Well, at least we know where we stand (as if there was ever any doubt).

The Republican Fall election campaign, as dictated by Karl Rove, makes it very clear that nothing is out of bounds. Certainly not the rhetoric emanating from the mouths of the highest administration officials, including President Bush himself. Rhetoric replete with phrases comparing the current terrorist threat to the threats we faced from Nazi Fascism and Soviet Communism. Rhetoric which implies Democrats and other Bush critics, at best, seek to appease terrorists much as Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler and Nazi Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II. which we can logically assume has been written, vetted and focus grouped by Karl Rove.

As part of this campaign, divergent groups in the Islamic world, from fundamentalist Sunni terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, to Sunni and Shi’a insurgents and militias in Iraq, to Shi’a terrorist organizations and political movements such as Hezbollah, to Palestinian terrorist and political movements such as Hamas, to the governments of nation states such as Syria and Iran, have been conflated into an all encompassing Islamofascist movement that threatens to take over the entire world (or at least make life very uncomfortable for the owners of Hummers to fill up their gas tanks).

Furthermore, anyone who dares to point out the myriad differences among these various organizations, groups and governments, their differing agendas and goals, their many political differences and animosities, and the different threats each poses to the United States, will be tarred as a terrorist sympathizer, or worse, an appeaser of fascism.

Point out that diplomacy, cooperation with allies, and a greater reliance on traditional intelligence sources and methods combined with basic law enforcement often would be more effective strategies to combat these threats than the Bush administration’s preferred option, the unilateral employment of American military might to invade and/or attack nation states in the middle east, and you will be labeled soft on national defense, a cowardly weakling, and someone who is fundamentally incapable of either understanding, or protecting America from, the greatest threat to our nation’s existence.

Make the observation that Bush’s “strategery” in Afghanistan and Iraq has not only utterly failed to make us safer, but has actually strengthened the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and those who would emulate them, and you will be labeled a fool or a fifth columnist. If you are a soldier who has actually served in Iraq and you raise these points your reputation, your service and your honor will be the subject of ridicule, slanders and smears, especially (but not exclusively) if you are a Democratic candidate for political office.

Mention that the Bush administration lied to the American people about Iraq and its non-existent weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the pre-determined policy to invade a country that had no connection to the 9/11 attack, and you will be called a liar.

Finally, criticize Bush for his administration’s use of torture, secret prisons, unlawful detentions, violations of the Geneva Convention and illegal, warrantless spying on American citizens, and you will be called a traitor who belongs in Gitmo.

In short, there is no mud they won’t sling. And no Democrat they won’t sling it at.

And yet, the most dangerous aspect of this campaign comes not from the obvious “sources and methods” of propaganda, lies and disinformation which Mr. Rove has employed in the past, and continues to employ today. Those are all too well understood now.

No, the most dangerous instrument in Rove’s arsenal of deceits comes from the subversion of a major multinational media company, The Disney Corporation, to do his bidding.
I haven’t written anything about the “The Path to 9/11” docudrama which is to be broadcast nationwide by ABC, a Disney subsidiary, because frankly I think the subject of the distortions which have come to light regarding its presentation of the events leading to the attacks by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001 have already been covered at far greater length, and with greater cogency, than I could ever provide. Nor have I written about the need for an immediate, activist response to this obvious piece of radical right wing agitprop which ABC and Scholastic have agreed to disseminate, free of charge, to the American people and our school children. Others have provided that service, and mounted that charge against the broadcast. It is a worthy action and a noble cause, one in which I urge you to participate.

No, my purpose today is not to re-hash the nature or extent of the gross lies and distortions of the historical record allegedly contained in this docudrama. It is, instead, simply to point out that this corruption of the public airwaves by Mr. Rove and the Disney Corporation is further evidence, that our Republic has embarked even further on that very dangerous path which leads to a totalitarianism. Indeed, not merely a totalitarian state, but a society and a nation ruled by fascists and their corporate cronies.

You see, until now, Fox News (and the other organs of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire) was the only obvious example of a media company whose clear agenda was the supremacy of the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement. So obvious, that even dedicated viewers of its programming readily admit its bias.

Yes, Sinclair Broadcasting aired an obvious propaganda hit piece against John Kerry during the 2004 election, but the scope of Sinclair’s reach was limited, and its political biases were also well known. However, with the broadcast of “The Path to 9/11” this coming Sunday and Monday, literally on the eve and the 5th year anniversary of the attacks, we have reached a new nadir in the subjugation of our corporate media to the service of a single political movement.

This is the first time that one of the “Big Three” national networks has lent its name and prestige to what is, in effect, a 4 and ½ hour long infomercial for the Republican Party. It is true that the national news coverage of CBS, NBC and ABC has often appeared to slant in favor the Bush administration’s policies, especially where the “War on Terror” was concerned, but never to this extent, and never so blatantly. With its airing of “The Path to 9/11” ABC is no longer even pretending to exhibit a standard of balance and fairness when it comes to our two major political parties.

In the past, the airing of such obvious propaganda would not have been green lighted, much less produced by any television network. It would have been considered too damaging to the bottom line, too risky. Being seen as the lackey for one party or the other would have been a virtual kiss of death. No longer.

Now ABC is even willing to eat the production costs and forego all advertising revenues that would normally be generated by other programming in this time slot, in order to air this mishmash of revisionist history and outright lies to every television set in America. What could possibly motivate them to do so? Only one thing, in my opinion: that, for whatever reason, they must have struck a deal with the Devil himself.

I don’t know what promises have been made (or hinted at) by Karl Rove or his surrogates in the Republican Party to Disney, but I do not doubt that significant inducements have been offered if Disney would just do this “one thing, this least of things” on behalf of President Bush. Or perhaps, it isn’t just inducements they’ve been offered. Perhaps a few threats have been made as well. In either case, they must be significant for Disney and ABC to act so blatantly and openly.

After all, did they really believe that their promotional campaign, directed almost solely at conservatives, would fail to be noticed as the cynical ploy that it is? Did they really believe they could pull a fast one and sneak this past those of us, in and outside the Democratic Party, who oppose the Bush administration’s reckless and dangerous policies of war, death and destruction? Of course not.

Whatever you might think of Disney’s senior executives, one thing you can be sure of: they went into this gambit with their eyes wide open regarding the consequences of their actions on behalf of the Republicans. And they did not hesitate for one second to do so. To date (and unlike CBS when the airing of its Reagan miniseries erupted into controversy from the right), Disney has refused to back down. The broadcast will go forward as planned.

What does that tell you? It tells me Disney has weighed the risk of the Democrats gaining control of Congress and found it insufficient to prevent them from throwing their hat in with the Republicans. Either they believe elected Democrats will continue to the same policies toward increasing media conglomeration regardless of this service on behalf of Mr. Bush, or they believe the Republicans can and will retain control of Congress this Fall. Either scenario is deeply troubling, but it is the latter I fear more than the former.

Fascism has been defined by Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt to include 14 characteristics. I won’t bore you with the entire list (though it would behoove you to read them all sometime — soon), but allow me focus on one in particular:

Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

We have seen example after example of self censorship by major news organizations already in the years since Bush was first appointed President. CBS has often shown a willingness to kowtow to Republicans and conservatives; in addition to the Reagan miniseries debacle there was the 60 Minutes program about Iraq which CBS declined to air prior to the 2004 election because it might be deemed political. And we are all aware of the travesty which is The New York Times. The Times readily peddled Judy Miller’s WMD fabrications to its audience, lending its stature to the Bush administration’s disinformation efforts that led up to the Iraq invasion. The Times NSA spying story which was withheld from publication for over a year is but another glaring example. Other examples from major news outlets wouldn’t be too difficult to find.

However, in the case of Disney and ABC, for the first time we have a major media company (other than Fox), and one of the Big 3 Networks, directly lying to the American public in Prime Time, rewriting history and broadcasting propaganda for the sole benefit of the Republican Party. It is no longer merely a case of sinning by omission. With this broadcast, ABC not only marches down the same path that Fox News has trod so many times before, it leap frog’s over its sister in crime. A notably giant leap toward the complete and utter control of all major American media by a single political faction. One which, if followed to its logical endpoint, can only result in a totalitarian regime in Washington, D.C. in place of the democracy we once knew and cherished.

Now that this threshold has been crossed by Disney and ABC, what else can we expect in the weeks and months ahead from our corporate media conglomerates? I am no prophet and so refuse to prognosticate, but rest assured that whatever comes, it will only get worse.

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