Friday, June 22, 2007

New Installment of My Radio Show "What the Media Doesn't Tell You"

Attorney Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer who is now a blogger on politics and the media for Salon.com, was interviewed by me on how George Bush became the Republican candidate in 2000. Greenwald has just written a book, to be published on Tuesday, June 26th, on the disaster of George Bush’s presidency. The interview was for the radio show called What The Media Doesn’t Tell You, which discusses subjects the mainstream does not present(or presents only very briefly) and why the media ignores these subjects.

Greenwald said that there were three fundamental reasons why George Bush became the
Republican candidate in 2000. One he called “tribalism,” meaning the cultural ideology of the right wing. Another was the political lineage of the Bush family. Finally, Bush has an affable personality that the media liked. This last point was ofmajor importance, said Greenwald, because the mass media focuses on personal amiability and attractiveness, not on competence or knowledge. It also focuses, he said, on the horse race aspects of politics - - who is ahead, by how much and why. Here too it ignores competence and knowledge.

The reason the mass media ignores substance is that it is now largely owned by large corporations,which feel they get more readers and viewers - - and make more money - - by focusing on personalities rather than substance. Reporters have to go along with this to advance in their careers. In this vacuum of substance, said Greenwald, blogs are making an important contribution because they are focusing on the substance neglected by the mass media.

In addition to the foregoing reasons, there were also other reasons too why George Bush became the Republican candidate. The Republican political establishment was desperate to win, especially because it hated the Clintons, and was persuaded that George Bush had the best chance to win. And while member of the Republican establishment weren’t completely sure about Bush’s ideology,they knew they did not like John McCain’s. Bush also had name recognition because of membership
in a political dynasty, and he had access to huge sums of money. Nor did the Republican political establishment care a whit about the inadequacy of Bush’s record as Governor of Texas, nor about the fact that he had been a continuous failure in business - - and thus had never demonstrated competence.

When asked whether America needs a third party because currently it has “only one party with two branches,” Greenwald demurred. In his view, the situation is currently so terrible that it is crucial to defeat the Republicans in 2008, and he feels the Democrats have the best chance to do this. He thus favors efforts to change the Democrat Party so that, in those areas where it closely overlaps the Republicans, it would instead stand for the very things that a third party would otherwise stand for. In response to the possible objection that the nation is claimed to be in a critical state in every single presidential election - - a claim that would always augur against a third party and would make it impossible ever to start one - - Greenwald said that this time the situation truly is dire.

Greenwald concluded by saying that it is now essential to find candidates who will engage in honest, competent debate, for the edification of the American people, about America’s role in the world.

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