Saturday, August 28, 2010

Contrasts. What matters and what doesn't.

I notice contrasts. I notice them in media, because I work in media. You're around something all the time, you notice differences. While I don't work for a news organization, I do work for a company that delivers media in a variety of ways.

The last combat brigade left Iraq last week. I watched the tanks and armoured humvees cross from Iraq into Kuwait on live Television. It was a great moment. You could see the elation on the faces of the troops. I saw this on MSNBC, a decidedly more liberal leaning network. I wanted to see how Fox was covering the story. When I changed the channel, Bill O'Reilly was castigating Senator Harry Reid for changing his position on immigration and showed a truly damming video from 1993. Which is useful because certainly, no one's opinions or social attitudes could possibly change in 17 years. Even after 9/11 which we were told changed everything.

I couldn't believe it. The next hour didn't start with a "Fox news Alert" and then footage of the last combat troops exiting Iraq. It began with Sean Hannity attacking a New York Imam for being an Imam in New York and wanting to build the Muslim equivalent of a YMCA 2 blocks from the Northeast corner of where one of the WTC towers had stood.

This couldn't have been right. This network was cheerleading the charge to go to war in 2003. They branded anyone who disagreed as an Old Glory burning, Fidel Castro loving, pot smoking, NPR listening, Birkenstock wearing, cissisified homo who should move to Cuba. The best answer we could get for the question of "where are the WMD's?" was, "We'll find them".

Bill O'Reilly even said after the war began that if we didn't find the weapons in 6 months, we should leave and he would say the war was a mistake.

9 years removed from 9/11, 7 years after the declaration of "mission accomplished" in Iraq and the combat mission officially ends next week with a whimper. And the bluster we heard in 2003 that was directed at Saddam Hussein, a murderous thug certainly, is now being aimed at an Imam in New York. The latest thing to scare Americans is that Muslim groups build cultural centers and places of worship in America. And if they do, we'll all end up with Sharia law, and worst of all Megan Fox will have to cover up her figure with a burqua. God help us all.

We haven't learned anything. Not that our neighbors aren't terrorists. Not that politicians stoke fear when they're out of answers (color chart that magically retired after the 2004 elections). Not that corporate owned media has a bias. Not that media and politicians collude to turn an outraged citizenry on each other. If they can get white southerners to start turning on their hispanic neighbors, Christian and Jewish New Yorkers on their Muslim neighbors, White Americans against Black Americans, then maybe we won't notice when they push through more tax cuts for the upper 2 percent, and still leave the task of instituting a national "living wage" undone.

They keep us fighting with each other so we won't notice our 401K and disappearing savings accounts, and ever plunging credit scores which allows us to continue earning a living to support corporate America for generations to come. And you may not notice when the war ends without fireworks, that the war was sold on a damnable lie in the very beginning, but 7 years have gone by and we have short memories.

This weekend, Fox News host Glenn Beck is holding a "Restoring Honor Rally" which will feature, himself, Former Governor Sarah Palin, and Dr. Alveda King (niece of MLK). It's been called by others "Beckapalooza" Glenn says he's only writing some bullet points in the event that God (the spirit) wants to speak through him about "freedom" or something.

In contrast to the GB pep rally, Keith Olbermann and viewers are sponsoring a free health clinic through the The National Association of Free Clinics in Greenville South Carolina.

The contrast of what matters, and what doesn't. Media, and politcians all agree on one thing: they don't want you to notice the important stuff.

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