CNN's Nuanced Approach

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by Jack Random
When a gentleman of the old south wishes to draw attention to the racial makeup of a given individual, he rarely makes direct reference. Rather, in keeping with his cultural upbringing of polite obfuscation, he is inclined to say: “There is something not quite right about that man.”
The informed listener will skillfully interpret “right” as “white” and proceed accordingly.

When I watch CNN (as there is often no viable alternative for the consumption of live news), I do not gain a sense of trust but I am often reminded of the genteel culture of the old south. Specifically, when I watch Lou Dobbs, that portly pundit of presumed populism, I frequently find myself thinking: “There is something not right about that man.”
I do not mean to imply that Mr. Dobbs is not completely white; his complexion resembles the White Sands of the New Mexico desert. I am not alone in wondering, however, if his intense views on immigration are born of latent racism.
As he produces a daily drone of clichés and homely aphorisms, too frequently pointing out that many Mexican Americans support his views, it is a wonder he does not yield to the classic qualifier of old south racism: “Some of my best friends are…”
Frankly, I have no interest in whether Dobbs is a closet racist. Just as it does not matter whether or not the neocons intended genocide in Iraq or war without end, it does not matter what dark and poisonous seed resides in the heart of Lou Dobbs.
The fact is: Dobbs espouses views that play to basest nature of humanity and divides the body politic along racial lines. He vilifies millions of our fellow beings on the grounds that they have honored the laws of family first and economic survival over and above the rules and regulations of the immigration service. Dobbs neglects the stone cold reality that illegal immigrants remain illegal so that corporations can exploit them with slave wages free of health, retirement or social responsibility.
He neglects the reality that if corporations were compelled to pay immigrants fair wages and benefits, they would not hesitate to accelerate the processes of automation, union busting and job exportation rather than faithfully comply.
Dobbsian economics consistently downplays the reality that “free trade” policies and Supreme Court protected rights of corporations (over the rights of individuals) are the heart and core of the problem while everything else is just naming scapegoats, distraction and political posturing.
Lou Dobbs is the perfect poster boy for CNN for just as CNN is allowed to carry the mantle of objective journalism, Dobbs is allowed to wear the mask of populism -- a champion of the middle class (on wonders why the poor are excluded from his empathy).
In reality, CNN is a corporate monolith financed by a consortium of international conglomerates and Dobbs represents the middle class like Forbes represents the poor. The truth is a much harder mistress than either CNN or Dobbs will allow.
It is in fact inconceivable that “the most trusted name in news” would hold the track record of CNN over the past six years. With its steady parade of neocons warmongers, administration apologists, cheerleaders and retired military personnel, CNN did more to lay the groundwork for and promote the cause of war than any other news source.
CNN gave legitimacy to the prostitution of imbedded “journalism.” CNN fell silent when their fellow journalists at Al Jazeera were bombed and attacked first in Kabul and then in Baghdad. CNN honored the military propaganda code by not showing flag draped coffins. The military likes a stacked deck and CNN was all too eager to comply, injecting a false sense of duty and patriotism into a new generation of ill-informed volunteers for war.
To CNN, Colin Powell’s flagrantly fictional presentation at the United Nations was American diplomacy’s finest hour and the largest international antiwar protests in recorded history were less deserving of media coverage than a runaway bride or the family tragedy of Terri Schiavo.
Much has been said concerning the jaundiced “journalism” of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News but CNN is infinitely more damaging because it carries the weight of perceived objectivity. No one who clings to the slightest thread of credibility would dare site Fox as a news source yet CNN retains a legitimacy it has not earned.
Now, as Murdoch prepares to expand his agenda-driven media empire with the purchase of the Wall Street Journal, it is time to set aside the usual solution to media critiques and get serious. Simply put, we cannot just turn it off because there are no viable alternatives.
While it is important for each of us as individuals to filter what passes for the news with a certain knowledge of its corporate bent, the threat is far too dangerous for individual solutions. Moreover, those of us who wish to engage the public in dialogue need to monitor the corporate message, its evolution and manner of deliverance and CNN is the primetime conveyor of that message. We cannot turn it off and remain informed.
Still, when the fourth pillar of democracy fails to serve its primary democratic function, we must seek remedy. The solutions are not individual but societal and the mechanism of change can only be governmental.
If we have learned nothing else in recent years, we ought to have learned this: Free markets have no interest in democracy. Free markets are driven only by profits and, because common people divert profits from corporate coffers, they have every reason to thwart the people’s interests. In short, there is a role for government intervention and nowhere is there a more compelling need than in the area of media where decades of deregulation have created a monster that consumes diversity and defines the corporate line.

It is time we understood that a truly free press must be free of both corporate and governmental dominance.
In the last election, we made inroads placing “fair trade” on the legislative agenda. In the next, that effort must continue and expand to include media reform. The trend that has erased the fairness doctrine and eviscerated protections against media monopolies must be reversed so that a diversity of views (not just Democrat and Republican) is available to every community.
Most critically, international corporate conglomerated with wide-ranging economic interests should not be allowed to own, control or operate major media outlets. If you are in the business of journalism, there is a sacred trust that runs to the heart of the republic. There is a solemn social responsibility that must never be subverted or compromised by other commercial interests.
The logical individual to lead the cause is Bill Moyers.
As for Lou Dobbs, I accuse him of being exactly what he so fervently opposes: an illegal immigrant. By any reasonable standard of international justice, the ethnic Europeans illegally invaded and occupied the land we call America.

Genocide has no statute of limitations.
Therefore, the only lawful claim to the land we live and thrive on belongs to the natives we unlawfully displaced.
While we cannot reasonably expect Mr. Dobbs to voluntarily submit to deportation, the least he can do is drop the self-righteous diatribe against the exploited and reserve his venom for the real perpetrators of the assault on American workers: The corporate sponsors of Global Free Trade.

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