Thursday, April 28, 2005

for those who've been living under a rock

Mike Whitney writing for Counterpunch:
at the same time Bush was braying about fixing the Social Security system, the violence in Iraq was reaching a crescendo (13 bombs went off in Baghdad on Friday killing 50 civilians and 3 American servicemen), the convicted fraudster, Ahmad Chalabi, was assuming his position in the Iraqi cabinet as oil minister in the new Iraqi government, and the journal "Science" was releasing a report confirming that "Climate scientists have found the heat exchange between earth and space is seriously out of balance validating forecasts of global warming". (Adding that if carbon dioxide levels continue to grow things could "spin out of control")

None of these topics found their way into the presidential press conference. Instead, Bush was given an open platform on prime-time TV to assail the most successful government program ever initiated, which, by conservative estimates, will be solvent until 2051...

Well, a simple Google search shows over 1,400 articles used Social Security in their title. In other words, the press corps willingly promotes the president's message by conveying the main elements verbatim in all the major print media. It's a smooth way of transforming a news conference into a White House infomercial, where prepared questions create the illusion of a lively debate. In essence, the playful jousting with reporters only illustrates to what extent the media is in bed with the administration. As recent polling date shows, increasing numbers of Americans see the media as little more than court-appointed stenographers for the imperial agenda.

The diligent folks at FreePress have put together a Big Media Hall of Shame Contest video, complete with slow-motion clips of mealy-mouthed old white talking men (I was only able to watch it without sound, but the content seemed predictable enough.) Remind me, what does voting for "the worst" gain us in this struggle, again? Personally I like Juan Cole's response:
Matthew Haughey says he won't read our blogs if we use the term "mainstream media" (a.k.a. MSM).

A news flash for Matt: We don't care.

We don't care if you read our web logs.

Update: To balance out the half-assed recommendation above, here's a must-read courtesy of The Birthday Boy. Eagleton usefully writes:
Wittgenstein’s technique, like a novelist’s, is to show rather than to say, allowing illumination to dawn upon us gradually, by drawing us into a complex play of scenes and voices. As with any effective dramatist, we are not always sure which of these voices is his own. Like the Freudian analyst, we suspect that the author has a few answers but is keeping them up his sleeve for the moment, forcing us into the work of self-demystification, genially inviting our collaboration, but running the odd ring round us at the same time.

And another note on Wittgenstein:
It seems that in order to express the full scale of human experiences and feelings, we need certain expressions in language that do not possess meaning in an ordinary way, but rather they make use of a meaning. In those cases a meaning is not depending on the context of use, as Wittgenstein claims, but rather we can say, that a meaning-literal, primary, usual or familar one- is used, or misused if one likes to use that word. I believe that Wittgenstein, early and later, and Davidson are both, in their own terms, trying to express this fact. We need somekind of meaning, literal or usual, in order to misuse it. Maybe we need rules to break them.

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