"During election 2000, Bush paid campaign operatives posing as ordinary voters shoved people and banged on doors at the Miami-Dade canvassing offices
in an effort to stop the Florida vote recount. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said he detected "a whiff of fascism" in their tactics.
Some people criticized Nadler for drawing the comparison, but, of course, not all forms of fascism have to equate precisely to the classic form
represented by Hitler or Mussolini. Fascism doesn't have to involve mass genocidal slaughter, nor does it have to be equal in degree to the fascism
practiced by members of the Axis powers. Traits of classic fascism include: strong nationalism, expansionism, belligerent militarism, meshing of big
business and government with a corporate/government oligarchy, subversion of democracy and human rights, disinformation spread by constant propaganda
and tight corporate/government control of the press.
Today all of those conditions exist in our country to a degree.
Let's focus on corporate/government control of the press—specifically corporate control of U.S. television news networks. According to a March 24
article, "Protests Turn Off Viewers" by Harry A. Jessell, 45 percent of Americans rely on cable channels as their primary source of news, and 22
percent get most of their news from broadcast networks' evening newscasts. Only 11 percent rely on other forms of media as their principle source of
Our corporate controlled TV networks might as well be state controlled, because they promote the war and Bush policies fairly consistently and have
virtually eliminated all dissenting voices. NBC fired Phil Donahue despite his good ratings, saying in an internal network memo they didn't want to
air Donahue's antiwar views. Peter Arnett was fired for giving an interview to Iraqi TV and merely stating the obvious on a number of issues. For
example, Arnett said media reports of civilian casualties had helped the "growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war."
According to William Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Ballantine Books, 1950), the Reich Press Law of October 4, 1933, ordered editors
not to publish (among other things) anything which "tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich . . . or offends the honor and dignity of
Germany." The Nazis forced dissenting journalists out of business and consolidated the press under party control.
U.S. television news networks have been consolidated under the control of a handful of corporations. America doesn't need a "press law" prohibiting
the airing of anything which might weaken the strength of Bush's war policies, because the corporate owners of today's television networks are in
total agreement with the state.
It is irrefutable that corporate owners of American television networks want only pro-Bush, pro-war opinions aired, because those are virtually the
only views that are in fact aired. The Phil Donahue and Peter Arnett firings, especially when coupled with the NBC internal memo explaining the
Donahue firing, also indicate this is true.
Do the various TV networks do a good job of informing the public, or do they more often propagandize? Propaganda is aimed at the emotions, while news
sources that disseminate factual information aim toward reason.
In Nazi Germany: A New History (Continuum Publishing, 1995), Klaus P. Fischer says Hitler promoted "a system of prejudices rather than a philosophy
based on well-warranted premises, objective truth-testing, and logically derived conclusions. Since propaganda aims at persuasion rather than
instruction, it is far more effective to appeal to the emotions than to the rational capacities of crowds."
If you've spent much time watching the pro-Bush, pro-war cable television news programs, you can't help but notice they manipulate (whether
deliberately or not) the viewing audience's emotions rather than appealing to viewers' logic.
That is, instead of providing the American public with a broad range of necessary facts and varied viewpoints about the war, the TV networks exploit
emotions by urging the audience to focus on and identify with the day-to-day plight of individual soldiers and their families.
There's nothing inherently wrong with empathizing with the troops. However, when that aspect of war news is heavily emphasized at the expense of hard
facts and varied debate, the networks serve the purpose of managing the public mood rather than informing the public mind."
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