This Girl's Voice

Monday, May 12, 2003  

••American media is a hall of broken mirrors••

Back on March 30, when Natalie Maines of the Grammy award winning Dixie Chicks said her thing in London the day before the war, it appeared that they had instantly became persona(e) non grata in the U.S. -- that is -- according to blitz headlines and bylines on the frontlines of the U.S. media reports, as well as the ensuing "news" that commercial radio had taken to "banning" the playing of Dixie Chicks records/singles and fans were egged on in some cases by talk-show hosts and by the country radio stations that also stopped playing the Dixie Chicks; this was followed by a non-stop parade on-air radio and television partisan pundits chiding the Chicks for "speaking out against their President while out of the country" as an unforgivable sin; and then came the cable news network video clips and stories of the book burning cd crushing "events" of "former fans" with their 8-yr old kids in tow jumping up and down on smashed cd's (nice values there, parents) and lead right the way through to that shameful excuse for a "journalist" -- Ms. Insincerity-Brownnoser, Diane Sawyer and her scarlet-lettering of interview with the Dixie Chicks three weeks later.

Based on all that, North American bystanders got the overall sense that a majority of Americans -- er, patriotic Americans -- had risen up as a collective force to be reckoned with, and the outcome of their "action" appeared to be that Dixie Chicks career was in a potentially precarious situation.
"The people", had spoken.

During the wall to wall war coverage, the cable news channels and newspapers still managed to find to extended the Dixie Chicks "news" cycle to segments and articles about their future cd sales and ticket sales: the day before their opening U.S. concert tour, the Orlando Sun-Sentinal ominously cautioned:
As the Dixie Chicks open a U.S. arena tour on Thursday in South Carolina, a strange split reality awaits. They arrive having sold out 51 of 59 dates in advance -- $46 million worth of tickets [emphasis added] -- but face an uncertain welcome at every stop."

And with the opening gig in South Carolina looming, South Carolina Republican state Rep. Caroline Ceips revved it up on behalf of those "concerned" Republican S.C. House members and "introduced a resolution Wednesday calling for the country music trio to perform for South Carolina troops and their families."

You gotta give it up for those Republicans being brazen enough in trying to do their damnedest to have it both ways: threaten to organize a against attending any Dixie Chicks concerts because they were being "disrespectful to the troops and their families", but then use the state government to pass a resolution threatening the Dixie Chicks to organize a free concert for the troops and their families to attend.

Whaaa? So the Dixie-chickenshit-haters would be willing to patronize a Dixie Chicks concert after all? Just so long as they don't have to pay. So much for conservatives and their strict constructionist fundamentalism and for railing against all that moral relativism.

By the way, the resolution passed the House on a 50-35 vote.
Rep. Ceips added, "I think it's an olive branch to the Dixie Chicks." That's awful generous of Ms. Ceips, the human gift that keeps on giving.

However, on the opening day of the Dixie Chicks American concert tour, and buried in the back pages and with hardly the same cable tv news fanfare afforded to them when cable news outlests plastered the airwaves with the antics of anti-Chicks hicks, was the news that only a handful of people showed up outside the sold-out South Carolina venue to "protest"; then the same Orlando Sun-Sentinal that had prominently featured the piece that contained the paragraph i quoted above, reported in a small blurb that "a lone protester stood outside a sold-out Dixie Chicks concert Saturday night during the band's first appearance in Florida" and that "Texas-native Thomas Newton stood at an intersection near the TD Waterhouse Centre wearing a cowboy outfit and holding a sign that read: 'I Am Ashamed The Dixie Chicks Are From Texas' ".

It went on to say that "One mother said she debated for a week whether to take her 13-year-old daughter to the concert because of the singer's statement." But in the end, Patty Smith, of Palm Harbor, said "she decided to go with her daughter, but wear a T-shirt that said "Chicks Music Not Their Politics!" and a button showing Bush and his father."

What happened to all that moral partriotic outrage? Poof! gone, just like that. Was it ever really there to begin with, at the level and volume reported?

It has one more than pondering that all of the Dixie Chick stuff had been totally disproportionately blown out of the solar system by the ratings-driven media, who, in turn were blitz faxed, emailed and hammered by the very organized hatings-driven Republican Pretty Hate Machine, and that, in point of fact, a majority of Americans didn't feel this way one iota, and because there is no decent and well organized Democrat party (!) or a well organized damage control machine to counter it, the Repugs and the media were left -- un-checked.

So were it not for a media (i.e. CNN and MSNBC who feared losing viewers and advertisers to Fox on the eve of this century's first American war, and Fox who will still work the refs even though they have the largest cable news viewership) who proceeded to "make" news again and again, by plastering the airwaves and the newspaper headlines about the "cross country reports" of these so-called protests and record bunrings in the first place, we'd come to discover that it was truly only a smattering of those idiot partisan idealogue haters who have nothing better to do than have to reassure themselves of their sense of self-worth through their pronouncement of their so-called "patriotism" by having to "take action" and "stand up" for America and the President through the denegration of others vis-a-vis their little mobilized mob mentality group of emotional cripples and collective dysfunctionals.

The tv cable news media are not a true reflection of the American people. The majority of Americans are still not in agreement with Bush's economic policies and the RNC machine and Rovian propagandist army of pundits and playas muscled their way into getting massive airwave time castigating those who dissented and disagreed with the war to the extent that it would make any average American who might disagree and who just wants to get on with their lives and their families feel uncomfortable and less inclined to speak out or speak up.

One of the biggest mistakes the cable news channels are making, is that they are altering, filtering, skewing and even withholding news stories in an attempt to compete with Fox in the hopes of winning and stealing conservativeeyeballs away from Fox . But they're not going to succeed. Fox has established itself as the Republican Party's "media" Crystal Cathedral from which they are preaching to the converted, and those eyeballs would therefore require no need to shift on over to the other two cable news outlets. For the idealogue viewers of Fox News, Fox is the place where their fixed and unquestioned belief system is protected from the incovenience of having to respond to "hostile" opposition, and ensured to be undisturbed, safely cocooned just like their fragile unchallenged psyches; for them, Fox is the path of least resistance, that offers comfort that there is a certain safety in numbers.

But rest assured and don't be fooled: the television cable media is not accurately mirroring the political sentiments and empathies of the American people in proportion to cable news outlets' reports and reporting; when it comes to American cable news, it is not a true reflection of the American voting public; what you see, is not what you get, nor is it who America is.

posted by voxpopgirl | 5/12/2003