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WHAT IS TRUTH? POWERS THAT WERE, POWERS THAT ARE
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The shifting history and impact of communications, movements and the media

 

COPYRIGHT BY

 

Steven R. Travers (2013)

 

 

REPRESENTED BY

 

Ian Kleinert

Objective Entertainment

265 Canal St., Ste. 603B

New York, N.Y. 10013

(212) 431-545

ik@objectiveent.com

http://objectiveent.com/

 

To my good friends,

the Seltzers

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgements

 

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

 

Plato’s Republic

The unexamined life is not worth living.

 

- Socrates

 

Greek philosophers and the formation of Democracy

            The Peloponnesian War

            Athenian slavery

            Antigone

            Socrates

            Aristotle

 

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

1848

 

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

            Marx’s “ghost”

            Refuting Marx

 

Manifest Destiny

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

The Alamo

The frontier        

            U.S.-Mexico War

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 aqueduct

            The mythology grows

The Chandlers and their Times

            Republican Los Angeles

            Machine of propaganda

 

Citizen Hearst

“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

            Spanish-American War

            Citizen Kane

 

The radicals

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 iconoclasts

            The Southern gentlemen

The Beats

From the Right: Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

 

The gladiators

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

            The palaces

            Radio days

            Sports, culture and society

 

Propaganda

“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”

 

Noir

Raymond Chandler’s novels come to life in post-war Hollywood

            The Black Dahlia

            Marilyn

            The Duke

            Celebrity

 

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

 

McCarthyism

“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

The Blacklist

“A conspiracy so immense . . .”

            Voices of the Left and not-so-Left

McCarthy’s ghost

 

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

The conviction

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

            Hollywood Left

            Hollywood Right

            Hollywood Blacks

            Hollywood Jews

 

Checkers

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 Californians

            The slush fund

           

Castro

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

            Cuban revolution

            Bay of Pigs 

            Cuban Missile Crisis

 

 

American royalty

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?

 

Spartacus rising

Post-Blacklist Hollywood turns liberal;

 

‘Holywood Ten

 

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

 

Watergate

Journalism takes a star turn when the Washington Post does to Richard Nixon what they chose not to do to John Kennedy

            Revenge

            The Pentagon Papers

            The Plumbers

            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"

 

Visionaries

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

            Talk radio

            Anthem of the Right: country music

            The Internet, blogs and social media

            Cable news replaces the networks