Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Predictable Pairings on CNN and PBS

I turned on CNN last Friday -- expecting to find some news or something, don't ask me why -- just in time to hear Glenn Beck ask Deepak Chopra, "What is the meaning of life?"

What's next? The Dalai Lama on Rush Limbaugh? John Bradshaw and Marianne Williamson having tea with Ann Coulter?

The mere vision of Chopra and Beck sitting at a table together was all it took to explain why they appeared side-by-side at No. 25 and 24 on the Beast's list of the 50 Most Loathsome People in America. (Go ahead, click the link, scroll down, and read their hysterically funny citations. I'll wait right here.)

Alas, the Franklin Graham of Mystical Medicine wasn't asked about his plan to build a Middle Eastern Disney World, and to create peace by beaming MTV, CNN and Nickelodeon into Iraq.

Nor did he challenge his repulsive host's well-documented bigotry, although the media-savvy Chopra is surely aware of Beck's reputation. He'd have to be the most uninformed man in America not to be.

Beck recently welcomed a John Birch society spokesman to his program as an "expert source," so inviting Chopra to spew his newage at the camera wasn't all that groundbreaking.

Maybe seeing them together -- assuming anyone actually watched the show -- will cause a few people to reflect on the basic right winged-ness of much of what passes for "spirituality" and "enlightened" discourse these days. Or have we grown so accustomed to seeing wingnut crap coming from Christian fundamentalists that we don't recognize it when it appears in "non-sectarian" guise?

Giving up on the "most trusted" news source, I began flipping channels, looking for coverage of President Bush's mid-vacation trip to Quebec to attend a "Security and Prosperity Partnership summit" with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. I finally found it Monday night on PBS.

To provide "perspective" on an event considered too "boring" for most U.S. media outlets to cover, the News Hour trotted out a former Canadian prime minister, Kim Campbell, and Mexico's former top foreign relations official, Jorge Castaneda.

What sort of "balance" did these two provide? It wasn't much different from watching Beck and Chopra cover the metaphysical beat.

Campbell, during her 15 minutes in office, was a sort of Canadian Maggie Thatcher, more conservative than the Conservatives but with a better smile. While serving as Justice Minister, she repeatedly refused to hear the appeal of a man later released from prison, after serving 23 years for a crime he was shown not to have committed. So unpopular was she as prime minister, that her re-election campaign resulted in a Liberal landslide of such massive proportions that she lost her own seat in parliament.

The "other" side was presented by Castaneda, of whom it has been written, "where would Bush find a more willing and able Mexican butt-kisser?"

When he isn't helping Bush sell the "war on terror," Castaneda turns up now and then in the Washington Post, with op-eds denouncing Hugo Chavez and arguing a distinction between the "bad" left and the "good" left in Latin America.

So much for the Canadian and Mexican "perspectives" on the Bush-Harper-Calderon summit.

As for the American perspective, the News Hour didn't even bother to invite anyone to represent it.

There were, however, people representing authentic Canadian, American and Mexican perspectives at the Montebello summit.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called them "sad."

Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

It was no worse than PBS firing its "experts" at the rest of us.


Shimmy said...

Glenn Beck definitely should NOT have accepted the plea deal and should have fought those charges all the way. He killed all those Pit Bulls in self-defense.

Apoplexy said...

This is an interesting blog

Kia said...

Mencken said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people?"

Chopra has gotten very very rich demonstrating that it is impossible to overestimate their sense of entitlement, which is where the supposedly lefty New Age begins to curve rather steeply right, in my experience. From extreme subjectivism to solipsism via relief of the burden of thinking about social or economic justice to randian libertarianism to free-market winner-take-allism is a series of easy steps.

James J. Matthews said...

Knowing Chopra, he'd turn five years of shovelling shit into a big spiritual journey.