While I'm sure there are many potential candidates for people who were targeted and labeled toxic for having reported something that even remotely approximated truth, I find the summary public career execution of television personality Phil Donahue to be a compelling first contender for this dubious distinction.In 1996, television talkshow host Phil Donahue celebrated what until now remains "the longest continuous run of any syndicated talk show in U.S. television history." And this success was clearly based on the trust his honesty inspired in his fiercely loyal audience. And yet by February 25, 2003, when Donahue who "was ranked #42 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time," had his career brought to an abrupt end when he was fired by MSNBC for his opposition to the selling of the imminent U.S. invasion of Iraq to the American people. Clearly his opposition to the fear and bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction had to be silenced, given his popularity with the American people and any potential that might have had for causing the American people to question this done deal.
Long before the current film Spotlight deigned to make a film about tolerated child molestation and cover up in the Catholic church, Donahue produced the first national television program in the 1980s showing widespread child molestation by Catholic priests. This level of difficult honesty was still something that was tolerated and had a place in American media, but with the selling of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the profit motivated endless war footing this country has remained on, clearly that is no longer the case.
I don't recall who once said to me that freedom in the 19th century was expressed as the freedom from oppression, while freedom in the 20th century was to be seen as the freedom of expression. But in the 21st century, it seems painfully clear that any supposedly constitutional guaranteed right of expression or any civil liberty that in any way challenges the corporate oligarchy's exclusively profit motivated agenda has been made illegal.
It is seen as intolerable heresy requiring someone who dares to engage in it like an Edward Snowden someone who must have the moral courage to literally put their life on the line or be willing to seek sancturary in Russia or elsewhere. Dare to point out that what the U.S. government and its state and local government components openly advocate and implement as being completely and utterly in violation of basic constitutional rights and you better starting looking for a deep hole in which to hide. The problem with this awareness is that barring some other insight or proposed course of action, people have tended to become demoralized by their expression of an alternative truth to government party line. What people don't realize is their feelings of powerlessness are merely the well executed end product of a corporate media whose goal is to make the majority of people in this country think they are in the minority, because if corporate media no longer reports the tree falling in the forest then it must not have fallen.
However, this well nutured corporate media fantasy that the majority is merely a disgruntled and maladjusted minority- be they Left, Right, or somewhere in between- is starting to break down due to an Internet individually connected world where the success of a "not serious candidate" like Bernie Sanders openly contradicts this corporate media "dominant narrative."
In reality, all Americans can still believe and democratically implement that we the people should decide what is good for we the people...if we have the persistence to see through the corporate media exquisitely executed charade of seamless virtual reality.
If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch: