Note: Thanks to the Webfairy for the images which are reproduced under Fair Use guidelines.
On November 3rd, 2004, John Kerry conceded the Presidential race to George Bush
while hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots were still uncounted in Ohio. Either
he quit believing that he could not win—or something more sinister happened. Specifically,
I’m referring to the possibility that Kerry was never running, that his campaign was a
charade. Technically this idea implies that something very similar to a coup d’etat
has been executed in the US, since a political organization has retained power
without an election.
Questions about Kerry’s lackluster “campaign” are natural when considering how
lethargically he waged it. For example, his campaign simply skipped the
March for Women
protest in Washington, DC. (Held on 4/2/04, it drew 1.2 million, high-energy
people many of whom enthusiastically supported him.) Many commentators
have also noted that Kerry was swept into the role of
Democratic front-runner after the mainstream media abruptly
Howard Dean’s effort. In addition, much has been said about Kerry and Bush’s
similar station and ties to the same mysterious Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale.
We should also take note of Democracy Now!’s revealing programming on 11/3, 11/4,
11/5 and 11/8/04. (DN is an immensely popular hour-long daily news program
which airs on Pacifica Radio and which is reportedly now owned by its
leading figure, Amy Goodman.) At no point during this period did DN have
someone mention that a single company had counted sixty
million votes. While DN provided some useful information during this
period it provided no single fact (like Christopher
Bollyn’s claim) that would galvanize the dejected Left into action. In addition,
I will argue that DN served a propaganda function for the pending US assault of
Fallujah. Not bad for a news resource that many anti-war activists regard as a treasure.
Democracy Now! – the Aftermath of 11/2
In reviewing the news shows aired by Democracy Now on 11/3, 11/4, 11/5 and 11/8/04
it is clear that DN was very narrowly framing its discussions about the
Presidential election. For example, on the (two-hour) 11/3 program host
Amy Goodman mentions an email she received asking why Kerry quit with
“a quarter of a million provisional ballots” still uncounted. As if
speaking for the Kerry campaign she asks rhetorically whether a candidate
is entitled to quit.
All of the other people who appear on DN’s 11/3 program authenticate the election
results. DN producer Jeremy Scahill impatiently compares Kerry’s quick
concession with the weeks-long, post-election suspense in 2000. (Phyliss
Bennis later draws the same comparison.) In addition, guests Mahdi Bray and
Pacifica National Board member Leslie Cagan all affirm that Kerry lost an
election that he was seriously contesting. Michael Ratner expresses only a
marginal amount of concern over the uncounted votes in Ohio.
An ironic choice, Scott McConnell of the American Conservative Magazine
appears for a lengthy segment. McConnell argues that Kerry quit because
he could not be regarded as the legitimate winner, having lost the
popular vote. No one reminds the audience that this is exactly the
situation that Bush was in when first inaugurated.
Early on the next day (11/4) Amy Goodman asserts that Bush won the
popular vote. She states that Kerry had quit because of a determination he
could not win. We then see an excerpt of Kerry’s concession speech. This is
followed by an unusually favorable clip of Bush’s acceptance speech. In it
Bush is shown at his most likeable and conciliatory; i.e., Bush humbly
asking for the support of all Americans.
Co-host Juan Gonzalez then proceeds into a lengthy segment. First, he’s
astonished at how the Black vote largely went to the Democrats. Then
Gonzalez takes issue with the long lines that some people had to endure when
voting. Then Gonzalez cites voting irregularities with the New Mexico
election. (According to news reports most of the allegations of fraud and abuse
came from Florida and Ohio.) . Moving to the Buckeye State, Gonzalez is “amazed”
that Ohio is publishing voting statistics at the county and not at the precinct
level. Then Gonzalez legitimates Bush’s claim he won in Ohio by arguing that it
came about from the inherent racism that goes along with that area of the country.
American University law professor Jamin Raskin then appears for a long
segment. Raskin urges reform of the 225+ year-old Electoral College. He also
legitimates the results by suggesting it came about from the GOP’s use of
gerrymandering. Following this author Esther Kaplan appears. She also
validates the election results by claiming that the GOP won because of a
backlash against social concerns like gay marriage. (Goodman and Gonzalez
agree with her.) Robert Parry is the last guest on. Parry validates the
election by explaining Bush won because of the conservative media infrastructure.
On the 11/5/04 program Goodman says little of significance about the election. She
mentions 4,500 lost votes in North Carolina. Also, she briefly mentions that
VoteProtect.org reports over 1,100
calls to their phone number from people protesting the election.
On the 11/8/04 program Goodman again brings up the issue of Kerry quitting the
campaign so quickly. However, she directs the conversation towards
“…the use of the electronic voting machines..." Then she proceeds to offer a
brief list of some of the irregularities with voting.
E-voting activists Bev Harris and Professor Aviel Rubin appear. Harris
discusses her organization’s upcoming freedom of information
request (FOIA) campaign. She describes her request as requesting audits of
selected selection machines at selected, individual precincts. During Rubin’s
segment he advocates the use of paper audits. Goodman and Rubin both wonder why
there are so many who are not embracing the paper ballot panacea. Neither
mentions the alternative of requiring the use of open source software with the
electronic voting machines.
All in all, Democracy Now!’s news reports from 11/3 to 11/8 were so favorable
to the outcome of those benefiting from the “election” that
anti-war activists should
the integrity of this program and the people on camera.
If this weren’t enough, DN simultaneously provided a great
propaganda service to the military with regards to their
upcoming assault/massacre of civilians in Fallujah.
Democracy Now!’s propaganda effort on behalf of the US military assault on
Fallujah is obvious when reviewing the 11/5/04 broadcast. Early on
Bush is seen at a press conference. Speaking about Fallujah the
reporter asks him “What the objective is, stakes are for the
United States, the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi elections coming up in January.”
Curiously, Democracy Now! letter boxes both the reporter’s question and
Bush’s reply. Bush’s reply to the question appears smarmy, smirking,
sadistic and rambling. However, the red letter box featuring animated sound
waves dispersing above Bush’s head distracts attention from Bush’s
lack of statesmanship. The chaos that DN is inserting above Bush’s head is
window dressing designed to improve Bush’s effectiveness.
||...this is very powerful coming from...the
Hoover Institution...[from] a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Baghdad...
Shortly after this Amy Goodman has on Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the
Hoover Institution. Diamond is also affiliated with the
National Endowment for Democracy. Goodman never mentions it but both the
Hoover Institute and NED are said to have long-time connections with the
CIA. (So does Pacifica, apparently.)
Goodman and Diamond both discuss Fallujah with just their faces and
bodies lit; the background is black. Diamond repeatedly states that
the objective of the US military is to remove the threat posed by
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. (As with any ghost story Zarqawi’s menace is enhanced by the
limited lighting.) Goodman never hints that there is
enormous skepticism around the world about whether
Zarqawi is CIA fiction designed to justify the slaughter of Fallujah’s
civilian population. When Diamond concludes his presentation with only modest
criticism of the top military brass Goodman effusively praises him, saying:
“…this is very powerful coming from you, working at the Hoover Institution. We
hear this from others, actually, in government as well, but
peace activists, but for you to be at the prime Bush think tank in the
country, for you, who was a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Baghdad, is quite astounding…(Goodman, 11/5/04).” What
happened to the ‘Exception to the Rulers’ here?
Space precludes conducting film analyses of the audio and visual
montages that DN aired in the four programs cited (from 11/3 to 11/8/04). In
brief, they all appear to this author to be examples of cinematic
propaganda designed to serve the Pentagon’s interests. The most obvious is
the video clip DN aired (11/4) of a smiling Bush standing with his
lovely wife and daughters (11/4) as they wave to people off camera after
Kerry’s concession. Did Karl Rove select it?
In conclusion, Democracy Now’s propaganda function on behalf of power was
never more transparent than in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential
“election”. If DN is not currently being sponsored by the
CIA--it should be.