Friday, June 05, 2009

Moyers presents "private wars", and the abuse of the media

Tonight (June 5) Bill Moyers interviewed young journalist Jeremy Scahill (he is author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army", Nation Books) discussing the “privatization” of American wars, which has continued, especially in Afghanistan, under president Obama. The link for the interview (“Desanitizing Modern Warfre”) is here. Scahill discusses the role of private contractors carrying weapons, as mercenaries; but he also talks about robots and drones, which turn war into a computer game played half a world away by corporations, threatening the nation state system.

The Moyers talked to Jay Rosen and Brooke Gladstone about the way the established media covers the news and tries to cover up liberal bias (although not so on the conservative side). They represent a group called “Press Think” (link) (“Ghost Democracy in the Media Machine”). Both were optimistic about the “democratization of debate” (and seem unaware of the “implicit content” problem that I’ve covered on other blogs). Moyers showed a tweet sent by Newt Gingrich that seemed to make Sonia look like a “racist” appointee. They also discussed Rush Limbaugh’s frequent flip-flops.

I recall a “trick” back in New York in 1976 whose whole tome for the whole evening was “the abuse of the media”, and he said that he taught “the history of consciousness”. Funny what sticks to the wallpaper of your mind.

They also discussed the ScotusBlog, the “Supreme Court of the United States” blog.

Brooke said that the Washington “punditocracy” and the Republican Party are marginalizing themselves. She said that the pundits create a “false balance in the news” and “marginalize themselves” to attract attention. Well, a lot of us do that.

Brooke also said that Obama keeps us from seeing “the people to the Left of him” in the major media, although we do see them on the Web (look at Alternet).

Moyers noted that the major media seems to have taken single payer health insurance off the table, even though many mainstream Americans seem to want to see it.

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