Friday, October 27, 2006

GF Addendum: HardBalling the Chicks

I’ve always enjoyed Chris Matthews, even though he’s kind of got this way of accelerating his line of questioning so that you expect at any moment that he’ll produce a hairball. But he gets issues out in front of the media-hungry public that otherwise might not be considered.

Take for example this story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15444551/

Now, my friends and I enjoy a past-time we call re-hashing. We do it on occasion when the lure of going over some shared incident is too hard to resist. At first, as I read this, I thought that Matthews and the Chicks were sort of engaging in a bit of re-hash-a-rama, but the underlying message the Chicks are sending through the Big Media, is that the problem is The Big Media. Choice is nearly gone, along with taste and most anything intelligent.

There was a time when people formed their own opinions, or, alternatively, simply didn’t have them about the people with whom they disagreed, as long as they were performing their job well. Sort of the way half the house at a Barbara Streisand concert are Republicans. They don't like her politics, but they love her singing.

But in this case, as you all remember, Shrubby loyalists hatelisted a bluegrass group. As on Chick said, edicts were issued at the top of the corporate food chain that the Dixie Chicks were not to be played. Period.

This is media consolidation at its worst. If your radio, TV, and newspaper are all owned by the same person, that person is going to control what you get to hear, read, or see. All it took was one Billy Bud Light to shout, “Hey, they said something bad about our President, so we shouldn’t play their music.”

And all the little children followed. Those who didn't, the few rebs buried in the corporate nightmare of Cox or Clearchannel, lost their jobs.

So I'm just reminding you that the issue is not just about the Chicks. In fact it's not at all about them. Matthews' point, and the Chicks' point, and Olberman's point, and lots of other people's point is that THERE IS NO WAY YOU WILL GET THE TRUTH ABOUT ANYTHING UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES.

You will, however, get plenty of noise, a mix of ads and whatever tripe the DJs who work for the two or three radio conglomerates are allowed to dish out.

You'll never hear anything so original that Disney or Clearchannel couldn't back it.

It's membership season for lots of independent or NPR stations. Support your local NPR affiliates, your favorite college station, and other fledgling efforts in broadcasting who take risks to get to you something that hasn't been canned or played to people wearing earplugs in stadiums.

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