Cohen: And that’s where it comes in now, the difference, it certainly, as I mentioned, the Clinton administration wanted to control the media, as I mentioned. It was involved in that. It engaged in quid pro quo and so forth, but the difference here, and this is the difference in kind, I believe, is the ideology that the Bush administration has and that’s this amassing of power and control, this global domination theme, and this is what it lives and breathes for. Control. And, so, when you have this voracious appetite for control and then you have the media set up to accommodate it, there is a difference here that’s going on between what we’ve seen in America before. And it’s the kind of control and desire for control that’s analogous to what we saw in Nazi Germany. ... What’s different about this case is that we have technology that we never had before. If Nixon had more than his little tape recorders, he could do a lot more than he did as well. But you see—.
Scheer: Yeah, I understand. It’s just interesting to look at, say, watch a movie, or read the book, “All the President’s Men,” and go “Nixon’s pretty bad with wiretapping and in terms of election fraud, and corruption, and those types of things”; it seems that it kind of goes in a revolutionary cycle. I want to talk about hope because we had a conversation with somebody the other day and it was talking about how some people don’t hope, and that even [I] have been a little cynical. And I want to talk about your book because at the end you have something called “What’s Now, Compatriots,” and you talk about what you can do as an average citizen, and you put in a selected media guide, even though Truthdig’s not in there yet. ...
Harris: We need to talk to you about that.
Scheer: But, I want to know, does that mean you have hope? Do you have hope that this system can be changed or do you think that it’s hopeless and we should just kind of cower and go away?
Cohen: Never cower. Never cower. It’s not over until it’s over, and right now we need to understand that that’s where we’re heading. And it’s easy enough to say, “Well, you know it happened in [Nazi] Germany, but we’re different.” That’s a very pompous attitude. As though Americans are somehow different than Germans. They’re not. They’re people. And if we don’t watch it, this is where we’re heading. Well, what do we do about it? There’s thing we can do. Well, one thing is for the average person to make sure that they’re informed: To stop relying on mainstream media as much as they do, and to get their information from independent media. Then really when you look at the survival of dictatorships, and whether they thrive or not. They thrive on keeping people ignorant. And if the masses of people are just ignorant and they don’t take responsibility for their failure to know, then we aren’t looking in the face of hopeless dictatorship; people need to wake up. They need to start learning about what’s going on and they need to say, “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it.” They need to join activist movements like, for instance, Free Press , which is an organization that’s been really doing a lot to try to counteract the taking-over of the free Internet and the destruction of Internet neutrality. And a lot of other causes about media ... [like] organizing massive letter-writings to Congress. People need to start thinking in terms of doing these sorts of things. Peaceful assemblies. And demonstrations. These are constitutional rights, and as long as we have these rights in our Constitution we should make sure that we see that through. These are things that we need to do. Educators should stop placating and looking for fair and balanced and start speaking out because there’s danger here and every educator has an obligation to step up onto the plate as a vanguard of democracy. The lawyers of this nation, including the American Bar Association, need to present a unified front against violations of the rule of law. They did that at one point where they denounced Bush’s instituting signing statements to do away with the congressional lawmaking authority and they made it clear that it was illegal and unconstitutional. But we need to be more unified as educators as citizens. As journalists too. I think the journalists associations and the schools of journalism need to start making a unified stand that, you know, journalists need to be vanguards of democracy. We need to get back the Fourth Estate, and we can’t simply support these large corporations allowing this go down the tubes and that’s exactly what’s going on. I think we need to take the unified stand. Is it going to happen? Well, you know, people like us, you and your site and the things that I’m trying to do with the book and doing these kinds of interview are the things that more of us need to take seriously. And listen and learn. Is that going to work? Well, I think that we better do that. It’s better than laying down and playing dead.
Scheer: Well, thank you. I just want to talk about Free Press because we have interviewed people from Free Press and it’s not just a liberal-Democrat issue; it’s not just a conservative issue. Because with Net neutrality the Christian Coalition, that’s their new issue they’ve set for this next election for the next many years, so it’s not just a one-sided issue; it’s keeping a free press. Keeping the Internet free, we can all agree, is the thing for the citizen.