Prologue: Maybe the Right had a (Limited) Point
The right-wing has long been critical of the media. Now, the majority of this criticism is wrong, since the claim is that the media ‘leans left’. This garbage is based on the idea that the non-Tory party is somehow Communist. In fairness to this claim, given how far to the right the Tory parties have gone, the other guys look like they have reanimated Comrade Lenin. But I digress. The media’s coverage of the newly minted Biden Administration, and specifically Vice-President Harris, leads me to suggest that maybe the right-wingers had a point in their criticism of the media. Only to a point though. The media does not have a ‘left’ bias (chiefly because there is no left). Rather, it has a Democratic bias because they wear the civility mask while implementing corporate governance.
In this piece I want to look at some examples of establishment media in the US doing either propaganda or serious CYA for the new Administration. I acknowledge now that some of this comes from Fox News of all places, so bring a 20kg bag of salt. But even Fox prints links to other pieces and sources to support their claims. Like the Roman Historian Tacitus, it is the spin on the data that we must watch for. While we can set aside phrases like ‘liberal media’ as rhetoric, links to Instagram pages certain media outlets have established to ‘cover Kamala Harris’ cannot be so easily dismissed.
Example One: NBC News and AIPAC
Both Fox News and Jimmy Dore are reporting that NBC News ‘archived’ a story (read removed it) from its website that was critical of the Biden White House. Specifically, a family foundation linked to a Biden pick for a seat on the National Security Council donated $500,000 to the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC. NBC noted that the donations did not seem to pose a legal issue, but the appearance of bias in favour of Israel by a top American official did not look good.
Well, the pro-Israel lobby cannot let those facts go unchallenged by lies and smears. Critics labelled the article ‘offensive’ and even ‘anti-Semetic’ and demanded its removal. So, like the spineless clowns that they are, NBC caved to this nonsense pressure campaign and buried the story. It is amazing how critique of the policy of Israel, or even mentioning them without fawning praise, has been conflated with anti-Semitism. As the original NBC piece noted, while Israel is a close American ally, it acts in its own interests. Indeed, it repeatedly and aggressively spies on the US. NBC had to apologise and retract a story that told the truth. Rather than Israel and its lackeys demanding censorship, I want to focus here on the fact that the media removed a story that dealt with potential corruption within the Biden White House. This is crap.
Example Two: The LA Times and ‘Covering Kamala Harris’
The Los Angeles Times recently launched an Instagram page dedicated to photographs, quotes and other paraphernalia concerning the Vice President. The Times was sure to emphasise the fact that, per a Tweet, Harris is
the first vice president who is Black, South Asian, female and the direct descendants of immigrants
Who cares? Her heritage, gender etc make no difference to me. You know this is where certain media critics derive the whole ‘Yaas, Queen; slay!’ idea. This style of fawning praise based purely on identity and utterly devoid of substance is the stuff of propaganda. What has the newly minted Vice President actually done? Policies, please, not what boxes she ticks.
To no-one’s surprise, this ‘journalism’ was openly mocked on Twitter, as outlined in the Fox article. One criticism that resonates well with me personally is that offered by YouTube commentator Sydney Watson (her politics do not matter). She said this in reference to Harris and the characteristics the Times emphasised
You know what matters more than this list of immutable characteristics that make no difference to her competency? Whether or not she can perform her job
Amen. I do not care if Harris is the first Vice President who is an openly lesbian transgender purple-skinned nun. I care if she can do the job. The media is so focused on what she is that it ignores what she has done. I acknowledge that this Administration is new, but that cuts both ways. The media should wait until something has been done before providing its assessment.
Example Three: WAPO Scrubs Harris Gaff
As part of its reporting on the 2019 primary campaign trail, the Washington Post reported on Kamala Harris and her preparation for a debate in Miami. The original article is too long to quote here, but I will link to a Fox News piece that contains the original text prior to the edit. The long and the short of it is that Harris compared life on the campaign trail to prison. Indeed, she joked about the similarity between respite from the stresses of the campaign and a prisoner asking for food and water.
Well, the Biden Administration’s propaganda wing cannot allow those actual words of Kamala Harris to remain in the record. They scrubbed them, a full two years after the publication of the original article. Huh: it is almost as if the paper’s coverage of Harris changed once she was in a position of power. Someone should write a history of the media and politicians. Got your title already – From Watchdog to Lapdog: A History of The Media and Politicians.
Conclusion: Better than State-run Media
The media seems to be in the tank so to say for the Biden Administration. Whether editing the past (Example Three) or controlling the present (Examples One and Two), the propaganda bent is clear. This is actually better than state-run media in terms of propaganda. It maintains the illusion of press freedom because the state does not (directly) control these outlets. Such an illusion is useful because it maintains the mask of democracy and a free press, something so critical to Biden and his Administration.
To end, I want to reiterate that I am not a right-winger. Anyone who has read my previous articles for this site can see that. The conflation of criticism of Corporate Democrats and their media assistants with being ‘right-wing’ needs to stop. The fact that I have to go to right-wing sources for serious media analysis says much about the state of the media.
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