“The idea of social realist art and of journalism was that: ‘We’re going to tell people not what things are like, but what they should be like, and what they will be like, and we’ll get them to keep focusing on the future.’ “
Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Iron Curtain, speaking last night on NPR’s “Fresh Air”. Applebaum was speaking of Poland from 1945 and 1956 – it seems apt for our country, today.
This past September, Walter Russell Mead described our mainstream press thus:
If the president were a conservative Republican rather than a liberal Democrat, I have little doubt that much of the legacy press would be focused more on what is wrong with America. There would be more negative reporting about the economy, more criticism of policy failures and many more withering comparisons between promise and performance. The contrast between a rising stock market and poor jobs performance that the press now doesn’t think of blaming on President Obama would be reported as demonstrating a systemic bias in favor of the rich and the powerful if George W. Bush were in the White House. The catastrophic decline in African-American net worth during the last four years would, if we had a Republican president, be presented in the press as illustrating the racial indifference or even the racism of the administration. As it is, it is just an unfortunate reality, not worth much publicity and telling us nothing about the intentions or competence of the people in charge.
The current state of the Middle East would be reported as illustrating the complete collapse of American foreign policy—if Bush were in the White House. The criticism of drone strikes and Guantanamo that is now mostly confined to the far left would be mainstream conventional wisdom, and the current unrest in the Middle East would be depicted as a response to American militarism. The in and out surge in Afghanistan would be mercilessly exposed as a strategic flop, reflecting the naive incompetence of an inexperienced president out of his depth….The White House fumbling around the Benghazi murders would be treated like a major scandal and dominate the news for at least a couple of weeks.
If Bush were in the White House, the Middle East would be a horrible disaster, and it would all be America’s fault.
The communist governments of the Soviet Union and its empire collapsed and dissolved when the dichotomy between what was promised and what was grew too large to be sustained. Or, as a liberal commenter on this blog put it, “the Soviet Union happened to fail.” That reader is obviously the product of modern education and immersion in a culture saturated and shaped by the media, a culture that vilifies the right and can provide no insight into events that occur as the result of policies they detest and failed principles they cherish.
The collapse of communism was hastened by Reagan, but his ever-increasing pressure on the soviets was described, routinely, as naive at best and more commonly, “war mongering”. Similarly, conservatives who said economies based on collectivism could not survive were ignored, until the Berlin Wall was torn down – “fell”, in media-speak – and the evil empire was destroyed – or, excuse me, “self-destructed for unknown reasons.”
Convenient lies and omissions, masquerading as truth. The communists may have invented propaganda, but our media perfected it.