October 6, 2003
We witnessed a rare event in the California recall election debates on
September 24, 2003, as gubernatorial candidates from the Green, Democrat, and
Republican parties, and an Independent, were given equal time to voice
their political, economic, and social platforms to a national audience.
Outside of the scripted catch-phrase one-liners and personal character
jousts, viewers participated in an intelligent and civil form of direct
democracy as they listened to opinions on major policy issues from
voices representing a broad band of the socio-political spectrum.
However, before people had time to sit and think, and weigh the estimations of Mr. Camejo, Mr. Bustamante, Mr. McClintock, Ms. Huffington, and Mr. Schwarzenegger, MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN jumped in to think for many Americans in the elitist carnival those same many misinterpret as fair and balanced news reporting.
Before the anchors at these stations placed Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger in the spotlight and rated his performance on a scale of 1-10, CNN handed the Austrian-born actor a live propaganda conference to have the last word with voters, a despicable tactic not offered to the other candidates and worth millions of dollars in free publicity. Arnold captured the moment to reiterate a few inane platitudes such as "I'm going to bring the economy back" and "I am not only the Terminator but the Collectinator." He also strategically invited McClintock, his Republican antagonist, into his government in Sacramento if he gets elected. And he even had time to guffaw at Ariana Huffington when he said that she is "entertaining" and a "comedy show."
Why didn't the other candidates get a post-debate spin?
After the Collectinator stepped off of the stage MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN conversed about the recall debate and Arnold's center stage role in it. They examined Mr. Schwarzenegger's debating skills and Chris Mathew's show Hardball on MSNBC presented the bold headline "Arnold's First Debate." I must have been switched over to CNN when they discussed his refusal to participate in any other debate but the one conducted earlier where the candidates received their questions beforehand. FoxNews proclaimed to the Conservatives and confused in the nation that "Schwarzenegger has a sense of command California needs."
The second candidate to receive detailed media attention was Ariana Huffington, an independent voice that Fox News pronounced "a political chameleon." The stations did not assess or even mention any of her policies in order to substantiate this claim, but decided instead to analyze her argument with Mr. Schwarzenegger as an attempt to steal some of his spotlight and act maliciously to malign his character. Hardball's Chris Mathews obfuscated Ms. Huffington's often insightful thoughts behind a couple of discourteous ones, and stated that "authenticity is not Huffington's strong-suit." Others on the show declared "she was getting so annoying" and "why is she there at all?"
The stations spent little time discussing the platform of Mr. McClintock and Mr. Bustamante, and ignored almost completely the many lucid, class-conscious ideas of Green candidate Peter Camejo. He discussed workers' issues such as a living wage so that families can rise out of poverty, corporate corruption and the malfeasance of the energy crises, and a fair tax that could lighten the burden on the middle and lower working classes and help solve California's budget crisis. Currently the wealthy and ultra-wealthy pay at a lesser tax rate then the poor and middle class for state and local taxes.
His platform promotes international nuclear disarmament, civil equality for people of all sexual orientations, the renewable energy sources of wind and solar power and a move away from ecologically devastating oil gouging, and the increase in funds for educational infrastructure and Head Start programs. (1) www.votecamejo.org
CNN Crossfire Co-Host Tucker Carlson smugly quipped "Peter Camejo and Ariana Huffington know nothing about government;" however, he did not include a former body builder and actor in that derogatory statement. Elizabeth Garrett believed it "fun to focus on some of those strange candidates." Brit Hume on FoxNews also shelved the arguments of Mr. Camejo and Ms. Huffington as he pronounced them "not serious candidates."
MSNBC, FoxNews, and CNN all endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid for governor, ignored almost completely his challengers, and actively discredited the analyses of Mr. Camejo and Ms. Huffington because the content disagreed with their entrenched opinions. Is the mainstream press so subtle and intelligent in its propaganda and censorship that the mainstream public cannot recognize their blatant tactics? Or do many suppress the hints toward an understanding of MSNBC's, FoxNews', and CNN's unfair and unbalanced news reporting because this comprehension would turn their entire world upside-down and lead them to question other conditioned beliefs?
There are no stupid questions, just stupid people who don't ever ask any!
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Note and Resources
1. I know that many California workers and even the Silicon Valley bourgeoisie understand class and recognize some of the dimensions of plutocracy. This understanding often manifests as a desire to not vote, as one may feel that his/her voice cannot change the system. Imagine if you all came together to say no to two-party hegemony and voted for Green Party candidate Mr. Peter Camejo... "Never doubt that a group of people can change the world, indeed it is all that ever has." —Margaret Mead (back)
The Greens on Swans
Main Media & Propaganda on Swans
Scott Orlovsky is a World History & Cultures, and an American History teacher at Clifton High School in New Jersey. He has a BA in History from the Johns Hopkins University and a MA in History from the University of Colorado.
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