The Republican Matrix

By David Talbot

Published September 1, 2004 6:37AM (EDT)

It was a horror vision from The Matrix  a phalanx of identical Mr. Smiths as far as the eye could see. Channel flipping after the Republican convention to see how cable TV news  bastion of American free speech  was responding to the GOPs propaganda fest, I lit upon 1) actor Ron Silver praising resolute George W. Bush as the Churchill of our day, while MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, defrocked Boston columnist Mike Barnicle, and Moonie newspaper editorialist Tony Blankley offered soft murmurings of assent from the sidelines, then 2) an increasingly mummified Larry King on CNN, dazedly looking on as bow-tied boy conservative Tucker Carlson paid homage to the GOPs big shiny happy tent, then 3) smirking Hollywood libertarian Dennis Miller toss softballs at conservative ideologue David Horowitz on CNBC, then 4) some blonde reporter/model on Fox breathing heavily about the excitement that is already mounting about the vice presidents speech on Wednesday night, as the camera followed a lumbering Dick Cheney and his security detail while he inspected the Madison Square Garden stage.

This, my fellow Americans, is why we need to bring back TVs fairness doctrine, why progressives need to finally get serious about starting their own network (whatever happened to that one Al Gore was supposed to be starting?), why the media citadel must be stormed. Wake up! The replicants are taking over! Well, at least they control my TV.

David Talbot

David Talbot, the founder of Salon, is the author of New York Times bestsellers like "Brothers," "The Devil's Chessboard," and "Season of the Witch." His most recent book is "Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke."

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