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December 17, 2004 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Don't miss tonight on PBS the final NOW with Bill Moyers. "Bill Moyers looks inside the right-wing media machine that the conservative NEW YORK TIMES columnist David Brooks called a "dazzlingly efficient ideology delivery system." The program examines how a vast echo chamber that is admittedly partisan and powerfully successful delivers information — and misinformation — with more regard for propaganda than fact. Founding father to the conservative movement, Richard Viguerie tells Moyers, 'That’s what journalism is, Bill. It’s all just opinion. Just opinion.'”
posted by semmi (45 comments total)

 
Check out in depth: What Happened to Fairness? History of the Fairness Doctrine; Civil Liberties and National Security; Media Watch Resources, and more.
posted by semmi at 3:46 PM on December 17, 2004


You can click on TV Schedule and type in your ZIP to see when the program is playing in your area - and also get email reminders the day before or the day of broadcast.
posted by ao4047 at 4:02 PM on December 17, 2004


It's rather interesting that it's the same conservatives who decry the liberal moral relativism that now that it suits them are the most opposed to the notion of objectivity, whether in news, science, or elsewhere, since an objective perspective can (and often will) contradict one's sacred cows which must be preserved at all cost. It's a strange mindset that thinks it can be right without having truth on its side...
posted by rushmc at 4:45 PM on December 17, 2004


Rushmc, actually, the problem is that they fully believe they have *truth* on their side. It's facts that present a problem, but not much of one since facts that contradict the truth are clearly wrong. So they are merely putting out facts that support the Truth, to counter all of the lies that distract people.

Or, failing that, they're a bunch of desk-jockeying Machiavellis who don't believe a word that they're spouting and just say whatever it takes to make the public hand them more power.

Take your pick...
posted by InnocentBystander at 5:10 PM on December 17, 2004


Is it just me or is the whole Carl Rove Master Strategy:

"Say the RIGHT thing, then do whateverthehellyouwant.
Damn the naysayers, the opinions, or the facts.
You will not be held responsible."

Is this the new American standard?
posted by Balisong at 5:39 PM on December 17, 2004


It's rather interesting that it's the same conservatives who decry the liberal moral relativism that now that it suits them are the most opposed to the notion of objectivity

Rushmc: Another option would be that the conservatives accept moral relativism and offer their own identity of authentic voices.
posted by semmi at 6:17 PM on December 17, 2004


Laughable, if it wasn't so pathetic. The "left" has dominated the media for so long that any inroads made by non-left organizations (FNC, Rush, Cato, AEI, etc) are decried as some sort of Nazi-like takeover of All Media.
posted by davidmsc at 6:32 PM on December 17, 2004


davidmsc: your opinion would be laughable, if it wasn't so pathetic.
posted by mosch at 6:50 PM on December 17, 2004


The "left" has dominated the media for so long that any inroads made by non-left organizations (FNC, Rush, Cato, AEI, etc) are decried as some sort of Nazi-like takeover of All Media.

There is a clear difference between a predominant opinion existing in a branch of journalism and creating/furthering false stories solely because it suits the political goals of one political party.
posted by aburd at 6:55 PM on December 17, 2004


Davidmsc, some advice: You ought to get out more, travel more. It would help.
posted by fingerbang at 7:16 PM on December 17, 2004


Watching it now, I just want to say this is the best news show I've seen in the last two years, short of Frontline.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:22 PM on December 17, 2004


Davidmsc: So that's why we heard all about the blue dress, but not about Valery Plame. It is all starting to make sense to me now.
posted by Freen at 7:24 PM on December 17, 2004


Wait.

No.

Treason still trumps lasciviousness. At least for the reality based community.
posted by Freen at 7:26 PM on December 17, 2004


Amazing.
posted by davidmsc at 7:28 PM on December 17, 2004


Davidmsc, instead of saying "amazing", why not qualify your complaints with fact? What exactly is said that you disagree with and why? It would be easier to understand the right's disagreement with non-right media if the facts presented were discussed.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:30 PM on December 17, 2004


David what is amazing? That you believe the media is controlled by the left? Or that you don't know who Valerie Plame is? Which one?

Or maybe it was the whole gung-ho pro war media blitz that is so baffling for you? Or Maybe perhaps it's the fact that despite a boondoggle of a war, a crappy economy, and the most secretive, pathologically deceptive administration in modern history, the right still won the elections.

Oh, that's because the left controls the media. Clearly.
posted by Freen at 7:36 PM on December 17, 2004


davidmsc, point to any media outlets in the last 30 years with the combined audience of Fox Broadcasting, Clear Channel, Sinclair and Disney that wholeheartedly thew their weight behind a single agenda, and you might actually have a point.
posted by contessa at 7:36 PM on December 17, 2004


Davidmsc, instead of saying "amazing", why not qualify your complaints with fact?

Because...oh, wait, you didn't read my first comment...
posted by rushmc at 8:42 PM on December 17, 2004


The "left" has dominated the media for so long that any inroads made by non-left organizations (FNC, Rush, Cato, AEI, etc) are decried as some sort of Nazi-like takeover of All Media.

No, that's confusing ideology with a political party. What those outlets (FNC, Rush, et al) are supporting is not the ideology of "the right" -- smaller, less intrusive government, constitutional principles, non-adventurous foreign policy. They are supporting the Republican Party, and whatever direction they've decided to take this week. There's a difference. Talking points aren't principles.

Maybe that's why those same shills always advance their agenda under an ideological banner and not a political one. Probably some GOP pollster like Frank Luntz told them to say "the right" instead of "the Republicans"...hoping folks don't notice the difference.
posted by edverb at 9:01 PM on December 17, 2004


What's truly amazing is how the defenders of all things right wing are generally content-free. They complain of echo chambers, they complain about being ganged up on. But in the end, they have no content. Nothing. No data, No links, No Facts. Just what they hear from Fox News and talk radio.

I'd listen to Davidmsc. That is, if he had anything to say. He apparently doesn't.
posted by Freen at 9:23 PM on December 17, 2004


Looks like another shouting down for davidmsc.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 9:46 PM on December 17, 2004


...and did you catch Moyers sign-off at the end of the program tonight? Geez, it made Tom Brokaw's farewell seem positively stoic.
posted by davidmsc at 9:49 PM on December 17, 2004


No, see scrooge, It would be a shouting down, if he actually had anything to say. But he doesn't. All he has to say is to repeat a talking point from 1998. Thats it. And it is precisely the issue that the fpp was addressing. But he didn't want to think about it. So he repeated some shlock, so that he could dismiss the facts as inconvenient. That's why he is getting shouted down.
posted by Freen at 9:59 PM on December 17, 2004


People, please...look at this term: "right-wing media machine" -- as if there is some sort of single entity that delivers a daily "talking points" to every right-wing/conservative/Republican organization, journo, pundit, and talking head -- all of which parrot said points verbatim to a vast audience of "dittoheads."

You guys honestly believe that scenario, don't you?
posted by davidmsc at 10:19 PM on December 17, 2004


Davidmsc: Do you believe that "The "left" has dominated the media for so long..." ?

Because that sounds frighteningly like, well, just about every single "conservative" pundit ever.
posted by Freen at 10:38 PM on December 17, 2004


See the media is neither right wing nor left wing. It is purely sensationalist. What has happened is that the right wing has convinced the populace that there is a left wing media, and there fore, the media has attempted to become "fair" presenting both sides of an argument even if one happens to be patently wrong/not based in reality/totally falsified. Because if they don't then the right wing screams "left wing bias!!!" See, they have forced the media to report what they say, even if it is totally non-factual. Media is no longer in the position of determining truth values, it is in the business of providing a mouthpiece for press releases. That, in and of itself serves those who do not tell the truth, because it is simply one groups word against another.
posted by Freen at 10:40 PM on December 17, 2004


You guys honestly believe that scenario, don't you?
Well...actually, yes. There is a Republican media machine.

Good god man, do you believe there is not?
posted by edverb at 10:51 PM on December 17, 2004


Moyers quotes Pat Moynihan: "We are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts". I'm not sure there are facts, per se. I think we do live in a world of competing interpretations. Science, Faith, Big City, Middle America...these are names for competing perspectives. Speaking as a Liberal I know we have had a good run. But beginning especially in 1994 when Limbaugh helped sweep Republicans to power, Conservatives have shaped debate, after decades of media control by big city newspapers and the big three networks {ABC NBC CBS} ~ before Cable and Internet.
posted by protea at 11:05 PM on December 17, 2004


You guys honestly believe that scenario, don't you?

Ok, davidmsc, I'll bite.

On any particular Sunday political news program (e.g. Meet the Press) you'll often find that right-wing pundits are not only expressing the same right-wing viewpoint, but are using the same phrasing, from program to program, often regardless of whether it truly answers the question being posed.

This coherence of message, despite its inability to answer serious questions, spreads to other media: web, radio and print. This shields any actual debate; any attempt to get the right to stray from the party message is met with incredulity: How dare you interrupt my delivery of this propaganda?

So if you're going to tell us there is no organization to what the right says and does, then you are either not paying attention or you're being deliberately duplicious.

The abundance of evidence simply does not reflect your opinion.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:55 PM on December 17, 2004


Founding father to the conservative movement, Richard Viguerie tells Moyers, 'That’s what journalism is, Bill. It’s all just opinion. Just opinion.”

When this line was uttered, I turned the program off. It made me physically ill.

Repitition of a lie ad nauseum (a particularly appropriate term in this case) does not make it any less a lie, but it does serve to change the opinion of the dim-witted. Or at least reinforce their delusions.

Truth is nothing. Spin is everything.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 2:44 AM on December 18, 2004


Damn, it doesn't look like PBS puts the full video online like they do with Frontline. I'd like to check this out.
posted by trey at 5:07 AM on December 18, 2004


Oh crap. I just got my memo to make a post in this thread denying the vast right wing conspiracy.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 5:16 AM on December 18, 2004


I wouldn't have missed the show for the world, and I'm very sorry Moyers isn't going to be doing it any more -- he's a lone voice of mature skepticism, confronting the ever-increasing corporate domination of American life and politics (which I would think even conservatives would be concerned about).

This, on the other hand, is a crappy front-page post. A link to the site of a TV show, accompanied by urging to watch it? WTF? The fact that this has gone unremarked (just imagine the pileon if one of the MeFi conservatives had posted a similar link about a right-wing show) proves once again what a self-satisfied liberal circle-jerk this place is. Ah well.
posted by languagehat at 6:16 AM on December 18, 2004


The "left" has dominated the media for so long

Do you have actual DATA to back this up, or is this just 'a feeling' you have?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:26 AM on December 18, 2004


It's a strange mindset that thinks it can be right without having truth on its side...

Like WMD, 'no child left behind', 'the days of torture chambers are over', and on and on.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:28 AM on December 18, 2004


just imagine the pileon if one of the MeFi conservatives had posted a similar link about a right-wing show

I don't consider Baptist minister Moyers a left wing show. The world is not made up by left and right wingers. There are factual reporters, as Moyers, whose unbiased but intelligent observations demonstrate the separation between fair play and indecency.
posted by semmi at 10:16 AM on December 18, 2004


And, by the way, that is the trick how the conservatives equivocate their lies with truth as merely another point of view.
posted by semmi at 10:34 AM on December 18, 2004


Scrooge, Apparently you work for FOX news.

They do, in fact, get memos.
posted by Freen at 12:13 PM on December 18, 2004


I did my 7th grade science project on the effectiveness and methodology of advertising. Not claiming my results to be at all accurate or anything, but according to my tests, repetition was, far and away, the most effective technique (as compared to say, appeal to reason, celebrity endorsement, and etc.). In the spirit of this, I'd just like to say that davidmsc's opinions appear to be "way out of the mainstream." Anybody care to confirm this? =P
posted by idontlikewords at 1:51 PM on December 18, 2004


languagehat,

The final show of Now is certainly worth pointing out. I for one have a hard time remembering to watch it due to the fact that my local PBS station, WTTW of Chicago, airs the show at 12pm on Sundays. SO I haven't seen it and now I'm making a VHS tape ready in case I forget tomorrow.

Most of the time I ignore my local PBS station in favor of FSTV and LinkTV.
posted by john at 4:56 PM on December 18, 2004


I know what you mean; I would have been glad to see the post if I'd forgotten about the show. That doesn't alter my point, which is that this is a crappy post. If I had decided to make a post about it, I would have looked around for some interesting and unobvious links about Moyers and his career, finishing up with "...and his last show is on tonight!" The fact that semmi (and I'm not picking on him, anybody could have done it, it's the MeFi mindset, which is my point) just put a PBS page up there with an injunction not to miss the show, and nobody called him on it, is a sad demonstration of how inbred and unthinking MeFi liberalism is. Again, imagine the reaction if Limbaugh were quitting and one of the few hardy MeFi right-wingers had posted a Rush Limbaugh Show link and said "Be sure to watch!" You know as well as I do it wouldn't have just gotten lefty snarks about Limbaugh ("fat fuck" &c), there would have been plenty of attacks on the form of the post itself and requests for Matt to delete it. In fact, I'll bet Matt would have deleted it. Furthermore, that would strike a lot of people here as right and just. Because Rush Limbaugh is bad! I think that kind of double standard debases the discourse here, but it's not going to change.
posted by languagehat at 5:44 AM on December 19, 2004


See Language hat, you are right. That is, if and only if Bill Moyers is equivalent to Rush Limbaugh.

On the other hand, it is a poor post. Precisely because it was ambiguous about it's content. Is it about Moyer's last show? Or is it about media criticism? If semmi had really chosen one thing or the other and fleshed it out, perhaps it would have been better.

Remember Languagehat, that the most strident self policers also happen to be the right-wing, content free, Fact free, Seth and ParisParamus types. You know, the one's who complain about bias, about how this is a lefty echo chamber, and who then have next to nothing to back up their claims about politics, about their particular worldview. You are asking for something good and noble languagehat, you are asking that they get an equal say. That we don't point out that the emperor has no clothes. That would be nice. But unfortunately, the emperor has no clothes. And i'm not in the mood to be nice. Neither are they.
posted by Freen at 8:00 AM on December 19, 2004


I make the assumption that the traffic here is above third grade elementary school level and accordingly I like the contents of my links to have their say, and let those who read them make up their own minds and react without my interference. I prefer single focus without fragmenting the impact with decoration. Those who are interested, I assume, will look for more information as I am when something really interests me. As Freen, I anticipate conversation on the substance of the posting and not on me or my writing style.
posted by semmi at 8:11 PM on December 19, 2004


semmi: It's not about you or your writing style, which I have no problem with, and I too "prefer single focus without fragmenting the impact with decoration." That, however, is assuming the single link is to something irresistible out there on the web. I do not consider TV shows, however excellent, to meet that criterion, any more than I would consider a link to a publisher's site promoting a book, however excellent, to be a good MeFi post. Furthermore, neither do the vast majority of MeFi members... unless the link happens to be to a leftie icon. (I got a good laugh, by the way, out of your "I don't consider Baptist minister Moyers a left wing show" -- right, he just happens to constantly promote left-wing causes!) If I posted a link to the Six Feet Under site and told people to watch the show (which is a great one), I'd be shouted down, and I'd deserve it. That double standard is what I'm complaining about; please don't take it personally.
posted by languagehat at 5:47 AM on December 20, 2004


I have always enjoyed Moyers' productions, especially his interviews with Joseph Campbell, and I was not expecting his sign-off when I watched NOW the other night. Here is an exit interview with the Boston Globe and something from the Nation. I guess it's not only goodbye to NOW, but also to television for him. Wow.

So what do you folks think of David Brancaccio, Moyers successor? I used to listen to Marketplace on Public Radio, and liked his delivery. But can he fill the shoes?

Lots of Metalking going on here, but not much on the substance of this post.
posted by piskycritter at 10:08 AM on December 20, 2004


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