From Consortium News: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/120210.html
By Robert Parry
December 2, 2010
In assessing what went wrong with the U.S. political process over the past few decades, it’s easy to see the broad outlines of the right-wing Republican ascendancy and the liberal-left Democratic decline, an imbalance that has now left the nation incapable of doing much besides waging endless wars, bailing out too-big-to-fail banks, slashing taxes for the rich, and running massive deficits.
But how this systemic failure occurred is more complicated – and the blame must be shared by all the players, including the mainstream news media, which adapted to the flood of right-wing propaganda by avoiding pitched battles for the truth, and the progressive community, which adopted misguided strategies that failed to counter the Right’s surging media power.
Without doubt, the Right and the Republicans were the chief protagonists in this historical chapter. In the 1970s, they reacted with a fierce determination to the threats they saw in the massive anti-Vietnam War protests and by a more independent news media, revealed by the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.
Wealthy right-wingers began investing heavily in a media infrastructure to promote their views and to attack their adversaries, including going after mainstream journalists who dug up information that undermined the favored propaganda of rightists from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.
Mainstream journalists were routinely denounced for “liberal bias.” And reporters, as well as progressive activists, who gave voice to criticism of U.S. foreign policy were deemed near-traitors, people who would “blame America first” in the words of President Reagan’s UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick.
Continue reading at: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/120210.html