Sept. 2, 2013 By Jack Jodell.
In the early 1950s, America was irrationally gripped with fear – primarily, fear of communists and the then-rising tide of world communism. Thousands of clergy, elected officials, and even movie stars and media figures rose up to denounce communism and to proclaim their allegiance to the American ideals of liberty and justice for all. This fear also evidenced itself in television programs, wherein even Superman was depicted as engaging in a “never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.” O, to really live in such a fairy tale world! It was all make-believe, because it completely overlooked the fact that the nation of the 1950s was dominated by Jim Crow laws which instituted racial segregation for public facilities throughout much of the American South, and provided for a “separate but equal” (actually, separate but unequal) status in housing and public education for nonwhites, and even in employment. Poll taxes were in effect in many locales, effectively disenfranchising millions of poor African-Americans and Latinos. Such was the real state of the nation in the early 1950s!
At the center of this insanity sat one Wisconsin Senator, conservative Republican Joe McCarthy. A drunk who, prior to his 1950 rise to prominence had never accomplished much in the U.S. Senate, McCarthy propelled the fear of “communist subversion” into an actual hysterical nationwide frenzy. In February of 1950, he alleged (but never proved) that he had a list of “members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring” who had somehow mysteriously infiltrated into the State Department. He claimed further that a number of communists or “fellow travelers” were actively employed in the Truman administration. The panic this caused was widespread and immense. Congressional wirch-hunt hearings ensued and hundreds of active and/or former leftists, socialists, and liberals were denounced publicly. Many lost their jobs and were unable to find work due to vicious blacklisting practices which came into being among employers. Mass hysteria became the new normal, with stupid right-wingers finding communists virtually everywhere, even hiding under people’s beds. This insanity continued until 1954, when it ended with the brave and noble efforts of both respected CBS -TV newsman Edward R. Murrow and the very able attornry Joseph Nye Welch. These men, independent of one another, exposed McCarthy as the fraud and self-centered brute he actually was. As fast as his career rise had been, he now plummeted in popularity to the point where the word McCarthyism became justifiably viewed as a very negative term! The mass hysteria soon subsided, and, until the rise of the new neocon faction and the Tea Party-infested, reactionary Republican Party in recent years, remained where it should always be – far distant in the American political background.
With the advent of the horrible 9/11 attacks in 2001, a new wave of national hysteria developed – this time against Muslims, immigrants, and liberals who questioned the false pretenses under which the Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld clique lied us into an extremely costly and wholly unnecessary war in Iraq. This latest batch even came with a dose of anti-French stirred in as well. “French” fries became “Freedom” fries in some restaurants, in retaliation for France’s inital misgivings about waging war on Iraq. Even worse was the re-emergence of blacklisting liberal reporters by the conservative, corporatist owners of the mainstream media (TV, radio, and newspapers) who grabbed ownership of most of the nation’s media as a result of massive, successful wfforts by them to end regulation. Gone was fairness and balance in media. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes created the nototious Republican propaganda machine called Fox “News”, and giant corporations like General Electric, Disney, and Viacom, to name but a few, all swooped in to grab as much of the remaining media pie as they could handle. Phil Donahue was an early victim of this new blacklisting. Once General Electric learned of the refusal of Bush-era administration figures to appear on MSNBC-TV due to Donahue’s very legitimate questioning of the need for war, Donahue was unceremoniously dumped in favor of less critical and less questioning talking heads. Authentic investigative reporting was now subject to approval by a lying, corrupt administration, and to hell with journalistic integrity. That, readers, is why you now are getting only parts of the news instead of the complete picture, and why, espite the huge number of news sources available today, much of what you see in today’s mainstream media is managed, and therefore suspect. That is also why we have seen once-critical talking heads like Rachel Maddow slowly but surely tamping it down, and why you never see legitimate reporters like Amy Goodman or Thom Hartmann on mainstream TV. Thankfully, they can be viewed either online or at LINK-TV or Free Speech TV.
Conservatives have learned a lot since the McCarthy era and from the verbal shellacking arch-conservative Barry Goldwater deservedly gave them in 1961. They have gotten sneakier and have learned how to lie much more effectively. They now advance their lies through bought-out “experts” at far-right think tanks which they parade before the mainstream TV’s cameras and by printing their nonsense on the editorial pages of the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. Their far-right stooges like House member Darrell Issa and the Senate’s Ted Cruz and Rand Paul constantly disseminate misinformation and outright lies. They also attempt to marginalize truth-telling progressives like Bernie Sanders and Al Franken.
Jeff Cohen, a respected media critic who has been interviewd by Fox and CNN, and who worked for a time at MSNBC-TV, has released a very relevant book chronicling his experiences in dealing with the mainstram media. The book is called Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures In Corporate Media. The book is shown below, and I would highly recommend it to give you an indider’s look at the shenanigans being plled off by today’s corporate-dominated mass media.
Meanwhile, corporatist stooges like Issa, Cruz, and Paul, and all other far-right fiction spreaders, much like the dishonorable Joe McCarthy before them, should also be thoroughly rejected and disregarded completely! We must NOT allow them or any of the neocons intimidate us into launching a military strike against Syria the way the far-right neocons tricked us into a prolomged war in Iraq!
Happy Labor Day to all of you! On this special day set aside to honor workers, let us remember our struggling brothers and sisters in the lowly-paid fast food industry, and wish rhem success in their efforts to obtain a livable wage! Let us also each reflect upon and appreciate all that past labor struggles during the 1930s and before have achieved for us: overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a particular week; paid vacations; unemployment compensation; disability benefits for those who can no longer work; amd numerous other safety measures while on the job. These benefits were obtained at great personal cost to workers of that time, and we should be grateful for all of them. Mostly, we must stand firm in our opposition to ANY attempt by current Republicans to weaken or eliminate them, because that is EXACTLY what they are trying to do!