Wow, where to begin. Since my last post, Scott McClellan, whose job it was to stonewall and lie to the media, accused those same media of being "too deferential" to his lying ex-bosses – you know, the ones he used to lie for as an auxiliary backup liar when they were too busy destroying America and Iraq to lie for themselves. And then Jessica Yellin came along and said that her corporate bosses pressured her to be more pro-Bush and pro-war. (Yes, she subsequently tried to backtrack, but it was unconvincing and lame.)
McClellan described the symptom, and Yellin identified the disease.
And then Glennzilla hit it out of the park (yes, I totally abandoned my previous metaphor because I have no idea what the medical equivalent of a grand slam is). After documenting the pro-Bush political pressure on Katie Couric(!), and the politically-motivated firings of Ashleigh Banfield and Phil "I was counted as two liberals" Donahue, Glenn says:
This is nothing less than compelling evidence that… our media is anything but "free." Corporate executives continuously suppressed critical reporting of the Government and the war and forced their paid reporters to mimic the administration line. The evidence proving that comes not from media critics or shrill left-wing bloggers but from those who work at these news outlets, including some of their best-known and highest-paid journalists who are attesting to such facts from first-hand knowledge despite its being in their interests not to speak out about such things.
Network executives obviously know that these revelations are quite threatening to their brand. Yesterday, they wheeled out their full stable of multi-millionaire corporate stars who play the role of authoritative journalists on the TV to join with their White House allies in mocking and deriding McClellan’s claims. One media star after the next — Tom Brokaw, David Gregory, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer — materialized in sync to insist that nothing could be more absurd than the suggestion that they are "deferential, complicit enablers" in government propaganda.
….Unlike Yellin, Donahue and Banfield, nobody needed to pressure the likes of Williams, Gibson and Russert to serve as propaganda handmaidens for the White House. It’s what they do quite eagerly on their own, which is precisely why they’re in the corporate positions they’re in. They are smooth, undisruptive personalities who don’t create problems for their executives….
This is what I said in my very first post here at FDL, and what I’ve been saying at my place for over three years. The media are not pro-Republican because they’re incompetent, lazy, or intimidated (although they probably are all those things); they are pro-Republican because their corporate owners demand it. Because the GOP’s love of war, deregulation, and corporate welfare mean far more to the parent corporation’s bottom line than any extra revenue that might be earned through exceptional, or even competent, reporting and commentary.
Those who go with the corporate flow, the "smooth, undisruptive personalities who don’t create problems for their executives," get promoted in both senses of the word, while those who resist get replaced with someone more compliant. Yes, there are notable exceptions, like Keith Olbermann and the excellent Landay and Strobel at Knight-Ridder/McClatchy, but that’s what they are… exceptions. The majority of the establishment media whine that finding the truth wasn’t their job, or that it would have somehow been inappropriate to "debate" the administration a mere 12-18 months after 9/11. Right.
The media are in a very vulnerable position right now. If the American people finally recognize them as corporate shills, then the range of their propaganda catapults shrinks dramatically. That’s why McClellan and Yellin gellin’ like felons has them yellin’ and us kvellin’.