by Scoobie Davis
Check This Out
Robert Parry has been smokin' lately. Here's his latest: "Bush & the Rise of 'Managed-Democracy.'"
In the United States, the conservative/Republican consolidation of power is not yet complete. But it appears clear that the traditional checks and balances, including the national press corps, are now so weak and compromised that they won’t present any meaningful resistance. That means new strategies must be devised and new institutions must be created if this one-party-state future is to be averted.
The rapidly expanding conservative news media already is an extraordinary powerhouse, extending from TV to newspapers to talk radio to magazines to the Internet. Nothing of a similar size exists on the left side of the U.S. political spectrum.
Four years ago, some hopeful political analysts predicted that the rightward swing of the media pendulum, which so bedeviled Bill Clinton in the 1990s, would lurch back leftward once Bush took office in 2001.
These analysts foresaw the news media assuming its traditional adversarial role regardless of which party held the White House, tough on Democrats and tough on Republicans.
But no self-correction ever occurred. Instead, as Bush enters the fifth year of his presidency, major news outlets are continuing to swing more to the right.
In the 1980s, Norquist was a leader of the College Republicans when they were getting subsidies from the secretive fortune of Sun Myung Moon, a South Korean theocrat whose organization has a long track record of illicit money-laundering. Moon was pumping tens of millions of dollars into American conservative organizations and into the right-wing Washington Times.
Some Republicans raised red flags, citing Moon’s history of brainwashing his disciples and his contempt for American democracy and individuality. In 1983, the GOP’s moderate Ripon Society charged that the New Right had entered “an alliance of expediency” with Moon’s church.
Ripon’s chairman, Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, released a study which alleged that the College Republican National Committee “solicited and received” money from Moon’s Unification Church in 1981. The study also accused Reed Irvine’s Accuracy in Media of benefiting from low-cost or volunteer workers supplied by Moon.
Leach said the Unification Church has “infiltrated the New Right and the party it wants to control, the Republican Party, and infiltrated the media as well.” Leach’s news conference was disrupted when then-college GOP leader Grover Norquist accused Leach of lying.
For its part, the Washington Times dismissed Leach’s charges as “flummeries” and mocked the Ripon Society as a “discredited and insignificant left-wing offshoot of the Republican Party.”
The enthusiastic response from many Democrats to the emergence of liberal talk radio is another sign of how the rank-and-file favors an in-your-face style when confronting Bush and the Republicans. The uncompromising content of Al Franken’s Air America show or Ed Schultz’s program on Democracy Radio reflects a determination of the Democratic base to get back on the political offensive.
But the big political question remains: Have the liberals waited too long to begin competing seriously with the conservatives in the crucial arena of mass media?
Or put differently, are Bush and the conservative movement already in position to lock in their now-overwhelming advantage in media/political infrastructure before the Democrats and liberals get their act together? Has the age of “managed-democracy” – and one-party rule – already arrived?