The radical left is not enjoying the 21st century, yearning instead for a perpetual rerun of the 1970s, with America whipped by Vietnam, and the planet in thrall to Third World "liberation" ideologies and theologies. Ah, the '70s, where the greatest enemy of all mankind was not the Soviet empire, but the Multinational Corporation.
Instead, the world is now embracing Western-style democratic capitalism. Worse yet, the national media conversation isn't the completely one-sided left-wing nightly harangue that it was in that bygone era. Even PBS and NPR seem far too cautious and corporate for the radicals now. They sense a "creeping conservative coup" threatening public broadcasting, their own little People's Republic.
They want a media that focuses public attention on their agenda: protest capitalism as a death trap, resist the evil military-industrial complex, lobby for massive redistribution of wealth, and You Shall Have No Gods Before Mother Earth. They aren't liberals. They are radicals.
With those goals in mind, in mid-May, the radicals held a confab called the "National Conference for Media Reform" in St. Louis. Many of the speakers at this hard-left hootenanny had trouble containing their extreme disdain for America. Start with the shocking remarks of Linda Foley, the President of the Newspaper Guild, the union representing reporters at newspapers. She was upset that "there's not more outrage about the number, and the brutality, and the cavalier nature of the U.S. military toward the killing of journalists in Iraq." She charged that the U.S. military "target and kill journalists from other countries, particularly Arab countries" and, in the case of Al-Jazeera, "they actually target them and blow up their studios with impunity."
The guild's switchboard was loaded with outraged calls. How dare this woman suggest our sons and daughters are assigned by their commanders to shoot journalists instead of engage the enemy. When asked by Editor & Publisher magazine whether she could have put it differently, Foley replied: "I was careful of not saying troops, I said U.S. military." Bill Clinton would be proud of that defense. And she was hailed by the left. The blog "Daily Kos" called Foley "a courageous and, consequently, dangerous, example of what's right."
Ironically, the keynote speaker for the anti-capitalist confab was PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers, who squeezed a personal fortune out of PBS Home Video and expensive book spinoffs of his pompous TV work. Moyers devoted his Castro-length address to attacking the threatening presence of Ken Tomlinson, who has done the dastardly deed of documenting the dramatic liberal biases of the old Moyers show "Now."
Earth to PBS: when you are under attack for being a nest of left-wingers, it might not be the best strategy to let your most identifiable left-wing stars go to radical-left conferences and attack conservatives as evil. That tends to exacerbate your image problem, see.
Moyers announced that the definition of objectivity should be turned upside down for PBS: "Objectivity was not satisfied by two opposing people offering competing opinions, leaving the viewer to split the difference. I came to believe that objective journalism means describing the object being reported on, including the little fibs and fantasies, as well as the big lie of people in power."
You can practically smell the gunpowder in that loaded statement. But to Moyers - it's objectivity.
Then Moyers grew sillier. He said that under the Bush administration and the corporate media, Americans were growing into "an unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda." Let the giggles flow as we ponder how Moyers ever meant to fix this spirit by making shows like "Now," where the vast majority of his segments offered no troublesome disagreements with his personal orthodoxy. Or consider his PBS documentary "Trade Secrets" bashing the chemical industry, which included only one solitary point of view: that of Moyers, the media monopoly unto himself.
Critics on the right are portrayed as evil for merely demanding that somebody in this tax-funded public broadcasting maze ensures that the system fulfills its legal mandate of objectivity and balance. The radical left arrogantly demands an "independent" news media that screams with one voice, with one mind, and with one bleeding heart, that conservatism equals war, torture, environmental poisoning, starving the poor, and squelching free speech. The radical left finds balance unacceptable, because it cannot win a fair fight for the American mind.