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 If Present Day Media Existed in 1865 
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Post If Present Day Media Existed in 1865
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Why Abe Lincoln was lucky
By Jeff Greenfield

It’s no wonder audiences are flocking to “Lincoln,” the new film about the 16th president. It’s a clear-eyed, dramatic, and ultimately inspiring tale that portrays Lincoln not as a saint, but as a hard-nosed, determined political leader who uses all the tools of politics, high and low, to push a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery through a reluctant House of Representatives. From uplifting rhetoric to political threats to temporizing on the issue of equality to patronage to bribery, Lincoln and his allies deploy every weapon at their command to win the battle.

But as the words of Lincoln’s second inaugural still echoed in the theater, I found myself thinking that in one sense, Lincoln was lucky. All he had to contend with was ingrained racism, a war-weary nation and daunting political arithmetic. What he didn’t have to deal with was…modern media.

He didn’t have to wage this fight in a time when every backroom deal, every casual remark, every public assertion or private behavior of an ally was the focus of constant, intense scrutiny--when the often messy sausage-making at the heart of political progress was on 24-hour display.

Suppose the tools of modern political communication were around back in Lincoln’s day. What would he have been up against? Well, consider:

“Tonight! New scandals as a desperate President Lincoln finds himself accused of moral degeneracy as his attempt to rewrite the Constitution is on life support—AND new details about the public and private hypocrisy of his radical allies. THIS….is the Vallandigham Report!

“We begin tonight with a shocking revelation of President Lincoln’s true moral character. In a just-obtained video shot during what he thought was a private conversation among cronies, the president was captured telling a joke involving a portrait of our beloved Founding Father George Washington hanging in the bathroom of a British aristocrat. We can’t broadcast the full audio, but in this coarse attempt at humor, the president of the United States employs a common barnyard obscenity—and then laughs at his own crudity! Bernie, as our media analyst what’s your reaction?”

“Clement, like every decent American, I’m appalled. I’m outraged. For our Head of State to resort to such language—well, it’s just unthinkable that such language could emerge from a president.”

“Thank you, Bernard. This latest stain on the president’s moral standing comes as we learn that the president has employed what can only be called blatantly dishonest language to conceal the fact that he is willing to prolong this Civil War in pursuit of his political goals. As we’ve been reporting, Francis Preston Blair, founder of Lincoln’s own Republican Party, has reached out to Confederate officials in search of a negotiated peace. When he was asked if such a group was in Washington—which would doom the 13th Amendment’s passage, the president said there is no such group in the capital and 'is not likely' to be here. What he didn’t say is that’s because he’s forbidden them to come here, according to our sources. Mary, your reaction?”

“That’s what we’ve come to call ‘typically Lincolnian language’, Clement. Just what you’d expect from a political narcissistic sociopath.”

“Fair and balanced as always, Mary. And Lincoln’s own dishonesty applies to his closest cronies. We’ve also learned that Secretary of State William Seward has employed the services of disreputable but highly efficient fixers to win the votes of lame-duck Democrats by offering patronage jobs and in at least one depicted case, handfuls of cash. Congressman Fernando Wood—your reaction?”

“Apparently the only way the president and his Radical Republican buddies can win is with ‘Postmaster Payoffs’ and other cheap tricks. To think his media team calls him ‘Honest Abe.’ “

“And speaking of his allies, the president’s been telling some of those Radicals, like Pennsylvania’s Thaddeus Stevens, to soft-pedal their outrageous beliefs about full voting rights for blacks. Well, later tonight, we’re going to air a special hour broadcast featuring years of speeches where Stevens actually argues that blacks and whites…are equal! And as if that’s not enough,--Ann, tell us the shocking news you’ve learned about Stevens’ private life.”

“Well, Clement, it turns out that for years, Congressman Stevens has been living in sin with his so-called ‘housekeeper’ who happens to be…a mulatto! His neighbors actually call her, ‘Mrs. Stevens!'"

“In other words, Ann, the real goal of these radicals may in fact be —"

"— Exactly: not one nation, but miscegenation."

“Truly shocking, Ann. When we come back, a look behind the real purpose of The Homestead Act. It gives 160 acres of land to anyone who wants it! Was it a scheme to buy votes with gifts to slackers? We report—you decide.”


Good article, and fits with my contention that the media is way, way too powerful, and IMO the root cause of many of our social problems.


November 27th, 2012, 5:19 pm
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Post Re: If Present Day Media Existed in 1865
That article nailed today's media dead on. Look at how in his example they didn't just report the facts, they imputed their opinions as facts as well. That's the way it is on every major national news show, and I find that disturbing. What ever happened to just telling us the truth and letting the public decide if " that language is unthinkable to be used by our president"

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November 27th, 2012, 7:17 pm
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Post Re: If Present Day Media Existed in 1865
I really couldn't disagree more.

The media isn't powerful at all, or at least, it isn't powerful in the sense that it can affect any real change.

Most of the media as it exists today is nothing more than an elaborate act of psychological masturbation. Conservatives watch Fox News to get their world views parroted back at them. Liberals will watch MSN, or read the Huffington Post.

When's the last time some reporter broke a major scandal that led to a shakeup in the government?

This comic summarizes my feelings on the Petreous scandal:

http://azizonomics.files.wordpress.com/ ... 3595_n.png


November 27th, 2012, 9:24 pm
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Post Re: If Present Day Media Existed in 1865
Blueskies wrote:
I really couldn't disagree more.

The media isn't powerful at all, or at least, it isn't powerful in the sense that it can affect any real change.

Most of the media as it exists today is nothing more than an elaborate act of psychological masturbation. Conservatives watch Fox News to get their world views parroted back at them. Liberals will watch MSN, or read the Huffington Post.

When's the last time some reporter broke a major scandal that led to a shakeup in the government?

This comic summarizes my feelings on the Petreous scandal:

http://azizonomics.files.wordpress.com/ ... 3595_n.png


Without present day media Newt Gingrich would have been the Rep nominee, and without present day media being in the tank for Obama, their refusal to ask him tough questions, pin him down on issues, dodge obvious questions and issues of national importance and security, Obama wouldn't be the president regardless of who the nominee was. I'd say that's pretty powerful...


November 28th, 2012, 2:52 pm
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