Here is a fresh, important lesson in how political players and the corporate media collude to generate false, self-serving drama. It’s not difficult to pull back the curtain and see what they get out of it. Political players — especially those with the weakest hand — get to strut in front of cameras and recite their talking points, to build their brands, to reinforce the fiction that Washington is the center of the universe. The media need conflict, urgency, and drama to get people to watch their crap and listen to their dumb-as-rocks talking heads.
Immediately after the election, the political entertainment industry panned their cameras to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” as though it was all pre-planned, which it was. Political players cooperated in all sorts of ways, including running it down to the wire to maximize the drama. But in the end, it wasn’t even close. The legislation passed 89-8 in the Senate and 257-167 in the House. What a silly drama.
It was the same with the election. The right-wing media said Romney would win (apparently believing their own fantasies), and the mainstream media said it was a close horse race. But a small minority of real-world people, thanks to Nate Silver, knew that it was not close, and that Romney would not win. Silver was demonized and marginalized, and the political entertainment industry went right on playing out the election according to their horse-race script. Here’s a test: Did you find, and evaluate the evidence of, Nate Silver before the election? If yes, you get a gold star. If not, you need to rethink your information sources.
The ringmasters of the pig circus will do it again, and then again. We will see within the next day or two what their next dramatic theme will be. They’re shifting the cameras and rehearsing the script even now. The show will go on.
To the ruling elite (and by this I mean all the players in the government industrial complex, not just Democrats), there are many benefits in this arrangement. One important benefit is distraction. By focusing the people on empty dramas, they distract us from the things that really matter. They keep us angry and divided, so that we can’t see who is really eating our lunch.
The cure: to turn off our televisions and read. Everything must be read with great skepticism and an alertness to hidden agendas and conflicts of interest. Those who have a record of being wrong (that category includes almost all our pundit class and all the players who go back and forth through the revolving doors between government and corporations) must be ignored. Anyone who has any kind of power must be assumed to be lying until proven otherwise. Similarly, anyone who is rich must be assumed to be lying until proven otherwise.
Also, keep a long memory. Remember when the whole political entertainment complex ridiculed the idea that there was a housing bubble? Remember when Alan Greenspan, kissing the ass of George Bush, who was running for president, said that the Clinton-era surplus created the danger that we might pay off the debt too fast, and that we must therefore give rich “job creators” a tax cut? The script-writers for the pig circus keep the horse shit flying so fast that we’re not supposed to have time to fact-check or to think back to their lines in last year’s script. Don’t let them get away with it.
Apply a few simple tests of track record and truth, and it’s clear that 99 percent of what we’re fed by our media and by political players is horse shit.
As they roll back the curtain on the pig circus’s next act, pay no attention. What’s important, as always, is somewhere they don’t want us to look.
At the water cooler, instead of talking about the “fiscal cliff” and the drama du jour, review the show. Critique the performances. Ridicule the script. Laugh at the contrived, car-chase ending. Speculate on the setup for the sequel. Then turn off the damned television and don’t fall for it again.
In fact, the “fiscal cliff” legislation passed the House with a significantly greater margin than John Boehner’s re-election as speaker (220 to 192).