10A050 Media Puppets by Jim Davies, 10/22/2010

For a long time many of us have felt that what gets broadcast as "news" in this country is actually carefully-controlled propaganda for a narrow view of the world, and yesterday came some confirmation: NPR's Juan Williams lost his job after expressing a personal opinion.

Details are here, but it seems he told Bill O'Reilly that when he gets on a plane and notices fellow passengers in Muslim garb, he becomes nervous. Why? - "Muslims killed us on 9/11," he had said. Now, that's a fact; the 9/11 attackers were all Muslim, they evidently did their deed in the name of Allah, in the belief that the Muslim God willed them to do it. That doesn't say that all 1,500,000,000 Muslims in the world agreed, nor that the attacks had no rationale behind them (as I see it the motive was revenge and retaliation) - though I've not heard a groundwell of shock and horror from many of those 1.5B.

At any rate, Mr Williams' nervousness is understandable, and as the referenced report indicates, he's hardly alone. What NPR didn't like is that he expressed his view. Even though he was chatting as a guest on another network, his remarks "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR" said his former boss. Meaning, his opinions clashed with NPR's official opinions, a.k.a. "Political Correctness." We now have it confirmed that there is a range of opinions that may be expressed in broadcasts, and those outside that range are suppressed. NPR is of course a tax-funded outfit and so is the gold standard of what government wants us to hear and see. What else aren't we being told?

Meanwhile on October 30th there's to be a “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" put on by Stephen Colbert (whom I don't find very funny) and Jon Stewart (whom I think very funny indeed; he "had me at hello" with his claim to run the only fake news show that admits it.) He's as far "Left" as one can get, but cheerfully repeats that all news is fake, sanitized, kept within censored bounds, and goes about bursting them for fun. The most amusing part of this rally so far is that the rest of the media are not sure how to treat it; is it "entertainment" (in which case Rule A applies) or "political" (in which case Rule B must be followed)?

Periodically some pompous ass in the traditional media deplores the existence of the cacophany of unorthodox news anaylses to be found now on the Internet, noting (correctly) that many of them are unsupported by the rigorous checking of facts that ought to be practiced by professional journalists. They call for the Net to be censored, as if we surfers are incapable of doing our own discrimination. This is the present state of the supposedly "independent press" and those protests form its swan song. Its day is over, and soon it will be gone; for all its faults, the Net is now the authentic vox populi. Not a day too soon.

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