I have assigned myself a kind of monitoring project somewhat akin to those I used to assign students in Introductory Mass Media Courses. Monitor the local media for a week, I would tell them, log the stories, and at the end of the week, tell me what you have learned that makes you a better citizen. Of course what they logged was mostly house fires, murders, and car crashes–none of the information useful for good citizenship. In the same week, with little note by the local media, the City Council might have given away 20 million dollars to developers in a scam called Tax Increment Financing(TIF)—for the uninitiated TIF really stands for Taxpayers is F****.
My self imposed assignment is to see what the Hate Media are doing now that Obama is elected. One of the things that is interesting, given my screed on the Hate Media and their fear of the Fairness Doctrine is that the Hate media mavens are acutely aware that they have gotten away with this scam for twenty years and that an Obama administration is likely to reverse the policy that has allowed their unchallenged bloviating. In the past two weeks I have heard Limbaugh, Hannity, and Jim Bohannon, although I would not necessarily lump Bohannon in with the hard core hate mongers, whining about the possibility that the Fairness Doctrine may once again allow access to the media by the rightful owners. In Today’s Post there was a foul piece by the Right wing’s faux intellectual, George Will, decrying any attempt by the “reactionary left”—yes children he did use such a term and yes, I told you he was a faux intellectual, to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. You know if George Will is against it, you gotta be for it. Ironically in the local rag, The Daily Times, there was a column by Bill O’Reilly decrying the fact that Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington State had allowed a statement by a local atheist group to be placed next to the Christmas display inside the state Capitol. He goes on to rage at this “attack” on religion and to add Seattle to the list topped by Sodom and Gomorrah. Let me get this straight. Superstition is to be lauded but even to question that superstition is to be suppressed or at least kept from the same stage. Well we know how fair the hate media have been over the last twenty years so it is time to square away the publicly owned media or give the licenses to someone who will operate them fairly. The same goes for public places where the First Amendment has long been applied to controversial displays. It is more speech we want and not less. It is the right to reply. It is the right to “just say no” to bigots of any kind, religious or otherwise.
On another topic, given the nature of Obama’s cabinet picks, I am want to say: Lots of luck America. There is an old saw: Personnel equal Policy. Where is the change? He was elected on a peace platform and has appointed a crowd of war mongers to the major positions of authority and power. Is Obama no more than a slick, corporate suit (which is the argument a number of my friends made before it was clear that he would be this election’s lesser of two evils and I went off to North Carolina to volunteer for a couple of days in his campaign.) Let us hope that those of us who expect change will not be bitterly disappointed.
Although, I would give him an F so far for his cabinet choices, let us see if he has the courage to make substantive changes by dint of the fact that he is the Chief Executive. Let’s see him appoint a Robert McChesney as the FCC Chairman. Let’s see him appoint a Ralph Nader to head the EPA, and a consumer activist to head the FDA. In short let’s see him get some of the corporate and military shills out of positions of authority in Washington. Let’s see him reverse government policy on the environment, the drug war, abortion, education, global warming, federal land use, and host of other areas, neglected or dismissed under the miserable bumbling of the Bush administration. And let’s see him insist that the Fairness Doctrine for publicly owned media is once again the law of the land.
Change? Perhaps we have merely been transported to Oz. But let us hope that all of those who organized and worked so hard to get him elected are not looking at another sunrise on: SOSDD.