Drowning in Propaganda

In this corner, Nobel prize-winning economist Joeph Stiglitz, who correctly predicted our current economic maladies a decade ago. In that corner, Dick Armey, bleating the stardard Republican zombie talking points about balanced budgets and the evils of government spending. But Andrew Leonard writes in “Unfair Fight“:

Dick Armey, of course, was House majority leader for the first two years of George Bush’s first term, during which the first round of the Bush tax cuts were passed, without any corresponding cuts in spending, with the result that the Clinton-era budget surplus was transformed almost immediately into annual deficits.

Leonard calls this exchange an “unfair fight,” but in spite of the fact that Joseph Stiglitz has facts, credentials, and a track record of correct predictions his side, and Dick Armey is a gasbag, whose view will the American people adopt as conventional wisdom? Do I really have to tell you?

Thers at Whiskey Fire compares the economic wisdom of Paul Krugman, another Nobel Prize-winning economist whose predictions going back many years about the fruits of the Bush tax cuts and an unregulated financial system were almost all spot on, versus that of Chuck Norris. Um, yeah, Chuck Norris. As Thers says, Norris’s economic credentials are that “he made action movies and got hit on the head a lot, and also he loves Jesus.”

Krugman and Norris present polar opposite views regarding what economic policies the U.S. ought to pursue. So which view is winning — nay, has won — the argument in national media and most likely in the minds of most Americans?

I don’t blame the American people too much; for the most part, they only ever hear the Armey-Norris side of the argument. The Stiglitz-Krugman view is very well buried beneath a dense layer of media noise paid for by the likes of the Koch brothers.

At the Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg explains to British readers why the U.S. is bleeped:

US campaign laws make it easy for political interest groups and their corporate backers to hide their spending in elections. “This is a world of shadows,” said Taki Oldham, an Australian documentary maker who spent months following Tea Party activists.

Oldham’s documentary is called “(astro)Turf Wars,” and it can be viewed online. Here is the trailer, in which Dick Armey makes a brief appearance:

One gentleman appearing in the trailer that I don’t recognize says that America is drowning in propaganda, making real democracy all but impossible. Yeah, pretty much.

And, of course, the money that is buying America and burying democracy isn’t just coming from the Koch brothers and the other wealthy family trusts that fund the think tanks and media infrastructure burying us. In this election cycle, at least $885,000 is coming from overseas.