You know, that's one thing which the conservatives were right about, that there was a liberal bias in the media. Lefties before 9/11 were fond of saying that the biggest problem in media coverage wasn't a difference between left coverage and right coverage but a between pro-corporate news coverage and non-corporate news coverage. Both propositions were true and this is what people didn't seem to get. I include myself in that category; twenty twenty hindsight works well, but I didn't really get this until after 9/11. The bias towards elite interests is a bedrock of journalism, whether or not it's right or left. The liberal or conservative take of the journalism can be seen as another layer added onto the fundamental pro-elite bias. The thing is that pro-elite vs. non-elite isn't all there is to people's worldviews. Progressives might be more sensitive to this tension because what they're concerned about has the most to do with elites vs. people as a whole but for others who locate themselves within the liberal-conservative continuum and for whom the elite/non-elite issue may be secondary to the main issues of the liberal-conservative political spectrum the issue of whether or not the New York Times or some TV network takes conservative issues seriously or whether they take them as being a freak show is extraordinarily important.
And indeed, tv and news was more liberal than conservative and yes it did not reflect the opinions of millions of Americans across the country. When it came down to it, not seeing conservative issues in the news mattered more than the elite bias.
Hence the mass cheering after the reorientation of news which followed 9/11.
I think that this has actually been a good thing since it has taken news to a place more in touch with the will of the people than it had been before. I also think that, in its own way, Bush's political program has been good for the U.S. in the same way. We've found out that there are an enourmous number of Americans who are very, very, conservative and who are willing to tolerate a lot of outrages if they're done in the name of conservative values. That Bush is starting to alienate even them with the sheer scale of his fucking up in Iraq and in domestic policy is a testament to the ineptitude of this administration.
Yes, a majority of people are dissenting from what President Bush is doing, but people who point to this should also remember that it's taken over two years since the invasion of Iraq and almost four years since 9/11 for the American people to come to this point. If they were more liberal this point would have come a lot sooner.
And I do feel that this is the essential issue, that people are giving Bush and company passes for mistakes because they feel that he's doing basically the right thing, doing things which fit basically within the realm of conservative policy and values which a lot of American believe in.
What people see in conservatism, I believe, is an alternative to the corrosive individualism that capitalism puts forward. This individualism, which isn't real individualism so much as the atomized and alienated Consumer facing a world where there's nothing else besides being an isolated individual living in a capitalist system which gives you nothing, is misidentified with liberalism. People feel anomie and they blame liberalism whereas capitalism is the real culprit for their feelings. Capitalism has more to do with the destruction of the family and the annihilation of any moral values in the public sphere than liberalism does, much much more, but capitalism is what pays the right wing's bills and so they can never point at capitalism as being the culprit and instead manufacture a faux threat, whether that threat be gays or crazy liberals or whoever.
The actual solution to these problems is going to be one of socialist government, socialist government which is not linked to radical programs like 'official atheism' or what have you but which instead respects people's beliefs and doesn't intrude on the private sphere. The best way to strengthen families is to introduce a living wage , universal benefits, shorter work hours, so that families can actually spend time together and not have their existence sacrificed to economic need. The best way to strengthen moral values is to establish values like justice and equity as being the bedrock of our society and not the cut throat "greed is good" ethic of the corporate and non-corporate business world. The best way to strengthen communities is to pass legislation which allows communities to increase their quality of life by tightly regulating what corporations who want to move in there can and cannot do so that the community does not end up serving the corporations needs but the corporations end up serving the community's.
I could go on and on but I think you get my drift.
Socialism is the answer, not attempts to regulate the familial and religious life of American citizens.