Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin by
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Beinhart knows a bit about government propaganda that is used to delude
and divert the public. He is the author of the book that the movie "Wag
the Dog" was based upon. He also wrote the highly topical novel, "The
Librarian," a couple of years ago, which was a thinly veiled journey
through the Orwellian world created by the Busheviks.
So it is with great eagerness that Beinhart's latest tome arrives on
the scene, "Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin." In
a stunningly insightful
speech on the role of the media in early October,
Al Gore detailed how the contemporary corporate media has corrupted democracy.
He spoke eloquently of how the American Revolution had recognized the
value of an informed public and that "what resulted from this shared
democratic enterprise was a startling new development in human history:
for the first time, knowledge regularly mediated between wealth and power."
In "Fog Facts," Beinhart reinforces Gore's point of how far
we have strayed from our revolutionary heritage of public debate on public
policy among a citizenry kept abreast of the latest news by the likes
of Tom Paine.
"The failure of the media to take responsibility," Beinhart
the reason that political lying -- especially in the soft-core, public
relations style that misleads -- has no penalties anymore." (To
BuzzFlash, this brings to mind how the New York Times, like the White
House, never held anyone on its staff accountable for the misleading
reporting leading up to the Iraq War. Much of the media and the Bush
administration are complicit partners in disseminating fog facts.)
And Beinhart understands the repercussion of an obsequious media that
not only supports the Bushevik spin, but also abdicates its journalistic
responsibilities by focusing on entertaining and titillating celebrity
and bizarre news trivia. "This is a practical issue," Beinhart
concludes, "not merely a moral one. If you drive around in the fog,
you must go very slowly. Americans like to go fast. When you speed in
the fog, eventually you crash into something."
Fog facts are "important things that nobody seems able to focus
on anymore than they can focus on a single droplet in the mist."
The Iraq War and the stolen election of 2000 strike BuzzFlash as two
such fog facts, as does the Downing Street Memo -- which the media dismissed
by intoning that everyone knew by now that the White house lied about
the Iraq War. Tell that to the people who still believe Bush
speaks the word of God and that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11
and really had Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Television news is the primary fog machine that leaps over the big facts
that are essential to the functioning of democracy to get to a story
about a runaway bride.
Soon Americans will be dazzled by the extraordinary detail of High
Definition Television, but their news will continue to be as dense
as a London fog.