[On] Palin Progaganda on Fox

Talk show host Sean Hannity and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin came together for what Fox News Channel promoted as an exclusive interview.

But, in truth, what viewers saw was a carefully staged display of partisan political theater — from the executive-office backdrop to the non-stop stream of smiley-faced softball questions Hannity served up with great servility.

In TV terms, the imagery was impressive, with an American flag over her left shoulder, a richly appointed china cabinet off to the side and thick carpeting throughout. Every table had flowers in a fine vase. It was all supposed to remind viewers of the White House while sending the message: Look how comfortable and natural she looks here.

Typical of their staged conversation was the following exchange:

Hannity: “Senator Obama yesterday was attacking Senator McCain for saying the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Do you believe the fundamentals of the economy are strong?”

Palin: “It was an unfair attack on the verbiage… because he (McCain) means our work force, of course, and that is what’s strong… So, that was an unfair attack.”

[ed. yes…it’s unfair to attack people for what they say….wait, what? And also…as you seemed to have missed the question…this kind of stuff is considered “fundamentals of our economy“. Our “work force” is aging and uneducated. Luckily that’s only one piece of the puzzle.]

Z on TV: Hannity all smiles and servility in Palin interview – Sun critic David Zurawik writes about the business, culture and craziness of television – baltimoresun.com.

They had a few of these questions on the Daily Show last night (e.x. “Two part question, why are your opponents so scummy and why are you so awesome and beloved?”)

Whenever I see Fox trip over completely into propaganda mode I kind of chuckle. I chuckle because I know throughout history that various governments have used powerful propaganda to get their people to move against their own interests and do horrid and evil things.

I chuckle because I always thought that if I was in one of those countries, I could point out the lies and show the proof and the people would rejoice, see the light, and “catapult the propaganda“.

I chuckle because I’m reminded of Zbig talking about how the Chinese Communists have studied, and copied, Fox for their national channel.

And I chuckle because I know how futile it is to talk to those who drink of the font of knowledge that is Propaganda (capitalized). They don’t see the world the same way because they have been taught it is different. They don’t have the skills to process information because it is always processed for them. They don’t have the desire to change a system that, the news says, is working great for them and has their best interest at heart.

They are so committed to their lifeblood of world knowledge, and watching it makes them feel so right about the world, as it constantly re-inforces their worldview., to challenge the whole of it would be unthinkable.

And now they have their hero. The ultimate Fox Girl (minus the blond hair).

No real knowledge of the world, but daaamn, she can read good and think a bit and look incredible on camera. That sense of humor and stell just flies right through the lens. It’s like she’s been trained to be in front of a camera. She so good at it, it’s almost like she learned about it in college. Maybe even six of ’em.

Being on camera is much more fun that learning about icky polices and “how government works” and boring stuff. It’s much more fun to go with the “people love me and I love them” mode of governing that worked so swimmingly in that movie I saw the other day.

So I chuckle.

It keeps me sane.

Also, and on a wider note, it’s hilarious (I’m getting more than a chuckle) watching McCain and Palin all of sudden try and look like Big Government Regulators that Interfere with THE HOLY MARKET and Are the Root Of All Evil (according to standard Republican dogma). What they are trying to avoid from becoming general public knowledge is that the guy who wrote the legistation that deregulated the banks was McCain’s former chief economic advisor.

That would have been some “change” sending Phil Gramm back to Washington to finish the job, wouldn’t it?

UPDATE: I was looking for a transcript of the interview and I found this transcript generator. It can be used to generate an interview for each loyal viewer. Awesome.

In case you missed Sean Hannity’s interview with Sarah Palin, you haven’t missed much. You can generate a close approximation of the transcript of the interview using this simple generator:

Step 1) Sean Hannity states typical right wing talking point (fill in yourself).

Step 2) Hannity says, “Don’t you agree Sarah.”

Step 3) Palin agrees, repeats same talking point

Step 4) Repeat Step 1

[full post]

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Helen Thomas on the Media and the War

People can handle the truth about war

That makes me wonder why the media have shied away from telling the story about Iraqi civilian casualties. News people and editors were more courageous during the Vietnam War. What are they afraid of now?

Who can forget the shocking picture of the little Vietnamese girl running down a road, aflame from a napalm attack?

And who can forget the picture of South Vietnamese Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan putting a gun to the temple of a young member of the Viet Cong and executing him on a Saigon street?

I don’t remember any American outcry against the media for showing the horror of war when those photographs were published. Were we braver then? Or maybe more conscience stricken?

Of course, the Pentagon did not enjoy such images coming out of Saigon in that era. Most Americans found them appalling, as further evidence of our misbegotten venture in Vietnam. Americans rallied to the streets in protest and eventually persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to give up his dreams of re-election in 1968.

Some Americans believe the media were to blame for the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Nonsense.

Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, especially after the 1968 Tet offensive and the request by Army Gen. William Westmoreland for 200,000 more troops, in addition to the 500,000 already in Vietnam.

The Pentagon made a command decision after the Vietnam War to get better control of the dissemination of information in future wars. That led then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to create an office of disinformation at the start of the Iraqi war. It was later disbanded after howls from the media.

More recently, we have seen the Pentagon’s propaganda efforts take the form of carefully coaching retired generals about how to spin the Iraq war when they appear on television as alleged military experts. The New York Times’ revelations about those pet generals have cast a pall over their reputations.

Too often in this war, the news media seem to have tried to shield the public from the suffering this war has brought to Americans and Iraqis.

It’s not the job of the media to protect the nation from the reality of war. Rather, it is up to the media to tell the people the truth. They can handle it.

Pretty nice rant from Grandma Thomas.  There has been a concerted effort, now well documented, for the Pentagon to control information that flows out of the warzone (embedding), and a concerted effort to spin that information when it gets here (GeneralGate).

In general (ha!), however, these are no more than delaying actions (perhaps that is their only purpose…) and the realities of war eventually filter in, as they did re: Abu Ghraib.   

War ain’t pretty.  It never has been.

The Joys of Combatting Propaganda

The Associated Press: Foreign Media in China Harassed on Tibet
BEIJING (AP) — Western reporters in China have received harassing phone calls, e-mails and text messages, some with death threats, supposedly from ordinary Chinese complaining about alleged bias in coverage of recent anti-Chinese protests in Tibet.

The harassment began two weeks ago and was largely targeted at foreign television broadcasters, CNN in particular. But the campaign broadened in recent days after the mobile phone numbers and other contact information for reporters from The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today were posted on several Web sites, including a military affairs chat site.

“The Chinese people don’t welcome you American running dog. Your reports twist the facts and will suffer the curse of heaven,” said one e-mail received by the AP. One text message said: “One of these days I’m going to kill you.”

My guess is that this is probably some slave labor camp where people are given the choice to do this or be executed.  Yea, China, that’s what we think you do sometimes.