Have you heard of Upfront Magazine? It’s a product of the New York Times, delivered through Scholastic, to public schools and then public school students, and it is not much different from the actual New York Times. For example, the September 6th 2010 issue has articles that promote workers rights in China (promoting Unions), seek to explain the complex problem with illegal immigrants (soft selling Amnesty), and then there’s the cover article–‘Americas Challenges 2011,’ a discourse on some of the issues that our new President Obama must cope with.
Here are the opening few paragraphs. You ready for it?
When that giant oil gusher erupted in the Gulf of Mexico in April, it did more than foul the waters and threaten the lives of endangered pelicans. It also threw a wrench into the agenda of America’s still new president, forcing the White House to deal with a crisis no one anticipated.
No–It gets better.
The Gulf crisis soaked up time and public attention that President Obama had hoped to use to confront other urgent challenges as the November midterm elections approach: finding ways to jump start the creation of jobs and keep the economy from slipping back toward recession; responding to nuclear-weapons threats from Iran and North Korea; reassessing US strategy in Afghanistan; and what may be the most critical long-term issue in the president’s in-box, dealing with a rising China.
One more sentence…
Can’t presidents do more than one thing at a time?
Sure. Does playing golf a few dozen times before during or after any or all of your five vacations during the "crisis" count?
And we were worried about the curriculum? The article goes on to point out how
"the public and the media can begin to focus on a single issue"
(no, you mean like health care, Racist Tea Parties, non-existent pandemics, evil doctors, obstructionist republicans, greedy insurance companies, Fox News, corrupt bankers, bigoted conservatives, etc?)
"..and fairly or unfairly the President gets judged by how quickly he responds."
Well. There it is. Obama responds quickly to the items I placed in parentheses and slowly to everything else. Of course David Axelrod says he’s not sure they communicated what they were doing so well early on–when he infers that the government was hard at work (since day one?) but that they failed to detail those actions. (nervous laugh?)
Never in the history of the planet has a group of people tasked with leading a nation communicated as much or as often as this one. So is this a subtle back door strike to cover for the poor response time? Probably, but it goes on to frame the issues a president faces as serious business requiring critical thinking by experts with the obligatory jab at President Bush. It’s soft core political porn for the attention-span challenged. It’s also a form of what Marx called ‘False Consciousness.’ Or maybe it’s just propaganda.
Robert Owens from the News Reel Blog provides a great piece on the matter, just at the proper moment in time–I discovered it just after laughing myself silly with the copy of Upfront Magazine my son had shown me. (He can already see some of this for what it is–that’s a good sign)
To describe how the dominant class shape and control, the non-physical Marx outlined the process by which the dominant class systematically uses education and media to distort the understanding of the subordinate class through the promotion and distribution of errors and lies.
Nothing new to those of us who have found ourselves more attuned to the subtle (and often less than subtle) way in which the media and politicians have always manipulated the representations of their political heroes and pet issues. But it demonstrates the ongoing need to expand the Tea Party awakening to the conscious review of media and information in all its forms for the kind of foolishness the New York Times is spoon feeding into the public school system. And it is not so much to remind parents of the need to de-program or re-program the kids after a day in the government schools as it is to present contrasting details so as to teach (or at least plant the seeds for) the kind of critical thinking needed for a lifetime of survival in defense of a constitutional republic.