Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Fri

09

May

2008

Obama’s Clarifying Win: The Fly on the Wall Is the Wall
Friday, 09 May 2008 23:02
by Norman Solomon

Barack Obama’s triumph on Tuesday night was a victory over a wall that pretends to be a fly on the wall.

For a long time, the nation’s body politic has been shoved up against that wall — known as the news media.

Despite all its cracks and gaps, what cements the wall is mostly a series of repetition compulsion disorders. Whether the media perseveration is on Pastor Wright, the words "bitter" and "cling," or an absent flag lapel-pin, the wall’s surfaces are more rigid when they’re less relevant to common human needs and shared dreams.

"We’ve already seen it," Obama said during his victory speech in North Carolina, "the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn’t agree with all their ideas, the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives, by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy, in the hopes that the media will play along."

And how, they’ve played along. From the front pages of "quality" dailies to the reportage of NPR’s drive-time news to the blather-driven handicapping on cable television, the ways that media structures have functioned in recent weeks tell us — yet again — how fleeting any media attention to substance can be.

News outlets spun out — "pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy" — as media Obama-mania about a longshot candidate morphed into Obama-phobia toward the candidate most likely to become the Democratic presidential nominee. The man who could do little wrong became a man who could do little right. The lines of attack were spurious and protracted enough to be jaw-dropping.

But how often can we be truly shocked by such media patterns? Perennial corporate structures are reinforcing the narrow boundaries.

If this sounds like an old complaint, it is. Institutional dynamics — fueled and steered by ownership, advertising, underwriting and undue government influence — repeat themselves with endless permutations. Dominant media routinely focus on counterfeit issues, often ignoring or trashing progressive options in the process.

From George McGovern to Gary Hart to Michael Dukakis to Al Gore to Howard
Dean to John Kerry, a long line of Democratic contenders with a chance to become president have been whipsawed by cartoonish images or bogus "issues," incubated by the right wing and fully hatched by the mass media. The slightest progressive wrinkles of even the starchiest corporate Democrats have been ironed out by media steamrollers.

In recent months, as Barack Obama went from underdog to frontrunner, the news media became stainless-steel accessories to the "kitchen sink" politics of smear and fear.

The media pretense of being a fly on the wall has often been preposterous. In the real world of politics — where power brokers and manipulators proceed with the cynical axiom that perception is reality — the fly on the wall is the wall. The political press corps is not observing reality as much as redefining it while obstructing outlooks and constraining public perceptions.

Yet, in North Carolina and Indiana, voters had more votes than all the pundits did. Pundits lost. Voters came out ahead. So did Obama. And so did the body politic.

We’re still up against the media wall. But when dawn broke on Wednesday, that wall wasn’t quite as high or mighty. And the nation might be able to see a little more clearly beyond it.


Norman Solomon is an elected Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." A documentary film of the same name, based on the book, was released this spring via home-video outlets including Netflix. For further information, go to: www.normansolomon.com
 
More from this author:
Saddam’s Unindicted Co-Conspirator: Donald Rumsfeld (7354 Hits)
By Norman Solomon Saddam Hussein has received a death sentence for crimes he committed more than a year before Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in...
The New Media Offensive for the Iraq War (10345 Hits)
By Norman Solomon The American media establishment has launched a major offensive against the option of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. ...
Media Sham for Iraq War -- It’s Happening Again (9230 Hits)
By Norman Solomon The lead-up to the invasion of Iraq has become notorious in the annals of American journalism. Even many reporters,...
Is the USA the Center of the World? (6567 Hits)
By Norman Solomon Some things don’t seem to change. Five years after I wrote this column in the form of a news dispatch, it seems more...
Powell, Baker, Hamilton -- Thanks for Nothing (7949 Hits)
By Norman Solomon When Colin Powell endorsed the Iraq Study Group report during his Dec. 17 appearance on “Face the Nation,” it was...
Related Articles:
Buried Alive: Life Inside the Entombment Wall (7399 Hits)
by William A. Cook “The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of...
Wall Street Journal and New York Times Attack Journalism (5530 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman This article addresses two of the writer's favorite corporate media targets - the Wall Street Journal's far-right ...
Wall Street Journal Claims Chavez Oil Policy "Aims to Weaken US" (5650 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman The Wall Street Journal's main Hugo Chavez antagonist is its self-styled Latin American "expert" Mary Anastasia ...
Wall Street Journal's Looking Glass World (4620 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman She's at it again on the Journal's editorial page in her June 4 article called "The Young and the Restless,"...
Mr President, Tear Down This Wall (3741 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl Nearly 20 years ago to the day, on June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan admonished Russian President Gorbachev to tear down the...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top