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The Republican Noise Machine, commentary thereon--jk

THE REPUBLICAN NOISE MACHINE:  right-wing media and how it corrupts democracy


David Brock, commentary by jk



This book illuminates why Republicans now unabashedly serve the wealthy elite—and the Democrats have also drifted further to the right:  the production of ideas has shifted to the right.   

A book worth knowing.  A former right-wing journalist, David Brock, uses his keen understanding and experiences to show how a conservative media has skewed American politics:  they have hijacked public discourse.  Brock’s incisive analysis of right-wing media theories, strategies, financing, and operations demonstrates how the Republican Right does not embrace or encourage journalistic freedom, but instead seeks to control it.  With billions of dollars to spend and a readiness to demonize dissenting voices—combine with media consolidation and deregulation of the airwaves—the conservative media machine has reshaped national consciousness.  Brock documents the shift, which started in the Nixon era, from balanced journalism to opinion journalism.  Brock documents the causes as to why the conservative news bites are several-fold more common than the liberal ones, thus assuring in the production of ideas a dominance of the conservatives.  Money, ownership of the media, and changes in FCC regulations are the principle causes—no longer does the FCC require balanced and objective news reporting.

            In The Republican Noise Machine Brock details the assault on balanced journalism by the conservatives.  There are chapters on the “Big Lie” that the media has a liberal bias, a who is who in the conservative media and their propaganda, Republican attempts to and finally success in changing removing the Fairness Doctrine, devoted to the conservative content, the rise and effects of talk radio, fundamentalist Christians taking to the air, and related topics.  This shift in the capitalist media has made this nation the most conservative of all industrialized ones. 

     What is beyond the full scope of Brock’s book is why this change has occurred—each class is at war with the other classes.  The conservative capitalists, going back over two centuries, have been the principle owners of the media and they sought to promote public opinion that would be to their class’s economic advantages.  Things have changed.   First would be television, which now broadcasts the news and bombarded the public with conservative ideas including a worship of wealth and the wealthy, a glorification of the profit motive, and a portrayal of the lower depths as fundamentally sick and undeserving.  Liberal and pro-labor ideas are rare.  Changes in legislation which do not serve the masses, such as laws governing unions and NAFTA are not given balanced coverage.  With the reduction of organized labor from a high of 35% to under 8%, the voice of labor has all but been lost.  This resulted in an adjustment of policies of the once distinctly pro-labor Democratic Party.  This also permitted an even more anti-labor stance for the Republican Party with less voter disaffection.  The reduction in unionism permitted the shift in media content with little effect upon ratings.

     The other major cause of the shift is that owner of radio stations are, as the business class general is, far to the right of main-stream Americans.  In 1989 the Fairness Doctrine, passed by Congress in 1949.  In 1986 a conservative 3-panel Court of Appeals interpreted the Fairness Doctrine as not being a binding requirement—in spite of clearly language otherwise. Congressed the following year, 1987, reaffirmed their intent, but Reagan vetoed the bipartisan fix.  Balanced content now is no longer a requirement for renewal of their FCC Broadcast License.  

     In the 70’s the conservative, fundamentalist religions expanded presence in the media.  Radio and television programs became syndicated and these religious groups with a political, anti-liberal agenda, they formed three national networks.  Thus while promoting their brand of Christianity; they also promoted ultra-conservative political policies.  Christianity has drifted to the right, thus further reducing the number of liberal voters. 

     Political actions of the two parties is like an ecosystem in that it responds to (shaped by) its environment.  The two parties feed on money and votes.  Reduce the amount of money and votes coming from unions and other pro-liberal sources and you have a swing towards the conservative vote and their money.  The reduction of unions, the drift towards fundamentalism of Christianity, and the constant conservative bias of the press has produced such a shift, and with that shift, everything else has shifted--including the Democratic Party. 

     The forces of pro-big business conservatism were well organized by the beginning of the 20th century, and they have slowly made inroads upon the beliefs of the working class.  These inroads, however, were temporarily set back with the great depression.  Following the 2nd World War, the erosion of class consciousness resumed under the continuing control by conservatives of the media.  The reduction in unions and the growth of religious fundamentalism supported the drift in the press and politics to permit more actively support big business.  Barry Goldwater ran 20 years ahead of his time.  Since then we have had 4 elected Republican presidents whose social and business policies are in the Goldwater camp.  Just as the Republican Party has drifted to the right in response to a changing voter’s consciousness, so to have the Democrat Party, who now resemble the liberal Republicans of Eisenhower’s era.  The media has led this drift to the right. Brock’s book documents in minutia this change in the media. 

This imbalance in the production of voters’ beliefs entails an ever increasing shift in public policy in the direction of policies which corporations view as in their short-term interests; viz., those that increase profits.  A large pool of poor, needy people to drive down the cost of labor is one of their goals.  Thus a reduction in quality of public education, social services programs including benefits for the sick and elderly, workers benefits, union rights, medical benefits, pension plan contribution are among the principle changes. 

     This pattern of change is not isolated to the United States but is occurring in all industrialized countries.  Japan is the quintessential example of a rich, industrialized, democratic nation, with a news media that has betrayed its people.  At seemingly every turn, the Japanese public is deluged with lies, misrepresentations, and distortions of the grossest sort—a situation that has become so commonplace that it primarily passes without comment.”[i][i]    This is what the conservative media does in our country as well, and by so doing the media has drifted in their direction, often repeating the conservative’s lies.  UPI, one of the principle news services, for example, has been purchased by the conservatives.  The conservatives are using propaganda techniques to further their aims.  Lies, distortions, and conservatism are woven into our media.  We have a third conservative president who is part of that propaganda machine.  We are duplicating Japan; only they started earlier.

     In Japan there is a cozy connection between a big-business dominated press and government that developed decades ahead of the west.  “Many familiar with both Japanese and Western News industries believe that what has occurred in Japan is but a harbinger of what is occurring in other Western countries.”[ii][ii]  Amen. 



[i][i] A Public Betrayed:  An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West, Adam Gamble & Takesato Watanabe, Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washington, 2004, p xiii. 

[ii][ii] Id xiv.

From Wikipedia Encyclopedia at

Fairness Doctrine


The Fairness Doctrine is a former policy of the United States's Federal Communications Commission. It required broadcast licensees to present controversial issues of public importance, and to present such issues in an honest, equal and balanced manner.

In Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC [1] (1969), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine, under challenges that it violated the First Amendment. Although similar laws had been deemed unconstitutional when applied to newspapers (and the court, five years later, would unanimously overturn a Florida statute on newspapers), the Court ruled that radio stations could be regulated in this way because of the scarcity of radio stations. Critics of the Red Lion decision have pointed out that most markets then and now are served by a greater number of radio stations than newspapers.

Critics of the Fairness Doctrine believed that it was primarily used to intimidate and silence political opposition. Although the Doctrine was rarely enforced, many radio broadcasters believed it had a "chilling effect" on their broadcasting, forcing them to avoid any commentary that could be deemed critical or unfair by powerful interests.

The Doctrine was enforced throughout the entire history of the FCC (and its precursor, the Federal Radio Commission) until 1987, when the FCC repealed it in the Syracuse Peace Conference decision in 1987. The Republican-controlled commission claimed the doctrine had grown to inhibit rather than enhance debate and suggested that, due to the many media voices in the marketplace at the time, the doctrine was probably unconstitutional. Others, noting the subsequent rise of right-wing radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, suggest the repeal was more likely motivated by a desire to get partisans on the air.

The two corollary rules, the personal attack rule and the political editorial rule, remained in practice even after the repeal of the fairness doctrine. The personal attack rule is pertinent whenever a person or small group is subject to a character attack during a broadcast. Stations must notify such persons or groups within a week of the attack, send them transcripts of what was said, and offer the opportunity to respond on the air. The political editorial rule applies when a station broadcasts editorials endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, and stipulates that the candidates not endorsed be notified and allowed a reasonable opportunity to respond.

The Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. ordered the FCC to justify these corollary rules in light of the decision to axe the fairness doctrine. The commission did not do so promptly, and in 2000 it ordered their repeal. The collapse of the fairness doctrine and its corollary rules had significant political effects. One liberal Pennsylvania political leader, State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, said "The fairness doctrine helped reinforce a politics of moderation and inclusiveness. The collapse of the fairness doctrine and its corollary rules blurred the distinctions between news, political advocacy, and political advertising, and helped lead to the polarizing cacophony of strident talking heads that we have today."

Conservatives, in contrast, see attempts to revive the Doctrine as an attempt to silence conservative voices, noting that sectors of the media they believe to have a liberal bias (major newspapers, newsmagazines, evening newscasts of the broadcast networks) would not be touched by the Doctrine.

Books such as Brook’s and several carefully constructed studies show the Conservative position to be without merit.  The very logistic of the situation—confirmed by experience and numerous paradigms—confirm these studies.  Simply put, the vast majority of those who own significant chunks of the media are political conservatives, and their political and social beliefs determine the imbalance of content--jk



PBS Run by Neocons


Patricia Destacy Harrison is president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the United States, a position to which she was appointed with strong backing from CPB chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. Her candidacy arose in the midst of criticism from American conservatives that the CPB and public broadcasters, CPB indirectly funds, namely NPR and PBS, exhibit a "liberal bias" that excludes conservative viewpoints and participation.  In June 2005 she was appointed as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


She was elected Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee in 1997, serving until 2001 when she was appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.


Kenneth Y. Tomlinson (born August 3, 1944) is an American government official. He was the former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which manages Voice of America radio. He served there from 1986 until 1994, when the BIB was dissolved by the International Broadcasting Act of 1994, and replaced by  Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).  Tomlinson became a close friend of Karl Rove while they served together on the BIB.  According to The New York Times, there is an ongoing inquiry concerning possible criminal misuse of federal money by Tomlinson.  Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said on 15 November 2005 "that they had uncovered evidence that its former chairman had repeatedly broken federal law and the organization's own regulations in a campaign to combat what he saw as liberal bias."   According to the New York Times, State Department investigators determined in 2006 that he had "used his office to run a 'horse racing operation'," that he "improperly put a friend on the payroll," that he "repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands," and that he "billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit."

He is a former board member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, appointd chairman of CPB by George W. Bush and served as chairman from September 2003 to September 2005. During his time as chairman, he pursued aggressive policies of adding conservative viewpoint to CPB's programming. An internal investigation into his acts as chairman led to his resignation in November 2005.