Rattle of the right

Dear Editor:In reading the two editorials in last week's Downey Patriot, "Is Public Broadcasting Hurting the Arts?" and "Going to War on Free Speech," I thought the first one dumb and depressing and the second one misleading, until I noticed-and Downey Patriot readers should be aware-that both authors represent propaganda outlets for the far right. The ALG News Bureau, where Robert Romano is senior editor, is essentially an aggregate service for right-wing screeds and cartoons that spew anti-democratic venom with the uncontained fury of the BP oil spill. Adam Bitely is Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com, which is one of those outlets. At first I wondered why Romano was going after the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose $400 million budget (not $420 mil, as he states), is chump change for the Wall Street plutocracy that thumbs its nose at the average American working stiff. Then I recalled the controversy that erupted earlier this decade, when the news came out that the right was trying to gut public broadcasting of its content in favor of a conservative agenda (Chairman of the Board Kenneth Tomlinson was forced out in 2005 for violating CPB ethics rules). You gotta hand it to them, they never let go of a bone. The density of confusion and deception in both pieces is characteristic of clever ideologues who hurl so much selective fact and opinion at you that you want to throw up your hands trying to sort it all out-and then they hit you again. Romano indiscriminately mixes up popular entertainment in genres that have nothing to do with public broadcasting, and forgets that those self-aggrandizing European aristocrats and powerful rulers of old who patronized the arts did not preside over the general freedoms and opportunities afforded by later democratic republics. Shame on you, Queen Elizabeth, for supporting Shakespeare! You too, Pope Julius II, for having Michelangelo paint over the Sistine Chapel's perfectly nice ceiling. Bitely's essay is even more dense, and completely misrepresents the Net Neutrality issue currently under debate with the FCC. Net Neutrality means that any web user can go anywhere, with any application, for any use. Bitely and the right claim that the government wants to take over the net for propaganda purposes. The claim is false. It's the powerful media and telecommunications conglomerates that want to take it over for their propaganda purposes-meaning profit and the stifling of criticism. The one hallowed word you see crop up in all these arguments is "marketplace," which rises in the collective ululations of the right. Their ignorance of the myth of totally free markets blinds them to the moral sanctification of greed and the very real disasters, like Enron, the S&L collapse, and Wall Street, that come of such vehement devotion. And which the public sector, meaning the taxpayer, winds up paying for in more ways than one-often in ruined lives. I'm leery of ponderous statism and smug elitism too, and I do find NPR's self-satisfied drone a bit too cutesy at times. But Emerson noted that, for all our differences, Americans at heart are on the side of truth. So guys, let's hear it. - Lawrence Christon, Downey

********** Published: June 24, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 10