Moments … Epilogue
I know … I know … I said the last one was The Last One … But I’ve received a bunch of email from people wanting to know why I don’t want to write “moments” anymore. This is the best I can come up with:
Have you seen the video, Media Matters: Rise Of The Conservative Media on today’s Crooks & Liars yet?
Media Matters: Rise Of The Conservative Media
Media Matters releases new video showing right-wing media’s leading role in driving movement
Washington, DC – Today, Media Matters for America released a new video demonstrating how the conservative echo chamber operates in the age of President Obama. Conservative activists – aided by Fox News, a political organization disguised as a news network – use distortions, lies, and smear tactics to shape public opinion and influence national policy.
It is why our side is losing … or in my opinion … has lost.
We don’t have The Fairness Doctrine … the opportunity to confront the Right on national television like Joseph Welch … or the national clout of Edward R. Murrow and his program See It Now.
See It Now focused on a number of controversial issues in the 1950s, but it is best-remembered as the show that criticized McCarthyism and the Red Scare, contributing if not leading to the political downfall of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
On March 9, 1954, Murrow, Friendly, and their news team produced a half-hour See It Now special entitled “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy”. Murrow used excerpts from McCarthy’s own speeches and proclamations to criticize the senator and point out episodes where he had contradicted himself.
… the broadcast contributed to a nationwide backlash against McCarthy and is seen as a turning point in the history of television. It provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams and phone calls to CBS headquarters, running 15 to 1 in favor.
Murrow offered McCarthy a chance to appear on See It Now to respond to the criticism. McCarthy accepted the invitation and made his appearance three weeks later, but his rebuttal only served to further decrease his already fading popularity.
In the program following McCarthy’s appearance, Murrow commented that the senator had “made no reference to any statements of fact that we made” and contested the personal attacks made by “the junior senator from Wisconsin” against himself.
Today’s Corporatocracy owned Media would not have allowed Murrow’s See It Now program or the exchange between Joseph Welch and Joe McCarthy to be televised.
Joseph Welch was the head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities. This investigation, which was known as the Army-McCarthy Hearings, was underway when television was first becoming a common fixture in United States households. This was the first time many Americans were able to see McCarthy.
On June 9, 1954, the 30th day of the hearings, McCarthy accused Fred Fisher, one of the junior attorneys at Welch’s firm, of association (while in law school) with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a group which J. Edgar Hoover sought to have the U.S. Attorney General designate as a Communist front organization. Welch wrote off Fisher’s association with the NLG as a youthful indiscretion and went after McCarthy for dragging the young man’s name before a nationwide television audience with no prior warning or previous agreement to do so:
“Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us … Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr (Welch’s law firm). It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think that I am a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.”
When McCarthy tried to go on the attack once more, Welch stepped in again and famously rebuked:
“Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild…Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
McCarthy tried to ask Welch another question about Fisher, and Welch cut him off:
“Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could ask – could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask Mr. Cohn any more questions. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.”
At that point, the gallery erupted in applause.
55 years after Joseph Welch exposed Joe McCarthy in front of a nationwide audience we do not have the wherewithal to expose the right-wing ideologues and their paymasters in The Corporatocracy. Mainstream Media, lacking an Edward R. Murrow, refuses to unmask the liars because their corporate owners forbid it.
We do not have the apparatus to combat The Right. We’ve got a handful of liberals on the radio and Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann on television. The Right Wing Media lies 24/7 but we do not have a Fairness Doctrine and a nationwide 24/7 liberal media countering their lies. Someone to explain to the FOX News zombies that they are listening to … and believe in … garbage.
The right wing ideologues of today are well protected by The Corporatocracy. The superb video produced by Media Matters will not be seen by FOX News Zombies. It will not be the topic around the water cooler in offices across the country.
We’ve lost because The Corporatocracy sank almost a half billion dollars into Fox News in the first five years of operation. Let me repeat that … They were willing to lose a Hundred Million Dollars A Year for Five Years. They’ve got an unlimited budget with media outlets coast to coast and border to border.
They work 24/7 … they’re on the job fulltime … their agenda is to destroy the country … and because we don’t have the money or the coverage … we can only counter them … Part Time.
As long as we do not have the ability to confront and expose The Right Wing … As long as we can’t get right up to them and say At long last, have you left no sense of decency? in front of a nation-wide audience … we lose.
And that’s why I don’t want to write moments anymore.
Moments … Epilogue October 27, 2009