Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why is the MSM ignoring this HUGE White House Sex Scandal?

[LibertyThink note: Blow off [pun intended] the "right/left" Hegelian dialectic. Read the substance.]

Clinton's sex life was fair game.... Although it wasn't all that interesting, let's face it--it was a consensual affair with Monica.... It made Mike Isikoff's career, gave Maureen Dowd innumerable columns, and pushed the likes of Matt Drudge and Lucianne Goldberg into prominence. Now Bush's White House is embroiled in a sex scandal that is both more sordid and more serious.... This involves not just a huge security lapse, but what appears to be yet one more case of the Bush White House illegally deploying propaganda tactics through the institutions of the Fourth Estate.

Propaganda expert and communications professor Mark Crispin Miller has always paid close attention to the symbiosis between the Bush administration and the mainstream press. That's why BuzzFlash decided we needed his highly educated take on the latest turn of the screw (so to speak) in the White House press room. In his writings, such as Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order and The Bush Dyslexicon, he has helped us understand the relentless campaign to control the media and suppress any but Bush-friendly messages and images. His one-man performances and DVD of "A Patriot Act," a BuzzFlash premium, have entertained and educated, as well. Without further ado, here is Miller's take on why Gannongate happened, and why mainstream media doesn't want to know.

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BuzzFlash: Why is the so-called "Eastern Liberal Press" ignoring the Gannon/Guckert affair or having White House shills like Howard Kurtz covering it in the Style Section? Didn't the Post and New York Times gobble up Matt Drudge's semen-stained leaks from Ken Starr when it concerned a Democratic President? In the post 9/11 world, how could the mainstream media ignore the security lapse here?

Mark Crispin Miller: The media's bizarre avoidance of this very juicy story makes a few things very clear--or I should say, very clear again. First of all, it's further proof that there is no "liberal bias" in the US corporate press--none whatsoever. It also reconfirms the fact that this media system is not simply "sensationalistic," and therefore apt to print whatever lurid stories its employees can dig up. There is a tabloid element, of course, but it works according to a double standard that is more ideological than commercial. Simply put, the US media reports sex scandals only when they seem to tar "the left," i.e., the Democratic party. As long as they involve the Democrats, the press is clearly willing to report such scandals even when they're fabricated. On the other hand, the press goes deaf and blind to "moral" scandals that involve Republicans, no matter how egregious and well-documented.

So Clinton's sex life was fair game. Not only did the press go ape-@!#$ over his affair with Monica, but US journalists were often not reluctant to run rumors, or at least allow the rightist rumor mongers to rave on uncontradicted. Clinton's sex life made careers in journalism, or what passes for it nowadays. Although it wasn't all that interesting, let's face it--it was a consensual affair with Monica, and he was strikingly inhibited throughout--it took up hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks of air time and print coverage. It made Mike Isikoff's career, gave Maureen Dowd innumerable columns, and pushed the likes of Matt Drudge and Lucianne Goldberg into prominence.

Now Bush's White House is embroiled in a sex scandal that is both more sordid and more serious than anything involving Clinton's infamous libido. This involves not just a huge security lapse, but what appears to be yet one more case of the Bush White House illegally deploying propaganda tactics through the institutions of the Fourth Estate.

Moreover, Gannon/Guckert seems to have been given classified information. He evidently knew of "shock and awe" before it was announced, for instance. The story's busting out all over, and getting uglier and weirder by the day--but not on the networks, not on cable, and, in print, primarily in opinion pieces. If this had happened in a Democratic White House, there would be no escaping it, and the rightists would be shrieking that the President of the United States had taught our precious children all about gay sex for hire. (According to the right, remember, it was Clinton--not his enemies, and not the press-- who went public with the news about those blow jobs.)

It's typical. There was a big sex scandal back in 1989, reported by, of all organs, the Washington Times, which broke the story of a male prostitution ring with lots of clients in the Reagan and Bush I administrations, and a midnight tour of the White House by six revelers, two of them male prostitutes. Did anybody ever hear of that again?

The same silence persists today; and what's crazier about it now, of course, is that this bunch purports to be real big on "moral values." In other words, they--unlike Clinton--just don't do that stuff. These are the ones imposing giant fines on radio stations for "indecent" speech, and the ones pushing abstinence-only sex education, and--above all--persecuting gays in every way available. And yet their various illicit recreations get no press outside of cyberspace.

So William Bennett's gambling got a lot of press, but his employment of Mistress Lee was not reported anywhere. Gary Condit's affair with--and alleged murder of--Chandra Levy was The Story You Could Not Escape for weeks right up to 9/11, even though there was no evidence that he had harmed her. On the other hand, Laurie Klausutis, an intern in Joe Scarborough's office, was allegedly murdered, right in his office, but it was all, some would contend, hushed up completely (and yet Scarborough sometimes whines about it anyway). We heard a lot about Woody Allen's situation--Newt Gingrich even crowed that it was typical "liberal" behavior--but when it turned out that the president of Hillsdale College, a far-right institution, had been boffing his own daughter-in-law, who went and blew her brains out in despair, that icky item had no legs. In fact, it had no torso, and no head. It simply wasn't, because the press will not go there when it involved the right.

BuzzFlash: Many Democrats are afraid to touch the Gannon/Guckert affair because he's gay, and they feel guilty about being critical of gays. But three of the main sites that are leading the story are run by openly gay men who find homophobe gays like Gannon/Guckert abhorrent. In fact, the Bush administration, like the Reagan administration, has many gays in senior positions including Ken Mehlman, head of the Republican National Committee. Drudge himself is gay. Some of the most rabid homophobe GOP congressmen have been outed as gay. What is this gay GOP homophobe thing all about when there is obviously a gay bunny patch going on at the highest level of the Republican Party?

Mark Crispin Miller: Those liberals who refuse to speak out on this issue just don't get it. They think they're being politically correct concerning gays, when all they're really doing is covering for the sickest homophobes. It was much the same thing with those Democrats who wouldn't make an issue of Bill Frist and his family making major profits off abortion. The Frists own a chain of hospitals that do abortions. That's astonishing hypocrisy, and ought to have been named as such, but it was not, because of Democratic shyness about saying anything that might sound anti-choice.

But the sanctity of reproductive rights was not the issue there. The issue was the insincerity and greed of those Republicans who moralize about abortion even as they make a big fat buck from it. This fact would have appalled some on the right, alienating them from Frist & Co. Other, less scrupulous rightists would have been hard-pressed to defend Frist's practices, and that would have enabled a rhetorical victory in the eyes of the majority. That's how you play to win. And it would ultimately have been much better for the policy of reproductive freedom, as it would have weakened some of the leading players in the anti-choice propaganda war.

It's much the same with this issue. The point of going after Gannon/Guckert for his day job--and outing all his rightist clients--is not an anti-gay move. Rather, it's a way to demonstrate the bad faith of the homophobes, and, still more important, the psychological impossibility of their position. To note that this whole gay-baiting movement is itself the work of closet cases is to illuminate the pathological dimension of that movement.

BuzzFlash: BuzzFlash's most basic premise is that the modern Republican Party is built upon a foundation of corrupt hypocrisy and ineptitude. How does the Gannon/Guckert affair represent that?

Mark Crispin Miller: Inept and hypocritical they are indeed, but what this scandal tells us is way more profound. As I've argued both in Cruel and Unusual and "A Patriot Act," there's a big difference between hypocrisy and projectivity. Hypocrisy means "dissimulation" pure and simple. A hypocrite does one thing privately while playing a very different role in public. Insofar as he's capable of happiness, he's happy just to live such a divided life. What he does not need is to have some demon-figure(s) onto whom he can relentlessly project those aspects of himself that he unconsciously detests. This is the animus that drives the Bushevik movement--more than greed, more than oil, more than imperialism. The movement is, ultimately, pathological. Which explains its compulsive hatefulness. Every time the Bushevik vents his spleen against "the liberals," he's actually referring to himself. "The liberals," he insists, are lying, bitter diehards, who would do anything to stay in power; they steal elections; they are "a coalition of the wild-eyed"; and on it goes forever. If the movement weren't relentlessly projective, it would just disappear. They have to stay on the attack against the demon, which they can never finally kill, because that demon is inside them.

So this episode is not anomalous. Guckert/Gannon is no oddity, but just another fine example of projective nastiness. He's by no means the only gay homophobe in this movement, which appears to be the work primarily of closet cases. There are others who have not been outed, but should be. The rest of us should be taking this quite seriously, not just because it might enable a political advantage, but because it cuts right to the heart of what this Christo-fascist movement's all about.

BuzzFlash: If the Gannon/Guckert affair--which touches upon so many of the threats that the Bush White House poses to America and its utter moral corruption--doesn't force the mainstream press to forsake corporate profit concerns and fear of getting Karl Rove upset, what would?

Mark Crispin Miller: That's the question we keep asking ourselves, isn't it? It assumes that they can get fed up, that there will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. That may not be the proper way to think about it. They may be so corrupt and so deluded that they simply cannot see what's right before their eyes. In which case we will have to find some way to force the story out. In any case, it's up to us, the people, to take care of this mess, isn't it? The Framers saw the press as crucial to American democracy, but it is still the people who make all the difference ultimately. What we may need to do is reconceive "the press" so that it includes the blogosphere, books, independent documentaries. Until we start to manage thorough media reform, we're on our own.

Let me add, though, that the mainstream press will be that much likelier to come around if/when they can no longer fail to see the Busheviks' disastrous impact on the economy. That's the one line that no US regime can cross for long. Remember Pat Buchanan? The press winked at his fascism until he started going populist on "free trade." It was only then that his Falangist world-view, his racism and antisemitism, started getting any ink.

BuzzFlash: What would the mainstream media have done if Clinton had planted a boy toy shill in the White House press corps?

Mark Crispin Miller: Question answers itself.

BuzzFlash: Where are Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and others? How come they are not out denouncing the sin of Satan in the White House?

Mark Crispin Miller: I suspect that there are factions on the Christian right that are appalled, although they wouldn't say it in public, as they're too well-disciplined to air their rifts that way. After all, their heroes in the world of politics aren't Jesus and St. Paul, remember, but Lenin and Trotsky. As David Brock has pointed out, the Weyrichs and Norquists are big fans of the Bolsheviks.

Despite their public silence, some of those rightists don't approve of anyone who's gay, and would do anything they could to purge gays from the government, and execute the rest of them (by stoning, preferably). This may shed some light on Doug Wead's strange decision to go public with those tapes of Bush before the coup. The true believers have to be disgusted, or at least uneasy, at the fact that Bush is soft on gays (or worse). These folks aren't inclined to compromise their theocratic principles. The top guys, like Falwell and Ralph Reed, are probably too keen on their own power to tolerate a schismatic or rebellious move, but others surely are more purist. As it's a revolutionary movement like any other, it tends to fragmentation.

BuzzFlash: Now, Rove and company are advising Gannon/Guckert to claim that he has been saved by Christianity. Isn't that "get out of jail" card becoming a bit tired?

Mark Crispin Miller: Rove's cynicism is unbounded. That doesn't mean that it will work. We tend by now to see Rove as all-powerful, invulnerable, which is exactly how he wants us all to see him. But he's fallible, and getting more so as he grows more power-crazed. He's capable of desperation measures, and this may well be one of them.

BuzzFlash: The Republicans are against quotas and affirmative action, but accuse the Democrats of discriminating when they don't support a Clarence "Stepan Fetchit" Thomas or Alberto "Torquemada" Gonzales. Now, they are making an Internet gay hustler into a victim. How do they get away with their brazen immorality and hypocrisy?

Mark Crispin Miller: Again, it's not hypocrisy. It's worse. When they assail the Democrats for bigotry, some of them at least are capable of half-believing it. The propagandist who can vent straight from the heart is always more effective, more convincing, than the one who has to fake it. Orwell's notion of "doublethink" is pertinent here. The rightists have the knack for being cynical manipulators and passionate fanatics at the same time. So they can muster something like genuine outrage that the Democrats are bigoted, etc.

Also, they are themselves more deeply into victimology than any liberals. They actually do see themselves as persecuted. So did Hitler.

BuzzFlash: Is it possible that, if the truth about the gay randiness in the modern Republican homophobe party got out to the red state believers, there might be a pitchfork rebellion against Rove, Bush and their homophobe hypocrites?

Mark Crispin Miller: Yes.

BuzzFlash: How can pro-democracy Americans keep from banging their heads against the wall when they look at television news or the front page of their newspaper and see this betrayal of America ignored or belittled as a piffle, as Wolf Blitzer and Howard Kurtz have done? When the mainstream press has covered it, they have only done so, with few exceptions, to give Rove and company the opportunity to make Gannon/Guckert into someone who is suffering the barbs of an out of control blog attack.

Mark Crispin Miller: It's infuriating and disorienting. Now we know how reasonable people feel, and have felt, in closed societies. You see one thing with your own eyes, and see something wholly different in the press. It can drive you nuts--which is, of course, the way you feel, having that surreal experience day after day. The trick is not to let it throw you, but to channel all that righteous indignation into trying to tell the truth in every way you can.

BuzzFlash: Thanks for your valuable analysis on this important piece of the Bush propaganda story.

Mark Crispin Miller: You're welcome.

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