Thursday, August 24, 2006


Ordinary Men

One of the methods of mainstream media whitewash of racist vigilantes like the Minutemen is to portray these bigots as normal, middle class, concerned citizens—what author Christopher Browning in his book by the same title called ordinary men. What NPR Morning Edition host Jennifer Ludden failed to note in her program this morning, however, is that this cross section of American society involved in Minuteman workshops on citizenship and the constitution had also murdered some two dozen poor Mestizos for the crime of crossing the border to work for less than minimum wage.

Whitewashing vigilantism in mainstream media is, of course, nothing new in the US. After all, look who owns it. When it isn’t promoting the interests of its underwriters from the petrochemical, military, and nuclear power industry, even NPR now has to kowtow to a fascist Congress for funding—a Republican fascist Congress that has made immigrant scapegoating its number one reelection strategy for 2006. But the white supremacy power structure that controls all US media historically performed the same service for the Klan lynchmobs and the more recent militias as well, that is until they blew up a federal building and daycare center in Oklahoma City.

So it should come as no surprise to find that despite their more genteel manners, NPR has in the run-up to fall Congressional elections chosen to likewise offer its considerable services as a public relations agency to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Nothing personal, just business.

NPR has the boilerplate format of the program down pat: describe the bigots as well-dressed, well-spoken, sincere individuals doing research, monitoring and reporting in cooperation with law enforcement; give the vigilante spokesmen plenty of air time to promote unchallenged bogus claims about cultural vulnerability, national security risks, public health dangers, and budgetary impacts; find a sympathetic sheriff and some national guardsmen to say these Minutemen Militias are OK good old boys; emphasize the socially acceptable advocacy and lobbying of legislatures by this “grassroots” organization; and close the program with the NPR hostess repeating the main Minuteman talking points as though it was a highly scripted and polished PBS commercial.

Come to think of it, that’s exactly what it was.


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