes, I'd imagine)...screw the (informational) putsch!...now that I've gotten that off my chest......Laters...


Sidenote: I'm not the religious sort at all but whenever my morality gets called into question by slugs who manage to slime their way through the salt bed of my reality and get "churchy" on me/ my value system, I dress 'em down with passages like "They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge...For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. (Proverbs 8:9 and 8:11)...double lates...we now return to our regularly scheduled chronicles of ridicule, already in progress...

2 Comments:

Blogger mj said...

ceep-three-oh!
yo, what up? no comments button down by your notes on kooyaniqatsi. so, if you liked it, (and you did,) you gotta check baraka. it's the same concept only it's a much tighter version. better technically.
about the news, i gotta say, it makes me cheer when you take on such a heady subject. your thoughts about not addressing these issues of our day leaves me cold because i think it is shameful to just walk away from things because you feel impotent. (though i do not suggest your not broaching a subject is shameful as i would not sit in judgment.) my thought is: you do what you can. you engage in intellligent discourse. that's something. any little thing is noble, but pushing against the forces which keep us from evolving is absolutely essential.
i think we have to recognize there will be only so much change in our lives. if you cannot reconcile yourself with the idea that in 40 years there will still be much to be ashamed of, progress will have been impeded drastically often in the name of dividends for the few, corrupt men will still be making public decisions, etc., then you need some serious counseling.
(call me. since i have no professional training, i charge half of what the swanky beverly hills shrinks charge.)
that said, these jerks that want to cut public funding are the assholes who want to privatize everything. privatizing shit that should be the public's domain, that should be publicly funded, is almost always a thinly veiled grab for cash. you can bet the corrupt congressman who supports the privatization of (insert industry here-we'll go w/. . .) prisons!, is getting fat cash campaign support from the wackenhut corporation or whatever other players exists in that realm.
the very idea of socialism posits that the masses should to some degree take care of the weak among us. if you are crippled, if you cannot communicate w/ the rest of us because of autism, if you are loony or criminal, (and it should be noted those who refuse to participate in capitalism are bound to end up being classified as one of these or they will live on the street,) the socialist aspect of a society may take some responsibility for your well being. this is as obvious a sign of our inherent goodness as a species, as you can possibly identify.
(and isn't it odd that the right, so identified w/ christianity which is said to identify w/ ideals associated w/ feeding the hungry, clothing the cold, medicating the infirm, wants to privatize everything and leave these, the least among us, to fend for themselves?
one thing the current administration and many of us have gotten clearer on these past several years is the fact that controlling the airwaves gives you the best chance to control the mindwaves. propaganda is. prior to bush coming into office i remember much rhetoric bandied about on how hollywood was corrupting the morals of our country and our children and how they needed to reach into that realm to counter the immoral liberalism springing forth. i can actually remember thinking, (good luck suckers, art is a foreign language to those of your ilk.) but alas, i was wrong in so much as they have been more creative than i gave them credit for. yes, they've been involved in major motion pictures, but more importantly, they've continued the consolidation of the means of communication. they love rupert murdoch who speaks only the language of wealth, (or so it seems,) and they're happy to see the number of entities they have to deal w/ in trying to affect change in this realm, dwindle. rupert is easy. he already leans heavily in their direction. the corporations are pretty easy-crooked right-wing politicians have been getting scratched and scratching those backs so long you'd think they just grew an upside down hand out their hairy-ass backs. michael powell facilitated the tearing down of longstanding laws put in place by wise men who knew an easily accessible and diverse array of broadcasters was in the public's best interest.
i've noticed the christian networks are making movies, (and i mean besides mel gibson.) they're bad movies but they'll get better and as the dumbing down continues there will be a cosmic meeting in the middle ground. i'm sure this present darkness or one of those cracky tim lahaye books will get made into a major motion picture and special effects along with evangelism will push it's profits skyward and facilitate more of them being made. . .and i'm sure it will be in the same vein as the hollywood crap of the day which is short on thought and plot but long on technical quality and mind-numbing attributes that titillate and dumb down.
these things are coming, son. i have no doubt.
and what about that area of the gulf of mexico right off mississippi where they are going to allow oil exploration all of a sudden after decades of protecting it? (it is the home of a shitload of dolphins who may just one day rise out of the ocean and speed into outer space singing, "thanks for the fish, but your environment has grown increasingly toxic so sorry, but we gotta go." douglas adams is spinning right next to ben franklin and i swear no one's got any common sense around here any more.)
and you know what, if we love our children, if we love our kind, if we know what the fuck real love is, we have to push back. we have to educate. we have to trust.
the bottom line is we are not dunking women in salem anymore. we are not raping and pillaging. our crusades are just gatherings of dumbasses in tents now, or glass buildings. and this is our lot in this world, the human condition. ours is fat w/ struggle, and it always will be.
is there a caveat or a feather we can stick in our caps to lean on in the face of those who would bring the lot of us down? yeah, there is. it's called history. history doesn't remember the george bush's well. 400 years from now his name will be a footnote, an obscure reference to a despot long gone. abraham lincoln will still be remembered. john f kennedy, a man i learned in college, "was a terrible president who could not get anything throuogh congress-he just didn't have the sales and people skills of say ronald reagan," (this is what you get when you attend college in the san gabriel valley of southern california, at mt sac in a district gerrymandered as a means of hoodwinking voters, will be emembered because of his ideas and because of what he said that was so important. addressing the nation on the cuban missile crisis, he said, "We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced."
big ideas make big men.
bushco, (to borrow a term from mark morford,) has zero big idea. if they are remembered at all it will be as tyrants and warmongers.

2:28 PM, June 20, 2005  
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