Sunday, February 17, 2013

TV: First Among All Whiners

Maybe it was the fact that Tim Allen's Last Man Standing finally found its footing in season two when the lead character found a political position (conservative)?  Maybe that's what's taken the long running sitcom Democracy Now! and turned it ever rightward?


There was the ridiculous February 6th broadcast where activist, author and media critic Norman Solomon was supposedly brought on to debate Colin Powell's guy pal Lawrence Wilkerson.  Only it ended up being Norman debating him, Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate.  Goody felt the need to repeatedly tell Norman to let Lawrence speak.

This despite the fact that Wilkerson had dominated the conversation and, in fact, was allowed to speak at length before Norman Solomon even got introduced.  In fact, Colin Powell's bag boy would get to speak 1503 words to Norman's 1212.  And though he repeatedly cut off Norman, Goody never asked him to let Norman speak.

As Barack's second term kicks off, Democracy Now! has become that raspberry cream candy in the box of chocolates -- squishy and somewhere in the center.

It wasn't always so.

You've probably caught Goody's stale act.  In 2008, she was insisting in The Progressive, "The media acts as a megaphone for those in power." Variations on that pad out her copy-and-past 'books.'  In 2003, she told Michael Powell (Washington Post), "War coverage should be more than a parade of retired generals and retired government flacks posing as reporters.  Why not invite on some voices that are not Pentagon-approved?"

She's played Last Journalist Standing for years now.  But she's toying, pretending.

The proof is in what you actually do.

February 15, 2003 was a monumental day -- one like the world has rarely seen.  Close to 40 million people, by some estimates, around the world marched and said "NO" to war on Iraq.

In real time, Goody grasped it was a major story and the Monday after the Saturday protest, this was her show's lineup:

But Friday was the anniversary of that day, the tenth year anniversary.

And what did Goody do?

As The Guardian and The New Statesman and even the conservative Telegraph of London spent last week looking back on the protests with multiple features over multiple days, Goody devoted a whole hour to it, right?

Because this is people power and she supposedly believes in that, right?

This is like an event out of a Howard Zinn history book so Goody would be all over it, right?


She did manage to mention it.  On Friday.  In the sixteenth of sixteen headlines.

She gave the largest protest the world has ever seen 105 words.

And that's all she gave it.

You can hector, you can critique.

But the fact of the matter is if, in your own outlet, with your own power, if you refuse to behave any differently than those you criticize, you're nothing but a whiner.

And that's what last week was about as Amy made nice with Daryl Hannah (making nice about Barack), explored the Papacy and she and close-to-retirement Davy D spoke of 'wronged'  murderer Christopher Doran.  On NPR's Tell Me More last week, Doran's groupies (28,000 likes on Facebook) were addressed by reporter Karen Grigsby Bates who noted:

Well, I think that there are a couple of different reactions. There were - almost universally people are saying nothing condones murder. And this is something that the mainstream media hasn't picked up on very much. You know, it kind of worries me because it was like after O.J. Simpson was acquitted and all you saw were people of color jumping up and down going yay, yay, O.J.'s free.

Well, I interviewed a lot of people who said we think a travesty was done and this is wrong and we really resent having, you know, these scenes of joy shown all over as if this is in the entire black community. So the entire black community is not jumping up and down about this. But there are people who say that there are still serious problems with the police.

Remember, journalism just isn't done on Democracy Now! because Goody's too tired from forever posing as Last Journalist Standing.

Back to that 2008 interview with The Progressive:

Q: You travel around the country a lot. What do you see as being the pressing issues right now? 

Goodman: War is the defining issue. We cannot take the focus off of that because we are determining who lives and who dies. In Iraq, the population is just decimated, displaced, killed. We have destroyed a civilization. It's horrifying. And as long as that is going on I think it is our responsibility to show that. Then people can make up their own minds. But as long as it falls off the front pages of the newspapers, people can think, "Well, it must not be that bad." It’s our job to make sure it’s front and center.

War is a defining issue, she insists.  But not so much so that she needs to actually cover it.  So she ignores the protest, the same way she dropped Iraq in 2008, the same way she never did a segment on Abeer. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi's parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in their Iraqi home while Abeer was gang-raped in another room. Following the gang-rape, Abeer was murdered.  But it was never important enough for an hour of Democracy Now! or even for a 20 minute segment.

Again, if you criticize others for failing to use their power, you need to be using your own power.  When you fail to do that, when you're even worse than what you say the Mainstream Media is, you're not the Last Journalist Standing, you're just First Among All Whiners.

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