Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: Bizarro Media World

EoA: Bizarro Media World

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 141-144 (Chapter Twenty-Six)

Welcome to more media manipulation, as perceived in this bizarro world created by LaHaye and Parshall. Readers will recall that in past chapters, Josh Jordan was portrayed as a man out for his own wallet, even though the book claims him to be a 100% RTP*. We get introduced to LaHaye’s favorite news agency, Global News Network. Buck Willams would probably feel right at home here, I think. 😛

“As desk manager for the Global News Network’s Los Angeles studio, Jerry [Hendrickson] had just finished reading the thick transcript of congressional testimony. It was stunning. Now he was on the horns of a dilemma. He glanced at his watch. Bob Kosterman, the executive vice president of the network, should have left his private lunch in Washington with Vice President Tulrude at the Executive Mansion about five minutes ago. Jerry was scheduled to call Bob right about now, while Kosterman was alone inside the limo furnished by the administration and being driven back to the airport.”

(additions are mine)

Notice that the Vice-President, who seems to be the bizarro counterpart to Dick Cheney as the alleged mover and shaker of the Administration, is lunching with a media magnate. Now, this kind of closeness between the media and the Republican party would be almost a non-event, but for LaHaye and Parshall to believe this of Democrats? Mmmmmmkay.

During the phone call, we get some interesting revelations:

“‘Right. Well, I think we’ve been casting this whole story in a slightly…uh…misdirected fashion. This Jordan guy is not squeezing the Pentagon for a better business deal. Not at all. It says right here the real reason he’s reluctant to disclose all his research on the RTS design is–‘

But Kosterman wouldn’t let him finish. ‘Jerry, are you accusing your own network of creating a false story?’

[ … ]

‘A transcript from a closed congressional committee investigating high-level national security issues? You realize how much trouble we could be in if we publish that?’

‘But Mr. Kosterman, we published that original leaked report from the committee about Jordan defying Congress. And it now appears that the slant of the story as we reported it was all wrong–‘

‘No, it wasn’t. You said yourself we didn’t create a false story.’

‘Well, not intentionally, no. But it appears now that the accuracy of-‘

‘Jerry. Do not–I repeat–do not put anything from that transcript on our web-news service. Anywhere. At anytime. Is that clear?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘And deliver that transcript immediately to my executive assistant. And don’t make any copies.'”

Well, well, well.

So a media bigwig is conspiring to deep-six a story. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

The fact is, though, is that Jordan’s behavior before a Congressional committee could be considered at the very least borderline rude. That is not in dispute, I don’t think. As commenters to this blog have noted, the entire media and Congressional circus over this RTS-RGS thing is a complete farce because there would have been documentation, somewhere, proving that a contract had been let out to tender, and that Jordan’s company had been the successful bidder.

So even if the entire details of it were classified, there would still be some kind of paper trail indicating that the device existed, and this could be used to reverse engineer the thing if a foreign power really wanted it.

Jordan’s prima-donna-ing thus forces equslly implausible behavior in other people linked in with this story, as witness the US Administration acting contrary to the security of the nation, both by attempting to barter the RGS-RTS, and by sinking a media story prejudicial to the interests of the Administration. I note that in previous chapters the ridiculousness of this idea LaHaye and Parshall have about the level of Democratic command-and-control over media message compared to the Republican.

Some tl;dr rambling follows. I’ll try to just hit the highlights, since this has a final point that LaHaye and Parshall are apparently making by means of the conspiracy-theory vehicle of digital conversion.

“Jerry was there back during the 2009-10 transition when all of America’s television stations, responding to the requirement of the federal government, had to convert from the old analogue signal system to a digital format. From a technical standpoint, that one made sense and seemed to work reasonably well for the consumers. So when several years later a second media ‘conversion’ was ordered by the U.S. government, most Americans weren’t too upset. They had seen it all before. Of course, at the time, some media watchers and pundits had warned about the potential for an ugly monopoly developing after that media transition. Jerry agreed.”

The shadowy second “conversion” involves, apparently, a switch to Internet-based delivery which would shift bandwidth usage from dedicated fiber-optic cable provided by the cable TV company to the Internet backbone and ISPs, which somewhat makes sense given that there is a considerable amount of “dark fiber” that is a legacy of the dot-com bubble and continues to be a source of readily available unused bandwidth.

Also, I’d like to note that the specific year given in this book gives us a clue as to when the book likely takes place. Given that Virgil Corland’s advisers have indicated that a Nixon-style program of expansionary fiscal/monetary policy coupled with wage-price controls could be safely handled and halted ten months prior to the “next election”, it’s likely that the book takes place in the year 2014, which would be just after a midterm election and giving Corland a comfortable margin before his Presidential election in late 2016. It could, with equal facility, be assumed to be in the year 2018 for similar reasons.

The stated rationale for the conversion also includes this, besides the usual bumpf about interactive content delivery and what-have-you:

“Besides, the government said it needed to commandeer the old-fashioned ‘over the air’ broadcast spectrum that TV and radio had used for decades so it could be used for other purposes, like emergency services and large transmissions of high-speed technical data to federal agencies, contractors, and industries.”

I’m not sure if LaHaye and Parshall intend this to be a hidden hey-the-government-is-eeeeeeevil message but when conservatives talk about government it seems like there’s never been a government program they liked except when it was a military thing, or when it comes to more ways to throw people in jail.

And now we get to the told-you-so! part:

“By that time almost all of the nation’s newspapers and magazines too had fled to the Internet. The print-publishing world had been facing financial ruin, so going electronic was a matter of survival. Television and radio had converted to a single Internet-based system of transmission; all forms of national news and information had now been transferred over to a single platform: the web. It was as if every media company had booked a ticket for themselves onto the same ocean-going cruise ship. But few people had asked the right questions: like who were the pilots of that vessel, and where was it heading?

Jerry and some of his cronies in the industry could see how it could become a ship of fools. The news conversion to the Internet had created the open door for a monopoly over all news and information that could be exercised by a few huge telecommunications companies.”

You know, this continuing motif of media concentration and monopolization being confronted by LaHaye and Parshall continues to astonish me, because I’ve never seen other right-wing organizations or publications address it at all. It’s just kind of annoying that they only intend to use this to “prove” that their bizarro mirror image of our world is the real version.

“And he didn’t miss, either, the effect of the international takeover. Foreign nations used cleverly disguised sovereign wealth funds to buy up a controlling interest in America’s news networks and the telecoms during the national economic crisis. Jerry would overhear Bob Kosterman’s secretary telling him that the big investors from Paris, Moscow, Beijing, or Bahrain were on the line. He knew it wasn’t just about finance. How could it not seep into the decisions that were being made about what news and talk programs to pull and which ones to keep? The same scenario was happening in every other TV network. And the radio syndicates too.”

And here we get the usual fear-mongering button-pushing with that strange foreigners button getting hammered a few dozen times. The fact that Rupert Murdoch has done this kind of foreign takeover in real life doesn’t seem to have registered in LaHaye’s mind. Or Parshall’s.

To wrap things up, we get the dun-dun-dun ender to this section of the chapter naming that eeeeeeeevil Vice-President as the problem:

“Jerry mouthed to himself the two words he knew were behind what had just happened.

Jessica Tulrude.

And there you have it, people. Those no-goodnik Democrats want to let good American media get bought up by foreign governments and manipulate the media in as crass a fashion as any Republican has no doubt done.

Next up, we’ll revisit the Round Table with Josh Jordan.

* Real True Patriots



12 thoughts on “EoA: Bizarro Media World

  1. Ah, can’t you just hear the hatred for Al Jazeera practically screaming off the text?

    Plus, gotta love the hatred for general foreign media conglomerates, since Newscorp, parent company of FOX, specializes in…foreign takeovers of local media.

    Of course, the whole thing is rather racist (“Those foreigners can’t be trusted to handle real, true, AMERICAN news”) and a nice little dog-whistle about how all foreign media (such as the BBC) is secretly out to get the US.

  2. It’s at times like this that I find myself reduced to incoherence not by the propaganda but by how fundamentally the authors fail to understand what they’re talking about.

    (See also Murdoch’s son railing against the evils of Free News.)

    Mostly the UK government just wants to sell off the analogue spectrum to any sucker who’s prepared to pay for it.

    Is this commandeering a shout-out to the tinfoil hat brigade?

  3. I ran into this headdesk logic (apply directly to forehead) with Overton Window.

    Jerry and some of his cronies in the industry could see how it could become a ship of fools. The news conversion to the Internet had created the open door for a monopoly over all news and information that could be exercised by a few huge telecommunications companies.”

    *gibber* Then why are these assholes pushing against net neutrality?! Are they that facile? Are they decerebrate? Are they outright lying? This media conglomeration are the very thing these authoritarian jerks are pushing for! Hell, Rupert “Carpetbagger Asshole” Murdoch is the prime culprit of ‘foreign interests taking over American media.’

    But they seem to completely forget about this. My uncle swears up and down that the only two sources of truth are Rush Limbough and Fox News, but he thinks Murdoch is a jerk and an ass. Bwah?! *headdesk*

  4. Also, wonderful seeing AoE reviews back again! =)

    Hmm… actually, I wonder… Overton Window and Edge of Apocalyse came out at about the same time. I doubt it’s more than a coincidence but it’s entertaining to imagine some sort of clandestine meeting between Glenn “Don’t Tease The Panther” Beck and Tim “Theocracy Now” LaHaye. … Actually, no, it’s not entertaining, it’s creepy as hell.

    Which just makes me wonder, though… The religious right are clearly in favor of American theocracy/dominionism (or at least they wouldn’t say ‘no’ to it) but trying to set one up seems to fly in the face of End Times prophecy. Do they think that if they do it, TurboJesus will reveal himself to all and thank them for setting up his kingdom for him?

    • I think it can connect with the conceit we’re seeing among arch-conservatives that somehow, the current economic nettles CAN be undone in the space of two years. Such ones seem to also think it’s America’s moral duty to induct in “family values” dedicates &c. If I remember correctly, they think bringing in such ones will somehow bolster America’s “moral fabric” to the point that we’ll be able to dispel those nettles in the process. Or rather, that God will bless us with prosperity.

      Basically…it’s a failsafe in case the Rapture ISN’T as close as they’re anticipating (well, Rapture if you’re a dispensationalist). Look at the whole conceit about the Kingdom of Israel’s history. Supposedly, when everything was consonant with God’s will, everything else was just fine. When it WASN’T consonant, it was supposed to be a sure beacon for disaster. And somehow, they think the whole case applies here, too (remember Falwell and his diagnosis of the 9/11/01 crisis?). I think they’re still smart enough to acknowledge the whole only-the-Father-knows-the-time element, so they might as well set up a Righteous Republic ™–and save as many souls as they can in the process–in the interim. Rapture and/or Tribulation are meant for when every other holy intent would get swamped by the profane anyway.

      And yet…it seems redolent of sorcery and conjuration, as though they bring in the ideal to summon the prosperity, rather than for the ideal’s own sake.

  5. The shadowy second “conversion” involves, apparently, a switch to Internet-based delivery which would shift bandwidth usage from dedicated fiber-optic cable provided by the cable TV company to the Internet backbone and ISPs

    So… this shifts away from using cable TV lines – which, if there’s a town anywhere whose cable is not a local monopoly, I haven’t heard of it – to using ISPs, which spring up like weeds, and this has “the potential for an ugly monopoly”?

    *reads on*

    Internet. Monopoly. Internet. Monopoly. Erm, do they have the first clue about how the Internet works? Yes, there’s one ‘net: one collection of lots of separate things. Even with the consolidation of backbones, the Internet is still capable of routing around damage, and still considers censorship to be damage.

    • Considering that LaHaye apparently believes that a ballistic weapon can be ‘reprogrammed’ *after* it reaches the zenith of its trajectory to go back and hit the thing that launched it, I don’t think a little thing like how the Internet really works will stop him.

      “Colonel Jordan, it seems to me that your explaination of using lasers to reprogram a warhead and have it ‘return to sender’ is horse pucky.”
      “We needed to give a plausible excuse, sir. The public is not ready for what RTG-RTS really is!”
      “Lay it on me, Jordan.”
      “It is–

      (A) — magic, sir. We have this book called the ‘Necronomicon.'”
      (B) — wishful thinking, sir. Our people pull out divining rods, crystals, and think no-explody and turn-aroundy thoughts at the warhead. Somehow it works.”
      (C) — weird technology, sir. You see, we envelop the warhead in a holon descriptor field and induce the momentum to invert itself, so the warhead follows it’s reverse trajectory identically, wherepon we release the descriptor field and let it blow up.”
      (D) — Trek technology, sir. We reverse the polarity of a neutron laser and set it to collide against the subspace boundary domain surrounding the warhead, then generate a tetryon particle stream to–”
      “You’re BSing me, Jordan.”
      “Yes, sir. Completely and thoroughly, sir. *beat* So, anyway, the tetryon particle stream….”
      (E) — a mystery to me, sir. I don’t know a thing about how it works, to such a point where anything I say about it is a lie. And apparently not even very good lies, either.”

      • No, no, it’s not “magic”, that’s just something we tell the fundies to piss ’em off. You just draw the proper summoning curves and make the appropriate noises (“Ia! Ia!”) and the geometry of spacetime is shifted so that the warhead lands on its launch point – and we’re working on the Mark II, where it’ll do that before it is launched.

        But we could use more funding. We still have this little problem with the tentacles…

  6. “Kosterman was alone inside the limo furnished by the administration and being driven back to the airport.”

    So I guess when Buck Williams accepts first class tickets and limo rides a la ‘Mr McGuillicuddy’ it’s okay. But when the evil liberal elites do it….

    ‘No, it wasn’t. You said yourself we didn’t create a false story.’

    Never mind that Jerry’s telling Kosterman that they may have just slandered a powerful industrialist with vast government contacts who’s currently seen in many circles as a national hero. A man who probably has ten high-priced lawyers behind a hidden door in his office. As long as he bully Jerry the messenger and bury the transcripts, everything will be alright.

    Also, if you were looking to maintain an absolute monopoly on media outlets, wouldn’t you want to move back to the old analogue broadcast system? Anybody can get on the internet, but if you need heavy, expensive broadcast towers and such then the number of national media outlets would probably shrink back down to single digits pretty quickly. If there’s one thing to be learned from the ‘viral video’ phenomenon, it’s that a story from the unlikeliest of sources can circle the globe in a matter of hours provided that it resonates with viewers. It would explain why Communist China and North Korea are so eager to keep unfiltered internet access out, and why mid-20th century guerrilla struggles often turned on who could control the radio station.

    _sigh_ This Jerry guy seems to be what guys like L&P call “sheeple” (a term I really don’t like, by the way). There he is, diligently working away for the evil liberal media conglomerate, without a thought in his head except for the ones put there by his liberal masters. Luckily for all the Real True Patriots out there, sheeple only need the slightest hint of True Manly Patriotism for him to cast off his chains and rise up in defiance! That’s why the liberal media have worked so hard to suppress Jordan’s testimony before Congress. The pounding of his manly RTP chest is like a drum beat call to arms that will galvanize the proles that the liberal elites have worked so long and hard to keep dormant! Poor Jerry stands on the cusp of such a moment. He has read the fiery words of the Illustrious Jordan and his soul cries out: “Baa…” I mean “Freedom!”

    • Thanks – that “expensive equipment -> monopoly” part is what I was trying to reach for when my brain went “buh” and I had to go and lie down for a bit…

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