This is a repost of one of Ghion Journal’s earlier articles which have become relevant given Sean Hannity’s duplicity, Rachel Maddow’s latest rants and how both sides of the political divides are using identity politics as business models to enhance corporate media profits.
Courageous truth teller. Those were the three words that I once used to describe Rachel Maddow. This was back during the Bush years, when Maddow regularly took the Bush administration to task, called out the immorality of GW’s war of choice and highlighted the malicious nature of Bush’s economic policies. Rachel was my hero; the first time I tuned into her show and saw how she was able to weave narrative with well timed dead pans and flashy graphics, I was hooked! For an hour each night, whatever anger and antipathy I was feeling was soothed by the Rachel Maddow Show.
Oh what a difference a decade makes. Even though I kept following Maddow after Bush was replaced by Obama, the fervor and zeal I had to tune in to MSNBC every night at 9:00 PM was suddenly lost. The anti-hero Bush was no longer there and Obama, my new idol, replaced whatever animus I had towards Republicans with a hope that things would be different in DC. Even though Obama would go on to prove that he was no different than Bush, and in fact in the realm of economic policies and immoral wars he was actually worse, I was too blinded by partisan loyalty and political zealotry to dare question dear leader and “my” Democratic party. It was a dance with reality’s harsh kicks and getting mugged by indigence that shed my partisan blinders and let me see the bullshit of this left vs right divide.
So it is with this wisdom gained through hindsight that I present this assessment of the Maddow debacle last night in ways that no one in the corporate state media will dare touch. The rage and outrage that Maddow acts out—I did say act on purpose—is nothing but a reality show and one big circus. First off, the happiest people in the world when Trump got elected were the hacks in the establishment media who make a mockery of journalism daily. They knew all along that a carnival barker was would be a boon to their ratings and his infantile rants would draw more eyeballs. So the outrage the likes of Maddow and the left leaning journalists have about Trump is one big charade—they are thanking their gods on a nightly basis that Trump is president. Trump is a gift that keeps giving back. Why do you think mainstream media gave Trump over $200 million in in-kind political contributions by way of “earned media” during the 2016 campaign? That was an investment they made in Trump—you are now witnessing the infomercial (fourth) estate reaping their profits.
Maddow and the yellow press journalists at MSNBC, CNN, Washington Post, Huffington Post, New York Times, Fox News and the rest of the prevaricating cabal have a codependent relationship with Trump. Trump needs them because he is an insecure lout and a narcissistic ogre who is willing to sell his soul as long as he garner headlines. For a mental midgets like Trump, fame and infamy are one in the same—as long as he gets top billing it doesn’t matter to Trump whether he is the hero or the villain. In return, mainstream media journalists are willing to sell their own mothers down the river in order to maintain their status as opinion leaders.
In reality, these journalists from Maddow, Hannity, O’Reilly, Zakaria to your favorite vacuous pundit are more like a cross between Tokyo Rose and Baghdad Bob. To call them a journalist is to call Pee Wee Herman the next coming of Aristotle. All of them pretend to be selling hard news with their breaking stories when they are really breaking journalism by peddling smut and half-truths. Mainstream media would make Joseph Goebbels proud; these empty suits in news rooms are nothing more than corporate lackeys who do the bidding of their plutocrat masters. You don’t have to take my word for it, watch this video about a media insider as he reveals how news rooms, time and time again, quash stories when their media sponsors object.
This is the problem with our mainstream media; they are beholden to the corporate agenda because their money and profits are derived from corporations. This is one truth that you can take to the bank; when people are forced to choose between their livelihood (read money) and principles, the overwhelming majority of the time people will choose income over their moral compass. So when pundits on TV and in the media as a whole are paid high six figure salaries and more and more making millions of dollars, what makes you think they will choose honor over cash? How many of us stay at jobs we hate because of mortgages and rent? Well imagine that dilemma by factors of hundreds when these media blowhards are faced with the choice of doing something honorable versus risk losing their jobs. After all, paychecks make slaves out of many men and women.
Let’s discuss last night’s supposed “bombshell” that Maddow hyped up for almost a week only to deliver a stink bomb. The smoking gun ended up being a spitball shooter as Maddow presented a two page tax return as if she was showcasing the Pentagon papers. The tax fillings had nothing of substance; it showed Trump paid his taxes and that he does the same thing that all rich assholes do—he gamed tax laws in order to pay an effective tax rate less than most blue-collar hard working Americans. Maddow ended up helping the cause of Trump because the two page “dossier” did not contain anything we did not already know. By presenting an over-hyped story, Maddow just gave cover to Trump’s more sinister ploys he has deployed for decades in order to enhance the fortunes that he inherited from his father.
And herein lies the hustle between so-called journalists and the powers they are supposed to keep in check. The era of muckrakers, who used to follow tips and hit the pavement chasing all leads, is long dead and over. Journalistic standards are non-existent and with it the profession of journalism has gone the way of Blockbuster. What we have now is a cohort of gossip mongers and cackling fools who push sensationalism as news. Corporate media voices are the enablers of the very same people they are supposed to keep honest. The endless use of blind sources and conversations with politicians and policy makers on background has created an industry of intentional leaks and whisper campaigns where the public is unable to assess the veracity of stories since rarely are we told the source of the news we are being presented.
In all likelihood, it was a Trump insider that “leaked” the tax information to Maddow since Rachel’s story has been a boon for Donald. And more than likely, Maddow knew it was a Trump insider that presented the papers but she went right on ahead and made it seem like we are dealing with a modern day Watergate. If Maddow really wanted to blow the cover off Trump, it would take just one reporter dedicated to following leads and connecting paper trails in New York to come up with a scandal about our president that would shock our conscience. If Rachel Maddow wanted to speak for justice, she would put aside her partisan dog and pony show and actually turn to real journalism.
Trump’s depraved lifestyle in New York is legendary, the public record of his thrice divorce, the weird ways he has sexually fawned over his own daughter Ivanka and the way he objectifies women is enough to let us know that we are dealing with a man who has a pathology that even Freud would blanch over. Trump is pure id, the part of the mind that acts on impulse and seeks satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle. A man this reckless and out of touch with reality has left a paper trail of immoral behavior, one mainstream journalist could publish an expose that would expose this 21st century Rasputin for the shyster that he is. Instead, the press would rather focus on his tweets. How poetically fitting; we have an idiot president who is all id being purportedly checked by a corporate media which is all ego. Click To Tweet
This is why our country is going to the dogs; we are letting a self-centered president taunt human decency with his tweets and then turning to bought and sold new hounds like Maddow to be entertained by the idiocy of it all. The truth is that news has become all circus all the time as journos chase sensationalism and outrage in order to garner ratings, capture more eyeballs and enhance clicks. When news becomes dependent on sponsor ads and revenue from commercials, news ceases to be news and instead becomes infomercials. The ego is bad enough on its own, but when media personalities tie in their egos with profit motives, what is destroyed is journalism and what we get is this farcical fourth estate led by Maddow and her cadre of buffoons in expensive suits.
I look back at the time I used to lionize Maddow, Olbermann, Hayes and the rest of the demagogues at MSNBC and CNN and realize they were playing all of us for suckers the same way Obama played us for schmucks. The outrage over the Iraq war was one big production meant to divide America in half; they quickly left their rage and morality at the door when Obama went on to start the same immoral wars in Syria, Libya, Yemen and perpetuated the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, you think the Iraq war is over because the Drone-in-Chief Obama said so? Well tell that to the families of Iraqis who keep being nullified at the hands of our monstrously overgrown military-financial complex. Obama was a continuation of this cancerous military-financial complex which the mainstream media is every bit a part of.
Perhaps though we, the people, are the problem. It is our continued support of this foolish endeavor of sensationalism and outrage that is driving the market. If we refuse to support the idiocy at MSNBC, CNN Fox News and the rest of the corporate funded mainstream media, they might actually be incentivized to act like adults instead of chasing retweets and peddling nonsense. Here is a radical idea even if it is a bit self-serving, why not support independent journalists who refuse to take a cent from corporations and are pursuing the profession of journalism because they want to speak truth to power instead of earning their paychecks from power.
I get it, it’s easier to bark at outrage than it is to fight for justice. This is why we tune in to the circus that is mainstream media. It’s not for the sake of edification but for the sake of being distracted and to chew on the catnip of scripted narratives, well place deadpans and flashy graphics. However, just know this, even as we get kicks and oscillate between being outraged by injustice to snickering at human suffering, Maddow, Trump and the rest of the narcissistic journalists and politicians are all laughing at us. I no longer have it in me to stomach the drivel that is cable news and the corporate press. I realize that Maddow is just another hack who uses our pains and injustice as a shtick to get ratings all to maintain her currency. She is no different than the likes Limbaugh and the rest of the hounds on “the right”. Beware the march of ids, they stack their money and accumulate their accolades at our collective misfortune. #MarchofIds
Those who feed and flourish at the cost of others suffer malnutrition of the soul::
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The politico-media complex is a corporate hustle where demagogues on all sides pretend to care about justice when they really it’s really about just them. Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss this issue in further detail.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.