FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Witch Hunt TV: You Can Trust MSNBC, Really….

When I was a kid growing up in Utica, New York in the 1950s and early 1960s, an ungodly amount of our Social Studies curriculum was devoted to hard-core anti-Communist propaganda.  Since our town was nestled in the Mohawk Valley—the heart of French and Indian War country–we were also forced to study obscenely detailed accounts of Catholic priests being flayed alive by Iroquois squaws, cooked alive on spits but never renouncing their Savior, etc. This theme—of Catholics martyred by infidels—surfaced yet again when we studied “Red” China, which Mister Fletcher soberly informed us had slaughtered 100,000 Catholic priests.  It was never really clear to us what the hell 100,000 Catholic priests were doing in “Red” China in the first place, but the net effect of all this flaying and roasting and slaughter, in a largely Catholic town, was probably to discourage boys from entering the priesthood.

But this blood-soaked anti-communist syllabus wasn’t even confined to the classroom.  As weekend homework in sixth grade, that same Mister Fletcher—actually an excellent teacher, who generously allowed me to heckle and debate him—had us listen to a radio program (radio! yes! I’m that freaking old!). The program was called Fred Schwarz’ Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.  Much to my mother’s disgust, once a week I had to tune our bulky but handsome Blaupunkt console radio away from Ray Charles or Chubby Checker to Schwarz’ show, which (like his book) was called You Can Trust the Communists…To Do Exactly What They Say!

It’s a pretty snappy title, and Fred Schwarz—who had converted from Judaism at 20—was a pretty snappy fascist.  Reading his stuff now makes you pine for the golden days of anti-communism; Schwarz had actually read Lenin, Trotsky, Marx, and Engels, and spoke knowingly of Hegelian dialectics and nodal points and other things I still don’t understand.  Nonetheless, Dr  Fred Schwarz was a freaking lunatic, and it was like forcing sixth-grade students to watch Alex Jones bellowing about false flag shotings.  Schwarz’ shtick—a simple, not to say simplistic one, repeated ad nauseum—was to present a quote from Marx, Stalin, Kruschev, whoever, either taken way out of context or completely made up, which “proved” his thesis: that Communism was a flesh-eating alien force that would soon devour us all.  In Schwarz’ world, little existed beyond Communism.  Little Richard? Brando? Women in trousers? The infield fly rule? Broken dinner appointments? Communism was more than just an evil political force.  It was a mystical, all-annihilating, airborne pathogen.

It was, come to think of it, pretty much what the Jews were to Hitler and Goebbels.

And what “Russia” has become to MSNBC.

To Schwarz, as to the John Birch Society, the problem wasn’t just those hard-core, obvious Communists like Dwight D Eisenhower.  No, there was an even more insidious group of “comsymps” at work in every school and office in America, jelly-spined weaklings who did the Rooskies’ bidding by failing to condemn them at every turn. These Comsymps were everywhere and nowhere.  That “nice” postman who delivers The Saturday Evening Post, with its radical filth by Pearl Buck? Possible Comsymp. Your pediatrician, recommending Doctor Spock? A definite medical Comsymp. Now that I think of it, Mister Fletcher himself may well have been a Comsymp, consciously over-hyping right-wing nonsense in order to breed yet more Comsymps!

Of course, this was more than a half-century ago, and Dr Fred Schwarz now sleeps on the wrong side of the lawn. And yet his spirit hovers on, smelling of boiling cabbage, in the studios of MSNBC.  Day or night, MSNBC gonna MSNBC.   It’s become a quick-take machine which sucks in the raw political material of the day and packs it into shapely—but deeply paranoid—anti-Russia narratives.  When they’re forced to interrupt this Trump/Putin/Assange horror story to briefly cover hurricanes or mass shootings, you can sense the foot-tapping impatience in Joy Reid—um, when can we get back to Robert Mueller?  At a time when one in five American children goes to bed hungry, we hear absolutely nothing about it, but we are barraged with endless details about the FBI serving warrants on Paul Manafort.  As millions of black, Hispanic, Native American and poor white people rot in jails for drug possession, we hear absolutely nothing about it, but we are kept up to the minute on Jared Kushner’s real –estate holdings.  Yes, you can trust MSBNC to do whatever it takes to make Russia seem evil–Joy Reid even claimed that it’s still a Communist hell!—so as to distract its viewers from Hillary Clinton’s dumb-bell campaign, and the staggering failures of the Democratic Party.  We can be grateful that at least they no longer pretend to “Lean Forward;” Reid herself admits that she now feels closer to neo-con war freaks like Bill Kristol and Jon Podhoretz than she does to “the left.”

MSNBC has even pinpointed the Comsymps of 2017: that’s everyone who doesn’t share their obsessive belief that a band of super-genius Russian Lex Luthors stole our election by sub-tweeting John Podesta’s emails and taking out some ads on Facebook.  Don’t believe it? There’s a simple, MSNBC-approved test. The next time you have an appointment with your child’s pediatrician, I dare you—see if he or she even mentions Paul Manafort!  Perhaps then your eyes will finally be opened to the horror…

I wish you Godspeed, my friends, because the road is dark, and the Comsymps are everywhere.  Thank God you can trust MSBNC!

More articles by:

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com

April 26, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
As Trump Berates Iran, His Options are Limited
Daniel Warner
From May 1968 to May 2018: Politics and Student Strikes
Simone Chun – Kevin Martin
Diplomacy in Korea and the Hope It Inspires
George Wuerthner
The Attack on Wilderness From Environmentalists
CJ Hopkins
The League of Assad-Loving Conspiracy Theorists
Richard Schuberth
“MeToo” and the Liberation of Sex
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Sacred Assemblies in Baghdad
Dean Baker
Exonerating Bad Economic Policy for Trump’s Win
Vern Loomis
The 17 Gun Salute
Gary Leupp
What It Means When the U.S. President Conspicuously and Publicly Removes a Speck of Dandruff from the French President’s Lapel
Robby Sherwin
The Hat
April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail