Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington: Media Corruption

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Before It's a Wonderful Life, James Stewart became famous in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Stewart as the main character Jefferson Smith, plays a moral young man appointed to the US Senate., In Washington, he is full of enthusiastic ideals, but the political machinations of his elder colleagues, plus reporters and local politicians in the home state, are working together for their own ends.

His hero, senior senator and Presidential hopeful Thomas Paine, exposes him piecemeal to the backroom deals and routine corruption which define Washington politics.

The state political boss, Jim Taylor, is not pleased with Smith's altruistic goals, which collide with his venal interests.

Smith learns the hard way that his idol is another political hack, and that his appointment was a snow-job at best, with no integrity or interest behind it.

While the Stewart character wanted to get a piece of land laid out for a group of kids, the immoral types behind the scenes were arranging for a profiteer land grab.
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Smith Filibusters
The most important scenes in the movie take place toward the end, when Smith filibusters his removal under trumped up corruption charges.

Taylor's political machine controls not only the politicians in DC, including Joseph Paine, but also the media influences in Washington DC and the home state.

So, the political machine pulls the media strings, then strings along state readers to believe that the beloved homebody junior senator is the corrupt politician.

Friends of Smith attempt to undo the damage of the salacious press. When the Boy Rangers learn the truth, they publish their own stories, they blast their own propaganda to assist Smith.

Yet by the time the new, more youthful, yet less financially supported response media gets the full story out, US Senate porters bring thousands of letters demanding Smith's resignation or removal.

Smith stands by the truth to the end, even though he slushes through the letters demanding his expulsion from constituents.

Have we not seen this drama played out time and again in our political culture?

For years, I did not believe who corrupt or distortionary is the mainstream media. The stories they choose to publish, the omissions, and in some cases the fabrications they promote or the mistakes which they hide.

One assistant district attorney told me she did not believe anything that she read in the paper. Wow!

I thought she was being paranoid or cynical. In the wake of scandal upon scandal from the Obama Administration, and the silence from the mainstream media, one cannot ignore the obvious: this media culture has been carrying water for this President for years. Ben Shapiro commented that Obama was a media creation, right down to the massive endorsement from Oprah Winfrey.

The power of the media, and its substantial bias, simply cannot be ignored. The counter media, the New Media of Breitbart, Hot Air, the Orange County Register, is granting a powerful push-back to the liberal, politically correct, yet factually false narrative.

However, as long as mainstream mainstays remain, the bias of a liberal media seeing conflict and seeking victims rather than reporting the long-term successes of free markets will dominate. Conservatives will find themselves fighting against a false narrative, then having to draw up the true accounts.

Gardena Mayor Paul Tanaka had fought a hard campaign for LA County Sheriff in 2014, yet the substantial media pounding against him proved too much to overcome. Burt Prelutsky of had offered this argument before, and I find it relevant today: Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and even Neel Kashkari should have spent their campaign dollars buying the LA Times rather than trying to run for office against the California version of the "Jim Taylor" Machine.

Is it too late for California conservatives to learn this lesson? With the small gains in 2014, the chances for a Republican machine to combat the illiberal Democratic influences may materialize. Local activists need to shape the narrative, not just react to it. Local writers as well as leaders need to inform fellow voters at length of the immanent setbacks we face. Not just informing people, but getting them angry enough and empowered to do something about it -- all of this is crucial.

Media corruption is a recognizable problem today, but with a steady restructuring which posits the truth and forces concessions from the Left, the culture can be turned for the better.

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