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Tuesday, September 28, 2004


“And the new consensus seems to be that bringing American-style democracy to Iraq is no longer an achievable goal – and the best we can hope for is a truce sufficient to get our troops out of a situation they shouldn’t have been in in the first place.”

William Raspberry syndicated column 9/27/2004.

He decried those on the right and the left who use technology to further narrow political interests.
“I am persuaded that we are now one country, two nations, made so by the determination of both parties to divide and conquer,’’ he said. “Must it be scorched Earth all day every day?’’

Tom Brokaw at Old Dominion University 9/26/2004.

Hardly a day goes by without someone with access to a printing press or microphone whining about the divisions in our country. Let me be among those lonely voices hailing the emergence of divisions in our country.

I won’t bother to point out those countries and societies where unanimity are most apparent: North Korea where pictures of Dear Leader decorate every flat surface; the USSR under Stalin where failure to unite under the benevolent leadership of Uncle Joe led to a bullet in the head; any mullacracy in the Middle East where those who are not united in faith are separated from their heads.

Of course even this nation was once more homogeneous in its attitudes and opinions. And why should it not? We received our news from three TV networks differentiated only by the hairstyles of their “anchors.” These, in turn, determined the “news” by reading the New York Times and disgorging it in short snippets illustrated by bits of video.

Local newspapers reprinted articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, the AP or UPI, an incestuous relationship that gave homogeneity to the information on which most people based their opinions.

Little wonder then that the deciding moment of the war in Viet Nam did not occur on the battlefield, but in the CBS studios when Walter Cronkite (the Most Trusted Man in America) decide that the war was not winnable. The government under Lyndon Johnson folded like a cheap suitcase.

There were certainly many people that did not agree with this analysis. Arguably those who disagreed with Uncle Walter were in a majority. For proof it is only necessary to cite the fact that Richard Nixon blew away both Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern in two subsequent elections. But those who disagreed with the monolithic media had no access to the levers of media power. And since they were not the sort to organize massive demonstrations, their opinions went unheard in the national debate.

Thus was the myth of a unified nation sustained.

Thanks to the Internet, bloggers and message boards, everyone with a computer now has a voice. They can communicate, bypassing the Legacy Media gatekeepers. The opinions that were kept silent are now finding they are not alone. And the Legacy Media mavens are not happy.

The Legacy Media are still talking among themselves, as they have for decades. Their cluelessness is laid bare in Raspberry’s column when he refers to a consensus that only exists in the circles he inhabits; a consensus that, if true, would sweep John Kerry into office in a landslide. Unfortunately for Kerry, Raspberry and the alphabet networks only like-minded mavens of the Legacy Media share the consensus.

Raspberry and Brokaw need to get out more.

Allow me to close by quoting David Frum of NationalReviewOnline

“For conservatives, the advent of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and FoxNews and the blogosphere is all good news. But for liberals, the move from a world dominated by three big liberal networks, two big liberal newsmagazines, and two great liberal newspapers to a world in which bloggers can bring down a network anchor and the Times' own executive editor is an absolute and utter catastrophe, even if some of those bloggers happen to be liberal themselves.

Americans are living now in a world of media diversity. It’s the worst thing to happen to Democratic hopes since the Sunbelt went Republican.”

Chairman Mao once said, “Let a thousand flowers bloom.” That was a ruse to encourage those who did not agree with him to raise their heads, the better to cut them off. But this is not China, and here the flowers are blooming just fine.

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