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Media, politics and the conspiracy of consciousness

You got to feel for Walter Moore. Maybe he should just call himself “Wally” and dress up and act like Rodney Dangerfield who plays an obnoxious talk show host in a 1997 movie that at least got some reviews.
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wally.jpgWhatever your politics, you ought to support Moore at least getting looked at by the local media, having his public fund-raising events at least get a brief notice and at least have examined why his constituency  is so aroused by Jamiel’s Law which would crack down on illegal immigrants in gangs.

But poor Walter gets totally ignored in the media — except for radio talk show hosts like Doug McIntyre on KABC and blogs like Mayor Sam.

Moore held a fund-raiser at Cal State Northridge on Saturday and 300 people showed up so he can get a crowd. He raised about 10 bucks a piece from them to put his campaign warchest at $107,000 so he’ll qualify for city matching funds. But he got no press coverage. Stories written about the upcoming mayoral election.state Antonio Villaraigosa as the only announced candidate and refer to the fortune he’s raising for his campaign and the possibility that billionaire developer Rick Caruso who’s vacationing in Italy is the only possible serious candidate who might challenge him.

In the eyes of the media, it’s a coronation, not an election.

This isn’t new. Across the country, the corporate media are complicit with the vast machinery of big government, big money and big politics. It’s been that way a long time, ever since half the papers in the country went out of business in the 1950s  and 1960s because of  their inability to compete with television.

All that was left of a once free and vibrant press was corporate ownership of mostly monopoly newspapers. Gone were the 12 papers in New York, the eight in L.A. with a variety of owners and a variety of politics, styles and points of view. Instead, what we got was journalism that reduced politics to on the one hand this and the other hand that as if there were only two ways to see any issue. The result was apathy, alienation, the loss of freedom of expression and the vital public conversations that lead to compromise and progress.

Some think it’s all an overt conspiracy but that wasn’t my experience in my 44 years in newspapers and publications of various types in many parts of the country.

What there was and is today is a conspiracy of consciousness, a shared belief of journalists that what they’re told by the vast army of political operatives and politicians — and what they tell each other — is the American political reality, that the political reality inside the world they operate in is the political reality of  Americans.

That is the big lie.


The insidious nature of this false consciousness was captured brilliantly by Rolling Stone
writer Timothy Crouse in “Boys on the Bus,”  his book about the press entourage and its coverage of the 1972 presidential campaign.

It’s a fact of life that White House correspondents and political
reporters have a hard time taking different tacks in writing about
campaigns because editors in the home office see what the semi-official
government news service, the Associated Press, puts out and are fearful
of deviating much from how AP frames the story.

In a famous incident that Crouse reported, President Nixon,
beleaguered by the mushrooming Watergate scandal, gave a press
conference trying to put the story to rest but no one quite knew what he
said that ws new. All eyes in the press pack focused on AP’s correspondent Walter
Mears and the cry went out across the room, “Walter, Walter, what’s the
lead?”

If the reporters knew what Mears was writing, they knew they could
write off of that and avoid that call from their editors sayng, “But
AP says…”

It’s a small example of how we have become reduced to choosing between
alternatives like deportation or legalization of illegal immigrants,
universal health care or no health care, abortion or anti-abortion and
all the other issues without ever actually finding the common ground,
without ever moving forward.

But the times they are a changin’ thanks to the Internet. The monopoly
of information is over. Newspapers are again dying because of their
inability to adapt to change. TV news is in trouble, losing audience
share and revenue. Blogs and web news organizations are growing and
everyone has a voice, everyone can speak up and have a chance to be
heard.

And the result is that there is hope for real change, real progress and
the rebirth of democracy in America. That’s what I’m fighting for in
L.A. and I’m finding there are thousands of people across the city
ready to join the public conversation about how we make this the great
city it could become.

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2 Responses to Media, politics and the conspiracy of consciousness

  1. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Moore does get mentioned in the Daily News’ article today by Rick Orlov, on Villaraigosa “Building up His Campaign War Chest,” and is the only one of 5 alleged other candidates who is.
    However, Moore pops up in 2 of the 8 reader comments so far, first to blast Orlov for “trivializing” him, then to accuse someone of being a spinner for the Mayor. It’s this kind of amateur hour that has made Moore irrelevant before he’s even seriously started, not the media.
    Not that the media doesn’t do this stuff you said, and we’ve seen it with how Obama was handled vs. Hillary — the liberal “elite” annointed Obama from the start and played nice with him, while putting on the boxing gloves for Hillary and anyone in HER camp who made so much as an un-PC, if arguably true, statement. Look at how the media tried to save Rev. Wright from himself until it became impossible, vs. what they did to Geraldine Ferraro over one comment. Now the media’s trying to play up a “conflict of interest” over Cindy McCain’s beer business, while playing down Michelle Obama’s comments — the conservative talk radio hosts do the opposite.

  2. AnonymouslyYours says:

    We know where Anonymous 1:28 is coming from.
    Turn off Larry Elder, Sean Hannity, Al Rantal and BillO and watch Keith Olbermann and learn something.
    First, Walter’s first comment did no more than point out all the positive things Rick Orlov could have said instead of tossing out a half-eaten bone and slam his candidacy for desert.
    A man has a right to defend himself when he’s been insulted and slighted. I’ll C&P his entire comment at the end of this.
    Second, the media was all over Michelle Obama’s statement, yet after doing some research, Olbermann and Dan Abrams were the only two who had the cajones to point out the John McCain has repeatedly made the same kind of statement over the years: I didn’t love my country until she was taken away from me.
    * * * * *
    Walter Moore, comment Daily News 6/30/08:
    http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_9739027
    There he goes, Villaraigosa’s favorite “press release journalist,” Rick Orlov. Rather than reporting that I’ve raised over $100,000 this time, he tries to trivialize me as one of five people who’s filed, and refers to a “distant” finish in the previous race.
    Of course, he doesn’t mention that I beat career politician Alarcon in about six City Council Districts; doesn’t mention I spent one one-hundredth of what Villaraigosa spent; and, as noted above, doesn’t mention that this time I AM asking for contributions, and they’re coming in.
    This illustrates why it’s so important that you contribute to my campaign if you want change. We have to buy radio ads, because the L.A. Times/Hoy and press release journalists will simply print Villaraigosa’s party line.
    I guess their philosophy is, “Why actually investigate a story when you can just fill your name in the byline blank on Villaraigosa’s press releases?”
    You can bet that, when they are forced to cover the campaign, they will do everything they can to denigrate it and mislead the public, just as they are doing with Jamiel’s Law.
    Don’t put up with it. Fight back. Contribute to my campaign, tell your friends, sign up for my newsletter, and get a bumper sticker. You can do it all at my website: http://WalterMooreForMayor.com .
    Walter Moore
    Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

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