Tonight and tomorrow, our July 24 print edition hits newsstands and the web. In this issue’s Editor’s Note, “It’s getting harder to be patriotic,” I outline my fears of a crumbling democracy and progressive vision for America, along with just a slight handful of the many ways a right-wing agenda is preying on the poor, people of color, immigrants and LGBT citizens.
I was surfing around the “interwebs” this morning and stumbled upon a great piece by Robert Parry at Consortiumnews.com (h/t Progressive Democrats of America). I thought I’d share just a snippet as a preview to my column:
The combination of these factors—especially when weighed against the relatively weak and severely underfunded counter-forces of America’s progressives and independent media—suggests that a meaningful democracy may no longer exist in the United States.
Many on the Left have fumed about President Barack Obama’s failure to reverse Bush’s national security policies. However, if one examines the relative power factors, it would probably amount to political suicide for Obama or any national leader to try to dismantle these interlocking infrastructures.
While the Right has worked diligently over the past several decades to strengthen its institutions and influence, the American Left has marginalized itself, choosing to possess no media outlets or think tanks that even come close to rivaling what the Right has in multiplicity.
For instance, wealthy progressives allowed the liberal talk-radio network Air America—a modest effort to balance the Right’s enormous advantage in talk radio—to collapse this year. Meanwhile, worthy Internet sites go begging, while the right-wingers keep adding and adding to their media assets.
(Further revealing the asymmetry of today’s American media, right-wing Newsmax, run by conspiracy theorist Christopher Ruddy, has put in a bid to buy the Washington Post Co.’s financially troubled Newsweek. Though best known as an Internet site, Newsmax already publishes a national magazine.)
Besides the Left’s benign neglect toward institutions needed to fight a “war of ideas” with the Right, there is also the cumulative impact of the ever-expanding military-intelligence-neocon arsenals that can level almost any political adversary who poses a significant threat. “Themes” knocking down a political enemy can be put into play instantaneously and will quickly reverberate through the Right’s media echo chamber into the mainstream press.
Allied corporate interests also can now fund attack ads almost without restrictions, thanks to a ruling by the right-wing-dominated U.S. Supreme Court last January. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Democracy’s End of the Road.”]