A Tale of Two Americas

Because the media is obviously liberal, a conservative counterpart had to be created for it. Because conservatives’ lies are spread in the mainstream media now, one has developed liberal media-watchdogs like Media Matters for America. Of course to counter these are watchdogs on the lookout for lies from the liberals, such as Newsbusters.

Many in America have long since stopped wondering what is true and what is not. Truth has been buried, and in its place are now two parallel truths, and within these truths different versions of the truth. Roughly put the country is divided into two different camps: liberal and conservative. In the field of politics liberals lean towards the Democrats while conservatives back up the Republicans.

Lets look. for example, at Alaska’s governor Sarah Palin who suddenly became John McCain’s running mate. The more controversies the “liberal media” unearthed of Palin’s time in Alaska, the clearer it became to some conservatives that Palin was the future for the Republicans–that she was the new Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s picture was printed on doormats sold to liberal homes, but all-the-while he is worshipped as God within the Republican Party. Reagan’s time and even the Vietnam War that preceded him, remind us that this cleavage in America is a product of decades, not something brand new. It has supposedly grown stronger during the presidency of George W. Bush and the Internet has provided a new medium for it to manifest itself in.

It is difficult to find a book with a name that crystallizes the current split better than Al Franken’s “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced View of the Right.” However, perhaps even more revealing is the name of the book by Franken’s sworn enemy Ann Coulter: “If Democrats Had Any Brains They’d Be Republicans.” Franken is a former TV-comedian from Minnesota, who is now running for Senate in the elections next Tuesday. His book’s title refers to the conservative Fox-network’s slogan “Fair and Balanced,” which is considered a joke in liberal circles.

Almost everything seems to have two opposite ends to it: the counterpart of Fox is MSNBC, to the liberal MoveOn.org, it’s the neo-conservative Freedom Watch, to the conservative The Weekly Standard-magazine, it’s the liberal The Nation. In both ends of the spectrum a feeling of martyrdom is prominent. Conservative radio stations complain how America is polluted by the liberal media, overtly liberal universities and, of course, the ultra-liberal Hollywood.

Americans choose not only their media on political grounds, but also their neighbourhoods. This has led to a physical “Balkanization” of the country. In presidential elections votes are split approximately 50-50, but in almost half of the voting districts one of the candidates gets a landslide victory.

During Bush’s reign liberals have complained how the right-wing radio manages to brainwash “Heartland America” from year to year into voting “against their own interests.” Still today over a quarter of the population thinks that Bush has done a good job. These supporters of Bush probably don’t read the New York Times and don’t watch CNN, but rather cocoon themselves in media that feels more like “their own.”

In the opinion of liberals, those who believe in Bush don’t live in a “community based on reality.” But in what, or rather whose, reality? On the eve of the war in Iraq newspapers considered the best in the nation were taken for a ride of a lifetime, and consequently their readers formed a perception of a supposedly great threat from weapons of mass destruction.

A favourite of the “extremely liberal” camp, radio-personality/author Amy Goodman lashes out against The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media for acting as Bush’s lapdogs in the time leading up to the war. Goodman quotes a report from FAIR, revealing how of the 393 people interviewed on the four major networks before the war, only three were involved with the anti-war movement.

Among those against the war was the so-called “liberal fanatic” Barack Obama, who might become the new president. For conservatives this is a horrifying thought, but to the right-wing media it would mean a return to a Golden Age; similar to the one they enjoyed under Bill Clinton’s presidency in the 90’s.

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