I’ve been an ex-pat for quite some time, and about four years ago, when I went back to the States to visit my dying father, I arrived with a snootful of scorn at how ignorant and dogmatic so many Americans I had talked to as tourists in Europe seemed to be. It took flicking through his 999 channels of satellite television to make me I realise – so many Americans are ignorant and dogmatic because they have no real news. There’s nothing on American channels worthy of the label, the only real news I could find was BBC World. American news coverage four years ago was abysmal. It seems it hasn’t gotten any better in the interim. Walter Cronkite must be rolling in his… oh wait, he’s not dead. Can we bring him back, please? Can we please, please bring back news reporters and anchors with even the slightest hint of ethics and decency and any genuine love of journalism?
One of the benefits to living in New Zealand is relative insulation from bombardment by what has got to be one of the worst news media in the history of the United States, with the worst, the very worst offender being Fox Network. My only exposure to Fox News, thank god, is via the internet, and emails from other members on the hardworking C&L staff who send round links and stories for discussion before we put them up for you, oh faithful C&L readers. Some of them quite often provided BY you, oh faithful C&L readers. h/t CoIntelPro
So I blithely clicked on the link in one of these emails from the writing team, and spent nearly five minutes in jaw-dropping disbelief. Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan, had an unfortunate lapse of common sense and for some unfathomable reason had agreed to be ‘interviewed’ by one of the smarmiest anchors I’ve seen on television in some time, Gregg Jarrett.
First question, what was the mayor’s reaction to the plan for GM to cut back its workforce, was answered by a passionate, and articulate objection to the news media’s double standard of continuously hammering on whether or not the unions and the working man have ‘given up enough’, when no one seems to be asking the same of Wall street executives being given billions in bailouts.
To be sneered at that wasn’t Jarrett’s question. But… since he’d brought it up…
…And promptly regurgitated the by now what should be deservedly proven false, declared dead and buried GOP propaganda talking point of American auto workers making $70 an hour, and shouldn’t UAW ‘need to swallow’ substantial paycuts?
Bernero promptly shot back that those in white collar jobs like, oh, say, himself and a Fox news anchor, who have generous health benefits have no justification for wanting to deny similar benefits to blue collar workers…
Once again, he was sneered at, ‘there must be a disconnect on our Skype webcam, because I ask about paycuts and you’re talking about health care…’ As if those two things have absolutely no correlation! How cynically disingenuous, as no doubt Gregg Jarrett knows damned well that $70 an hour figure was bolstered by the amount of heath care UAW workers receive. Of course, this isn’t the first time Jarrett has twisted data to make specious claims about taxes and incomes of blue collar workers, or unduly slanted a story in order to smear the left.
‘But… now that you’ve brought up health care…’
And so it went, escalating in the amount of blatant derision and contempt on the part of what for all intents and purposes is a talking head hired by a biased and unprincipled new outlet freely being heaped on an outspoken and passionate public official, elected by his constituents, concluding with, ‘Mr. Mayor, it’s a television show, not a campaign speech. You’re not the Ever Ready battery!’ Then, obviously smugly pleased with his own witty repartee, Jarrett cavalierly cut him off, and cut the camera. The look on Mayor Bernero’s face probably matched my own – sheer disbelief.
Virg Bernero is one of our younger politicians, the son of Italian immigrants and blue collar auto workers. A brother with schizophrenia and another who died of AIDS has made him a passionate supporter of affordable health care. In his very short career so far, he’s been an activist for the rights of workers unjustly fired from their jobs, simply at the will of employers or for ‘moral or ethical reasons’, meaning your boss simply doesn’t like which church you go to, or the sexual orientation of your partner, neither of which have anything to do with job performance. He’s been an effective advocate for revitalizing Lansing, and has presented three balanced budgets to the City Council, and has been a leading champion for the American auto industry in protecting auto workers, pushing for greener and more environmentally sustainable vehicles. He’s recently promoted a program of local mentorship with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for ‘at-risk’ students.
Gregg Jarrett… talks a lot. He’s an unscrupulous mouth-piece for the right-wing who has been caught out time again for skewing or even out-right falsifying his news reports. He’s got no justification at all to be sneering at Mayor Bernero. None.
So why why why does anyone of any quality ever go on FOX??? Why hasn't the progressive 'base' boycotted that network, loudly and publicly, as being an unprofessional, propagandistic freak show not worthy of serious patronage? As long as 'our guys' continue to go on that network and allow themselves to be ridiculed and treated with such discourteous condescension, it will serve only to continue to titillate the mouth-breathers, creating the ratings to draw in the revenue from advertisers who don't really care who their customers are, left or right, as long as they spend money on their products. 'Our guys' are not reaching any audience that matters! Fox News deserves to be starved until it dies. Is it really worth it, just to create a viral video posted on YouTube?
So just what the hell does it take before 'our guys' just simply refuse, flatout, point blank, with thumb and forefinger holding their noses, to go on Fox - being called the… um… vibrating bunny… to slide the ever ready battery into? Mayor Bernero, you’re better than to have to put up with that.
And Gregg Jarrett, you should hang your head in shame.
I'm just… gobsmacked.