In Jan. 29 IssueBy John Thompson, Columnist
There are any number of topics to discuss this week. We could talk about the State of the Union Address, but honestly, I'm sick of those things. I can't remember when a SOTU, yes, now they call state of the union SOTU, just like President of the United States has become POTUS and the Supreme Court of the United States has become SCOTUS. I suppose eventually all phrases will be reduced to their acronyms.
More interesting was Sarah Palin's response to Obama's speech. On Greta Van Susteren she used the acronym for Obama's SOTU speech, Winning The Future, as her response to his speech (if you're not getting it, talk to someone under 40, they'll explain what I mean). Obama said now is our generations "Sputnik" moment, alluding to the time when our country went on an all out response to Russia's putting a satellite into orbit in the early 60's. President Kennedy tasked the nation with putting a man on the moon within 10 years. We did, and traditionally it's been said we won the space race.
According to Palin Russia won the space race and she's shocked that Obama's lack of knowledge of history I guess. Then she went on to credit Russia's economic collapse on their winning the space race.
Why was the far side of conservatism getting a chance to air their response to the SOTU in the "lamestream media" CNN through Michelle Bachmann and the Tea Party, yet no opportunity for a liberal response to the President; and a true liberal like Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich would have given a great response to the center-right President Obama.
That's not really what I wanted to talk about. Maybe I wanted to talk about the really neato segment on Glenn Beck on January 25, in which he made a metaphorical argument that sometimes life is like having to take a chainsaw to a bunny rabbit. Actually I have no earthly idea what his point was, but he had a bunny in a basket and he had a man come out and saw a piece of wood with a chainsaw while he petted the bunny. "Now a lot of people would say, 'do you want to live in a world where one bunny would have to die, cut up by a chainsaw just to make a point?'" Beck said, continuing, "Well if it saved the country… yes." He went on to say he had a point. What it was ended up being too deep for me, because I couldn't comprehend it.
Again, that's not really what I wanted to talk about either. How about Keith Olbermann getting fired?
Yes, let's talk about that.
As you may be aware the media giant Comcast has been trying to acquire NBC for some time. A major hurdle has been getting the okay of the FCC. The question is whether it's really a good idea for the largest cable and internet provider to also own the media giant NBC-Universal? The merger is just another step in the total consolidation of all information systems into the hands of just a few major players. The FCC said yeah, it's all good. The Justice Department soon after gave its blessings. Within a couple of days MSNBC says they're getting rid of Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann has been called the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity of the left. It's not really a very good comparison as Olbermann actually tries to keep things truthful, though he's obviously biased. But then you know I think reality has a liberal bias.
The first thing they did is try to assure us that his being fired has nothing to do with the merger. I suppose to question whether or not that sounds right makes one a conspiracy theorist.
But how can one not think conspiracy when irrationality is promoted and reason is censored? It reminds me of when MSNBC fired Phil Donahue on the run up to the Iraq war. Donahue had the highest rated show on MSNBC and they took him off the air. Said it didn't look good to have a news commentator questioning the reasons for going to war when all the other stations were cheerleading the effort.
Once again MSNBC cancels their highest rated program; Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Certainly it does not garner the viewership of Fox News but it was MSNBC's most watched program.
Yes, I fear "they" will not stop until there is near complete uniformity of thought. The merger does not look good for the continuation of net neutrality. And there are those who are glad to hear it.
And like the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, the demise of Net Neutrality will mean that the corporatization of American life will continue unabated. There are those who say the government has no place in insuring anything regarding the internet, or tv, or much of anything. But I'm here to tell you that diversity of thought can be restricted if it's confined within an ideological system. And this one in particular is our economic system, or capitalism.
Regardless that some think that I hate and want to destroy capitalism, it's not true. But it should be like any tool, something that is for the betterment of society as a whole, and at least should do no harm. But if one ideology is universally accepted with no understanding of anything else, how is it to be questioned?
Our economic system is the base system in which our whole societal construct is constructed. How can you question whether we spend too much in the defense industry, the "military industrial complex" as President Eisenhower named it; how can, say, CNN question this if every other segment includes a commercial for Lockheed Martin? They can't. The freedom of thought is limited to what will not upset the money masters.
This is where the government could make a difference. Some would say that demanding diversity of thought or opinion on the air or on television is an imposition, but against who? Against corporations? Against business? Against the economic system? Certainly not against those who would relish the opportunity to discuss a reality that does not have as its first pillar the economic impact of even having the discussion.
Keith Olbermann was a threat. They say he rubbed management the wrong way. Well we can't have that, even if he is bringing in the most viewers. It might give people the wrong idea. Because, see, you really aren't supposed to question the establishment, to question authority.
Market forces do not always dictate policy though. Glenn Beck has lost over 300 sponsors and most of the advertising for his show are of the infomercial variety. But Fox keeps him, even though he loses them money. He's more important as a propagandist.
You've heard me ridicule Beck constantly but you've never heard me say they should remove him from the air, even when he has blatantly advocated destroying progressives; not progressivism, but progressives. I prefer to deal with him through ridicule.
But then I don't feel the need to shut up the opposition.