Stop The World, I Want Off Doesn’t Work

Posted this by mistake, but just consider it an extra…Sorry to clutter your inboxes.

I’ve often thought that if ultra-wealthy people like Bloomberg and Gates really want to help the country reject White Nationalism and misogyny, they would use their dollars to buy Fox News and its clones. (But no one ever listens to me…)

Evidently, however, some rich people on the Right have come to the same conclusion: propaganda can be effective if you dominate the information landscape. As Vox (among others) has reported, CNN-one of the world’s most powerful news outlets– is in the process of change, and that change happens to be in sync with the views of one of the world’s richest men.

OK–so CNN has a new owner, and a new boss. Changes are coming. There is nothing inherently suspicious about change–but in this case, the question is: will change come “because the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, its new owner, wants an overhaul? Or is it at the behest of a conservative billionaire investor in the company who sits on its board?

Malone has repeatedly wished, in public, for CNN to remake itself. And his prescription happens to sync with the new CNN agenda: a plan to steer the channel away from what Malone and others call a liberal bias they say muddles opinion and news. And to shift it toward a supposedly centrist, just-the-facts bent.

Just “fair and balanced,” right? (Malone has opined that Fox News is “real journalism.”..)

Those who now control CNN have hotly denied any meddling by Malone, and insist that their goal is a non-ideological middle ground between Fox and MSNBC. Time will tell, but suspicions of a political agenda raise a more basic question: can the various plutocrats who are  “flooding the zone” with conservative propaganda, the Neanderthals in Red state legislatures, and the ideologues who’ve been appointed to the courts win the fight they are waging against modernity?

Can they take the country back to a time when rich White Christian men were in charge? A time when they didn’t have to share dominance with uppity women, people of color and immigrants from “shithole” countries?

I very much doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong–the forces of reaction can bring progress to a temporary standstill–and “temporary” can be a long time.  As we’ve seen, GOP efforts to pack the courts can end up eviscerating constitutional guarantees and eliminating longstanding rights. The Tucker Carlsons of the world can give aid and comfort to the incels, militias and other assorted hate groups that litter the American landscape.

But ultimately, they can’t erase a century of cultural change. The America we currently live in is a dramatically different country than the one these people want so desperately to re-install.

Let me offer some homegrown examples.

Before I sat down to write this blog, my husband and I shopped at the Costco on the south side of Indianapolis. That location serves the suburban south side of town and the adjoining exurban and rural–very Republican– areas. The store carries a variety of foods catering to its wide variety of shoppers–as I browsed, I saw Sikh turbans, Muslim hijabs and a variety of “ethnic” folks.

I’ve previously noted that I read my husband’s Engineering World Record. (Yes, I’m a nerd.) A story in the current issue highlighted pilot projects testing out “smart roads.” Engineers in Kansas and Denver are working with technologies developed Germany’s Siemens A.G., by  Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and by France’s Renault. Companies from Israel, Italy and India are all in the mix.

Another article reported on several cross-country joint ventures focused on “green hydrogen.” 

When I was a girl–back in the Ice Age–a trip to another continent seemed impossibly exotic. I would have been astonished to learn that I’d have a granddaughter living in England and a son living in Amsterdam–and that I would keep in touch with them between visits via that science-fiction-promised “picture phone”–i.e., FaceTime.

The frightened reactionaries trying to “stop the world” may well create an extended period of chaos, but there is simply no way they can “reverse engineer” the cultural changes that have brought us to today’s normal. Women aren’t going back to the kitchen and nursery; LGBTQ folks aren’t climbing back into the closet, interracial couples aren’t divorcing and Black Americans aren’t going back to the plantation.

The vastly increased diversity of America’s cities has spread to the suburbs. Outside of the most isolated rural precincts, most Americans have friends and relatives who don’t look or pray like they do. 

The Rightwing can make acceptance difficult, or a Blue wave in November can accelerate it.  Either way,  the Right will ultimately lose. 

America isn’t going back to the 1950s.



  1. I agree with you. As Beau of the 5th Column so eloquently put it, CNN is intentionally hooking or slicing (depends on whether you’re left or right handed) off to the right

    The character calling the shots is a guy named Chris Licht who is being used as a tool by the powers that be. He’s also responsible for firing Brian Stetler and John Harwood who both criticised Fox.

    But as Beau says, this is not going to go down well with Millenials and Zoomers and the rest of us who can’t abide Fox.

    My own personal opinion is that this move is a way to drive down CNN ratings (by driving liberals away) and groom them for ultimately a take-over by Rupert/Lachlan and Fox.

    The ultimate goal is to ‘own the libs’ and of course, shut them up. Too bad Zoomers, Millenials and soon the Alphas didn’t get the word. Right wingers kinds painting themselves into a corner.

  2. I think it’s a fair criticism, particularly of MSNBC but less so of CNN, that the “opinion” part of the TV news business has edged into the straight news reporting. And there is less of that than there used to be. The all-Trump-all-day-and-all-night programming that dominates the channels much of the time is done at the expense of general news (such little problems like drought, floods, empty reservoirs, and immigration). Anyone listening carefully to word choices, phrasing, and tone of voice would say almost all commentators and presenters on those channels have “liberal bias.” Given how much of the Fox etc. rightist media is now dominated by all-hate-all-day-and-all-night, perhaps we should be grateful for an opposition bias on CNN and MSNBC. However, I am concerned that a great “middle” audience may be put off by this real or perceived liberal bias and fail to recognize the horrors driving that bias.

  3. The phrase: “a non-ideological middle ground between Fox and MSNBC” makes no logical, philosophical, political nor common sense. Fox does not represent a point or a ‘side” on a conservative to liberal linear spectrum. It exists in a reality of its own invention. Moreover, there is NO SUCH THING as a “middle ground” between these two realities, that is, the one Fox created, and which TFG expanded to included MAGA-fascism, and the reality in which the rest of us exist, including MSNBC, CNN and also many conservative outlets and writers.

    Nope, don’t let them couch it in these terms, or you will always lose the argument. Tell them they are NOT a side, rather, they are flat out f&%$#*g crazy.

  4. You made my day Sheila! Two posts—-thank you. I don’t have the time to join the crowd who blogs on your blog page under the comment section but had to take the time to thank you.

  5. We awaken daily to this current unstable, insecure world due to far right deconstruction of the government erected on democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution. Yes; there are flaws, nothing and no one is perfect but we didn’t live in fear for our lives as part of our daily lives in addition to the unending Covid-19 Pandemic. MSNBC has been making changes in format and in their journalists; CNN has been a world leader in providing national and international news for decades. They don’t realize that we depend on them and making major changes at this time in our lives in this country adds to the instability and insecurity we awaken to daily. Changing horses in mid-stream, pulling the rug out from under us at the same time we are facing this crucial mid-term election to save states and highest levels of Congress is poor decision making, blatantly based on FOLLOW THE MONEY as many of us flounder in the current economy. We often rely on The Guardian from the UK for news; they are in a state of flux themselves with the death of Queen Elizabeth and the change to being ruled by a King who has already backtracked on his Climate Change view. Putin is buying weapons of mass destruction from Kim Jong Un to increase his war on Ukraine.

    “As we’ve seen, GOP efforts to pack the courts can end up eviscerating constitutional guarantees and eliminating longstanding rights. The Tucker Carlsons of the world can give aid and comfort to the incels, militias and other assorted hate groups that litter the American landscape.”

    America may not be going back to the 1950s but it sure as hell is not going forward.

  6. This is just another episode of so-called conservatives attempting to race back to the 19th century where their intellectual sloth feels comfortable. Huge amounts of money/power in the hands of such dolts renders progress of society and mankind meaningless.

  7. Thank you Patrick – I have nothing to add to your comment

    Hunter – it is true that cable news has blended news and commentary together, while the old broadcast news tried to put them in separate segments, but … I do believe that Walter Cronkite’s raised eyebrows may have had a large effect on public opinion.

    Also, the “news” have always been accused of a “liberal bias”, but then again, reality had a liberal bias –
    The Civil Rights Movement – Everything was not right with the treatment of Black Americans in Southern States, where intimidation and murder were the norm – liberal bias
    The Vietnam War – It was not being won, civilian casualties were high, and we weren’t the good guys (not blaming the soldiers, just the politicians) – liberal bias

    The “news” wasn’t quite as “liberal” when it came to reporting economic issues, but that’s a different story.

    For a search for a “centrist” view – again, thank you Patrick

  8. Sorry to the cable people. Millennials and Gen Zers don’t watch television. When we old farts die off there won’t be any audience left.

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