Friday, January 14, 2005

Why do people buy newspapers and vote for Bush?

We had a flurry of activity on the Monbiot list in answer to the question of why people voted for Bush. It was felt that he mobilised the fundamentalist evangelical vote by being a fundamentalist himself, that he appealed with his folksiness (much in the same way that Ronald Reagan did), and that he had the media on his side (You can fool 50% of the people all the time if you have the media on your side).

It was also pointed out that Bush is the personable (to 50% of Americans) figurehead of the neo conservative movement. One important component of that movement is the philosopher Leo Strauss, and one of his threads (as I understand it) is that to hold power, there must be a difference between the esoteric and exoteric agenda of government - in other words, government must deceive the people as to its true intentions in order to wield power effectively.

This would fit in well with the use of the WMD threat to whip up support for the Operation Iraqi Liberation, and the current use of the threat of terrorism (the Power of Nightmares issue).

Perhaps most importantly, it fits in with Bush's Kyoto stance, which is in denial of the evidence and reasoning regarding global warming, and is also implicitly in denial of the fact that oil is a finite resource. This is Bush's prime deception, and it is amazing how effectively the deception can be sustained. This can only be explained in terms of a generalised failure of journalism in America, and to a lesser extent in the UK.

Which brings me to the suggestion that progressives should adopt the slogan

"Don't let them fool you all the time - Make April 1st a no-media day"

No newspapers, TV or radio on April Fools' Day, to signal to the journalists that we feel they are failing. Let Rupert Murdoch tremble at the curse of the Bloggers.

Or not, as the case may be.

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