Anyhow. The short clip was very, very favorable to the Minutemen. It described them simply as volunteers who were there to "help the Border Patrol," described how they had sighted some possible illegal aliens and were familiarizing themselves with the border and the area.
The report gave no mention of the domestic opposition to this. At all. Worse, it mentioned how Mexican officials were watching to ensure that no vigilante violence was happening - a statement which had the effect of making it seem that any opposition to this project was foreign in nature, implicitly saying that no Americans opposed this.
For CNN to whitewash the entire thing is a very serious problem. It would be one thing for them to do the usual SCLM evenhandedness crap, but that would at least make note of opposition in Arizona and the US to this. But they didn't even do that. Their reportage has normalized the Minuteman Project, has made it seem acceptable and noncontroversial, at least among Americans.
I've been busy studying the history of 20th century Germany. In the later years of the Weimar Republic, the news media was concentrated in the hands of an industrialist named Alfred Hugenberg. He was a member of the far-right German National Party, and in 1928, I believe, brought the UFA film empire under his control - UFA was by far the predominant German film studio of the '20s. This gave Hugenberg control of the newsreels that were shown before films at UFA theaters, complementing his grasp over more than 50% of German newspapers. Hugenberg used this to glorify right-wing interpretations of events, to denounce the Weimar Republic, and increasingly, to valorize the Nazi stormtroopers of the SA who were beginning to rachet up their acts of street violence.
In 1930 Hugenberg and several other leaders of the German right met with Hitler in an attempt to form a united right-wing front. This only slowly came together, but the Hugenberg empire did go ahead and give support to the government of Ernst Bruning, an authoritarian conservative who ruled by decree. Hugenberg helped create the conditions whereby violence against Social Democrats and Communists was legitimated, easing Hitler's path to power. Many historians believe that the crucial elections of September 1930, in which the Nazis made a spectacular showing and crippling the Weimar Republic, was in no small part the produce of Hugenberg's favorable coverage.
The moral could not be clearer - when media power is concentrated, the ability to shape popular discourse and perception is heightened. When that power falls into the hands of right-wingers, all kinds of ugly things become possible.
Given their reprehensible coverage of Terri Schiavo, and now their whitewashing of the Minuteman Project - certainly the closest thing we have in America to the SA - I think it is clear that CNN has become more than a whore. It has wholly gone over to the dark side.
And so we must boycott it. Most of you, I imagine, do not watch Fox News. I deleted it from my cable lineup. Now I will do the same with CNN and CNN Headline News. I hope you will all do likewise. For whatever reasons, we can no longer delude ourselves that the SCLM is simply misguided or after cheap ratings. They're in the pockets of the enemy, the enemies of democracy and justice. Our work is made immeasurably more difficult by this turn of events. Let us not labor under any further delusions - and instead let us free ourselves from the lies and distortions of the mass media, to the extent that is possible - in order to build the organization and publicization infrastructure that is needed, sorely needed, to stop this madness in its tracks, before it reaches what is the only possible destination.
Update [2005-4-4 10:50:34 by eugene]: Lots of interesting replies. I wish I could stay and debate, but I've got exams shortly. I posted a general response down here. All I can say is that I'm appalled to see how many Democrats support this. You are crazy for doing so. If you think you can arm a bunch of white supremacist far-right nutjobs and not have it come back to bite us all in the ass later, then you're recklessly ignorant. I thought I was worried when I saw the report on CNN last night. I'm even more concerned now that I've seen some of the responses posted here. We are REALLY screwed.