Pseudodemocracy defines the politics and pseudojournalism defines the media in the age of rancid hyper hypocritical global imperialism, making more clear than ever that we inhabit an oxymoron, a “capitalist democracy”. It’s safe to say at this point that beyond reports on baseball, football, etc. and other inanities (which are a semi-obligatory distraction from serious matters), nothing said by the American media, including weather and climate reports, can be taken as credible and not highly adulterated. The rule is: anything that reflects poorly —even remotely —on the ruling business system and its agenda for domestic and international policies must be deflected, downplayed, neutralized by outright lies, artfully “balanced”, or simply omitted. It’s a model for perfect Orwellianism, by now enriched in America with layer upon layer of professional refinement and which has even sprouted subspecialities, like the role played by the pestilential bores at the PBS’ NewsHour, the subject of this FAIR dispatch. (The idea here is that if you abhor mainstream news, there’s still real journalism in America, just tune in to the PBS Hour reports.)
The PBS NewsHour was and remains the “gold standard” for braindead or complacent liberals in television news, but even a cursory examination demonstrates this program is not only one of the most tedious concoctions ever devised by the human mind, but a fraud in the journalistic sense as well. Not a single vice afflicting the American news media in general is not found on the Newshour as well, except that here it tends to play longer. While media numerosity (“How can 5,000 media outlets dish out the same political line?”) fools most Americans into thinking they have a truly “diversified media,” the length of reports fools liberals into thinking that the NewsHour is actually serious in the presentation of contemporary events. FAIR has conclusively documented the NewsHour’s predilection for false balance in the stuffing of its “expert” panels with top establishment foggies, hence there’s no need to cover that terrain again here. And we should mention, while on the topic, that “balance” itself if tied to the pursuit of “objectivity” within the framework of capitalist/imperial narratives is an exercise in asinine fatuity and a case of rank imposture. Perhaps few drove the stake through the heart of pretentious pseudojournalism with more vigor and finality than the departed Alex Cockburn. Fittingly, Alex had a lot of fun with what used to be called the “McNeil-Lehrer” Report, immediate parent of the NewsHour.
His hilarious depiction of “objectivity”, NewsHour style, THE POLITICAL FUNCTION OF PBS, remains a masterful example of satire, damn worth revisiting solely on those terms. —Patrice Greanville, The Greanville Post
DISPATCH FROM FAIR & ACCURACY IN MEDIA (FAIR)
[With select original comments]
Posted on 10/09/2012 by Peter Hart
It’s no secret that U.S. media outlets don’t have much love for left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. A PBS NewsHour segment (10/5/12) just ahead of the recent election showed just how far you could go.
Correspondent Ray Suarez opened by calling the election “a watershed moment for the world’s second-largest oil-producing nation and a critical supplier of crude oil to the U.S”–I guess we know what makes Venezuela important to the United States.
Chavez has been “openly antagonizing the United States as he’s cozied up to the world’s most isolated regimes.” And Suarez has an example:
He’s continued to thwart American efforts on a range of international issues, such as Washington’s attempt to convince Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to halt his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
There is no evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. We’ve been over this before with the NewsHour; early this year the show actually chopped a quote from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, removing the part where he said there was no evidence that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.
This is arguably the most important fact about the Iran crisis–that the country is facing harsh sanctions and the threat of military strikes over unsubstantiated suspicions about a nuclear weapons program. But it’s apparently important for U.S. media outlets to turn this allegation into a fact…especially in a story about another Official Enemy.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Peter Hart is one of FAIR’s senior analysts. Patrice Greanville is founding editor of The Greanville Post, and onetime publisher of Cyrano’s Journal (print edition), America’s first radical media review.
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