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Back in the U.S.S.A.

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, February 18th, 2020 - 31 comments
Categories: Bernie Sanders, class war, Donald Trump, elections, facebook, International, internet, journalism, liberalism, Media, politicans, Propaganda, social democracy, us politics, youtube - Tags: , , , , , ,

This November will see the election of the next President of the USA. Assuming the election will be between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (that’s what’s stacking up) then a question or three arises about how liberal mainstream media will report on the race.

See, MSNBC is basically a propaganda arm for the establishment or corporate wing of the Democratic Party. As such, when they aren’t ghosting him, their reporting on Bernie Sanders is all just “fear and loathing”. So what kind of a narrative might they construct around Bernie Sanders as the Democratic Presidential contender in the lead up to November?

CNN is the media outlet where old spooks go to boost their profile and retirement funds. And of course, National Security Apparatchiks, and corporatist peeps like CNN head Jeff Zucker, have no love for Bernie Sanders. What coherent line might they go with in a Sander’s/Trump race for the White House?

Of course, Fox news can just keep trucking along their “Gadzooks! Not Socialism!!” highway.

Leading liberal commentators on CNN and MSNBC have already stated a willingness to vote for Trump over Sanders, while some (Chris Matthews) have gone so far as to earnestly rant about how they will be executed in Central Park under a Sanders Presidency.

To digress slightly, I recall an exchange I had with an old Leninist in New Zealand some years back. He had been to the USSR when it was a stable political reality and also in the time just prior to its collapse. By his telling, the difference he observed on those visits came down to peoples’ toleration for “institutional truths”. He gave the example of how people would generally react to the presence of the KGB in the time when the USSR appeared stable, and contrast that to his observations just prior to the Soviet Union collapsing. Essentially, by his telling, people had shed their deference, and lost both their faith and fear of whatever institutional presences the state projected into their lives.

So maybe it’s worth giving some thought to what happens when people lose faith in the institutional truths or touch stones that guide them?

Once was, people would take the likes of BBC and CNN at their word. That’s certainly no longer the case for ever larger numbers of people. Sure, there are still plenty of people who will base their understandings on, and in line with what traditional broadcasters say. But it’s a shrinking body of people.

Compared with say five years ago, how many people, particularly in the USA, turn to independent youtube channels or podcasts for information? We know it’s enough that youtube demonetised political content from independent outlets and then altered algorithms to favour ‘traditional’ news sources over independent ones. And we know that google and facebook are also corporations seeking to bring “social media” output into the corporate fold. As an aside, that was one hell of a hullabaloo from across swathes of the mainstream when Joe Rogan seemed to endorse Bernie Sanders on one of his podcasts…so for all the weighted boosting and relegating that’s going on, it would seem things aren’t quite where google, facebook and youtube would like them to be.

Is it worth speculating on “what might have been” if when the USSR collapsed, instead of  a political and information vacuum (one that was ultimately filled by neo-liberal vulture capitalists), a vibrant on-line community of political and social commentators had been in existence? If we stop for a moment and reflect on possible ways that could have played out, would it be reasonable to take such a sketch and overlay on a possible future of contemporary US society?

If liberal mainstream media fail to report credibly on the upcoming Presidential race because of their ideological blinkers – what then? What happens when/if manufactured consent finds itself in the wilderness? It happened to Pravda in the USSR. There’s no reason to suppose it can’t also happen to the multi-headed, but singularly corporate western mainstream media too.

Where exactly is credible commentary and reporting of the upcoming US Presidential Election going to come from?

I can’t see the owners, shareholders and managers of CNN and other cable news outlets reaching out to any talented and thoughtful employees from the likes of RT America, with the aim of enticing them back into the same mainstream fold that banished them to that media “kill box” of ‘foreign other’, can you?

Neither can I see independent media having the wherewithal to undergo the exponential growth required, in the space between now and November that would allow them to supplant traditional news sources.

And I can’t imagine any voices from independent on-line media being given much airtime by mainstream outlets.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, but this time with a caveat or correction…

The onslaught launched against Trump from sections of corporate media and liberal institutions will look as nothing next to the unified onslaught that will be unleashed against a President Sanders.

Trump is and was merely a less than optimal front man for liberalism, whereas Sanders is a clear and present danger to swathes of liberal privilege. The caveat or correction is that I overlooked the possible gulf of credibility corporate media may fall into in the event that Sanders, as seems likely, is the Democratic Party’s nominee for President.

I’m just sitting here thinking that 2020 may well be shaping up to be an interesting year for armchair spectators of the status quo. We know liberalism’s essentially a ‘use by date’ on a can of “not fit for human consumption”. And we know these past decades have provided more than enough of a taste for most people to be realising that. Is 2020 the year of the collective up-chuck?

31 comments on “Back in the U.S.S.A. ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    As a Bernie supporter since 2016 am watching the campaign with trepidation–the Sanders Campaign is battling on multiple fronts–the DNC, other Democratic candidates ala Mayor Buttigieg, the msm pundits, usual online attacks, American corporates, the State Forces and millions of highly likely to turnout Trump supporters, all have it in for him and what he stands for.

    The Sanders campaign can exist because of the various movements that have popped up since the Dubya years, Bernie needs them and they need him at this time. The only salvation will be a genuine movement of the people against the odds. The numbers of boomer replacement generations are there and old enough to vote, if they can be activated to do so.

    Perhaps wait for the rest of the Primaries Bill…a few other candidates have to drop out yet to get the true running of what is happening here. It will be a strange and terrible thing indeed if it is Bernie vs the Billionaire for the nomination.

    • Bill 1.1

      Perhaps wait for the rest of the Primaries Bill…

      There was talk of Biden's firewall. That's ashes. (just look at his plummet in polls with POC)

      There's a brick wall where there was once was a firewall. And Klobochar and Pete are hitting it soon. (Somewhere between zero and zilch support from POC for them both)

      Bloomberg has to answer for his stop and frisk, support for Iraq, being a republican until last year, believing the poor should be controlled by regressive taxes, hiring CIA peeps to spy on Muslims when he was mayor of NYC, blaming the 2008 crash on the end of 'redlining'…etc, etc.

      Warren has been "woke dead" since about a month back.

      Gabbard isn't polling. Yang is gone.

      What should we waiting for again? Unless Sanders dies or is killed, he's the nominee.

      • Richard 1.1.1

        Can't the DNC just choose to not back him if he hasn't got half the delegates by the convention? Even if he has more than anyone else, can't they just give the 'super delegates' to say Bloomberg even though he will lose to Trump? Like you say above, the DNC view anyone losing to Trump as better than Sanders beating Trump. They could sell it as 'Even though the nominee we installed lost, the socialist had even less chance and we had to try – after all Trump is very bad'.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Possibly 'yes' to all of the above. But the post isn't really about Sanders' nomination prospects. It's about what msm liberal media does if/when he is the nominee.

        • Phil 1.1.1.2

          the DNC view anyone losing to Trump as better than Sanders beating Trump.

          This doesn't stand up at all and is one of the sillier narratives going around. The DNC dislike Sanders far less than they like being the party holding the presidency.

          There remains a solid core of Republicans who despise Trump, but do you think any of them for one second would rather Hillary was president?

          • Bill 1.1.1.2.1

            I think there were plenty of NZ Labour MPs who would rather have been big fish in a smaller pond than see Cunliffe as PM of NZ.

            I think the same holds for UK Labour MPs and Corbyn.

            Why then, should we assume anything different from Democratic Reps in the USA? In fact, given that a Progressive take-over of the Democratic Party would see an end to the current gravy train Democratic Reps are riding with corporate donors, there is far more reason for them to be "less than supportive" of a Sanders bid for Presidency against Trump.

            As noted in the post, Trump is one of them. Sanders isn't. And that’s a difference that simply doesn’t exist if comparing Sanders/Trump and Clinton/Trump.

            But again, The post was about how mainstream or corporate liberal media might react to Sanders in a Presidential election race.

            Any thoughts on that front that you’d care to share?

            • pat 1.1.1.2.1.1

              Sanders is not only not 'one of them'…he actively threatens 'them' a la FDR

              • Ad

                Except FDR was the master of the MSM.

                Trump was scorned by all of MSM but Fox News, and won.

                Trump is the Overton Window for Sanders. It's up to Sanders to show he can exploit that opening enough to win.

                If Sanders wins over Trump it will be because he and his team are better at the media (of all kinds) than Trump.

                No one handed it to Trump in 2016.

                No one is going to hand it to Sanders.

      • Phil 1.1.2

        Sanders is currently the *most likely* of the possible nominees, but that's still a far cry from him being the *probable* nominee. To put it another way, if you were asking me to bet on 'Sanders' or 'the field' at even odds, i'd currently back the field.

        Why? Because we've only had two primary votes and they've been in overwhelmingly white states. Biden's firewall may be weakened but he's still a plausible winner in SC and, with the muddled media narrative out there, who knows what that momentum push could do for Super Tuesday?

        I'm also bearish on Sanders because, despite the vocal twitter narrative otherwise, he's simply out of step with the average Democrat – he's on the far end of a distribution that contains a majority of moderate voters. In a narrower field I remain unconvinced Sanders is the candidate those moderate democrats will choose.

  2. AB 2

    If Sanders wins the nomination, my pick is that MSM pundits will back Trump – with great but fundamentally insincere shows of reluctance, because he is the "lesser of two evils". (Venezuela and all that). It would then come down to whether the much-vaunted Sanders ground game is good enough to overcome that.

    I also think the party establishment will try to nobble him at the convention if he has only a plurality and not a majority. If it's a narrow plurality it's almost certain they will go for a 'compromise candidate' and get loud MSM support for doing so. That's why it's important for him to start winning by much larger margins than in Iowa and NH. The bigger his overall margin, the less legitimate any nobbling is going to look – and it would need to look utterly egregious before they backed off.

    • Phil 2.1

      I also think the party establishment will try to nobble him at the convention if he has only a plurality and not a majority.

      There's no difference between that DNC scenario and the Coalition government we have here (vis. the single largest party not being in power).

      • AB 2.1.1

        There are similarities – but I don't think it's true to say there is 'no difference'. Our coalition agreements are arrangement made between different parties after the general public has had their say in an election. A brokered convention would be a process that occurs within a single party – where party hierarchies can wield influence and come up with a result that may not reflect the intentions or the interests of their registered members. That is why the word 'nobble' is only a slight exaggeration.

        • Phil 2.1.1.1

          … arrangement made between different parties after the general public has had their say in an election… party hierarchies can wield influence and come up with a result that may not reflect the intentions or the interests of their registered members.

          The US general public does have a say – that's what the primary election is.

          And the hierarchies of the Lab/NZF/Gre parties have, by necessity, given away some of the policy intentions and interests of their respective memberships in order to create a working coalition.

          There’s no meaningful difference between a coalition negotiation and a brokered convention. The only difference I see is that some on the left in NZ are trying to position themselves to complain about the thing they legitimately criticized National supporters for in 2017.

    • Bill 3.1

      Hey Billy. I rate Blumenthal very highly and reckon peeps ought not go past "The Grayzone" if they're seeking well researched and credible information on all manner of issues – including Democratic nominees and dodgy players in the election game.

      eg – https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/30/coup-plotters-cia-agents-mayor-pete-endorsers/

      or

      https://thegrayzone.com/2020/02/13/state-backed-alliance-securing-democracy-smears-grayzone/#more-20799

      But this presentation (bar a couple of fleeting references) is a tad oblique, aye?

      • Billy 3.1.1

        It is, in that it concerns Assange and is not as fulsome expose as referenced by you in the links you provided. But it is relevant, because the regime-change NGOs, media organizations, and fact-checking groups and the billionaires who back them that Max Blumenthal references are well in play in the United States, as well as here, in New Zealand.

        it supports your main point that there is considerable state-sponsored – US-sponsored – interference in politics there. Interference that exists here. A veil of left-seeming advocacy that captures many of the concerns of the modern left, but excluding and spinning on other issues like Assad’s gas attacks on Syrian citizens, which has turned out out to have been another false pretext for imperialist military action.

        It’s more for those who have yet to be acquainted with the brave and honest Mr Blumenthal.

        In respect of Assange, I think we might all question why some of the people supported by this network here would advocate against prisons and against Assange.

        • Bill 3.1.1.1

          Hmm. Cue an urge to do "big picture" posts…or a distillation of info in posts from credible independent sources on discrete topics.

          And then cue the "fuck that" when I reflect for even a second on the inevitable tsunami of propaganda fueled bullshit that will wash through the comments section of any such post.

          I still remember when it was possible to enter into discussion on this site and learn some stuff – in the days before mindless cheer leading and smearing became the order of the day for most (or just too many?) people on this site.

          • Billy 3.1.1.1.1

            Do it anyway.

            Those who would jump in can only be rebutted. But I know it's tiresome. A voice of reason on this site you are, Bill.

            It’s interesting to note that many of the experts, commentators, and academics who bolster these narratives in our press are themselves Americans, or in some way connected to these funders, as has been noted. Really, it’s extraordinary and disturbing that there has been no commentary on this in the mainstream press at all.

            Quite a few people are aware of it now. Still, no commentary. I wonder if you’d get blocked from publishing or even blacklisted for attempting it. I’d note that the journos I know who are aware of this stuff are out of work.

            People here and elsewhere on other left wing sites need to understand that writing and discussing these things does not constitute an attack on the left. Far from it.

            • Billy 3.1.1.1.1.1

              (it's also not an attack on the United States and, certainly, not an attack on the American people, who, it looks like, have had enough).

              • Bill

                Since you seem to be somewhat up to speed, feel free to send the text for a post, with any relevant links included to dunedinjamsquirrel at gmail.com and I'll look to format it and ping it up.

  3. Adrian Thornton 5

    Hi Bill, good piece there thanks, I would go one step further and suggest that this democratic primary has now only one primary goal for the DNC and liberal media, it is only about defeating Sanders, and is no longer not about finding the person to defeat Trump.

    Don't write off Bloomberg, he is a very very serious threat to the Sanders nomination (perhaps the only one?), he has unlimited funds, he is smart, will no doubt have all the 'liberal media' pushing his boat as well as the establishment DNC, all they need to create is a brokered convention then it is all over for Sanders, as I am sure you well know the delegates have been openly stacked against him by Tom Perez and the DNC.

    As I have said here before, I believe we are about to witness the most epic ideological battle unfold right out in the open in this looming Sanders/Bloomberg run off.

    This battle will also unmask the centrists as being more closely aligned ideologically with Trump than any kind of progressive left movement, as if we didn't know that already..but some people seem to need this shit spelt out for them!

    The only good thing about it is if Sanders can over come Bloomberg's billions the openly biased DNC, and the relentless propaganda of the liberal press and still win, then he will be unstoppable against Trump.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      The mere suggestion that billionaire Bloomberg should somehow get anywhere close to a Democrat nomination is conclusive proof of how far from their roots the Democrats have strayed. And if he was to nominate Clinton as his running mate … somehow strikes me as an active bid to ensure losing to Trump

      • Adrian Thornton 5.1.1

        Not to mention that he was a avid supporter of Bush, the Iraq war, well known as being a filthy racist, sexual predator, rallied against increasing the minimum wage, man the list goes on and on and on…but that is how morally corrupt the centre liberals have allowed themselves to become.

        There is a quite an important person I know of in the Hawkes Bay (ex us citizen) , he is active in local politics and local media, makes it well known that he considers himself to be a liberal and somewhat of a green progressive…he came out in support of Bloomberg the other day.

        To me he (and people like him) are more of a threat to the progressive movement than anyone on the right, they are the ones who cripple and undermine and divide the Left. This was and still is my main critique of Corbyn, he should have made a demarcation line between his project and the liberals (Blairites)in the party and their legacy from day one, and he should have publicly apologized for their wrongs…they are not the Left and never have been, they are nothing but a cancer to the progressive Left, and should be treated as such.

        • Felix 5.1.1.1

          God I hope bloomberg doesnt win the democrat nomination…
          However if he does it will be quite surreal watching two insane, A-moral, racist,sexist and biggoted billionaire's who have swapped parties more times than I can remeber (Trump use to be a democrat, Bloomberg a rebulican) fight it out over who will be the leader of US, all under the guise of democracy.
          Cant wait for all the 'liberla's to come out and tell people to vote bloomberg over trump because its not about about getting a good person into the white house, its about getting your tribes person in…

  4. left_forward 6

    Bill, I'm not sure what your sources are for making these statements in relation to Sanders and MSBNC for instance.

    I just searched 'MSBNC Sanders' in Youtube and other than Morning Joe, the clickbait headlines look reasonably balanced, reporting Sanders success and predicting his win.

    Search for 'Fox Trump' on the otherhand and other than a few exceptions it is litany of obfuscation.

    I cannot agree that there is any equivalence here, or have I misunderstood you?

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