Archive for October 19, 2010
Down The Old Memory Hole: How Media Myths Become Forces Against Change
by Dave Bradley
the old memory just isn’t what it used to be. Seems like once we as a
people get something in our mind it stays only as long as it takes for
TV, radio or the internet to replace it with some idea that flies right
in the face of the original thought.
just step back a couple years. We were right in the middle of the
biggest economic meltdown most of America could remember and it looked
like it could be the biggest ever. Right before the election most people
were not concerned about a deficit, they were concerned about their
future, whether their jobs would be swallowed up in the economic
collapse. The private health insurance system crisis was the cause so
much grief that even though it had been replaced as the number one
concern by the economy, it was still right at the top of everyone’s
here we are a scant 24 months removed from those beginning days of
national anxiety and much of that angst has been replaced with a call by
many parts of our country to return to the previous policies. The given
reason is that we, as a nation are truly concerned by our national debt
and our fear of losing our “freedoms.”
now, representatives and senators who campaigned on fixing the economy
and making health care available and affordable for all are being beat
up on the campaign trail for doing just that. Many Democrats run away
from their votes to do just that.
guess is that neither the economy nor the health insurance system were
fixed in the space of a one hour TV show so we as pampered Americans
could go back to our shopping for stuff we may never use.
truth is of course that problems that have taken most of three decades
to build will not be fixed overnight. But America anymore has a very
short term view of everything. And if something is not fixed immediately
they get surly and demanding. This gives forces working against such
changes an opening to undermine them and also to change the discourse.
days the forces against change just happen to be the same ones that
control the media. We all know how influential the media can be. If they
weren’t, why would corporations spend billions on advertising? So the
forces against change use the media to push our national impatience to
turn forces back against change. So Americans who generally fear being
out of the mainstream join what they think is the next wave and demand
that things be returned to its previous state. And how do Americans know
what the next wave is? The media tells them.
media uses myths to bolster their claims that the next wave is
legitimate based on the past. But much of the so-called history that the
media uses to create their myths never happened. Reagan as the great
tax cutter, Martin Luther King would be a Republican today, our country
was founded on Christianity, the whole American Revolution was about
taxes – on and on. These myths are built from small tidbits of truth but
mostly fiction. The media then blends the distorted history and the
myths with a slanted view of events today and a dose of omission to come
up with a right wing product they can use to sell the American people
of us on the left try to stay with reality. Dealing with reality
involves getting beyond the myths and delving into what really happened.
Thus we can be guided by what went well along with what problems were
encountered so we can improve when similar situations are confronted.
are lousy guideposts. Right wing myths being what they are these days,
I doubt that Ronald Reagan would be accepted as a Republican, let alone
a wild-eyed liberal like Dwight Eisenhower.
~Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.”
Consult your county auditor for details or go to IowaDemocrats.org to find out where and how to vote early in your county. Then head down to your county Dem HQ and volunteer some time to help elect Democrats. Find contact information for your Democratic county chair here. It is just as important to be involved in 2010 as it was in 2008.