Talking back to the talking heads

Share with your friends


As a political radical, I need to follow national and world affairs. That usually means tuning into CNN or MSNBC. But I have grown utterly disgusted with the liberal news media. By “liberal” I mean those who consider themselves politically progressive, and yet believe that capitalism can be reformed.

Sukey Wolf

It doesn’t take much watching to realize that the mainstream media wants us to believe a few key things about today’s world. The first is that Donald J. Trump is newsworthy 24-7. This was bad enough during the campaign, when his every speech was mind-numbingly repetitive. Wall-to-wall coverage insults us, and only serves to legitimize his reign.

Secondly, what really gets me talking back to the talking heads is their belief that the United States is a bastion of freedom and democracy for the world. Liberals never mention that this country continues to support dictators and is the biggest global arms dealer. That its foreign policy creates war and suffering, not peace. Highly-paid pundits like Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper, etc., who should know better, actually defend the FBI, despite its long history of spying on, killing and threatening civil rights activists. As if the FBI, which carried out the infamous COINTELPRO program, could rescue us from a president who thinks he’s king!

And what about those talking heads? You know, the assorted journalists, professors, ambassadors, generals and attorneys and Democrat politicians that populate cable news. Most are incensed over Trump’s boorish behavior. But never do they offer any concrete solutions. Like Defund the Pentagon, not Planned Parenthood! All they can do is say “vote for Democrats.” Everyone knows full well that the Democratic Party has never genuinely stood strong for ordinary working people. It needs corporate sponsors.

Thirdly, mainstream liberal news wants us to believe that every issue has two co-equal and opposing sides. It’s what they call “objective.” Progressives know in our very bones that this is not true. There is our side — the side of justice, equal opportunity and human rights. And the other side — war and abuse. To me it’s not even close!

For example, a few weeks ago, I participated in a counter-demonstration at a family planning clinic. We were lined up against an anti-abortion group called Patriot Prayer, which regularly allies with armed white supremacists and other ultra-right goons. The scores of cops there, complete with riot gear and pepper spray, were clearly on the side of the right-wingers. They were there to intimidate unarmed clinic defenders. They failed.

The local news coverage that evening was typical and infuriating. Instead of accurately reporting the event (our side outnumbered the right-wingers six to one), the news focused on the cops and their “neutral” efforts to keep the peace. It also didn’t report that FBI agents visited homes of clinic activists to scare us away from the action. The agents failed, of course.

“Experts” drone on about the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, anesthetizing everyone. Meanwhile, Trump upends environmental protections, appoints reactionary judges, and bombs other countries. Outrage exhaustion sets in.

This is no accident. Like the politicians, the media also has corporate masters who must be fed. They want to distract us, convert into despair our deep dissatisfaction with life under capitalism. And make it less likely we’ll fight back.

Luckily, there is an alternative to the liberal press. Publications like the Freedom Socialist provide a welcome relief from the corporate media. Instead of promoting ignorance and apathy, how about journalists covering real people’s courage and struggles, and the deep resistance to Trumpism. How about inspiring us with stories of people organizing for better working conditions, public housing and education and healthcare, and an end to police abuse.

To their credit, some mainstream reporters broke open the horror news of the U.S. tearing immigrant children and infants from their parents at the border. The uproar over this may just halt this state terrorism. That’s what good journalism can do, should do.

I subscribe to and support the Freedom Socialist. In its pages I find hope and optimism and the feeling of real community — just the antidote to isolation and government lies. And I’ve learned something else: fighting back just feels good!

Author contact:

Share with your friends