Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bundy Cui Bono?

We have America's finest snark slingers have got the bizarre takeover of an Oregon bird sanctuary visitor center by armed right-wing whackos pretty much covered. I've even slung the snark in comments myself, especially laughing at the so-called anti-government survivalists' call for snacks to be sent to them via government agency. The runup to a potential Booby Ridge has been comedy gold, but the threat of violence certainly remains.

The one thing that has me scratching my head is the subdued reporting of this standoff by the Mainstream Media, and the laughable assertion that an armed takeover of a birdwatchers' playground is "peaceful". Being a cynical man, something clicked when I read an opinion piece on Crooks and Liars:

It is the latest example of militant extremism connected to land use issues in the western United States, a trend that has largely flown under the radar of national media and the Beltway.

In pondering the subdued coverage of this potentially explosive situation, I had to wonder about the reason for the blasé media response when it suddenly hit me... the real reason for the standoff is a desire to sell off federal land to private interests. Given the ownership of the media by megacorporations that stand to gain untold wealth in timber and mineral rights, I'd suggest that Y'all Qaeda is really doing the work of General Electric and Georgia Pacific, so the MSM doesn't want to portray their teahad as the act of fanatics. The bad guys don't need to build giant monster mecha to steal resources, they just need a good line of propaganda, and some useful idiots to act upon it.


M. Bouffant said...

They are free
They are DUMB

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

They're especially dumb if they think they're the ones who will benefit from a land grab.

Smut Clyde said...

IIRC there is a lot of Koch money backing the movement.

mikey said...

First, I would disagree with your conclusion that reporting from Malheur has been 'subdued'. I guess you can form your own definition of who exactly the 'mainstream media' is, but I'd submit that it's a much less operative description in 2016 than it was ten years ago. People have access to all sources, so I'm not sure which ones fall outside the 'mainstream'. And while many sources have an ideological axe to grind, that doesn't reduce their coverage of a given event, necessarily, but rather influences how they interpret and describe those events to the audiences in their silo. Everywhere I look the coverage is deep, broad and relentless - including much commentary about how differently these armed white men are being treated versus some other elements of the community, and shocked outrage that they are being allowed to come and go, and that the power hasn't even been cut off.

So what's actually shockingly subdued is the way law enforcement is handling the occupation, rather than the media coverage. In some cases the media has been sympathetic to that approach (notably calling the takeover a 'peaceful protest'), but that's ideological and racial messaging, not 'subdued coverage'.

I'd also disagree with your conclusion that the media - across a number of regional and ideological sectors - has all decided to work together to assist large corporations to acquire public lands. That's a little too 'infowars' for me. I'd have to see a credible whistleblower or a report of meetings to arrange this collusion before I'd start to accept such a thing is happening. Considering how difficult it's been for energy companies to gain access to oil in ANWR and off the California coast, even if this was the strategy there's very little evidence that it has any chance of success...

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The illusion of choice

Note that the Washington Post is popularly thought of as "liberal media."

Fred Hiatt just got rid of Howard Meyerson over New Year's, eliminating one of the WaPo's actual liberal voices.

mikey said...

But seriously, do those 26 media outlets REALLY constitute 90% of American media? Not by any realistic measurement. MTV? Pixar? Jeopardy? Do we really worry that CBS is putting ideologically slanted questions on Jeopardy. That Marvel superheroes are intended to do ANYTHING other than sell more action figures?

I have no idea how to measure it, but I'd be surprised if these 26 properties constitute 10% of American media, and even at that many of them are useless for promoting a particular worldview or belief system.