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The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News

Posted on Feb 1, 2010
AP / Elaine Thompson

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Reporting, while it is presented to the public as neutral, objective and unbiased, is always highly interpretive. It is defined by rigid stylistic parameters. I have written, like most other reporters, hundreds of news stories. Reporters begin with a collection of facts, statements, positions and anecdotes and then select those that create the “balance” permitted by the formula of daily journalism. The closer reporters get to official sources, for example those covering Wall Street, Congress, the White House or the State Department, the more constraints they endure. When reporting depends heavily on access it becomes very difficult to challenge those who grant or deny that access. This craven desire for access has turned huge sections of the Washington press, along with most business reporters, into courtiers. The need to be included in press briefings and background interviews with government or business officials, as well as the desire for leaks and early access to official documents, obliterates journalistic autonomy.

“Record the fury of a Palestinian whose land has been taken from him by Israeli settlers—but always refer to Israel’s ‘security needs’ and its ‘war on terror,’ ” Robert Fisk writes. “If Americans are accused of ‘torture’, call it ‘abuse’. If Israel assassinates a Palestinian, call it a ‘targeted killing’. If Armenians lament their Holocaust of 1,500,000 souls in 1915, remind readers that Turkey denies this all too real and fully documented genocide. If Iraq has become a hell on earth for its people, recall how awful Saddam was. If a dictator is on our side, call him a ‘strongman’. If he’s our enemy, call him a tyrant, or part of the ‘axis of evil’. And above all else, use the word ‘terrorist.’ Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Seven days a week.”

“Ask ‘how’ and ‘who’—but not ‘why’,” Fisk adds. “Source everything to officials: ‘American officials’, ‘intelligence officials’, ‘official sources’, anonymous policemen or army officers. And if these institutions charged with our protection abuse their power, then remind readers and listeners and viewers of the dangerous age in which we now live, the age of terror—which means that we must live in the Age of the Warrior, someone whose business and profession and vocation and mere existence is to destroy our enemies.”

“In the classic example, a refugee from Nazi Germany who appears on television saying monstrous things are happening in his homeland must be followed by a Nazi spokesman saying Adolf Hitler is the greatest boon to humanity since pasteurized milk,” the former New York Times columnist Russell Baker wrote. “Real objectivity would require not only hard work by news people to determine which report was accurate, but also a willingness to put up with the abuse certain to follow publication of an objectively formed judgment. To escape the hard work or the abuse, if one man says Hitler is an ogre, we instantly give you another to say Hitler is a prince. A man says the rockets won’t work? We give you another who says they will. The public may not learn much about these fairly sensitive matters, but neither does it get another excuse to denounce the media for unfairness and lack of objectivity. In brief, society is teeming with people who become furious if told what the score is.”

Journalists, because of their training and distaste for shattering their own exalted notion of themselves, lack the inclination and vocabulary to discuss ethics. They will, when pressed, mumble something about telling the truth and serving the public. They prefer not to face the fact that my truth is not your truth. News is a signal, a “blip,” an alarm that something is happening beyond our small circle of existence, as Walter Lippmann noted in his book “Public Opinion.” Journalism does not point us toward truth since, as Lippmann understood, there is always a vast divide between truth and news. Ethical questions open journalism to the nebulous world of interpretation and philosophy, and for this reason journalists flee from ethical inquiry like a herd of frightened sheep. 

Journalists, while they like to promote the image of themselves as fierce individualists, are in the end another species of corporate employees. They claim as their clients an amorphous public. They seek their moral justification in the service of this nameless, faceless mass and speak little about the vast influence of the power elite to shape and determine reporting. Does a public even exist in a society as fragmented and divided as ours? Or is the public, as Walter Lippmann wrote, now so deeply uninformed and divorced from the inner workings of power and diplomacy as to make it a clean slate on which our armies of skilled propagandists can, often through the press, leave a message?


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By damedog, February 10, 2012 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

‘When Hedges’ article was on the Truthdig front page, there was also another article on the front page criticizing Fox for not being objective.

One of Hedges’ desires is for reporters to put what he considers to be the truth forward, and present it without giving the ‘other side of the story’ equal billing. He has written several articles along that line. He really wants reporters to be activists.

Which is pretty much what Truthdig blames Fox for doing, except that it isn’t the side that you want to hear. “

This is patently false. Fox has been caught falsifying facts on countless occasions, it isn’t pushing the truth forward when you deliberately distort, and I highly doubt that is what Hedges is advocating.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

ardee, February 7 at 10:05 am #

John Ellis, February 3 at 11:20 am

You are a very strange person, Mr. Ellis, and, I think, in need of a mental health professional.

See, Ouroborous?  Ardee and I are frequently in PERFECT agreement!

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By Night-Gaunt, February 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

I don’t mind the bias just so long as it isn’t hidden by slogans like “fair and balanced” when they obvious aren’t! We need as many possible points of view in order to collate some close idea of what really is going on. The sooner the better for all of us.

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By Anarcissie, February 7, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, February 5 at 9:43 pm:
‘When Hedges’ article was on the Truthdig front page, there was also another article on the front page criticizing Fox for not being objective.

One of Hedges’ desires is for reporters to put what he considers to be the truth forward, and present it without giving the ‘other side of the story’ equal billing. He has written several articles along that line. He really wants reporters to be activists.

Which is pretty much what Truthdig blames Fox for doing, except that it isnt the side that you want to hear.

The solution to the problem would seem to be for the writers to make their points of view and frameworks clear, rather than to force us to deconstruct their works to figure out what they are.  When George Orwell writes about Catalonia, we know he’s not taking the God’s-eye view, but writing as a socialist committed to the Republican side and, we hope, writing as truthfully as possible from that situation.  It helps make the book comprehensible and interesting.  The New York Times and the Washington Post, however, are up there with God.  It seems that Fox News makes no secret of is predilection for right-wing propaganda, so perhaps in a way they’re more truthful than the Gray Lady and her sister.  But I’ve never watched them; they also sound pretty dumb.

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By elisalouisa, February 7, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Some fall into the trap of asking the wrong question(s) John Ellis. One might even
conclude that such questions and especially the last are those of a preacher. It’s
not a matter of deserving, just bear that in mind.  Such a word denotes a person
who has no self worth and such feelings are usually drummed in by religion
and/or parents who emotionally abuse their children.  We are here and we must
do the best we can with the cards we are dealt with at birth and through out our
lives. Any joy,  love and other good things of life that are given and received while fulfilling our tasks should be enjoyed to the fullest.

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By ardee, February 7, 2010 at 6:05 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, February 3 at 11:20 am

You are a very strange person, Mr. Ellis, and, I think, in need of a mental health professional.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment


You mistake me: I don’t seek to rip Ardee AT ALL! Frequently, we agree and argue on the same side. Sometimes we disagree, stridently, even.  But I would never just attack him as you suggest.

John Ellis: I think most of the evil in the world comes from people who feel it’s THEIR job to tell others how to live.

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By dorndiego, February 6, 2010 at 11:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Before criticizing it, I wish I had complimented Chris Hedges
for his exacting take-out on “objective” mayhem in what is
called journalism these days. He did a better job than I could
have on the broad subject, though it still mystifies me why a
good, smart, critical mind shies away from the money corrupts
notion.  Is that Marxism?  Nahhh… just work for a corporation and
find out about money and power, power and money.  To have
power is to resist that equation.  Reporters ought to have the
power within them to cease writing crap and nonsense, or at
least insist that their bylines be removed from the crap and
nonsense they’re serving up.
To firefly and Jimmy 1920 and Dr. Zing and Tom Nutritionist
and all the others on this skein of posts… keep the faith.

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By elisalouisa, February 6, 2010 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

A news article cleverly written so as to enrage the reader through fear may be
called spin. Fox news used spin in defeating Health Care. Seniors watch Fox
because they think that only Fox is with them on preserving the union, Medi-
care and Social Security. These items, according to Fox are endangered only if
other social programs are put into law, such as health care. Of course,
according to Fox the funds thrown at Wall Street do not affect their social
programs or the state of the union, nor the enormous amount designated for
war as proposed by the Pentagon which is needed to fight terror, terror, terror.
This is spin at it’s more effective level spewed out by all the “news” entertainers
on Fox.
It is said that Chris Hedges is on the side that most on Truth Dig want to hear. Of course. Where else does one hear the news behind the news.
Chris Hedges is fighting the power/elite, more and more a losing battle but that last glimmer of hope permits him to go on. Fox news represents the power elite, and there is enough money there to buy the best twisted brains to outwit the brave people of the U.S. who still think that decency shall prevail. Some have called such people “stupid”, I prefer the word gullible. Fox news uses just enough truth to fool those who have no desire to dig for the real story.
Unemployed people watch Fox news not realizing that the Rupert Murdochs of
the world are the reason they are unemployed. The illusion is complete, the
social programs of those in need are the reason there is high unemployment
not the fact that “you job is no longer available” (due to the fact that it is now
in a foreign country where slave labor is acceptable thus allowing the power
elite to make $$$$$$$$$$$$$ and have further control, soon eliminating the
unproductive. . . . which could be you).

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By Night-Gaunt, February 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t the difference with Fox is that it is an ideological propaganda arm of the GOP but not the others? The fact that there is in fact very little news on Fox in the first place should also differentiate it? It would help if they would also use facts over fictions they like so much better? Shouldn’t that be for all news outlets?

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By OzarkMichael, February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

When Hedges’ article was on the Truthdig front page, there was also another article on the front page criticizing Fox for not being objective.

One of Hedges’ desires is for reporters to put what he considers to be the truth forward, and present it without giving the ‘other side of the story’ equal billing. He has written several articles along that line. He really wants reporters to be activists.

Which is pretty much what Truthdig blames Fox for doing, except that it isnt the side that you want to hear.

Report this

By Jem Casey, February 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris is of course spot on about the misplaced cult of objectivity in the US media. The problem with foreign news reporting especially, is that we still following a 19 Century model ivented by the Brits of sending adventurer/anthropologists abroad.
Then and now, these ‘gentlemen (and women) of the press’ rarely speak the language of the country they report on and have to rely on local fixers and translators to tell them whats going on. That and a quick trip to the US embassy usually does before they sit down to write in technicolor about issues they dimly understand.
And Fisk is also right when he writes about the way Western reporters slavishly follow guidelines set thousands of miles away as they report human rights abuses occurring before their very eyes.
There are also plenty of examples of reporters who rise above pack and report brilliantly. But the rise of the internet has if anything made matters far far worse. Not only are foreign reporters second guessed by their colleagues back home, but they are forced to ‘match’ often spurious reporting on the wires and the likes of the BBC.
At we cut out the (often biased) middlemen and allow thoughtful local journalists and bloggers do the reporting instead. Many face censorship and repression at home and here they have a platform to write the truth as they see it and without slavishing following a ‘creed of objectivity.’

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By DornDiego, February 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Journalism began to die way back in the early 1970s—as reporters began
to defy the “objective” model and started to bring down people who’d
previously only been inconvenienced by the occasional scandal or two.
It’s no accident that corporations almost entirely replaced private ownerships
after Nixon was taken down by investigative journalists.  Maybe Chris Hedges
could have thought longer on the relationship of money to journalism, not just
power’s influence over democracy.
The industry today does no investigation; it limits itself to “he said, he said”
objectivity because it is cheaper to send employees to press conferences than
to have them dig through the record for facts.  So, profits and finances are
secured through words and images; truth is not.
All those toxic terms like “official sources” and “terrorists”—to which I
would add the labeling of forces opposed to our occupying military as
“insurgents,” and of people like O’Reilly and Limbaugh as “conservatives”
rather than “activists” and “radicals”—are just the language of people
who depend on manipulation through media.  Remember Orwell.

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By ardee, February 4, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

I was freed from the mental slavery of the media when I saw first hand the
misreporting and bias of Reuters and CNN in the crisis that almost destroyed
my country, Honduras.

Unfortunately, this poster was enslaved, or chose to be such, by the capitalist forces that kidnapped and exiled a legally elected President. His posts defending the coup, first as constitutionally legal, and then, when the impossibility of that position became evident, as a “necessary evil” simply reek of his enslavement to right wing privilege and eliteism.

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By Outraged, February 4, 2010 at 1:37 am Link to this comment

Quote: “The traditional quest for “objectivity” is, as James Carey wrote, also based on an ethnocentric conceit: “It pretended to discover Universal Truth, to proclaim Universal Laws, and to describe a Universal Man. Upon inspection it appeared, however, that its Universal Man resembled a type found around Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Cambridge, England; its Universal Laws resembled those felt to be useful by Congress and Parliament; and its Universal Truth bore English and American accents.”

Very interesting.  The “universal man”....who might that be, where does he live and how is that “he” plausibly considers, engages, or lives the “universal man’s” life?  Reality suggests that THIS man doesn’t truthfully exist even within the supposed constructs dictated by Cambridge be it English or American.

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By rolmike, February 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

This strikes me as a bit of a rant. Other examples aside
Molly Ivins and some mention how complicated - or
sometimes not - a matter it is to communicate truths
verbally would have helped. I myself was recently struck
how a writer who himself has ranted at reporters and
journalist and the news media, in the instance of their
reporting the disintegration of Yugoslavia, then turned
around, eventually, to be a journalist and report on a
week’s stay in a Serbian enclave in the Kosovo, and the
result is extraordinary in the caring and close
observation and verbal ability to formulate that Peter
V.H.] manifests. To get from that single instance to a
more general matter: and I think something along those
lines actually happened under the WPA: get real WRITERS,
not trained reporters, journalist do do the writing for
newspapers. Hemingway, most famously, started off as a
reporter. Of course, one thing that will happen then is
that John and Annie Q public will scream that all they
want is the “facts” and they want them served in the way
to which they’ve become accustomed, like a sugar filled
donut in the morning, and bite-sized.

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By firefly, February 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

As long as the media is paid for by corporate power and Fox News oligarchs like Rupert Murdoch who owns half the world’s media and is Australian and doesn’t care less what is said on Fox, as long as it makes him rich, genuine news will get totally distorted.

Secondly, the fact that there is a blanket rule against publishing photographs that probably tell their own story (pictures of war and the results of American bombs!) goes against the concept of a ‘free press’.

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By Jimmy1920, February 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges

Thank you for a very insightful analysis.

I would suggest that you need to explore a bit more the distinction between “balance” and “objectivity.” 

You appear to conflate the two, just as the journalists you decry do.

I think you are trying to say that “balance” is what passes for “objectivity”.  It is “balanced” to say that the climate is warming, no it is not.  It is balanced to say the world is flat, and no it is not.

“Objectivity” states that the world is round and the climate is changing.

We could use a bit more “balance” in our editorial pages,  and a little less in our news stories.

What really infuriates me is journalists who pretend that they are seeking “the truth.”  Like you, I will settle for a few facts.  Let me figure out “the truth.”

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By coco, February 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

A lot of nothing…

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By coco, February 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Is the author of this column writing a story or trying to show us how intelligent his writing capabilities are?
Fox news is communist, partisan, propaganda that distorts the truth every time.
I have yet to find any liberal partisan broadcast that distorts the truth with over paid cons and manipulators like Fox.
O’Reilly has never told me anything that I didn’t already know, he plays on basic common sense then dumps his partisan opinion on unproven fact. He constantly declares hisself the judge and jury and states his usual partisan opinion.

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By D.R. Zing, February 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Bbbbbbbbreak up the news media

break it break it break it

break it up

give it the ma bell treatment

break it up

break up the media

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By Night-Gaunt, February 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

I would add Anarcissie, that is was the self aware psychopaths who were the ones behind its institutionalization and in our every day lives promoting their way of seeing the world. From greed is good to do unto others before they do it to you! It is so prevalent that it doesn’t seem wrong. That is how far they have embedded in our society. A mere 4%-6% controlling the rest of us. (With an additional 12% of damaged people who became secondary psychopaths too as their inner guard.)

They want not only a psychopathic nation but the world as their oyster. Bon apetite!

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By Anarcissie, February 3, 2010 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Actually, as far as genetically-specified human nature goes, there is a balance between self-interest, communal interest, and altruism.  It is clear that highly social animals such as humans are could not survive and prevail unless they were strongly motivated to act in other than self-interested ways, and this is what we observe.  Unfortunately humans at their most altruistic often act even more destructively than the self-interested, as witness the deeds of the great leaders of the 20th century, all of whom professed and probably believed in the highest ideals.  Moreover, we have constructed political systems which gives preference to certain kinds of sociopathic behavior, so that many of these destructive impulses are institutionalized.

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By george szabo from canada, February 3, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Tom, the Nutritionist,
Hate to burst you bubble, but your founding fathers, waay back in 1776 were
just as corrupt as todays corporate elite and most politicians . I think there is
probably more credibility in believing in the tooth fairy, than any system
especially in the so called “democratic” ones. Human nature, unfortunately
has been forever evolving to believe in a me-me world and any poor good and
well meaning soul is left to wallow in frustration of not being able to effect
positive changes to humanity or the environment. Not that I am negative
or anything, because I will always think there is hope for change as long as we
re educate the ignorant, selfish, self absorbed, and be willing to change
ourselves…..  George.

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By george szabo from canada, February 3, 2010 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Surprise, Surprise, I really don’t think newspapers were ever neutral in
their reporting.  Duh !!! Even I, not being an intellectual elitist can figure that
out… Newspapers are part of the corporate machinery, that has to, by this very
same connection, be highly editorialized and censored, and as such all the
reporters are merely lackies to this highly regulated media. This probably
applies to all news media as well.
Unfortunately, where I live, the only credible reporting on local and sometimes
regional issues comes in a small local independent newspaper. It was actually
responsible in the defeat of a rather two faced local politician over the location
of a garbage dump site. None of the larger newspapers in Toronto even
to cover the real dirt on this issue probably so as not to upset the corporate
and interrelated government connections..

    Keep well and keep thinking

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By Dominick J., February 3, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

We lost people of integrity who reported the news and wrote it.  We have morons like George Will from the Washinton Post, AND the Round Table, who is so arrogant, thinks he can run the country better than Obama or any President for that matter, and says things like “how dare he attack the Supreme Court for their decision,” and Beck and others on FOX who report on pure swill!!  And by the way not many folks on the The Round Table contradict Mr. Will, so most people watching and listening take him at his nasty word!

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By Hulk2008, February 3, 2010 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

To John Ellis:

What happens when you violate one or more of your own RULES ?  (e.g. you did exceed the 5-post RULE 3)

Your RULE 2 dictates that a good share of health problems come from diet - UNLESS you include prohibitions about unintentionally eating asbestos and other carcinogens, diet won’t account for many cancers, not to mention HIV, mosquito-born plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis, and air-born pollutants. 
Or do you contend that those are somehow “personal choices” like eating Big Macs vs. fruit?

.... Generalities are fraught with ironies.

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By Aaron Ortiz, February 3, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The author is ignoring two facts. News media are controlled by corporations.
Media must sell or die, for them truth is subjective. The other culprit is the
extreme and purposeful politicization of the news.

The author claims a moral high ground that journalists simply do not have.

The climate-gate scandal was not about global warming, it was about hiding
the truth to suit the agendas of a few powerful people. These people are
idolized by the media.

The author attacks anyone who doesn’t believe as he does. That is a warning
sign. A sign of wisdom is understanding your enemy. By dehumanizing an
enemy, one becomes less human, and blinds oneself to one’s own arrogance.

I was freed from the mental slavery of the media when I saw first hand the
misreporting and bias of Reuters and CNN in the crisis that almost destroyed
my country, Honduras.

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By prosefights, February 3, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

The media has awesome powers.

“Newspapers don’t report the news, they shape it.” John Gowan of Libertad in Albquerque quipped.

Failure of the media to report news [cover up] is a powerful tool used by TPTB to escape scrutiny.

We’ve had $22,036 dollars stolen from our retirement-protected savings accounts at Sandia Federal Credit Union using a bogus [not FILED stamped] court order in New Mexico 97 cv 266.  Google ‘nojeh nsa lawsuit’ for details.

We don’t think the Albuquerque Journal will help us try to get out money back.

If it were not for Internet, starting with Cryptome covering these matters starting in 1997, we would have lost long ago.

But we may have a chance at recovering our stolen money because of Internet exposure.

Maybe matters might get peacefully settled after 18 years?  Or Iran’s nuclear electricity generation facilities may get bombed? We will see what happens.

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By truedigger3, February 3, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Re:By John Ellis, February 2 at 1:49 pm #

Many articles and posters in commondreams attacked Obama’s health care “reform” bill without any problem or censorship from commondreams.
I am not sure what you are saying is true. May be it was a glitch of some sort in your computer!!

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By oldog, February 3, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

A good article should stir up a hornet’s nest, and
judging from the comments, Chris did alright. You
know you’re a long way from the ‘truth’ when every
news channel or paper has the same stories and all
pretty much say the same thing about them. One reason
I never put much stock in the New Testament. When
four observers say exactly the same thing you know
someone has tampered with, or more likely just made
it all up. The Dead Sea scrolls provide real
historical proof that spin doctors are not a modern
phenomenon. Calling those homogenized entertainers on
corporate-owned media outlets ‘journalists’ serves
the same purpose: keeping the public under control,
and as far from the ‘truth’ as possible.

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By clipper, February 3, 2010 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our country came more like what Prescott Bush-[the grandfather of Bush Jr.]- tried for in 1933 when Bush Jr. took over, and created facist Bushism, and will be in full force come 2012 by the tea party. The news media will be completely controlled like it was in Nazi Germany. Heil to either Jeb Bush, Palin, or Beck!

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By walterbard, February 3, 2010 at 5:29 am Link to this comment

“The collapse of the Palestinian Authority, the result of Israel’s 42-year refusal to implement a two-state solution, leaves the Palestinians no option but to unilaterally declare an independent state.”

This quote is from a previous article from Hedges.
It’s a biased factually wrong one-sided misstatement
and cherry picking of facts and, yet Hedges has the hubris to lecture on objectivity. What phony!

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By ardee, February 3, 2010 at 3:48 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, February 2 at 1:49 pm

Ive been there ( under another name) for some time. I am a “swimmer against the tide” yet have , so far, found no such action as you have ep0xerienced there. In fact, the place is far more polite and much less filled with the third rate testosterone driven posts found here.

Plus there is no advertising disguised as posts as are increasingly found here.

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By tres, February 3, 2010 at 3:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SO not true. I see everyday reporters blast their views indoctrinated by their flawed believes.

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By Tom, February 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges deserves acknowledgment for an excellent and perspicacious review of the problem with American newspapers.  The comments also show a huge level of intelligence by the readers of Truth Dig—very impressive.  I’m surprised no one mentioned some of the excellent books on this topic such as “Media Circus”, “Trust Us, We’re Experts” and any of the Censured News books.

But the man who mentioned six large corporations controlling 96 percent of the news media—that’s a gem.  The newspaper was never intended to be a highly profitable venture, just a means to educate and inform the public.  Now it only serves to enrich the corporations (now “people”, according to the Supreme Court) while not even pretending to help the public in any way.  Sure, they can get us upset with the wholesale looting of the American Taxpayer, but would they tell us the date we should march on Washington?  Over thirty percent of Americans want a new 9/11 investigation, but where’s the reporting of the many books and documentaries that have been done on this topic?  Sure, there was that disturbed man from Yemen, (whose mom lived in Yemen), with a bomb on a US bound plane, but where’s the news of our air strike on December 18th that killed 120 innocent civilians in Yemen?  What?  It’s not terrorism for a bomb to come in your home while you’re eating/watching television IF it’s in the “war on terror”?  Try telling that to the families slaughtered by our bombs (the dropping of which was, supposedly approved by Yemen.  What about the secret deals involving opium—the largest cash crop in Afghanistan?  We NEVER hear about opium production in this country…why not?

What about how America has supported one disastrous policy after another in Haiti and how this has directly contributed to the mass exodus of people from the farms to the Port de Prince?  And what about how awful IMF and World Bank policies have decimated that small Caribbean nation?  What about that they had to pay the French “reparations” (1829-1949) for their OWN freedom (gotten after a slave revolt in 1804)?

Objectivity about the plight of the Palestines or the numerous illegal/immoral activities of Israel?  Nope, can’t upset the Israeli lobby!

Sorry, the media has long stopped being objective.  Objectivity is telling background stories to keep the public better INFORMED.  Whether it’s what’s REALLY happening in Yemen,  Haiti or secret prisons around the world, it’s about informing the reader on news that can make a difference in their lives.  Our economy is in shambles, while we’ve been subjected to week after week of stories about Tiger Wood’s love life!  This isn’t serving the public, but just keeping us occupied to make us THINK they’re telling us “something” of value.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

While our brains are dulled by fluoride-laced water, (and fl-laced food, drugs, teflon pans and polluted air) in addition to high fructose corn syrup and other assorted evils, the media continues in its myopic and anemic reporting.

Hopefully the message of Mr. Hodges (and others), will get through, but I don’t give it much hope.  Naomi Wolf (End of America), wrote of the coming fascist state of America.  This SHOULD BE a major news story.  After all, shouldn’t Americans know if the country our founding fathers INTENDED to build is crumbling around us?  Well, if the unrelenting destruction of our awesome constitution is any clue, we better start paying greater attention AND thinking for ourselves.  The newspapers—far from helping us think for ourselves, is betraying the job they should be performing.  It is up to all of us to get angry, support independent media and do what we can to save our democracy. 

Tom, Nutritionist

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By Samson, February 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

To John Ellis and Not-One-More,

So CommonDreams is still banning dissenters uh?

They kicked me out around the last election for daring to suggest that Obama wasn’t the greatest super-progressive of all-time, which was the Democratic propaganda line before the last election.

Gee, I wonder how that turned out?  Funny how the presence of millions of Wall Street dollars in Obama’s campaign accounts turned out to be an accurate predictor of what sort of President he’d become.

But, you can’t say that around the Democrats.  The sites like CD are just as intolerant of dissenting views as the Republican sites are.  Its yet another of those times when you can see very clearly just how similar the Democrats have become to the Republicans.  The propaganda is everything, and dissent is not tolerated.

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By Samson, February 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

To John Ellis and Not-One-More,

So CommonDreams is still banning dissenters uh? 

They kicked me out around the last election for daring to suggest that Obama wasn’t the greatest super-progressive of all-time, which was the Democratic propaganda line before the last election.

Gee, I wonder how that turned out?  Funny how the presence of millions of Wall Street dollars in Obama’s campaign accounts turned out to be an accurate predictor of what sort of President he’d become.

But, you can’t say that around the Democrats.  The sites like CD are just as intolerant of dissenting views as the Republican sites are.  Its yet another of those times when you can see very clearly just how similar the Democrats have become to the Republicans.  The propaganda is everything, and dissent is not tolerated.

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By Samson, February 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

I always think people are brilliant when they agree with me.  Like this piece.  smile

I’ve long said I’d rather have several passionate and biased pieces from different points of view.  I can read them all, then decide for myself where I think the truth lies.  I’ve never liked this fake ‘objective’ viewpoint.

The problem with this fake ‘objectivity’ is that what the corporate media decides is ‘objective’ always matches identically what the Chamber of Commerce wants to say.

For instance, according to the ‘objective’ view in our ‘news’, its unreasonable for the 70% of the people who oppose the wars to actually end the wars in a democracy.  Or that its unreasonable for the 60% of the people who favor single payer to push for that view in a democracy.

Of course, it was also these objective people to say that it was quite reasonable to think that Saddam had WMDs despite years of having UN weapons inspectors pouring over his country.  The objective people seemed to think it was quite objective to assume that Saddam’s nuclear weapons program was safely hidden in a closet in one of his palaces.

Or today, these same ‘objective’ people tell us that Yemen of all places is now a serious threat to the national security of the United States of America with its trillion dollar plus ‘defense’ budgets.

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By gerard, February 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Almost without recognizing it, we have slipped beyond the “war is patriotic” mantra as a support mechanism and into the permanent, largely unconscious acceptance of war as a job machine. 
  Previous to the dominance of the Pentagon and the MIC in government, wars had to be “sold” on the basis of emotions like “righteousness” and “honor”, and people who opposed war were pressed into feeling guilty.  They didn’t love the country (disloyal, alien, traitor etc).
  Nevertheless there were always a minority who searched and taught what they knew about nonviolent alternatives as opposed to the moral and environmental degradations of war, and the proven fact that war is counterproductive, usually creating more problems than it solves. 
  The recent shift is significant:  By making (allowing) war to become our primary jobs machine because of wide unemployment in non-war occupations, it is much harder for large numbers of people employed in the MIC to say no to war.  If they do, they and their families lose their income and financial viability.
  Many (maybe most) soldiers do not think about killing as crime until after they have killed. They join for a job, to travel, get an education, esperience, have nothing better to do etc.  Apparently, leaders seldom think about the moral implications of this, so murder is pushed even farther out of mind and war becomes more institutionalized, more taken-for-granted, more “inevitable.”)
  The job of news becomes not information about the horrors of the war, but information about how long the war can/might/will/must go on, and where the next battlefield will appear, and why—because of “them”, not because we need the jobs war provides.
  This is a way of creating a “growth industry” for the sake of jobs and little else, though it is clothed in “security” blankets and high talk of “nation-building” etc.
  If media in general exposed this negative, wars could be stopped and prevented.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Liecatcher, the other is the cultivation of hope. We saw how well it worked to get Obama elected didn’t we? When the Dutch revolted against their Spanish masters in the 16th century they had no hope. They in fact knew but continued on anyway in a remorseless and machine-like fashion to kick them out. For them it was “Live Free or Die.” They succeeded. Like them we must put aside this bauble called “hope” or most will be led by the false hope in their desperation to believe even while the slave collars are fitted & when they are in the 6th generation of servitude that fake carrot of “hope” will continue to dangle & they will continue to be lead by the nose.

Objectivity in news is like pragmatism by our current President, both means to their end against us. Instead of investigative journalism and dealing with the facts on the ground such words keep them from helping us by informing us (against the demands of their corporate owners.) Such as with “pragmatism” throws out single payer, ending the two wars and $1 trillion in spending on military matters each year. Bringing in the No’s and acceding to their every demand and still getting a “no!” each time. Gutting the real changes and leaving things much as they have been. Not change for us but against us. Just the morality of the market place not humanism.

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By Hulk2008, February 2, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

To Socrates:

Lucky for you your student Aristotle came along and blew all your “world of dieals” concepts out of the water.  Was there ever a conspiracy theory you rejected ?  Congratulations - In a few lines you snared quite a few urban myths. 

    What serves as “Objectivity” these days is printing or broadcasting multiple contradictory versions of the same event or statement.  The more outlandish they are the better for ratings and subscribers.  Truth is seldom a by-product of such an approach. 
    I guess if having “outside” points of view is a good thing, we should applaud the Supreme Court decision that now allows foreign corporations to have a free swing at American politics.  Of course, the fact that corporations have far more dollars to throw at a topic gives them a megaphone instead of a whisper.
    (Hmmmm - I did just read that $250K is not wealthy by Limbaugh’s measure.  That reduces my whisper to inaudability.)

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By liecatcher, February 2, 2010 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News

While it’s too late for the truth to set us (we the
people) free,
ignorance is bliss for the fascists controlling the
highway. The masses are actually paying a toll to
those fascists
to numb & dumb themselves down as they escape
by watching “reality” TV, soaps & other mind dirt.

A Yahoo web search yielded 4,530,000 results for

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA is not only a useful fiction,
the most powerful enslavement tool next to the
private FED
BANKSTERS being given the exclusive franchise to
& control America’s money supply & charge we the
interest on every dollar created out of thin air.

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By Anarcissie, February 2, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

I thought objectivity went out of fashion in the 1960s, and was subsequently analyzed to death by sinister postmodernists.  Really, I am surprised it’s still around even in ghostly form.

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By Anne Marie, February 2, 2010 at 6:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An excellent article as always, but the bottom line is that people still think by themselves and for themselves. This has been given to us by the nature and it has been proven even in the brainwashing communism systems or varies religious imprisonments.

So, it is unclear, why in the USA, the working and middle class republicans continuously vote against their own interest. Everyone understands that waiting longer in the line is the better option that loosing ones house due to the medical bills. Everyone understands that, but yet… And regardless that media, politicians and religions are corporatized and manipulative, Joe from the Red State still independently and in the solitude (as we all do) balances his check book. It is puzzling why 40-50% people in this country act against the human nature, act against their own self interest.

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By Ouroborus, February 2, 2010 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, February 2 at 8:52 am

But I am with you on missing her. God, she had a way
about her and her political savvy was without peer.
Damn, there’s nobody out there who can fill her shoes.

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By Ouroborus, February 2, 2010 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, February 2 at 8:52 am
I didn’t think Molly Ivins was a terror: I thought she
was Texas at its best.
Wowee zowee; you gotta rip ardee at every turn. I don’t
get it.
Having read Ivans for years and years; I think she
would have reveled in the term “Texas Terror”.
With her cutting wit and humor; she could skin a person
(read politician) and they’d think she just took off
their coat. wink

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By Inherit The Wind, February 2, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

I miss our Dear Molly terribly.  I’m glad Hedges quoted her because he’s nothing but a pale, bad, humorless imitation of her.  Molly nailed the subtle difference between opinion pieces and reporting.  She showed that current imbecilic definition of “objectivity” is nothing more than a few random facts without object or purpose.
Today’s “objectivity” allows Bill O, the Clown to claim HIS show, where he physically cuts off the mike to people saying stuff he doesn’t like, is “Fair and Balanced” and that he is “independent”.

Molly nailed it (she always did) but STILL Hedges misses it, somehow thinking that reporting in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and the Euro tradition of newspapers linked propagandistically to parties is the CORRECT way to get news.

I didn’t think Molly Ivins was a terror: I thought she was Texas at its best. She was America at its best.  And she never took herself too seriously, either.

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By Ouroborus, February 2, 2010 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, February 1 at 10:20 pm

So defensive! I said nothing personal. Just used your
comment as an example.

truedigger3 says; Do I have to visit the same sites
that you are visiting to get your blessings and
Shazam! There ya go, gettin personal. Did I say or
even infer that? NO!
I’m not in a position of ability or propensity to
want to bless anybody including you sweety.  wink

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By DieDaily, February 2, 2010 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

Hedges is the best of the best on this site. I don’t
think his articles state that reporters are neutering
the news, so much as editors are. Granted, some
reporters would start to learn to avoid “what will be
cut anyway” or stories they know won’t be allowed
into print. The thesis, though, was that reporters
were constantly upset to learn how the grittiness and
horror of their stories was routinely sterilized out
in order to avoid annoying their corporate
advertisers. It’s this formula that he is attacking.
I think reporters hate the system because it
routinely robs them of Pulitzer-class scoops. Very

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By rollzone, February 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

hello. good article if you read what you wrote. i read that reporters are corporate workers neutering public opinion. authors write books. traditional news is biased from underlying agendas. propagandists are polished public relation firms, beholden only to whomever pays their check. media is evolving, not dying. the presentation of news inspires talk, and in some people: research. the truth leads to the elephant in the bushes. it is my opinion, credit and debt enslaved the publishing media. anyone able to write their own honest full disclosure, of say where every single tax dollar goes in the latest budget; without vague generalities; without fear of personal financial repercussions: could reinvigorate journalism. all the ramifications of such an exposure could bankrupt a publishing organization, or benefit it. whom is not in debt so far that they are willing to take the chance? therin is bourne the author. thanks for the water hole chatter. write on.

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By GoyToy, February 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Just as for other human beings, a good reporter has to have a conscience.

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By johntinker, February 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Really good stuff, here. Responding to FRTothus, “Ideas?”, lately I’m thinking the main thing is to realize where we are - so much is thoroughly rotten.

Power has to change hands, and it ain’t going to happen per the prescriptions being handed out via commercial media.

My recipe is basically: don’t buy new what I can buy used, avoid buying lifestyle and attitude (put those who do on the defensive), stay away from commercial entertainments, acquire real capital (tools and materials), network furiously, become the media, and tax the rich whether we need the money or not.

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By Virginia777, February 1, 2010 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

You are dead-on Chris Hedges! this is exactly what is happening with our media: “the popularity of partisan outlets that present a view of the world that often has no relation to the real, but responds very effectively to the emotional needs of viewers”

and can I just say to commentator gerard, your insight and positivism are so inspiring.

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By truedigger3, February 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Ouroborus, February 1 at 9:17 pm #

truedigger3, February 1 at 1:11 pm
I don’t know much about Democracy Now, Link TV and The Real News Network…
Pity. Nothing personal, but you’re not alone and that’s very much what’s wrong with what people know/don’t know about what’s really going on in our shrinking world.
As to Al Jezeera; of course they are as Middle East centric as we are U.S. centric; what’s wrong with getting their news from the horses mouth so to speak? I don’t believe anything; verify everything.


I go to some sites which are different than you visit, but have the same line of thinking, for example: counter punch, dissident voice and commondreams amd global research.. etc.. etc.
Do I have to visit the same sites that you are visiting to get your blessings and approval???!!
About Al Jezeera, you didn’t read my post carefully and you were very quick on the trigger.
The problem with Al Jezeera, as I said, is not that they are Middle East centric but is that their news are controlled and managed by the SAME people who control and manage the U.S. news media, however since their audience is international and include many in the M.E., then their lies and bullshitting have to be much more subtle, much more cleverer and sohpisticated. Got it??!!

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By FRTothus, February 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Neil Postman has done some very good work critiquing the media, for those interested. I am reminded of his piercing “...and now, this” piece. 

It was Chomsky, who, for me, provided clarity on this issue when he used the reductioned example of the newspaper as archetype for the media, in whatever form… a newspaper as the test subject, if you will, and Chomsky posed the question, asked how a [newspaper] made its money.
I have asked many people, and few answer, according to Chomsky, correctly.  I didn’t see it at first myself, either, but then, with the answer: “Advertising, selling ads” it all fell into place.  It is, I would maintain, fully in-line with the Propaganda Model Herman and Chomsky suggest, and does reflect the buyers and sellers of the product, which we can all understand.  The products you might think are ads, whihc they are day to day, but in fact it’s the audiences that are being bought and sold, by businesses, who want to get as many eyes on their ads as possible. The stories are just that, because they are filler for the ads.  One wouldn’t want to bite the hands of the source of the revenue, do any investigation on them or their opinion, and have every interest in not probing too deeply. A business-dependant press is compromised.  It could be said that many a salary depends on not seeing things.  It’s a fraud.  Truth is not their business.  It’s against their interests, in fact.

“News” is a commodity, one that grew up with questions concerning how to control the public herd when you couldn’t beat them over the heads anymore, when consent had to be manufactured, and absurd to imagine that it could it be otherwise, once business saw how well it worked in World War One, how easily the public could be moved to want things it didn’t need.  But our schools do not teach history, and wouldn’t be around long if they did. They indoctrinate the way they are supposed to do, to provide the comfortable narritive for an inhumane system.  The US Constitution is fundamentally too timid and, it appears, too radical for our rulers, judging from the Patriot Acts’ “passage”  Keyenes, who I believe in a moment of weakness, said that Capitalism was “the extraordinary belief that nasitest of men for the nastiest of reasons could somehow work for the betterment of all.”  I’d say that’s a fair assessment.

How do we make Congress listen?  The people are easily outspent.  The airwaves don’t belong to us/them either. Voting is not enough, which is why it’s legal. Protest is theatre. We have to be creative, but non-violent. Something with teeth.  Ideas?

“Perhaps, you have a responsibility to be informed, to know for yourself. To know the truth. And then, perhaps you must decide with your own conscience and your personal energy and your resources what you should do.”
(Isabel Allende)


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By TAO Walker, February 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Even if this Old Indian was inclined toward soporific self-medication, the alcoholic escape with canned-music accompaniment recommended below by radson hasn’t much appeal….but if it works for anybody else, why go-ahead and name your poison.  Anyway, it gets pretty hard to tell the crops from the planters, in The Garden of Eatin’....especially when the bankers and processors come for their cut.

All together now…......


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By thebeerdoctor, February 1, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

re: Kfju47

I really do not think the critics of these disastrous policies need to be muzzled; they have already been fully marginalized. Chomsky, Zinn, etc., are relegated to those media areas where the vast majority of viewers never visit.Putting aside C-SPAN, Democracy Now! and GRIT TV. True critics of the ownership established order rarely allow any true voices of dissent to get through. The only exception I can think of was Phil Donahue, who actually had Chomsky on one of his shows for MSNBC. And when his last program was canceled, supposedly for low ratings, it was the highest rated show the wretched cable network had on at that time.
The thing I remember was that Phil Donahue would sometimes have guests who were focused on serious inquiry. Now instead. we are treated to the outrage of Keith Olbermann, who at times provides a bit of Howard Beale theater.
But courageous inquiry? What kind of coverage did they give to the slaughter in Gaza 13 months ago? Why is it that they continue to talk to the same people, who present only various versions of the corporate line? Why is it that only Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman and associates interview Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn on the subject of the Middle East?
Obviously the so-called news prefers punditry over people who actually cover events. Media celebrity becomes a marketing concern; thus Christiane Amanpour is preferred over the much more qualified Lyse Doucet.

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By radson, February 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Tao Walker, uncork another bottle of good French wine and crank -up on the juke box a CD of Joni Mitchell and listen to the Lakota episode and the FBI ,a very interesting piece that -by the way pissed off - the ruling Elites .Biological food WHAT !  is that the stuff that there trying to reinvent or does it mean natural food comes at a premium and Garden plots are dangerous to your health because there not Approved.

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By Ouroborus, February 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, February 1 at 1:11 pm
I don’t know much about Democracy Now, Link TV and The
Real News Network…
Pity. Nothing personal, but you’re not alone and that’s
very much what’s wrong with what people know/don’t know
about what’s really going on in our shrinking world.
As to Al Jezeera; of course they are as Middle East
centric as we are U.S. centric; what’s wrong with
getting their news from the horses mouth so to speak? I
don’t believe anything; verify everything.

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By johannes, February 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

I did not know that you all, had this still in you, cq, minds, thinking, thoughts, and feelings of our situation to day.

this gives me strenght to fight on and spread my feelings and notions with my friends and partners in fellow feeling men.

I wish to thank you for given me, your inside thinking of our situation to day as an insignificant
citizen of the world, as that is wath we are.

salutation Johannes

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By Not One More!, February 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

You cannot have a corrupted government without having a corrupted media. It is the media which constantly corrupts the truth to the people. And corrupts the view of how the government is acting, or why wars are perpetuating. They are equally responsible for our corrupted government (the other blame is the government itself, and I mean political candidates and appointees that administer the way law is implemented, or not implemented).

When opinion is delivered as facts, or a corporate press release is delivered as news, something is severely wrong. Or when information that they know is a lie is further propagandized by the media, and people die as a result, it is a crime against humanity.

I agree with Molly Irvins, everything has a point of view, and the average of two opposing sides isn’t where the truth normally lie.

By the way, I was banned from posting on because, I assume, I wasn’t buying their line that we should do everything to help support the democratic party’s ‘public’ option healthcare. I said that both parties were feeding as a load of misinformation (crap), and that I’m not taking it from anyone, no matter how commondreams tried to make to more palatable. When single payer was taken off the table by Obama, that was the disgraceful act of democracy, common sense, and law.

http://www.NotOneMore.US - Pledge for peace.

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By TAO Walker, February 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Go to any feedlot or other industrialized meat-factory anywhere, and you will see its inmates’ behavior CONtrolled (within the actual physical boundaries of their CONfinement) by the CONtent of their feed rations.  To keep them from killing each other in rampant panic-attacks they’re fed a steady diet of chemical tranquilizers which tend to build-up in their tissues.  To keep them from keeling-over en masse from the filth-caused diseases endemic to their over-crowded CONdition, their feed is laced with antibiotics which also remain in the processed ‘product’ sold to witless CONsumers.  To keep them CONstantly coming back for more of what’s fattening them up for slaughter, artificial ‘appetite enhancers’ are mixed-to-measure in their fodder, short-circuiting natural neural responses so they never feel ‘full.’

“News-and-entertainment,” as delivered by mass-media, is a processed “product,” the purveyors of which have one thing to sell to “sponsors”....the number of ears-and-eyeballs in the stalls.  “CONtent,” in other words, functions primarily as bait, and anybody here who still believes it isn’t adulterated with the psy-ops equivalents of all those things found in animal feed (including most of the incipient shit ingested by domesticated Human animals), simply isn’t putting their precious attention where it needs to be.

Chris Hedges (along with many here who respond to his submissions) does a fairly passable job of describing the superficial appearances of much of what plagues homo domesticus here in these latter days….even to making some educated guesses about what lurks just beneath that seductively entrancing surface.  The “truth” of their common CONdition, though, lies much deeper than the mere ‘mongers’ of “money” and “power,” and their CONcommitant commercio/political apparatus of “social” CONtrol.  What’s down there in the real depths ain’t pretty, either.  It takes a much stronger ‘stomach’ than most here exhibit to “dig” into it, too.

The thing is, though, like that ‘reservoir’ of molten rock growing beneath Yellowstone Park, the toxic cesspool that’s been building for centuries under theallamericandreammachine is swelling toward a cataclysmic eruption.  The actual effects of that will be orders-of-magnitude more devastating to the entire “global civilization” CONtraption than those of its natural counterpart could ever be to the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.

Those here who might rather try to get together out of harms-way, but are wondering how, might start with the plain biological fact that we are ALL what we eat. 


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By Anthony Bono, February 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d also add that this is a serious pedagogical issue.  I have a lot of left leaning friends who’ve been indoctrinated into a numbed state of indifference due to our institutions’ heavy emphasis on “measured, scientific objectivity”.  It works incredibly well with mathematics, scientific discovery, etc. but it does a number on moral and ethical issues.  Since all human endeavors are incomplete, thoughtful people end up in a quagmire of self-inflicted ad hominems. 

When empathy and sincerity is seen as a weakness we’re in a lot of trouble.  I have a real fear that this is by design but that’s a different conversation for another time.  Thank you for all of your efforts, Mr. Hedges.  Some of us are listening.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, February 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

All of us workers in the story telling trade know that dramatic conflict is the engine of narrative. Without it, nothing much happens.  News
outlets, entertainers at their core, get paid to identify, dwell-on, trump-up, and should those fail, to cravenly fabricate, drama.

It may seem trite to observe that news is a business, yet judging from some of these comments it seems many persist in assigning to the
fourth estate loftier goals than money making. But all bitchin’ & moanin’ aside, it’s plain that those glorified information clearing houses have
little real incentive, moral or otherwise, to serve anything beyond their narrow self-interetests.

To be sure, it’s not as if the mother-load of universal truth is buried out there between the bedrock of public apathy and the slag heap of
journalistic turpitude. And even if it were, and they managed to dig some up, it’s not as if there’s a whole lot of buyers for it. There’s a reason
why non-fiction rarely makes the best-seller list—there’s just not enough drama in it. And when there is, it’s a safe bet somebody’s been
making stuff up.

Perhaps the problem with journalists, then, is not the way they overplay their objectivity, but the way they underplay their fictions. Most of
these jokers clearly didn’t take enough creative writing courses. If they had, they would know that drama works even better when you identify
the protagonists and the antagonists. Every story needs its heroes and its villains. Only amateurs and third-rate auteurs leave it to the
audience to decide who to pull for.

At least Hedges knows who his bad guys are. That might explain why he’s been on a tear of late.

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By johntinker, February 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is fully human, unlike what you are generally going to find on Fox, CNN, ABC, and so on.

As far as trying to understand what the heck is going on in the world, I like to see a number of different sources, minus the rabid and crappy ones, lined up next to each other on the page. So I use as my main base for reading the news.

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By ofersince72, February 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

For the 2011 budget,  Obama is asking for more
billions for the Nuclear Arsenal…

Did we get misled again by our Major Media about
HOPE&CHANGE; TOOOOO?????????????

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By ofersince72, February 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

What an insightful article,, you mean to tell
me that there is no war of terror?  we were lied
to about that toooo?  I just wonder what they are
really about then.

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By gerard, February 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Hedges ...” the creed of objectivity becomes a convenient and profitable vehicle to avoid confronting unpleasant truths or angering a power structure on which news organizations depend for access and profits… This creed ... banishes empathy, passion and a quest for justice.”
  Sirota ...“evidently, nothing kills an audience’s heaving passion faster than ‘politics’ or (God forbid) contextualized news. Anything like that—anything beyond the exploitation of raw disaster porn—well, it might ruin the money shot.”
  Within a couple days of each other, two eloquent reporters speak out on the failed media.
  Yet today Democracy Now (itself a medium) comes out with just as eloquent a program on the sacrificial behavior of masses of nonviolent Freedom Riders in the sixties—the perameters and possibilities of nonviolent action that changed the entire country.
  Not without pain, not without wisdom, not without courage.  But did it. The same potential lies within us all.

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By omop, February 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Liecatcher seems to have read up on who controls who.

The Bank of England owned by the Rothschild family and the present Queen of
England are the major decision makers of the Federal Reserve System in the US.

If memory serves one right Alan Greenspan was made a “Sir” by the presenT
Queen for doing his job as directed while Fed chairman.

In essence then the control of the US economy is primarely in the hands of
outsiders whose beliefs are as Baron M. A. Rothschild 1744 -1812 stated’

    “Give me control over a nation’s monetary system and I care not who makes
its laws”.

    In a sense America. was never de-colonized as witness how many billions
Hank Paulsen gave Wall Street and its foreign banks. Keeps one wondering why the
Queen of England made Alan Greenspan a SIR?

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By liecatcher, February 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News

Chris Hedges could have given more context on the big
picture to identify the parasites
feeding on America’s carcass.
Long before there were Zionists, the state of Israel,
or even the Balfour Declaration of 1917,
England has been working toward world domination for
centuries. The OPIUM WARS /aka
Anglo-Chinese Wars were fought to keep out British
opium dealers. It’s no coincidence
that America is the largest drug consuming country in
the world & Afghanistan is the
largest drug producer in the world, & Bush3 recently
gave orders to stop trying to
eradicate the poppy crops.
Rupert Murdock owns major news venues such as the
and is the poster child of fascism. Nobody could call
him pro-Israel or pro-zionist. He is simply
using his media control to further the objectives of
GOVERNMENT, a goal in common with the BUSH CRIME
FAMILY & the cabal it is part of.
How ironic that a country that started out as a haven
from debtors prison,a chance for religious freedom, & to escape confiscatory taxation, has been ensared & enslaved by the tentacles of the NWO:OWG monster.
Having scapegoats is standard operating procedure, & works extremely well among the uneducated & undereducated. Rush Limbaugh likes to refer to his loyal fans as the great unwashed.
When Bernanke stole $trillions & sent it to Europe
with arrogance ,impunity, & zero
accountability, he didn’t send it to Israel. It was sent to the Über BANK OF INTERNATIONAL
SETTLEMENTS in Switzerland, where the FED gets its
orders from. And now America has been recolonized.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Check your connexions for the IP address before you submit please?

Our media had been hijacked some time ago but it has gotten worse as of late. With only 5 corporate owners of over 90% of the media outlets leave us with little to go on. Almost no foreign press to find out things either unless you have internet access and a fast enough modem to play or read with the graphics. It can be done but you lose most of what others would call a normal life to do it. I should know. If it weren’t for Pacifica Radio there would be even less indeed. Chris Hedges lays most of it out well even with these omissions. (He does have limited space so doing criticize him for not covering everything.

Most are unaware and so when you confront them with information contrary to what they hear all the time they will become hostile.

The “objective” way of gathering and processing the news is a way of not getting at the truth of it. A wall is put up between them and us. It gives them an out also with that ridiculous “fairness” even when they don’t jibe at all or are really needed or correct. Like how NPR brought in a right wing crank to insult the memory and contributions of Dr. Howard Zinn. They did no such for for Wm. F. Buckley it was just done to defame someone politically incorrect for the prevalent right wing Conservative slant of the news in this country.

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By Jon, February 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I happened to see the movie “The Insider,” last night which was about how CBS’s 60 Minutes initially failed to do a report about the tobacco companies willfully knowing that nicotine was addictive and striving to render their products more addictive.  CEO’s went to Congress and said the they were not making addictive products.  CBS prepared a report that would have blown the issue open, but the report was initially canceled on 60 Minutes when corporate law said the company might be sued for billions by the tobacco companies.  Eventually the report was broadcast, but only after details were leaked to the New York Times.  The movie reminded me of what the networks and large papers USED to be capable of.
Also, the op-ed in today’s New York Times about the civil rights movement reminded me that important changes came to America WITHOUT blogging, Fox News, talking heads 24/7, and made me wonder ‘what has happened?’  Well, the Times helped sell the Iraq war, just as the Hearst newspapers helped sell the Spanish-American war, so in a way things haven’t changed.  But for a while, I’d say during the McCarthy era through Watergate and Vietnam, the press did its best to be accurate and responsible.  But the Internet has done little to improve media, or government.  Think of all the billions of keystrokes on blogs that have absolutely zero effect—mine included.

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By prole, February 1, 2010 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

“…the truth, that slippery little bugger… it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, ‘Cat,’ and the other side saying ‘Dog,’ while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes.”  Say what?? Since when is an elephant a “slippery little bugger”? Molly Ivins, like so many journalists, loved to turn a phrase but sometimes that gets in the way of the meaning. Ivins may generally have had her heart in the right place, but somehow that affected, cornball, ‘just-folks’ dialect tended to grate a little.
  It’s also perhaps not surprising that Ms. Ivins should consistently describe herself as being “pro-Israel”. For if “the traditional quest for ‘objectivity’ is, as James Carey wrote, also based on an ethnocentric conceit”, it’s important to be clear about the ethnicity. “Upon inspection it appear[s], however, that its Universal Man resembled a type found around”…Brooklyn or Tel Aviv; and its Universal Truth bore” Yiddish and Hebrew accents. But this too is a truth that is more often obscured than exposed. Sure, “‘Record the fury of a Palestinian whose land has been taken from him by Israeli settlers—but always refer to Israel’s ‘security needs’ and its ‘war on terror,’ Robert Fisk writes.” But, Amerikan corporate news outlets haven’t even gotten that far, yet. Very seldom do they ever truly “record the fury of a Palestinian whose land has been taken from him by Israeli settlers”, but do always refer to “Israel’s “security needs” and its so-called “war on terror”. So then, Russell Baker could feign indignation with “the classic example, a refugee from Nazi Germany”, which really isn’t intended as much to skewer journalistic ‘objectivity’ as it is to promote Jewish interests and the Holocaust Industry. Could anyone imagine the NY Times printing an editorial with a ‘classic example’ of a refugee from Palestine who appears on television saying monstrous things are happening in his homeland [which] must be followed by a zionazi spokesman saying Ariel Sharon [Netanyahu, etc.] is the greatest boon to humanity since pasteurized milk ???  “To escape the hard work or the abuse, if one man”...never even gets a chance to say Sharon, “is an ogre, we instantly give you another to say” Sharon “is a prince.”
  “Journalists, while they like to promote the image of themselves as fierce individualists, are in the end another species of corporate employees. They claim as their clients an amorphous public”…and they might too claim their “amorphous public” as their ‘role model’. As with politicians, the great beast of the Amerikan public – many of whom are corporate employees, or aspire to be, themselves - gets the journalists they deserve. If there was profit and career advancement in moral reporting, journalists would flock to it. While the stinging critique of journalism is entirely apropos, it could just as well be leveled at the brutish Amerikan public, as well. “Does a public even exist in a society as fragmented and divided as ours?” No. “This abject moral failing has left the growing numbers of Americans shunted aside by our corporate state without a voice” least, a voice that they are willing to use - for which they must share the blame. “It has also, with the rise of a ruthless American oligarchy, left the traditional press on the wrong side of our growing class divide”…and left the silent majority on the wrong side of the world’s growing class divide, too often siding with that same ruthless Amerikan oligarchy. “The tragedy is that the moral void of the news business” is a reflection of the whole Amerikan society who “contributed as much to its own annihilation as the protofascists who feed on” the carcass of imperial plunder. So, once again, that leaves it up to the resistance movements around the world to free us all.

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, February 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a country where Left or liberal is tad right of franco and conservatives mms away from nazi ideology, media owners, congress, WH, cia-fbi-army echelons, judiciary, ‘educators’, smack in the middle, one cannot expect an enlightenment from any of the structural members of one entity.

Long ago i have stopped watching broadcasts or read any corporate medium.
Yes, i had been duped by media. I thought i was stupid to understand what they wrote. I,too,until 70s or 80s, listened to pols talk as if it was gospel.

But once i espied that we only gather knowledge from seeing, hearing tasting, touching, smelling and descriptions of what one senses, i cld see that media-pols wld mostly dwell on level of opinions, accusations, blame, selflaudations, conclusions and wld build more of the same on that, i became determined to expose these people as liars-deceivers.

Natch, none of my numerous letters
were ever published in US; only a few in canada. So my wife suggested i buy a computer and go on internet. And i am still here 10 yrs later!
Even chris hedges skirts basics. He does not believe in changing the system or the constitution on which present system of rule rests. tnx for ur patience in reading this. U guys probably know this. But we need to think also of new readers! tnx

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By kfju47, February 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

It is clear to most that the main stream media is nothing more than a tool of the established to further control.

What is less clear to most that are trying to pay attention is seen in part in what Hedges alludes to in mentioning the stated goal of the media is covering both “sides” of a story without openly revealing bias. Hitler is a monster and Hitler is good man.  What Hedges didn’t say was the power held by those who can define what the two sides are. When Obama is cast as a left liberal post and the other post presented is an extreme right view, perspective has been lost.

Greenwald did an interesting piece yesterday (  “Nostalgia for Bush/Cheney radicalism” ) in which he pointed out that anyone quoting Reagan’s words verbatim concerning how to bring terrorists to trial would today be called a loony lefty. Reagan as a loony lefty demonstrates just how far the posts and definitions of those posts have moved.

Years ago I think we could look at the right and see a more business/money/elite biased view. The left was a more populous bias view. Today the word left is an ever so slightly less extreme right view. We now have a President that hangs with the banksters, yet is held up as lefty.

How have these definitions changed so much is so little time? I think it is because of disinterest of the population. People just don’t seem to care enough to understand the history of the seesaw of political balance. The importance of movements of the 60s and the uncovering of the establishment abuses are all but reduced to concepts of smoking pot and painting school buses. The abuses of the 50s are only remembered in that we don’t still have the actual Joe McCarthy around anymore so we must be safe from abuse. The labor movements of the 1930s are completely forgotten. Lessons are being lost from the collective consciousness at a ferocious rate.

I think the time will come when even our informational sources such as Democracy Now!, Greenwald, and Hedges will be muzzled. Look at how the loss of Zinn was widely unmentioned. The NYT made a feeble attempt but only because it helps to hide the truth of their corporate complicity. Will his brother in arms Chomsky also face the silence treatment? I would think so.

Could it be that evolution is much more in play than we imagine. Could it be that the grand plan includes a cleansing result of willful ignorance? Like a time in the past when if a group/civilization refused to acknowledge the inevitable coming of winter and did not prepare properly, there was a price to be paid. We are headed into a deep winter of our own making, without preparation. Will any survive to see the spring?

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By psickmind fraud, February 1, 2010 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

The corps have been totally sucessful in accomplishing their goal of polarizing the American public.  Lump people into a “liberal” or “neocon” category, and keep them arguing between themselves. It keeps them watching the daily drivel on the cable networks and it keeps them distracted from what the government is really doing.

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By ControlledDemolition, February 1, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

I make it a point to read this awesome, clear column.  But what Chris does not get—repeatedly—is that this “Age of Terror” is orchestrated because 911 was a false-flag operation.  The means of promoting the false broadcasted storyline is of course the “reliable sources” of our journalists, especially TV anchors who are “articulation/enunciation experts” instead of reporters anyway.  Peace out.

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By samosamo, February 1, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Just as watching tv, reading the newpapers or magazines or
listening to the radio and especially viewed through the
internet, just pay attention to what any headlines, breaking
news or whatnot is offered up and you see the troubling
ridiculousness of ‘news’ these days, msnbc’s website and cnn’s
are both very revealing about what are ‘top stories’ and what
are the ‘left out’ top stories are.

My god, the hype and glory about beyonce’s record number of
grammys is unbearable as if everyone is hanging on to see if
she would ‘garner’ 9 instead of the 6 she got with the whole of
humanity hanging in the balance and for far too many msm
numbskulls, humanity did hang in the balance.

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By The humble Farmer, February 1, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We will be propelled into a culture where facts and opinions will be interchangeable, where lies will become true, and where fantasy will be peddled as news.

What do you mean “will be”?

We’ve been there a long time. But you knew that.

The humble Farmer, another Chris Hedges fan

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By ThomasG, February 1, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

News Journalism was once Who, What, When, Where, How and Why, but now it would be sufficient to only have Who, What, When, Where and How; as Why has been carried to the EXTREME and is subjective. Today, all that is heard is subjective opinion rhetoric for News, it is time for more Who, What, When, Where and How; without all the Why analysis, and let the people make up their own minds.

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By omop, February 1, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

A survey by a European firm came to the conclusion about the “news” and who
controls its dissemination. They concluded that zionists and/or zionist
sympathizers controlled around 96%.**

**Probably overly influenced by US and Western media.

But then with the state of world affairs as they are as to what is fact or what is
fiction the only way to prove “it” is to have “a Pinocchio” on stand by all the time.

IMO Truthdig still leans more than most [NYT, WSJ, WP,LAT, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox,
etc] in providing its readers with a Pinocchio-like news.

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By pamrider, February 1, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

I certainly agree with Christ Hedges in how vapid news reporting has become. I was trained as a reporter as a journalism major in the early 1960s. My mentor prof had been a DC-based columnist for 20 years. We were taught to appear “unbiased,” but to also interpret—given information that was verifiable—to back it up. All the profs had themselves been educated after the 1930s. The horror story was the Lindbergh trial. The profs thought they were training us to not be what Chris labels as “faith-based reporting,” but called it “objectivity.” We were taught to cultivate sources, but not to socialize with them and to always question authority.

The best thing we were taught by the DC hand was to *never* accept off-the-record information unless we really, really trusted the source. We were taught that we should be able to discover the information without the off-the-record process (always close to being unethical). I would have had no trouble going through a politician’s trash to discover or clear one of being a grafter.

I can’t help it, I am suspicious of finding “truth.” That, to me, is faith-based reporting. We were taught that even if we saw someone shoot and their target die, that legal guilt was left to the law. I am constantly amazed that today’s theoretical objective news reports suspected information as “truth.”

I also am appalled and the media ignorance of my progressive friends. They only want to hear and see what they agree with. They believe media only selects material that the media agrees with—Fox verifies their ignorance. The current sensational coverage is like Oprah on steroids, but the desire for only “happy news” of too many of my friends is sad. They forget that most news is about what is unusual. Television news, especially, is absorbed as reality—no matter how reported. Media consumer information is sorely needed.

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By liecatcher, February 1, 2010 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News

Posted on Feb 1, 2010 By Chris Hedges

Hey Chris Hedges:

Please explain what a competent power elite means.

“The symbiotic relationship between the press and the
power elite worked for nearly a century.
It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how
ruthless or insensitive, was competent. ”

And the answer to your question:

“Or is the public, as Walter Lippmann wrote, now so
deeply uninformed and divorced from
the inner workings of power and diplomacy as to make
it a clean slate on which our
armies of skilled propagandists can, often through
the press, leave a message?”

is yes, & it’s called brainwashing, and results in
the numbing & dumbing down of the U.S.,
allowing England to recolonize America.

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By writerman, February 1, 2010 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an editor of a european quality newspaper once said to me at a dinner-party, “It’s not enough to have a good story; it also has to be sold, and someone has got to buy it.”

So “news” lives and dies in the marketplace, like anything else in market democracy. What this means is that, like so much else in popular culture, which “news” is part of, the tendency is to produce and consume… junk, or fast-food-news.

This pressure to buy and sell, leads to mass conformity, rather than quality. It has serious consequences for the news market. Simply put, the values of the marketplace influence and control the nature and quality of the news. And this isn’t just happening in the US, it’s a global desease, especially now as democracy fades away.

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By gerard, February 1, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

You can Google Democracy Now every weekday from noon on.  Amy Goodman and her staff tell pretty much what is actually going on and frequently relate one story to another so the viewer gets a bigger picture of inter-connections. 

(It seems that sometimes spooks cut her off at some crucial point, which is pretty good indication that what she was saying was too close for corporate/governmental comfort. That’s my assumption anyway.  I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.)

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By hark, February 1, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it’s easier to understand what happened to journalism when you remember that it is mostly generated by for-profit corporations.  Their objective is to make money, to produce and deliver what sells.

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By mrfreeze, February 1, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Our local NPR affiliate does a “journalist’s weekly round-up” on Fridays (as does Diane Rehms and others) and this last week I called in and gave them a well-intentioned tongue lashing. I had a couple of issues:

1) Why is it that almost every single story regarding the Obama Administration is framed in the negative?
2) Why does it seem that the “criticism meter” has been turned on EXTRA HIGH with regard to this presidency?
3) Why does it seem that there’s an almost preternatural “feel” to the 24/7 vomiting of information (almost always about fear, loathing and, of course something negative about the President?
4) Why has the Media been seemingly absent in INFORMING the public about the big stuff? Example: the Media has had 40 years to educate the public about Health Care reform and yet, the reporting on health care has been almost exclusively about “opposition to reform” not about the actual mechanics.
5) And one of my favorites: Why, when watching CNN, CNBC, FOX etc. is the TV screen filled with “banners” (most often with some negative message) along with a talking head? It reeks of propaganda and intellectual dishonesty.

I could go on, but all the journalists on the panel admitted that their industry has been asleep at the wheel. One of them (rightly) pointed out that in the last couple of years over 40,000 professional journalists have left the business and we are now stuck with empty talking heads, media outlets without budgets to conduct real investigative reporting and a vast corporate machine that unduly influences news.

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By ofersince72, February 1, 2010 at 9:22 am Link to this comment



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By truedigger3, February 1, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus wrote:
“there are some sites that do a
good job of really reporting the news; Democracy Now, Link TV, Al Jezeera, and The Real News Network.”

I don’t know much about Democracy Now, Link TV and The Real News Network, however, Al Jezeera is not a good source of honest informing news and commentary.
The same elements and forces that control and direct the news media in the U.S., are also controlling and directing the reporting and news broadcasted from Al Jezeera, and the only difference is that Al Jezeera has international viewers, so its lies and bullshitting are much more cleverer and sophisticated.
So, any Al jezeera viewer, if he not alert and wary, he will find himself eating pieces of poisonous candy presented to him burried and scattered in an enticing dish of good sweets.

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By Ouroborus, February 1, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

eir, February 1 at 11:49 am #
They are the elite.  They serve the elite.
No, the serfs serve the elite. Who among the elite
would serve the elite? None!
The elite would never stoop so low.

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By Socrates, February 1, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow pretend to tell it like it is.  Chris Matthews is incurably dull and fixed on idiocy.  Hannity and O’reilly are CIA assets.  None of them are real because they have never addressed the truth of the President Kennedy assassination, RFK being shot point blank from behind his head while Sirhan stood in front.  How about the 100 Ph.D physisists that have verified military grade thermite in the wreckage of the world trade centers? How about the Christmas bomber being escorted through the terminal checkpoint by a CIA agent?  There is so much truth to discover and report and the talking heads are nothing more than, as Chris has said in “Empire of Illusion,” “courtiers in the court of Versailles.”

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By rtb61, February 1, 2010 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

They are not the elite. In point of fact they represent a group, who largely suffer from two distinct, biological psychological dysfunction, psychopathy and narcissism. Of the two, psychopathy represents the greatest threat to society, especially when associated with power and influence. Mass media news has sold out it’s position as the fourth estate and only exist as the marketing arm of disturbed individuals to hide their abuses and to promote their causes. Mass media has failed in it’s duty and has lost it’s value to society, leaving it to independent internet news service to take over the role abandoned to naked greed. There are two sides to this problem, tackle the journalist and editors or tackle those corrupting everything they touch. Tackling the psychopaths and narcissists in power and removing them from power and preventing them in future from ever again being is that position is the logical solution. Compulsory psychiatric evaluations prior to running for election or taking executives positions with public companies seems to the appropriate method to remove that destructive influence upon society.

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By bozh, February 1, 2010 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In principle or an idyllic society education-continuing education of which information is an integral part, wld not be privatized.

It wld be, tho, as it is now,an integral part of governance. Education, to me, is the most important part of any governance.

If education-information remains in private hands we can expect a worsening and never a betterment.

But isn’t US congress and WH in private hands; thus, rendering any value of voting useless?

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By Mark, February 1, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Seldes identified the problem with news reporting decades ago. He was referring to newspapers, but his observation holds true for all media. I’m paraphrasing now so please bear with me.

Seldes said that the ROLE of newspapers in our society was to inform. However, the PURPOSE of newspapers was to make money.

Therein lies the problem. The truth is likely to be inconvenient, unpleasant or downright catastrophic to someone – the readers (or viewers), sources or advertisers. Greatly offending one or more of them may prove fatal to the bottom line, and to the livelihood of the reporters.

Accordingly, we get reporting that is neither fish nor fowl when it comes to the truth. Instead we get some bastardized hybrid.

BTW, speaking of Molly Ivins, Back in September 2004 Molly wrote a column about the Bush Administration and quoted the one-time Washington insider Tommy Corcoran:

“Tommy the Cork, so dubbed by FDR, was a Washington wise man. His various biographers called him the ultimate insider, the super lawyer and the master fixer. He came to Washington in 1926 to clerk for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and became a fixture, an almost institutional source of wisdom about American politics, before his death in 1981.

The Cork had a theory about how to choose a president. He always said it didn’t matter who was running, that it was unnecessary to pay any attention to them. What matters, he said, is the approximately 1,500 people the president brings to Washington with him, his appointments to the positions where people actually run things. The question to consider is which 1,500 people we get.”

How would you rate Obama’s 1,500?

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By gerard, February 1, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Thanks again, Chris Hedges.  That just about does it. What a relief it is to hear honest criticism of a vile institution almost totally sold out to corporate power!

One further point:  The cult of violence as portrayed in the “bleeding sells” mantra, and its
part in the destruction of empathy has helped to advance wars and our resulting dependence on war-making as a deadly jobs-machine.

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By gerard, February 1, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Thanks again, Chris Hedges.  That just about does it. What a relief it is to hear honest criticism of a vile institution almost totally sold out to corporate power!

One further point:  The cult of violence as portrayed in the “bleeding sells” mantra, and its
part in the destruction of empathy has helped to advance wars and our resulting dependence on war-making as a deadly jobs-machine.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, February 1, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It only takes a few people to change an intolerable

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By eir, February 1, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

They are the elite.  They serve the elite.  There’s a pretension that certain credentials are required to be a truth teller that betray their class prejudice.

With few exceptions, they are the enemy of the people.  It’s a fact.

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By Mundt, February 1, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Dull talking heads like Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, & Wolf Blitzer killed the news. Katie Couric buried it.

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