Here's a great example of why citizens must transform the way news media work. By ignoring the substance of recent remarks by Newt Gingrich about right- and left-wing “social engineering,” the mass media further enabled party politics to conduct ideologically driven behavior mod experiments on the nation without adult supervision.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|John Lithgow Performs Gingrich Press Release|
The Boston press, along with the entire media and political establishment missed the point of Gingrich’s critique of the Republican Party’s losing strategy on Meet the Press (5/12/11). Even the extensive dissection of the incident by HuffPost’s Jason Linkins avoids acknowledging that Newt made any sense whatsoever. I maintain that when Newt criticized the gop for "social engineering," he was totally on target and making a point that liberals and progressives have been hammering on for years. It goes way beyond the Ryan Budget and it's Medicare voucher proposal. He was saying that it's anti-Republican to tell people how to conduct their lives. I don't have a problem with that.
I do have a problem with the press not exploring what Newt might have meant. All the press reports I have encountered dwell on how viciously the gop and the punditocracy pounded Newt for implying that cultural conservatism is an emperor with no clothes, who said what about him, and what this contretemps means for his ambitions. It's all innuendo and gossip. Why isn't there a discussion of how a party that’s supposedly based on protecting individual liberty and committed to enfeebling government can contemplate legislating morality and prescribing private behavior?
Newt’s political incorrectness was red meat for the press corps. The spotlight immediately focused on internecine strife, not on whether top-down social change is effective, useful, or hazardous to civic health. Media outlets failed to explore what Gingrich actually said, other than to boil it all down to the sound bite that Newt opposes the Ryan budget (which he previously endorsed). What's wrong with this news picture?
Be assured I'm not a Gingrich fan by any means. He's a dissembling, dissolute, and opportunistic sociopath who has no qualifications for executive leadership, who easily disavows his own views to save his political tuchas. But that doesn’t mean that the gop should get a pass on his social engineering accusation. This entire flap was an insult to intelligence and a missed opportunity to educate the public about who Big Brother really is. But I have to admit, it had its amusing aspects, such as the if-you-quote-me-you’re-lying gambit or the incredible reverse spin press release.
We must demand that local and national media stop blowing off issues like this, and deliver more substance with fewer atmospherics and less spin when they cover important issues. And when they can’t tell which issues are important, we need to remind them.
The ferocity of the gop reaction should also remind us that the right-wing government-in-waiting takes no prisoners in its drive to dominate discourse by intimidating Americans away from confronting its crypto-fascist agenda. Forewarned is forearmed. Be vigilant. Don't let news outlets get away with trivializing events and ignoring their implications.
Variously a research worker in digital cartography and geospatial computing, photographer, technical writer and amateur mycologist, Geoff Dutton likes to editorialize about current events and unearth subtexts of political utterances. He is particularly drawn to spotlight things that politicians and pundits generally avoid talking about. Some of his journals, political ruminations and satires are paroled at http://maxentropyproductions.net/blog/.