Fiscal Cliff? Media Myth

Soledad O’Brien is the best “news” interviewer on television today. Why? She’s the only one who makes politicians answer the questions that she asks while the rest of the televised media cowtow to the corporate brass. The First Amendment was NOT intended to protect media news with characteristics of professional wrestling that insist on furthering their own agenda through the mouthpieces they’ve bought and paid for in order to manipulate public perception. It’s a shame that she’s relegated to CNN’s morning beat. Look what happened to Candy Crowley when she stopped Mitt Romney from telling a lie during a Presidential Debate in front of millions of Americans. She was castigated by FOX “News”.

Al Jazeera has more comprehensive U.S. news than any of our so-called Fourth Estate.RIP Edmund Burke. Rolling over in your grave will not change a thing. Money talks now, and it doesn’t care about the truth. The REAL constitutionalists want a “free” press; not the entertainment industry that was rooted in cartoon characters and theme parks and is only interested in “news” that will sell ad time to enhance shareholder earnings.

Fiscal Cliff-Media Myth

Just when I think the GOP can’t insult my intelligence any more, they always find a way. As I’ve said before, ever since Richard Nixon there has been a concerted and coordinated effort by conservatives to increase the use of the media to manipulate whatever fear will drive the low-information public into supporting their cause-de-jeur. Now it’s Wall Street’s turn to try and ally with the deficit hawks and the media to report budget doom to advance their agenda of cutting Medicare and social security.

Many of the U.S.’s most prominent news outlets have embraced the agenda of the wealthy and corporate sponsors and slanted their coverage of the major political and economic issues. There is no better example of this than during the current budget standoff between President Obama and Congress, which the media routinely calls the “fiscal cliff“. The term alone acutely misrepresents the nature of the budget dispute. There is no “cliff” currently facing the budget or the economy.

If no deal is reached this year, then on 1 January, daily tax withholdings will rise by an average of about $4 per person. Any money actually deducted from pay checks will be refunded if a deal is subsequently reached that returns tax rates to 2012 levels. And economist from within  the appropriate agencies have said that government spending probably won’t change at the start of the new year, since President Obama has considerable discretion over the flow of spending. Actual economists who understand how macro-economies function have repeatedly said that this modest increase in tax withholdings would not plunge the economy into a recession, but the Wall Street types seeking to dismantle social security and Medicare have used their enormous wealth and allies in the media (Disney owns ABC, CBS is its own multi-media corporation which places the News division under the control of the Entertainment Division, Universal owns NBC, Rupert Murdoch own FOX, and Warner Brothers (home of The Frog) owns CNN) to generate this kind of fear-mongering across the country.

One way in which they have promoted their own agenda has been in misrepresenting projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO’s projections show that if higher tax rates and lower spending are left in place for the whole year, then it will substantially slow the moderate growth rate and drag the U.S. economy into a recession. However, these projections explicitly assume that the U.S. go a whole year without reaching a deal. They say nothing about what happens if the government reaches an agreement by the second or third week in January.

Wall Street has also pushed the notion that the markets are insisting programs like social security and Medicare be cut. This sort of declaration, which is treated as a fundamental truth by those who would benefit, has the advantage of escaping contradiction. Of course, no one knows exactly what will trouble the financial markets or what effect, if any, it would have the overall economy. (Even a sustained drop in the stock market has a limited effect on the economy, and short term fluctuations have almost no impact, despite the “news” headlines it would prompt.)

This means that when Wall Street’s talking heads make authoritative-sounding claims that the markets will be “upset” if we don’t cut social security or Medicare as part of a budget deal, there is no direct way to contest them.

If economic reporters made even nominal attempts to report the truth, they would be searching for evidence to support (or contradict) these assertions about financial markets. They would start by looking at the success/fail rates of those issuing the warnings. If they examined the track records organizations like the Campaign to Fix the Debt, they would inform their audiences that these “experts” have the distinction of being almost 100% wrong on just about all their economic predictions over the last five years.

This particular organization has been predicting that large budget deficits would cause interest rates to skyrocket ever since President Obama’s first round of stimulus, almost four years ago. Many also predicted that inflation would explode into 1970s-styled hyper-inflation.

The Deficit BoogeyMan Is Not the Hillside Strangler

The Deficit BoogeyMan has been the conservatives’ most effective weapon to date. Low-information voters cannot make the distinction between micro and macro economics and the GOP knows this, as do their media allies.

Never, in the history of the world, has slashing government spending during an economic slow cycle brought about a recovery. Never. Just look across the Atlantic for undeniable, slap-you-in-the-face proof. Despite the claims of conservative contrarians, The Euro zone’s problems (other than Greece) were not caused by lazy citizens and spend-happy governments. It’s just not true. The evidence is there and I’ve addressed it several times in previous posts with impeccable non-partisan sources.

Low-information voters have been repeatedly lied to by conservatives to the level of brainwashing. Look at the “Red” States, and look at how much money they take from the government, versus how much “Blue” states finance them. Facts are relevant. Opinions are not facts. Logic completely escapes them. That’s brainwashing. That takes media complicity.

In short, major national news outlets have adopted the agenda of the Wall Street elite because they are owned by the Wall Street elite. And their “On-Air Talent” generally displays zero evidence of any understanding of what drives governmental economies. Their claims that the markets will panic without a budget deal that cuts social security and Medicare simply have no foundation in reality. None.

Why don’t the televised “news” outlets report THAT? Just one of you, show some chutzpah.

Diane S., George S., Scott P., Brian W., Wolf B., Nora O. Come on, buck the trend. Be a legend. Join Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel; Hell, Woodward and Bernstein. Come on, make some news by reporting the truth.

That would be worth watching.


Harvey Gold

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