TCS Daily

In Media, Rex

By James Pinkerton - June 15, 2006 12:00 AM

The British are coming! And so are the Arabs, the Chinese, the French, and the Russians. In fact, the age of the SOMSM is upon us. The what? Perhaps I should explain.

As everyone knows, the Mainstream Media (MSM) are in deep trouble. The business model is collapsing, chewed up by the presumption that online content should be free, even as online advertising dollars go elsewhere. So there's little but bad news about the parent company of The New York Times. And the news is generally bad also for Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal and The Tribune Company. And of course, everyone knows that Time-Warner's merger with AOL was a corporate disaster of epochal proportions.

The hope for Big Media companies seems to be in finding new business models or else striking up alliances with newer-media platforms, while they still can. Viacom's MTV has belatedly edged toward music downloads; such downloading, of course was a natural brand-extension that the network should have owned all along, not letting the likes of Apple get ahead of it -- but that's the endemic problem of corporate behemoths. Similarly, the News Corporation spent half-a-billion dollars to snap up; now, Rupert Murdoch's company has to figure out how to keep fickle teens from drifting over to other hot sites, such as Finally, tens of millions of blogs and chatrooms hold forth on any and every conceivable subject -- each one nibbling away a piece of the former "mass media."

Conservatives and libertarians, long scourged by the lefties burrowed into the MSM, are mostly happy to cheer on this trend toward "de-massification." That is, if The New York Times and CBS News continue to hemorrhage -- well, good riddance, think many on the right. However, those smiles might yet turn to frowns, at least partially, as the post-MSM trend plays itself all the way out.

State-Owned Mainstream Media

So meet the SOMSM -- State-Owned Mainstream Media. You know, like PBS, only more so. Now wait just a second, you might be thinking -- the same governments that gave us the Post Office are going to give us the news? How could that be?

Now I know, these are supposed to be the glory days of borderless-world libertarianism and twilight-of-sovereignty globalism -- the Fall of the Wall and all that -- but things aren't quite working out according to theory.

Don't get me wrong: the free market is working just fine. It is plowing under, with Schumpeterian efficiency and ruthlessness, the institutions of the corporate status quo, both in the media and beyond the media. Some even project that within the decade, there won't be any MSM left at all, only the giant media clearinghouse known as Googlezon.

Here's my prediction: Much of the MSM will, in fact, disappear, but the SOMSM will prove to be not only a survivor, but a big winner. Why? Because as you might have noticed, the era of big government has not ended; indeed, the nation state is doing just fine. The Leviathan State is proving popular in the midst of rising concerns about globalization, immigration, and terrorism.

And as governments worldwide gear up for another century of bigness, they naturally want help with their message. What are world leaders, and would-be world leaders supposed to do -- share their thoughts with bloggers? Will presidents and prime ministers really want to do deal with pajama-clad part-timers? Please. Big Government presupposes Big Media. And if the media get small and dispersed, through the workings of market forces, then states will build the media back up, through the workings of non-market forces. Of course, the government-sponsored approach has a huge additional benefit: If governments pay the piper, then governments call the tune.

The Beeb Busts Out

Exhibit A is the British Broadcasting Corporation, which already boasts 279 million viewers worldwide. It's planning a major expansion. Specifically, the BBC is pushing into the crucial US market, starting on July 3, aiming to establish a 24/7 cable news presence to compete with CNN, Fox (where I am a contributor), and MSNBC. And the British government will be a big winner; our First Amendment makes no distinction between kinds of media ownership, public or private, national or international. Some might note, of course, that the "Beeb" has been at odds with Tony Blair, mostly over Iraq. And while that's true enough, the network and the prime minister have mostly settled their differences -- and in any case, the BBC will long outlast Blair or anyone else.

Indeed, the BBC promises to be edgy: A billboard in Times Square shows photographs of immigrants and gives the viewer the choice: "citizens" or "criminals." Other ads will show American soldiers in Iraq, giving the choices of "occupier" or "liberator." For those Americans who assert that the US media are too conservative, the BBC should be welcome, indeed. So don't be surprised if the BBC does well in the American market.

And if the BBC doesn't find an audience right away, well, it has the deep pockets that allow for patience: a state-provided budget of some £3.8 billion a year. The Beeb may be bureaucratic, but with that much money -- plus a healthy dollop of political ambition -- it's hard to see it failing over the long run.

In fact, the BBC already has its own local media rivals running scared, as everyone confronts the reality of convergence, when everything is digital and the distinction between TV, radio, and the Net has collapsed. Just as private companies complain when state-supported firms "dump" their product into the market, so The Telegraph has complained about the predatory tactics of this SOMSM. "The BBC is tough to compete with, and we don't have the subsidies that they have," lamented Edward Roussel, online editorial director to The Wall Street Journal on May 26. Even The Guardian, which is ideologically in tune with the BBC, has expressed alarm about Beeb-gemony.

Indeed, the BBC aspires to be the king of all media; Mark Thompson, its director-general, declares that he wants his taxpayer-financed conglomerate to take on Google and AOL.

Beyond Britain

The BBC is benefiting from a revival of plain old nationalism. Countries have always been nationalistic, of course; anyone spending five minutes watching the World Cup has been reminded of that stubborn reality. The latest expression of nationalist fervor is the idea of "national champions," which has taken root in the minds of both statesmen and corporate men. Critics argue that an alternative spelling of "national champion" is b-o-o-n-d-o-g-g-l-e, as in spending a lot of tax money on dubious national ego-trips. But the idea proves popular, nonetheless, for the same reason that people like to paint their faces in their flag's colors at soccer games. For better or for worse, it's the way people are.

So other countries, too, are raising up SOMSMs of their own. The financing of Al-Jazeera has always been murky; suffice it to say that the Arab-language network exists for political reasons, independent of commercial considerations. And the same holds true holds true for China's CCTV. Free-marketeers and civil libertarians both have a right to be jointly horrified by these dirigiste "news" outfits. But from a great-power perspective, the Arabs and Chinese are being coolly rational: How can it be a good idea for them to just sit there and let the world do its business in English, according to Anglo-Saxon values? Shouldn't non-whites get a piece of the media action and the mindshare that goes with that action?

And more governments are getting in the SOMSM act. The French are about to launch CFII. And the Russians, too, are starting one.

The Arabs, Chinese, French, and Russians have all figured out what the British figured out 80 years ago: The best way to polish your image is with the polished diction of an announcer, announcing the news in your tongue.

American Media

Here's the proof that SOMSM is the wave of the future: The US is doing it, too. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently trashed his government's communication skills: "If I were rating, I would say we probably deserve a D or D+ as a country as how well we're doing in the battle of ideas," he told an audience at the Army War College in March. Rumsfeld was no doubt sincere in his criticism, but his words also contained this encrypted message: "Don't just rely on the State Department's public diplomacy operation, even if it's getting big increases. Give the military, too, more money for media outreach."

Rumsfeld asked, and he has received. The Pentagon's robust communications apparatus continues to expand; there's now a fulltime video stream called, appropriately enough, "The Pentagon Channel."

Most conservatives (although maybe not libertarians) are probably happy to see the military developing its own clear-channel signal. But conservatives and libertarians both might be alarmed by the further developing of another lobe of the Uncle Sam's SOMSM: the rise of domestic public broadcasting.

President George W. Bush, having never vetoed a spending bill, is no threat to public financing of anything, including TV and radio. This is a rich country, getting richer; nobody seems interested in spending the political capital needed to cut spending.

So the SOMSM keep growing, along with the rest of the state. The biggest winner within the SOMSM realm has been NPR. Not only does public radio get a steady stream of government revenue, but it also gets lots of tax-deductible cash. Most profoundly, the $200 million that NPR received from the estate of Joan Kroc has enabled public radio to play in the big media leagues. "We're probably the only major national news organization on a growth curve," says spokeswoman Andi Sporkin. "We're on a hiring binge, expanding bureaus, expanding beats."

So the US, too, will have its SOMSM.

The Future of Media

This is the future of media: Some elements of the MSM will survive, probably. Bloggers will thrive, of course, but 99.9 percent of them are amateurs, without so many as one full-time employee. What will survive and thrive for sure, however, is the SOMSM. Every country with ambitions on the international stage will soon have its own state-supported media.

If war is too important to be left to generals, then news is too important to be left to reporters. Governments, including ours, have their own ideas, and they want to share them with us, the people -- like it or not.

In addition, around the world, states will want to "help" their media. Not satisfied with what the free market is bringing about, politicians will offer to help out the invisible hand -- help it, that is, with their own iron fist.

James Pinkerton is TCS Daily's media critic and a fellow at the New America Foundation.



Good article. It's not enough for predatory governments that the MSM is already left wing. They usually want to augment it by subsidising these crappy SOMSMs, like the (biased)BBC, NPR, DW, CBC(that Canadian left wing, anti-American organ of the govn't there that costs about $2billion a year). But these Pravda clones seem to work well. I continually meet people overseas to swear that the BBC is actually objective!

But don’t you now face the logic of libertarian opposition to subsidized exports? In Free to Choose (1979), Milton Friedman wrote: "Another source of 'unfair competition' is said to be subsidies by foreign governments to their producers that enable them to sell in the United States below cost. Suppose a foreign government gives such subsidies, as no doubt some do. Who is hurt and who benefits? To pay for the subsidies, the foreign government must tax its citizens. They are the ones who pay for the subsidies. U.S. consumers benefit. They get cheap TV sets or automobiles or whatever it is that is subsidized. Should we complain about such a program of reverse foreign aid?"
Friedman is right--if you are a utilitarian, for whom the bottom line is the greatest happiness for the great number (at least, short term). So, by the same token, if foreign, subsidized news is what Americans want to buy, why should they be denied the right to buy it?
Of course, if one views tax-subsidies as coercion, and one is concerned about the right of American producers to be free from coercion, a different answer is possible. But that has not been usual libertarian approach.

re: rdonway's
Yes, point taken. I do agree that if some foreigners are paying for something to send to us free, then OK. I just feel sorry for the long suffering victims(=citizens)of those places, like UK people who are forced to pay for the biased BBC. This point might be rather the same as when people blame other countries for 'dumping' certain products in another county. I think the dumped on country should be happy to receive what should rightly be called a 'discounted' product.

Two things bother me about the article's conclusion..
Two things in particular (and these are 'Pretty Big Things') bother me about the article's attitude of a presupposition that the big MSM is going the way of the dodo:

First, using the BBC as a model is not necessarily a good idea. In many places in the world, it's true, the BBC is held in high esteem. But if you were to ask the people who actually are having to PAY for it (the British taxpayers), you would get a completely different opinion. In general, from what I have read, the BBC is regarded as a joke, a laughingstock. Their entertainment offerings are tolerated well enough, but their news-gathering a disseminating is not taken seriously; in fact they are primarily regarded as incompetant.

Over here, we do not perceive our MSM news outfits as incompetant, simply biased. That's a pretty big distinction. We have dozens of journalism schools which teach students how to gather and disseminate information. Unfortunately, they also ingrain bias, but their skill at 'news' is not disputed. They simply slant it.

Secondly, the notion that the MSM is 'drying up' because of lost viewership, or lost readership, and hence because of lost revenue, is misleading at best, particularly as regard televised MSM news.

The 'News' departments of the 'Big Three' have never been money-makers in their entire history. The news was the news, it existed as a separate and independant entity from the other enterprises of the networks. Yes, they sell advertising, and yes, the viewership determines ad rates. However, they have never been profitable, even in the best of times. They have been paid for by the successes of the entertainment divisions of the networks. Their apparatus is already in aplce and paid for, the infrastructure already exists; the costs are nothing compared to what an entirely new enterprise would cost from the ground up (such as the supposed GOMSM).

The only problem of the MSM, the only reason for loss of reader- and viewership is its bias. They insult and turn-off the majority of their customers. That is the number one reason for the rise of the 'alternative media', Fox (which, by the way, does not seem to be in danger of failure like the other MSM entities are - hm, wonder why?) and the 'blogosphere'. The supposed impending demise of the MSM has nothing to do with anything inherent in the construction or viability of private MSM entities, and everything to do with their ideology.

Now without the MSM, in its current incarnation as a third political party, is definitely doomed. But this simply means that it will have to re-invent itself as actual objective news dissemination; it will have to take extraordinary steps to ferret out ideologues and do whatever it takes to re-earn our trust.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that, 'You only THINK it's bad now!', compared to anything the government would put out there for consumption. The fact that the MSM still seems unable to accept the fact that their wounds are self-inflicted, that they have thmselves driven away their customers, should only send warning signals to anyone who is considering putting together some kind of government-run MSM model, which would only be even more insulated from customer feedback than the current MSM. That would be a BAD idea.

Eventually, the MSM will learn that we don't want to watch the news to be lied to, misled, or preached to. We want to watch the news because we want to know: Who, what, where, when, how and why.

We don't need a GOMSM, we simply need the MSM to stop pretending it is not biased, stop BEING biased, and stop treating its customer as though they are too stupid to notice the bias. Just tell us the news, and be honest about it. Then everything will be fine.

Bias BS
"Bias" is really a bogus issue here. Fox didn't get an audience because it is unabiased, or because it is extremely efficient at gathering news. It got an audience because it is tailored to a specific audience that has a specific bias. This audience -- and it really isn't that large -- is obviously attracted to comments designed to appeal to their ideas. Fox repays the favor by telling its devotees that they are independent thinkers and that it is unbiased. And if you want to say that the New York Times does the same thing, you'll have to then explain why its audience is so much larger and more influential than (say) the Murdoch NY Post.

The principle fact that the article ignores is not "bias" but how expensive it is to gather news. A world news organization like the networks, the major newspapers, and the AP are made up of thousands of extremely skilled professionals, traveling at huge expense. Amateurs sitting around their office blogging can comment on the news gathered, but they can't possibly compete in terms of basic reporting.

(Another way Fox competes is by shortchanging its viewers on this depth of skill. Instead of competing on news gathering, it parasitizes the news gathered by its hated MSM, just adding a thin gloss of its own bias.)

But back to the point - it's the economics of paying for this huge network that has broken down, and this has nothing to do with bias. Newspapers used to have acres of classified advertising. No more. People used to have to physically buy a paper to access the news. No more. This has made a difference, and the media are adjusting. Obviously, government supported networks are at an advantage in this regard, b

For those Americans who assert that the US media are too conservative, the BBC should be welcome, in
"US media are to conservative." Yikes - is there a sane person in the U.S. that thinks THAT"

Millions and millions
And they're as patriotic as you. Get used to it.

"And they're as patriotic as you. Get used to it"
You MUST live in Hollywood. Poor baby.

Great argument.
In fact, they are as patriotic as you, even people who live in Hollywood, or Berkeley, which I don't. Get used to it.

tax subsidies are not coercion, they are bribes
regardless, Dietmar's comments regarded the flaws in the product, not who was paying to producing it.

Foxes bias
Fox is not as far to the left as most of the MSM. FOr that, it will never be forgiven.

they may be patriotic, but they are certainly not sane.

Fox doesn't spend what it needs to for news gathering
Because of that, it can and will be criticized.

what's with the pathetic strawman?
Nobody here said that liberals aren't patriotic.

In fact, they are as patriotic as you, even people who live in Hollywood, or Berkeley, which I don't
It's obbvious that you have NO concept of what a patriot is and what they do and don't do. Hanoi Jane thinks she's a patriot. Do YOU get it? I quite doubt that you ever will.

So you're the authority on this?
Where in the world do you come off making this judgement? Who in the world are you to tell other people what they believe? The flag is not your personal outfit. People who disagree with Republican hardliners about (say) Vietnam are as patriotic as the hardliners.

check with LeslieDell
She seems to disagree

Uh huh.
"Millions and millions. And they're as patriotic as you. Get used to it."

Most of those 'millions and millions' do not even understand the meaning of the word 'patriotic'.

There are more than two kinds of people. The leftists want to try to set the parameters of debate by assuming an erroneous point - ie that conservatives divide everyone into two groups: either 'patriotic' or 'unpatriotic'. This allows them the ability to then protest that conservatives think that anyone who disagrees with them is 'unpatriotic', or that the liberals' 'patriotism' is being questioned.


There is a third kind - the kind you are referring to: the blissfully ignorant. Yes, it's true that there are millions and millions of stupid people out there, who care not one whit either way about politics, or which party is currently in power, or what we are doing overseas, or the economy, or social concepts, or anything else. These are the people who live 'off the grid' politically speaking, and yet they still watch the news occasionally, or listen to the radio once in a while, or hear a fellow co-worker at Starbucks lamenting how our government is torturing people and how Cheney (whoever THAT dude is) is a crook.

These are the 'Ignorant Disinterested'.

There is 'Patriotic', 'Unpatriotic', and the 'Ignorant Disinterested'. Is it erroneous to question the 'patriotism' of someone who simply doesn't care at all, and yet will still occasionallly feel the need to share their opinion? Technically, probably so. You can't call someone actively unpatriotic when they are simply too dumb to know any better.

However, it is CERTAINLY a mistake to call such people 'patriotic'. In any case, in no way shape or form are these types of people 'as patriotic as you' as you put it. These people don't know anything about history, they don't know anything about sacrifice, about honor, about loss, about the cost of freedom. A casual devotion to sheehan-ites and hybrid cars, and the constant repeating of the phrase 'global warming', does not make one patriotic.

So you're the authority on this?
Yeah, I am an authority on this. If you can't judge the damange done to the U.S. by these actions, (Hanoi Jane et el) shame on you. You're the one that started down the patriotic trails, dude. My mistake to be drawn into your nonsense. As they say, put a period after it........................

check with LeslieDell
My comment was about the alleged conservative side of the MSM. You jumped into the patriotic arena and I was foolish enough to be drug along.

Thank you
And I hope you're now willing to acknowledge that liberals -- even leftwing liberals -- are as American and patriotic as rightwingers.

By all means...
please post what Fox, ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, and NBC spend on the "gathering" portion of news. Fox has people all over the world so I don't see where you get this idea. You put it out there, you prove it.

Damage to U.S.?
The "damage" wasn't done by Jane Fonda. We spent billions and billions of dollars, more than 50,000 American lives, while killing more than one million Vietneames on the way to losing a war we never should have been involved with in the first place.

It wasn't Fonda, Kerry and other war protesters who lost that war, it was Johnson, Nixon and Kissinger. If you want to argue this case, do so, But your conclusion is just your opinion.

I see
So people on the left aren't necessarily patriotic, they're just ignorant. But nobody on the right falls into these categories.

This is actively silly. Is there some reason why you can't believe that people who have different views from you are just drawing difference conclusions from what they see and hear?

And I mean, this,

>These people don't know anything about history, they don't know anything about sacrifice, about honor, about loss, about the cost of freedom. A casual devotion to sheehan-ites and hybrid cars, and the constant repeating of the phrase 'global warming', does not make one patriotic.

While attending NASCAR races, repeating "government is evil," and listening to Rush Limbaugh does? Give me a break.

And I hope you're now willing to acknowledge that liberals -- even leftwing liberals -- are as Ameri
Nope! and . . your welcome.

Glad to: here's Fox v. CNN
I'll begin with a straight oranges-to-oranges comparison, Fox v. CNN:

"When it comes to revenue, CNN brings in much more than Fox News. In 2004, Kagan Research estimated, CNN would end up bringing in $887 million in overall revenue vs. $539 million for Fox.2

The difference is that CNN supports a much larger infrastructure. Kagan puts its total expenses at $550 million in 2004 and Fox News's at less than half that, $265 million. CNN is supporting a much larger newsgathering operation, with at least 26 foreign bureaus to Fox's five, and more reporters as well. CNN is also providing content to more outlets, including Headline News and CNN's international networks.3 (See News Investment.) As a consequence, a larger share of CNN's revenue, 62%, goes to cover expenses, compared with 49% of revenue for Fox News. That allows Fox to make a profit with lower revenues than CNN."

feel free to bring your own statistics if you find different numbers somewhere.

Can't argue...
...with someone who knows everything, obviously. We are not worthy.

Damage to U.S.?
Well, aren't YOU just the know it all.

Ask the soldiers that got tortured more than usual when Jane turned them in by slipping the note that they had given to her back to the Viet Cong. I think they will tell you they were damaged. I doubt that bothers YOU much.

Ask Col. Larry Carrigan about this -- he's the guy who was supposedly tortured
Fonda was in North Vietnam, so there would have been no "Viet Cong" for her to give a note to. But the whole story is a notorous urban legend. It never happened. The POW who was supposed to have given her the note and have been tortured, a guy named Larry Kerrigan, supposed to have been the ones to give her the note have disavowed the story.

""It's a figment of somebody's imagination," says Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan, whom I reached by phone at his home in Arizona. Carrigan, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, says he has no idea why this story was attributed to him. "I never met Jane Fonda," he told me. It goes without saying he never handed her a secret message.

He said he did see Jane Fonda once while he was a POW – on film. The occasion was a night when Carrigan and the other 80 or so men he was interned with were called out into the prison courtyard – "the first time we'd been outside under the stars in 5 or 6 years." As the men stood there wondering what was in store for them, a movie projector began whirring behind them. Their captors were showing them footage of Fonda's 1972 visit to Hanoi."

The bogus death bells ring again
It has been said for more than 100 years that newspapers are a dying entity, yet there are more of them than ever. Why is that?

Yes, the NYTimes and other big media outlets, including network news, are seeing declines in readership and, yes, some of the wounds are self-inflicted. But the majority of the problem, in my opinion, comes from the competition of several "niche" publications and a growing number of non-english speaking people in the population.

The Times became irrelavent as a national news outlet by 1960 (if not before) and is read by only a comparative handful of people outside the metro-New York City, and general New York/New Jersey and Atlantic NE region. Sure, it is the most read paper in the U.S. with a paid circulation of 1.3-1.7 Million. So? My little weekly has a circulation of 1,100 and is situated in a community of 800, a county of 2,200. Gee, I guess our paper has more comparitive impact here than the NYTimes does in New York City. Again, so?

None of this means the Times is going anywhere in the near future. They will adjust and re-tool and continue to be the newspaper standard long after I'm dead.

TV news, on the other hand, faces some serious decisions. They are going to have to change their attitude about a great many things. They face enormous competition from cable news organizations, and other electronic media. Worse, their credibility has never been the best in the business and it continues to wane.

All major media outlets get a lot of their out-of-area national and international news from AP, Reuters and the like. These mass-media groups are the ones that need to get serious about ferreting out the seriously biased in their midst. If they don't, they risk losing most, or all, of their funding. This funding comes from those who subscribe to their wire-service.

As for Fox, they are no worse that the rest in their reliance on others to do their news gathering. What surprises me is the charge that Fox is some kind of conservative outfit. They are not as liberal leaning as most of the biggies, but they are far from "ultra-conservative". They are more "fair and balanced" than any MSM outlet in the world; but they are still quite liberal-leaning at times.

Governemt giving us our news
If our government is government of the peole, by the people, and for the people, isn't it the people who should be telling government what to do rather than the government telling us what to do?

You tell me, Le Mule
"And I mean, this,

>These people don't know anything about history, they don't know anything about sacrifice, about honor, about loss, about the cost of freedom. A casual devotion to sheehan-ites and hybrid cars, and the constant repeating of the phrase 'global warming', does not make one patriotic.

While attending NASCAR races, repeating "government is evil," and listening to Rush Limbaugh does? Give me a break."

You tell me.

Which group is more likely to protest our troops in front of military base gates?

Which group is more likely to file lawsuits to try to get 'Under God' taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

Which group is more likely to demand that recruiters not be allowed on 'their' college campuses?

Which group is more likely to be 'offended' by everything under the sun?

Which group is more likely to demand that we subjegate our sovreignty to a 'World Court' or to the gracious auspices of the UN?

Which group is more likely to actively campaign for actions which are contrary to our own national best interests?

Which group is more likely to blame America for the heinous acts of our enemies?

Which group is more likely to demand acquiescence to 'diversity', policital correctness, and kowtowing to our gay/bi/*******/trasgendered overlords?

Which group is most likely to be inextricably married to the 'right' to kill unwanted babies?

Hint: It ain't the NASCAR crowd.

Look, if you're a fringe kook, just accept the fact that you're a fringe kook, and the fact that you have relegated yourself to permanent irrelevancy, and move on with your life. But don't presume to expect to be taken seriously by anyone other than other fringe kooks when you claim to be 'just as patriotic' as regular people, because it's just so much verbal pollution.

Now don't get me wrong - there are some intelligent, well-spoken people who have reasoned positions from which they disagree from many conservative viewpoints. They may still be mostly wrong, but they are not kooks. I wouldn't call Joe Leiberman a kook, I wouldn't call Tim Russert a kook, people like that. But those people are more and more in the minority.

But the leftists are now seemingly led by people like pelosi, murtha, dean, reid, kennedy, schumer, etc etc. If that is the sort of people you feel comfortable being led by, then so be it, but understand that that path is the path of perpetually irrelevant loser.

How about the rest of the story
(Taken from the same web site)
And there is this account:
The source of the story about a prisoner forced to kneel on rocky ground while holding a piece of steel rebar in his outstretched arms still affirms that account as true, though. Michael Benge was a senior agro-forestry officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who was working in South Vietnam when he was captured by the Viet Cong in 1968 and held prisoner for five years:
He was at a Hanoi prison in 1972 when a political officer he hadn't seen before asked whether he would like to meet Fonda. "I said yes," he wrote in a 1999 letter that protested the Fonda honors, "for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese."
Benge said he doesn't know who pilfered his story from his letter and attached it to the Carrigan and Driscoll fictions.

In the 1972 incident, "I think I had maybe a little smarter-than-the-average bear [political officer] who knew I was being cynical," Benge said recently. Benge said he spent the next three days kneeling on a rocky floor with a steel bar on his outstretched hands. Whenever his arms dipped, he was struck with a bamboo cane, he said.
North Vietnamese guards might be the only people able to verify Benge's torture account independently. But, McGrath said, Benge's account is "consistent with [North] Vietnamese policy and conduct about people who didn't cooperate."
Benge's original statement, titled "Shame on Jane," was published in April by the Advocacy and Intelligence Network for POWs and MIAs.
"Jane Fonda had the audacity to say that the POWs were lying about our torture and treatment. Now ABC is allowing Barbara Walters to honor Jane Fonda in her feature "100 Years of Great Women." Shame on the Disney Company.

"After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement. I said that I held Joan Baez's husband in very high regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and went to prison in protest. If the other anti-war protesters took this same route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended the war much earlier, and there wouldn't be as many on that somber black granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is democracy. This is the American way.
"Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to Hanoi, wore their uniform, propagandized for the communists, and urged American soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs murdered, she called us liars. After her heroes — the North Vietnamese communists — took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head forever."
In the words of Paul Harvey, America, "now you know the rest of the story."

Whether the actions Jane Fonda actually did undertake during her visit to North Vietnam were legally treasonous or not, her behavior engendered widespread contempt among servicemen and their families, especially since she acted not as a reckless youth who rashly spouted ill-considered opinions now best forgotten but as a 34-year-old adult who should be expected to bear full responsibility for her actions. Her inclusion in ABC's 30 April 1999 "A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women" only fanned the flames of anger within many who felt she had never properly atoned for her behavior.

Ever since her infamous visit to Hanoi, Jane Fonda has maintained the fiction that she was just "trying to stop the war." But she didn't go to North Vietnam to try to bring about peace, or to reconcile the two warring sides, or to stop American boys from being killed — she went there as an active show of support for the North Vietnamese cause. She lauded the North Vietnamese military, she denounced American soldiers as "war criminals" and urged them to stop fighting, she lobbied to cut off all American economic aid to the South Vietnamese government (even after the Paris Peace Accords had ended U.S. military involvement in Vietnam), she publicly thanked the Soviets for providing assistance to the North Vietnamese, and she branded tortured American POWs as liars possessed of overactive imaginations.

How about the rest of the story
Thanks for the rest of the sordid story Pauled. I was too angry to write it, again. I always wondered why she wasn't tried for treason. Jane Fonda a patriot? No, I don't think so.

They don't post the things I think are important, therefore there must be a flaw in their system.

LeslieDell disagrees with your contention.
you are the one who started screaming about patriotism.
Until you brought it up, it hadn't been mentioned.

Some are, some aren't
there are many on the left who fervently believe that the US is the source of all evil in the world. Those leftists are not patriotic.
There are those on the left who believe that the US is just wrong on this issue, or another, those leftists could be patriotic. (I can't say for certain, without getting into their heads.)

anyone who wants the US to loose, isn't a patriot.

According to the N. Vietnamese
they were ready to sue for peace, until Uncle Walter declared the war lost.

As to the opinions of the Vietnamese people, millions died trying to escape the regime that your people helped win.

There are two types of people in the world
Those who divide the world into two types,
and those who don't.

leMule reveals just how big a bigot he is.

Nobody said Fonda was right about everything
One story was wrong, another was correct. However the bottom line remains: Fonda did not get the U.S. involved in a war we never should have been part of, a war that cost billions of dollars and killed more than 50,000 Americans and more than a million Vietnamese.

this statement, by the way:

"After her heroes — the North Vietnamese communists — took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners"

I don't believe this is true. They put political opponents in camps, lots of them. Systematic murder -- that wasn't reported, to my knowledge. If you have another source for it, bring it.

This adds up to people who disagree with you
I mean, you disagree. That doesn't mean your attitude is either right or patriotic.

>Which group is more likely to protest our troops in front of military base gates?

Who has "protested our troops?"

>Which group is more likely to file lawsuits to try to get 'Under God' taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance?

this is not "unpatriotic"

Which group is more likely to demand that recruiters not be allowed on 'their' college campuses?

recruiters that represent organizations that don't follow non-discrimination standards isn't unpatriotic.

>Which group is more likely to be 'offended' by everything under the sun?

you mean, by people of the same sex wanting to get married?

>Which group is more likely to demand that we subjegate our sovreignty to a 'World Court' or to the gracious auspices of the UN?

You mean

>Which group is more likely to actively campaign for actions which are contrary to our own national best interests?

You mean invading a country that didn't threaten us and pinning down ourarmed forces in an war with no apparent exit strategy?

>Which group is more likely to blame America for the heinous acts of our enemies?

You mean torturing prisoners/

>Which group is more likely to demand acquiescence to 'diversity', policital correctness, and kowtowing to our gay/bi/*******/trasgendered overlords?

This is unpatriotic how? You don't like it -- don't do it. Where does the "overlord" come from. Is this an issue with your landlord?

>Which group is most likely to be inextricably married to the 'right' to kill unwanted babies?

You have a majority of the country opposing making it harder to get abortions. I guess the majority is wrong.

That's not true
>they were ready to sue for peace, until Uncle Walter declared the war lost.

No, they were not. General Giap said it would be a long war, and they'd fight as long as they had to.

>As to the opinions of the Vietnamese people, millions died trying to escape the regime that your people helped win.

"Millions?" No, not remotely. What's your reference for this?

Did this include CNN's Baghdad bureau?
The one where they agreed to publish only material complimentary to Saddam, in exchange for permission to keep the bureau open?

completely true
you are as usual, woefully uninformed.

Yes, millions.

Then you should have a source
What is it? Please do not say "the Internet"

Obviously CNN should have covered the story from NY
...the way Fox did.

Oh, there is so much more
But as a Navy Veteran It make me sick to think about Hanoi Jane. Enough is enough already. The lady is insane Jane at best and a traitor at worst.

Oh, so we shouldn't believe everything in your own sources!!
That was taken directly from the source you posted.

However, I will give you a small break here. That was a number posted in the late 70s and early 80s and, I believe, it was never verified (and was later argued against). However, there is little doubt that the VC and NVA took out a bit of revenge and political clensing, the question is how much and not if. that much was verified during and after the fall of Siagon.

Re-education camps were also popular and, it is true, that the communists did release most of those in a few years.

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