I heard the tail end of a story on KMUD tonight. A lot of hoopla over a flagpole on a hill in Ukiah. Apparently it doesn’t conform to height code, and the city council majority found it to be garish looking and not consistent with the changing aesthetics of the town (it’s really not the most beautiful of places anyway, and if you’re worried about a blight you might ask the big boxes at the south of town to spruce their suicide inspiring landscapes up a bit). Of course, the pole flies an American flag, so obviously the majority hates America, apple pie, Mom, and Nintendo.
But not to fear. Word got out among the patriots. And sure enough Murdoch’s machine made its second north coast appearance of the year (Fox showed up a couple of months ago to kick off Schwarzenegger’s campaign in Eureka, somehow managing to avoid any mention of Eureka). We’re talking the “we report you decide” outfit that pushes compulsory editorialization on its reporters in the very terminology to be used.
Fox’s ratings exceed all three cable news competitors combined, so the other networks are following not only the example of political spin, but also Fox’s formula of glitsy MTVesque computer graphics, lower brow aesthetics (non of this elitist scholarly pretension exhibited by the likes of Murrow, Cronkite, or even to a lesser degree Ted Koppel), and commentators who yell at you in your own living room. Aside from the ascent of conservative politics in alleged news coverage, it represents precisely what Hunter Thompson described in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as the sort of entertainment that would have dominated the post-war decades had the Third Reich prevailed. At this point, only one openly liberal commentator retains his own show on MSNBC. Nobody on CNN, and certainly nobody on Fox. The beneficiaries are the Republican Party, and incidentally Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. The banality of television news has reached apocalyptic proportions, with the one quasi-mainstream television hold-out being the MacNeil-Lehrer hour – a “high brow” news show that according to FAIR interviews far more conservatives than liberals.
You know they have the resources if they can make a special trip to Ukiah over a story that would normally be hard pressed to make page one in the Ukiah Daily Journal. But Fox, which has invested heavily in fighting the resistance front in the “war on Christmas” and the “war on Easter,” has material to argue a renewed “war on the flag.” I’m sure it’ll be “analyzed in context” of the 9th Circuit Pledge of Allegiance decision and other hateful acts of the liberal war on America. I don’t have cable, but I imagine it’s already made O’Reilly. It sure won’t be covered in the “liberal media,” ie. any medium not owned by Murdoch or the Moonies.