Welcome to OZ: Decoding the Republican Primary Debate

Oz Dorothy curtainThe recent Republican primary debate, which was actually not a debate but more of a Q/A, evidences problems similar to those Dorothy faced in The Wizard of OZ.

For the third consecutive presidential election the GOP has proven it can divide and conquer itself without anyone else’s help. The Republican Party cannot define itself and has lost trust and support from most conservatives. Painfully obvious attacks by Establishment Republicans on conservatives only further implode a fragmented party unprepared to combat the Democratic war chest built by corporate donors and Hillary Clinton’s fine-tuned strategy and likely umpteenth avoidance of prison.

What most observers have known for a while is that Fox News supports the already chosen establishment candidate, Jeb Bush. Its executives have purposefully excluded Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (who challenged its debate standards) from poll coverage.

Megyn Kelly followed orders to attack Donald Trump, unsurprisingly creating a social media backlash. Kelly asked Trump some of the stupidest questions ever asked by anyone of any candidate ever.

Yet, her hubris and delusion became more apparent by her suggestions that Ted Cruz “get out of the race,” and that no candidate could become president without “getting through her first.”

The establishment’s choice explains why no moderator pressed Jeb Bush about his either deceitful or incompetent response about his connection to Planned Parenthood, his family’s generational connections to the organization he supported before he opposed, before or after he “misspoke” about women’s health issues. (Depending on the day it’s unclear what issue Bush has evolved on including marriage.)

Politics aside, the debate caused more Americans to realize (as Dorothy did that she wasn’t in Kansas anymore) that few in the media report news anymore.

This is primarily because only six (6) corporations own 90 percent of the media in America (CBS Corporation, Comcast, Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, and Viacom). Of the roughly 1,500 newspapers, 1,000 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 television stations, and 2,400 publishers left in America, six corporations– led by less than 275 executives– control what is “news.”

That’s less than 275 people controlling and censoring 90 percent of what Americans hear, read, or view. Comparably, that’s one media executive controlling what an entire audience the size of San Francisco hears, views, or reads as “news.”

And the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has enabled these monopolies to consolidate power and profits. Under President Bill Clinton, the 1996 Telecommunications Act significantly lifted previous regulatory constraints. By 2010, those six companies’ revenues exceeded $275 billion—36 billion times more than the country of Finland’s 2010 GDP.

By 2011, the FCC had eliminated even more regulations including the Fairness Doctrine, which enabled broadcasters to provide even less “balanced” coverage of issues. It also enabled them to increase the number of commercial advertisements aired per hour, amassing even more wealth and consolidation of power.

As monopolies carved up their territories, journalism began to evaporate. Of the few reporters left, most are limited in their efforts to investigate and report facts. For example, if reporters had investigated the Benghazi attack they would have uncovered and reported basic facts:

  • Benghazi was a “failed” CIA weapons smuggling operation designed to steal and transport weapons from Libya to Syria;
  • The CIA used these weapons to arm and train the alleged “junior league,” “Syrian rebels” to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad;
  • These rebels became ISIS, now using American money, ammunition, machinery, even brand new Toyota trucks, to commit widespread genocide of Christians;
  • Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar all wanted Assad deposed. America did its bidding, initiating a regional proxy war by using a loophole in a 1970 law to authorize the CIA’s operation;
  • The only problem is that Americans died, potentially exposing what the government wanted to remain hidden.

As a result, nearly all news organizations spewed out the same propaganda: violence in Libya was caused by a video, “The Innocence of Muslims.” Yet common sense should have demanded that basic questions be asked and answered:

  • How could any Libyan understand a video in English that most did not even have access to view?
  • Even if they had known some English it’s doubtful they could have understood who the characters were or the actors’ epic failed attempts at satire or comedy. (That was even lost on westerners. In fact, the video is so bad no rational person could label it as “acting” by any standard.)

Had the media reported on this perhaps there would have been Congressional hearings like those of Watergate or Iran Contra. Many government officials should have gone to jail. Yet the person largely responsible for this, Hillary Clinton, received a “Liberty Medal” from Jeb Bush on the eve of the Benghazi anniversary—which no moderator even touched. Nor did they ask why he and Hillary Clinton receive millions of dollars from the same ultra-rich mega donors.

Nor did they ask the common sense question, most Americans are asking: why would the American government send billions of dollars to Iran, a country that has openly expressed its intent to destroy America? Isn’t aiding and abetting America’s enemy treason?

Treason used to be taken seriously. But then again, so did the media.

Few news organizations, if any, are reporting on where Iran first got its nuclear technology: Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program; or that the CIA overthrew Iran’s democratically elected republic in 1953. That is partially because Iran is inextricably linked to one of the six media corporations, Disney, which owns ABC News.

In 1979, at the behest of the government, ABC News ran a temporary program, “America Held Hostage,” to “keep Americans informed” about the Iranian hostage crisis. This nightly news program eventually became “Nightline.” Yet, did Nightline ever report that the Iranian revolution was an attempt to oust the brutal dictator the CIA had put in power?

Iran is also linked to Fox News, whose second largest shareholder is billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. His Kingdom Holding Co. owns 6.6% of one of the six media corporations, News Corp.’s entertainment company, 21st Century Fox, which includes Fox Searchlight, the Fox broadcasting network, and Fox News. The Saudis have been closely connected to the Bushes for nearly 100 years, and have a vested interest in the struggle against Shiite Muslims (Iran) and American foreign policy.

Yet, less than 275 people censor these facts.

What became more obvious to more people after watching the debate is that “news coverage” differs vastly from reality. And– that more Americans are confronting, like Dorothy, the man behind the curtain frantically pulling levers and pushing buttons beaming false information from “the wizard” on a screen while also telling her, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

August 10, 2015