Maybe the American people have suddenly developed a back bone. I have been waiting! Ever since George W. Bush convinced the American people to blindly follow him into an absurd war in Iraq I have wondered if the American people were stupid, lacked gumption, or were just too damned lazy to make a ruckus about being manipulated by the government and the media.
For years the American people swallowed the one dimensional flag waving jingoism of the neo-conservatives and the monosyllabic talking points of Karl Rove. And we allowed much of the news media to be the venue of commercialism and bias. The rise of Fox News an obvious partisan pandering machine was scary. Some folks point to CNN and the network news entertainment divisions as too far to the left. I beg to differ- I think that, at least compared to Fox- they are emblematic of balance.
Of course I have big problems with the idea of “News / Entertainment” divisions. When William S. Paley founded CBS he knew that the News division would be a money loser, but that didn’t matter – it was about integrity and about nobility of purpose. Overtime that high mindedness lost out the money and ratings are just as important to the News Entertainment as they are to prime time.
The fact the Newscorp.- Rupert Murdoch’s empire than includes Fox, Harper Collins, Regan Books and a vast assortment of other media is bothersome to me. No one should have that much monopoly on getting into the public’s collective brain. This was never so obvious as when Fox and Regan Books announced that they would air an interview with and publish a book by O. J. Simpson about how the murder of Nicole Brown “Simpson” and Ronald Goldman would have happened if he had done it! Immediately upon hearing the news- I was repulsed. I wasn’t the only one. There was an ocean of outrage. I found it pathetic that Bill O’Reilly – the Fox News poster boy- couldn’t even develop a circuitous defense for this corporate obscenity.
But in the past few weeks the American people have spoken up- not just once, but twice. The first time was on Election Day when they sent the Republicans packing and gave George W. Bush a giant bitch slap. Of course, even though I am a liberal Democrat, I know that the Democrats didn’t win this election, the Republicans lost it. And they deserved to. Look at the polls – the American people who were like sheep being led to slaughter blindly supporting their President into a folly in Iraq that has turned into an unmitigated tragedy have had enough. They finally woke up from years of slumber and said an emphatic “NO MORE!”
The second time was when the people rose up and said to Newscorp that the OJ Simpson deal was an outrage to decency and the public wouldn’t put up with pandering to that level of pond scum anymore- a barrier of ethics had been breached.
I have a little hope for this country again. I was really beginning to lose hope, wondering what had happened to that American spirit filled with moxy and genuine character. But in rebuking Bush and his war and then rebuking a media giant for pandering in a way that would repulse even the most unconscionable, the American people have said “Enough is enough”. We will not be your sheep. I hope that this lasts, but regardless- I have the best Thanksgiving present possible- a nation that has redeveloped its backbone!