Monday, July 8, 2013

MSNBC: Waxing Way More Neoliberal Than Liberal by Defending the Surveillance-War State

The reality of our modern, interconnected world is that information matters. Also, the authenticity and trustworthiness of sources. At specific times these become much more important than at others, such as in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives (mainly Iraqis) and trillions of dollars. Also, in the exposure of the extent of NSA surveillance on all of us by Edward Snowden, and the more recent news that the FISA courts approved a much broader definition of "relevant" to justify vacuuming up tens of millions of Americans' online and phone files indiscriminately.

As the Wall Street Journal reported this morning (and the WSJ is not exactly a left wing redoubt):

"The National Security Agency's ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on a secret court ruling that redefined a single word: "relevant."

In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that "relevant" could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed."

Well, what that means, essentially, is also that the definition of "terrorist" or "terror suspect" was expanded as I noted in an earlier blog ('Between the Skeleton Key and the COG"). Thus, the conservative definition was tossed out the window, just as the more judicious, conservative FISA court was tossed by the Bushies in 2006, to permit more widespread searches, often without approval of a proper FISA court- issued warrant. Solution? Just change the FISA law to make it compatible with the warrantless searches earlier conducted. We can thank our rat-ass congress critters for doing that.

The issue now before us then is WHO in the mainstream, corporate -owned media will tell the people the truth, echoing William Greider's book title (from 1991): 'Who Will Tell The People?'. The answer appears to be very very few even at the once proverbial :"liberal" network MSNBC.  As I previously noted (last Mail Brane)  Chris Hayes remains the only one who will tell it like it is and doesn't knee jerk diss Edward Snowden like his colleagues, e.g. Melissa Harris-Perry, Ed Schultz, and even Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddow. All the latter appear to be captured by the "Man" and are spouting his bollocks to spread the PR that Snowden is-was the problem not the violation of our 4th amendment rights.

Thus Jeff Cohen's observation in his recent blog,

"The bipartisan consensus in support of our bloated Military/Surveillance State –which so  undermines our society as a whole– is reflected in Congress and both the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as mainstream media."

Appears to have validity and includes MSNBC. In terms of picking our culprits, whom I also term Neoliberal propagandizers, Cohen is blunt and hits on MSNBC's claimed liberal mouthpieces (except for Chris Hayes):

"a number of MSNBC talking heads have reacted to the Snowden disclosures like Fox News hosts did when they were in hysterical damage control mode for Bush – complete with ridiculously fact-free claims and national chauvinism that we’ve long come to expect from the “fair & balanced” channel.

As Snowden arrived in Russia from Hong Kong, MSNBC host Ed Schultz blustered on   about Snowden as a “punk” and “coward.” Railing about the “security of the country” in tones Hannity would approve of, Schultz questioned Snowden’s patriotism and credibility, asking: “If the United States of America is doing something so egregiously wrong in its surveillance program, how come he’s the only one speaking up?

  In O’Reilly-like blissful ignorance, Schultz seemed unaware of the three NSA whistleblowers who’d loudly spoken up way earlier than Snowden – and gathered for an illuminating USA Today interview a week before his tirade.

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry has been condemning Snowden by contrasting him with civil disobedients who “love their country” and submit to arrest – while Snowden just wants to “save his own skin.”   She proclaimed: “This is different. This is dangerous to our nation.” Should we similarly dismiss Dan Ellsberg, who leaked the top secret Pentagon Papers to a dozen newspapers in 1971 by going on the lam from the FBI. Or Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” who saved his own skin by hiding his identity for 30 years after leaking secrets that helped crash the Nixon presidency?

  In a bizarre monologue attacking Snowden (who’s risked plenty, in my view), Harris-Perry hailed those who engage in civil disobedience for being willing “to risk your own freedom, your own body in order to bring attention to something that needs to be known. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested, attacked, smeared. Nelson Mandela went to prison for 27 years.”  Nelson Mandela? He wasn’t a civil disobedient who gave himself up. He was a fugitive, fleeing the apartheid police. He was on the lam domestically, like Snowden is now internationally. And some reports indicate that South African authorities were able to nab Mandela thanks to the U.S. CIA    

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has also disappointed. After doing a typically thorough presentation on the force-down of President’s Morales’ plane, she ended her report by expressing displeasure only that Washington had apparently gotten allies to go out on the limb “for nothing.” Her objection to the harassment seemed to be: it hadn’t succeeded. I didn’t hear opposition to the action had Snowden actually been on board and apprehended. "

I basically concur with these takes, especially on Maddow, who has earlier shown that she is not the pure- bred liberal she originally portrayed. For example, in an earlier blog: I noted how she used the issue of gun reform to give credence to the "Oswald did it"  propaganda pushed by the now well discredited Warren Commission. As many long time  JFK  researchers have noted, this is the misshapen version of history pushed by those who would keep the people in the dark in terms of the Kennedy assassination.  Michael Parenti, author of the 'The Dirty Truth' has perhaps been most articulate in explaining what's at stake, what's been done by those who spread the "Oswald did it" hokum:

"To know the truth about the assassination of John Kennedy is to call into question the state security system and the entire politico-economic order it protects."

The question then becomes why is Maddow helping to protect this politico-economic order? A true liberal would not. Another disquieting aspect is how Maddow has never come out four square against the chained CPI plan to cut Social Security, e.g.

These are not small or insignificant issues, any more than Edward Snowden's disclosures concerning illegal (yes it is!) dragnet surveillance which certainly violates the 4th amendment.

Sadly, it appears Jeff Cohen is correct, that in certain instances and issues MSNBC can be as far off as FOX.

But then, this may be the nature of corporate -owned media. At least we must be thankful for some - like Chris Hayes- who won't just roll over for the power mongers! Truly courageous people who are able to articulate opposition to the state and its surveillance-war imperatives, instead of peddling PR pabulum that seeks to erode citizens' perceptions. Thereby converting citizens into accessories to their own constitutional subversion and people into sheeple.

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