The shifting history and impact of communications, movements and the media
Steven R. Travers (2013)
265 Canal St., Ste. 603B
New York, N.Y. 10013
To my good friends,
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim , and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.
The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.
The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.
For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.
The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.
But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.
- Isaiah 32: 1-8
Prologue: What price journalism?
It would not matter if three-quarters of the human race perished . . . the important thing is that the remaining one-quarter be Communist.
- V.I. Lenin, 1920.
Henry Luce’s Christian vision of America conflicts with Theodore White’s reporting of corruption in China; 55 million murdered by Mao Tse-tung’s Communists
Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?
And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
- The Gospel According to St. John 18: 33-38
The unexamined life is not worth living.
Greek philosophers and the formation of Democracy
The Peloponnesian War
Machiavelli’s The Prince
Indolent princes “thought . . . that it sufficed . . . to think up a sharp reply, to write a beautiful letter, to demonstrate wit and readiness in saying and words, to know how to weave a fraud . . . to keep many lascivious women around, to conduct [themselves] avariciously and proudly, to rot in idleness, to give military rank by favor, to be scornful of anyone who shows them a praiseworthy path.”
- Niccolo Machiavelli
European realpolitik after the fall of the Roman Empire..
Medici’s feudal Italy
These truths remain self-evident
"There does not exist in the compass of language an arrangement of words to express so much as the means of effecting a counter-revolution. The means must be an obliteration of knowledge; and it has never yet been discovered how to make man unknow his knowldege, or unthink his thoughts."
- Thomas Paine
America’s Founding Fathers, their inspiration, and their fruits.
George Washington: war criminal?
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
Alexis De Tocqueville's Democracy In America
Origins of the French Revolution: Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Of the Social Contract
"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes."
- Thomas Paine
Decades before the American and French Revolutions, a new concept of government’s relation to its people is introduced
Alienation, fear and inter-dependence
Dress rehearsal for Communism: 19th Century European revolutions
History has to be burned into the imagination before it can be received by the Reason.
- Thomas Macaulay, 1847
After the fall of Napoleon, Europe is plundered into social upheaval
Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
- Matthew 4:4
Does man seek freedom or security?
Security vs. freedom
God and man
Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto
"The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell."
- Karl Popper
The seeds of international revolution
The “way out”: discrepancies between Marx and Lenin
Therefore shall ye keep the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, wither ye go to possess it;
- The Fifth Book of Moses, Called Deuteronomy 11:8 (The Blessings of the Promised Land)
America becomes a trans-continental empire
Henry David Thoreau: anarchist?
The Gold Rush
Erie Canal, California Gold Rush, trans-continental railroad
America: where slavery came to die
Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Time travelers and the Indians
Charles Dickens and Mark Twain: the first modern media superstars
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4,1777
In 19th Century Victorian England and post-Civil War America, two writers with consciences define the role of social commentary
“University of Hard Knocks”
The unique American persona
“. . . Beyond the darkness the West”
Go west, young man, and grow up with the country.
- Horace Greeley
The Otis-Chandler Los Angeles Times invent a city in their image
San Francisco vs. Los Angeles: post-Civil War images
The mythology grows
The Chandlers and their Times
Republican Los Angeles
Machine of propaganda
“You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
- William Randolph Hearst
With Manifest Destiny complete, William Randolph Hearst creates a new paradigm for news in search of the American Empire
From the “fevered swamp” of World War I, the beginning of a century that would result in 150 million casualties, “rose a Beast, one that played upon man’s yearning for a utopian solution to its abject misery. A quasi-religious criminal, taking the form of a political messiah. The Beast embodied Nietsche’s Will to Power, stopping at nothing to achieve its ends. It fed off Mankind’s dark side, his fears, his prejudices. His ancient hatred. Reaching out, first to convert, then turning in to destroy. That was the nature of the Beast. It came with many faces, many names: Bolshevism, fascim, Communism, Nazism, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Tojo, Stalin; but always and everywhere, regardless of the name or face, the goal remained the same: control of the state and power. Power as an end unto itself.”
- In the Face of Evil
Darwinian evolution, World War I and the Russian Revolution spawn wild new political philosophies
Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the New Man and “cult of death”
Sigmund Freud: influential contrarian
Anarchism and liberalism
“Red Emma” Goldman
John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook the World
Walter Duranty and the New York Times: “useful idiots” for Marxism-Leninism
The Great American Novel
You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood . . . back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame . . . back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.
- Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again
The Lost Generation helps Americanize post-World War I Europe
The Lost Generation
The Southern gentlemen
From the Right: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.
- Grantland Rice, 1924
In the 1920s, radio turns sports turns into a national obsession
Sports, culture and society
“Of all the arts, cinema is the most important.”
- V.I. Lenin, 1920
While the Western Democracies “sleep,” the Communists and the Nazis make use of cinema, the greatest of all artistic crucibles
A Potemkin Village
Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will
Hitler, Gandhi and the lie of moral relativism
If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
- Adolf Hitler
The world’s worst conflagration forces re-thinking of evil, pacifism and appeasement
History and morality
Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf
A “half-naked fakir”
Raymond Chandler’s novels come to life in post-war Hollywood
The Black Dahlia
The gulags: Communism’s Holocaust
In the ‘40s when Stalin was burying millions and millions of Soviets in the torture camps of Siberia, there was no word in our press about this. The victims lived in total hopelessness, because there seemed to be no awareness of their plight.
- Ronald Reagan
The true horrors of Marxism-Stalinism
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago
“The Beast had always hated the same things: religion, a free press, intellectual inquiry, artistic expression; anything that elevated or empowered the individual. And yet all who called out thje Beast, naming it for what it really was, were vilified, considered reactionary, paranoid, war mongers.”
- In the Face of Evil
From Venona to the Blacklist to the Rosenbergs to McCarthy: Red Communist infiltration of America and partisan politics.
The Venona Project00
“A conspiracy so immense . . .”
Voices of the Left and not-so-Left
The great divide: Chambers vs. Hiss
There is nothing louder than the truth teller’s silence in the face of the liar’s shouts.
- Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952)
Hiss, Yalta and the United Nations
Whittaker Chambers’s Witness
An interview with Alger Hiss
Hollywood Left, Right and beyond
The Beast understood the power of myth. Entire countries could be moved to riot, or subsist in silence, to follow or revolt, to obey or disobey. The Beast developed an elaborate propaganda machine, an apparatus so powerful it could change the world. Anywhere, any place, any time. The Beast looked to the West, saw the most important instrument, Hollywood, the most powerful crucible on Earth.
- In the Face of Evil,
Politics of the great American art form
It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl Tricia, the six-year old-named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.
- Richard M. Nixon, 1952
Television enters the pantheon of political messaging
The slush fund
Now the trumpet summons us again - not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are - but a call to bear the burden of a long twi-light struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’ - a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
- President John F. Kennedy, 1961 Inauguration
The Cold War heats up
Bay of Pigs
Cuban Missile Crisis
John Kennedy steals the 1960 election; his assassination marks the end of innocence
“Old Man Joe”
JFK’s stolen victory
The curtain falls on Camelot
What if Nixon won in 1960?
Post-Blacklist Hollywood turns liberal;
German and Russian propaganda
Spartacus ends the Blacklist
Janopi Jane Jane Fonda and other actresses also created a mocked image, that of the actress “playing” a farmer’s wife or some other character, then going before Congress to testify on farm-related issues as if they were a credible expert.
Fonda chapter – Nixon’s Christmas bombing, 1972.
Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage
advertising and the New Man; Playboy symbolizes the conqueror’s “spoils of war”
Brave New World
Playboy spawns the sexual revolution
1960s: free speech, feminism, gay rights, environmentalims
Rock ‘n’ roll
The Times they are a changin’
Otis Chandler takes over the L.A. Times and Los Angeles becomes the great American city
Los Angeles becomes a “big league city”
The Civil Rights Movement
100 yeas after the Civil War, blacks are “free at last”
“I have a dream”
“This here’s what a football player looks like”
Vietnam and triangulated global diplomacy
Walter Cronkite turns against the war amid a radical Anti-War Movement; Nixon channels the Silent Majority and ends the conflict
Journalism takes a star turn when the Washington Post does to Richard Nixon what they chose not to do to John Kennedy
The Pentagon Papers
Woodward and Bernstein
The Church of America
Trade secrets of the CIA exposed by the Church Committee
John Lennon sang "Give peace a chance," and Southeast Asia "imagined" Pol Pot
After Watergate, South Vietnam and Cambodia are left to the tender mercies of the Khmer Rouge
America in decline
A country struggles to right itself in a “laugh track decade”
The battle for the Third World
Jimmy Carter’s appeasement of leads to Communist ”adventurism” as the world is seemingly on the “Eve of Destruction"
Otis Chandler’s Los Angeles and his L.A. Times define a new age of American excellence
The Reagan Revolution
The Right lashes back and American Exceptionalism reaches ascendancy
Patron saint of conservatism: William F. Buckley
Exorcising the ghosts of Vietnam and Watergate
The Reagan Theory
Glasnost, perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev
A new kind of Soviet leader emerges
A Times to live and a Times to die
In the post-Chandler era, Political Correctness begins to destroy newspapers
The dominant media culture
Liberal Hollywood, conservative talk radio, and country music all become political; social media ascends; cable news takes over, and the “mainstream media” loses its monopoly
After Heaven’s Gate, the movie industry goes downhill
Anthem of the Right: country music
The Internet, blogs and social media
Cable news replaces the networks
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism