In Kincaid’s Kennel: Watchdogs, Running Dogs & Lap Dogs

For a generation tediously enamored of all things “ironic”, writer Cliff Kincaid has once again extended the well-withered teat of succor. Mr. Kincaid’s recent critique of what he deems shoddy journalism (“Media Watchdog’s Need Watchdogs” March 21, 2005, Accuracy in Media) is marvelously replete with, well-¦shoddy journalism. Kincaid’s article amply exemplifies an unfortunate staple of the corporate media: derogate with snide implications and broadly-brushed labels and count on your readership being too busy or too uninformed to discern the deception.

Mr. Kincaid’s deception/sloppiness (who can tell which?) commences in his very first sentence. The website “Media Monitors Network” is unceremoniously lumped in with “a number of imitators” of Reed Irvine’s “Accuracy In Media”. I suppose this ignorance is based on this presumption derived simply from the website’s name. If he had bothered to actually read a fair sampling of articles here, he would have realized Media Monitors couldn’t quite be pinned with the “watchdog” label. Editorial policy does not exclude submissions based on the viewpoint of the many and varied freelance writers who grace it’s pages. Nor are articles necessarily reactive to current journalism, as is the norm for media watchdog sites. One can only assume that Kincaid’s objective was to trivialize the site by designating it as one of a host of imitators. The fact that this is manifestly untrue is of little consequence.

In the very next sentence, (not one to let his opinion be obscured by the facts), Kincaid quips that Media Monitors is a “far left website.” Given the number of devoutly religious writers who post there, and for example, my own antipathy for gun control, new age occultism, the hedonistic lifestyle and all things relative to the Democratic party, we can only speculate as to Mr. Kincaid’s conception of “far left.”

While making some valid criticisms, (which thankfully makes the world of knowledge go ’round) Kincaid’s credibility is diminished somewhat by his apparent reliance on the corporate media (in this case regarding the post-9/11 anthrax murders). This corporate media reliance has always seemed a little like depending on Pravda for information on the Gulag in the Stalin years and beyond. A useful guiding axiom is: "ALL INFORMATION, ABOVE A PRIVATE CONVERSATION IS SPONSORED.” The first corollary to that axiom is that sponsored information has an agenda. A further addendum is that agendas are seldom altruistic, or even benign.

Specifically, the Washington Post’s Marilyn Thompson and the Court TV crime library web page are cited. On the former I humbly suggest that little research is in order to explore allegations of deep connections between the CIA, Katharine Graham, America’s power elite, and the Post.

Besides that, I have observed the reporting cultures of the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, for whom’s marketing department’s I’ve worked over the last twelve years. Although the rhetoric of reporters, even in private conversation, indicates that they fancy themselves free and independent members of the Fourth Estate, their most intense loyalties tend toward their careers, acutely aware as they are of the severely competitive environment in which they work. Without a spoken word, they are intuitively conscious of where their bread is buttered, and take care to silently side-step issues that would severely antagonize advertisers or the power elite owners of the paper. The hierarchical food chain, reflected even by the very floor on which they work, tacitly sets the tone for what is news and what is not. Reminds me of the blind species of ant that only knows where it is going by sniffing the butt of the ant in front of it (Ok, don’t ask me about the lead ant).

Court TV? Well, you got me there; I must profess total ignorance. However, relative to this citation, Kincaid makes a point of the similarity of the English spoken by both Mohammed Atta (“We have some planes”), and the phrasing in the anthrax letters (“We have this anthrax”). Sadly Kincaid is so safely ensconced within the little white world of yuppie professionalism, that he apparently has no idea just how easy it is to mimic the syntax of non-native English speakers, or how many such individuals are associated with western intelligence. I fear the truth on this particularly issue is well down the “road less traveled by," and therefore unlikely to be trod by the smug likes of Mr. Kincaid. For example, it is possibly much more profitable in yielding the truth to pursue allegations (and their attendant implications) are such matters as the ownership by a Clinton Arkansas crony of the airfield which trained 9/11 hijackers. Likewise the vast information on mind-controlled assets now available should be methodically and seriously applied to these same hijackers. Predictably, Kincaid and others of similar bent (uncharitably referred to as the “running dogs” and “lap dogs” of this piece’s title) will high-handedly dismiss such questions as “conspiracy paranoia.” Not only predictable, but highly irrational as well.

Cliff Kincaid’s final paragraph is so laughably disingenuous, that it bears quoting in full:

“The significance of this wording is disregarded by the FBI, which wants us to believe that some current or former U.S. government scientist was really behind the attacks and that the Islamic language was just a diversion. Mr. Janney, writing on that left-wing web site and posing as a monitor of the media and the government, is taking the FBI point of view. But that approach leaves the case unsolved. True media watchdogs should put pressure on the media and the government to solve this case. If the FBI has to eat crow, so be it. Lives have been lost and more lives are at stake.”

Here Kincaid takes a stab at smarmy discrediting by identifying Mr. Janney as both “left-wing” AND in bed with the FBI, at least intellectually. One should direct inquiries on Media Monitor’s relationship with the FBI to the site’s editor. I’m confident it is not one of wine and roses.

We can also be grateful to Mr. Kincaid for defining for us the role of a “true” media watchdog. We pretenders to the throne can only swear our future contrition.

Christopher Lasch, in his final book, “Revolt of the Elites” (1996), claims that “Much of the press, in its eagerness to inform the public, has become a conduit for the equivalent of junk mail.” (p.174).

While I do not personally feel the motivation is always so innocent as to merely “inform the public”, I do agree with much of Lasch’s analysis of how journalism arrived at it’s present sorry state. He sees this state’s accursed progenitor as the “professionalism” of journalism promulgated by Joseph Pulitzer and Walter Lippman in the early 20th century. Lasch states, “The role of the press , as Lippman saw it, was to circulate information, not to encourage argument. The relationship between information and argument was antagonistic, not complementary”(p.170). This position in turn was based on a very elitist, anti-democratic assessment of the capacity of people for intelligent debate.

Lasch goes on to describe how the advertising and public relations industries arose side by side with “professional” journalism. Newspapers, which once had a clearly defined point of view and thus united a constituency with information and lively debate, now strove for a ludicrous pretense of “non-bias.” And, in Lasch’s words, “A responsible press, as opposed to a partisan or opinionated one, attracted the kind of readers advertisers were eager to reach: well heeled readers, most of whom probably thought of themselves as independent voters-¦Responsibility came to be equated with the avoidance of controversy because advertisers were willing to pay for it.” (p.173).

The point being here, is that we perhaps should be doubly dubious of citing the “professional” (and corporate-employed) journalistic sources Cliff Kincaid is so comfortable with.

Maybe the recent death of Hunter S. Thompson is occasion to give pause and consider the future of “gonzo journalism”. While disgusted with substance abuse and mindless adventurism, I applaud Thompson’s concept of journalist participation in the real world, and abandonment of this nonsense of “objectivity.” While not a journalist (more of a speculator) my views are deeply intertwined with my life. The infamous Barry Seals (operator of the Mena, Arkansas drug & guns Contra supply airstrip with alleged deep Bush/Clinton affilations) was a peripheral fixture in my youth, as was exposure to mercenaries, Mafioso, and politicians in my years as a bartender/nightclub operator in New Orleans. By 15, I had personally spoken with both Clay Shaw, and the DA who would tried him for the JFK assassination, Jim Garrison. I had the profound displeasure of knowing Dr. Alton Ochsner, a frequent subject of writings on intelligence/conspiracy/deep politics, as well as his employee at Ochsner Foundation Hospital (where the elite of Latin America came for treatment), Dr. Mary Sherman, the subject of the Edward Haslam (who’s doctor-father I also knew) book “Mary, Ferrie, and the Monkey Virus” which speculates on the origin of AIDS. In addition, I spent many years living in the ghettos and barrios of greater New Orleans and Los Angeles, which gave me perspectives for which I am eternally grateful.

Experience and education has taught me, like many others, that the bottom line to politics is money and murder, an unpleasantry completely ignored by professional journalism, which is doomed to therefore never approach the most salient truths.

Indeed, Mr. Kincaid, in view of these most salient truths, “lives have been lost and lives are at stake.” Frankly, those are precisely my thoughts whenever I’m exposed to the lying/ignorant/arrogant corporate media or its apologists. Deep in my heart, and with no hyperbole, I believe the hands of such information-deficient “journalists” drip with the blood of innocents throughout time and the world. I wonder if your sleep is appropriately fitful.