When The U.S. Media Lost Its Collective Mind


Connie Chung, serial offender.


Glenn Greenwald has uncovered this 2002 interview which Connie Chung, then of CNN, did with tennis star/naturalized U.S. citizen Martina Navratilova.

It’s quite a thing to read, how our esteemed American “journalists” behaved in the aftermath of 9/11. It’s been 10 years and while I remember the U.S. media’s effective quashing of any voice that wasn’t full-bore flag-waving and Merka Fuck Yeah, reading this transcript brings it all back in stark relief:

NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously, I’m not saying this is a communist system, but I think we’re having — after 9/11, there’s a big centralization of power. President Bush is having more and more power. John Ashcroft is having more and more power. Americans are losing their personal rights left and right. I mean, the ACLU is up in arms about all of the stuff that’s going on right now. . . .

CHUNG: Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don’t like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want.

NAVRATILOVA: And I’m giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don’t like, I’m going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away.

CHUNG: But you know what? I think it is, OK, if you believe that, you know, then go ahead and think that at home. But why do you have to spill it out? You know, why do you have to talk about it as a celebrity so that people will write it down and talk about what you said?

NAVRATILOVA: I think athletes have a duty to speak out when there is something that’s not right, when they feel that perhaps social issues are not being paid attention to. As a woman, as a lesbian, as a woman athlete, there is a whole bunch of barriers that I’ve had to jump over, and we shouldn’t have to be jumping over them any more.

CHUNG: Got you. But sometimes, when you hear celebrities saying something, do you ever say to yourself, I don’t care what so and so thinks, you know. Yes, go ahead and say whatever you want to say. But you’re not a politician. You’re not in a position of government power or whatever.

NAVRATILOVA: No. And I just might do that. I may run for office one of these days and really do make a difference. But…

CHUNG: Are you kidding me?

NAVRATILOVA: No, I’m not. One of these days, hopefully. But when you say go back to Czech Republic, why are you sending me back there? I live here. I love this country. I’ve lived here 27 years. I’ve paid taxes here for 27 years. Do I not have a right to speak out? Why is that unpatriotic?

CHUNG: Well, you know the old line, love it or leave it.

Wow. Hey Connie Chung, why not tell Martina Navratilova to just keep her Commie yap shut and be done with it? What an astonishing breach of journalistic ethics. I’m sure Chung would just say she was playing Devil’s advocate.

Even more astonishing: do you even remember this interview? I don’t. Did all of this just happen and there was no push-back?

This was CNN. Not Fox News, not Glenn Beck TV, not Breitbart’s Big TV or whatever they call it. And people wonder how this nation got dragged into the war in Iraq? People wonder how the Dixie Chicks got destroyed? When this was how the “real” “journalists” behaved?

But, ya know, ask Sarah Palin what magazines she reads and that’s a “gotcha” question. Riiight.

You know what else? We on the left have always said the media bears a huge amount of responsibility for pulling us into an unjust war, and this is a perfect example of what we’re talking about. Few in the media have acknowledged it.

It wasn’t just Connie Chung on CNN, it was every fucking day, an endless stream of “shut up you dirty hippie WHY DON’T YOU LOVE AMERICA!” from our esteemed members of the press. It went on for months — years. The nation is still waiting for its apology too, I might add.

I’m glad Glenn Greenwald dug this bit up because even though I remembered it was bad, I’d forgotten exactly how bad.


Filed under Media, memory hole, rants

28 responses to “When The U.S. Media Lost Its Collective Mind

  1. paintedjaguar

    I remember the wine-shop owner who got his windows smashed because he dealt in fancy-pants French wines. The Congressional dining room serving up “Freedom Fries” (local restaurants here in the Florida panhandle still have that on their menus). Over the years I’ve grown more and more dismayed. My own sister has hit me with “why don’t you just leave” if I don’t like American-style health care (which I can’t afford anyway).
    We’ve become the caricature of the U.S.S.R that we used to rail against.

    As to the media, I’d place their abdication back around the time of the Iran hostage affair, followed by the orgy of wealth worship that accompanied Reagan’s ascension as huckster-in-chief.

    • deep

      Wait… your sister is STILL saying that? Your family seems like really loving people. 😦

  2. I was a 11 year old in 2002. But I did hear from my parents that after 9/11 , Bush and Co. pretty much did anything and got away with it. No one could criticize for fear of being labelled un-patriotic.

  3. Part of it is that Republicans are authoritarian by nature and Bush/Cheney were especially authoritarian. Had 9/11 happened under a Gore presidency the nation would have experienced much more conversation and openness about the response. The jack-booted RepubliThugs are threatened by any debate so I remember we were “terrorist appeasers” and “emboldening the enemy” merely talking about whether war in Iraq was appropriate.

  4. Anonymouse

    @paintedjaguar: you are so right, under BushCo, the USA was starting to resemble the final days of the USSR.

    • That’s exactly what Martina was saying and Connie Chung on the “liberal” CNN told her to shut her un-American Commie yap America is teh awesomest and if you don’t love it get the fuck out of here and don’t even THINK of running for office!

      Jeebus. Journalistic malfeasance of the highest order. What the fuck were people thinking back then. And all of this happened without anyone going huh?

  5. Oh, I’m so glad nobody beat me to it. Fuck Connie Chung. She’s not a journalist, nor are about 99% of the people whose faces and voices fill the airwaves with “news” and “fauxpinion”. She’s a paid shitstirrer. Maybe Ms. Chung was once a journalist, before she married legenday hack, Maury Povich.

    I’ll bet Connie would’ve been a little upset if she’d been living in SF or LA back in the early 40’s and had her home and business confiscated and been shipped off, along with her family, to an internment camp. “Oh, but wait,”, you say, “Connie is CHINESE MurKKKan not some slanty-eyed jap!”. Sorry, Connie’s folks can’t prove where they came from and them gooks all look alike. Too bad, so sad.

    She’s prolly still pissed at Martina for being a great GAY tennis player.

  6. Flying Junior

    It was the first gulf war that put CNN on the map. Wolf Blitzkrieg? War is good for business if that business is cheap, sensational news. But still, why would Ms. Chung be so incredibly stupid as to say, “Love it or leave it?” Seems like it couldn’t possibly be true. That was already a Mad Magazine punch line at the height of the Vietnam war. Maybe she thinks that we should have prevailed in that conflict as well. Have not seen that bumper sticker in over forty years.

    I have actually met two survivors of the WWII internment camps in the last few years. Both native Californians. Seems like very few got away from that one.

  7. This was not simply the media collectively loosing its mind. It was the result of decades of concerted efforts to subjugate the independent media to the interests of its corporate masters. CNN had been purchased a year earlier by Time Warner, which later donated the maximum $250,000 to George W. Bush’s reelection. I’m sure Connie saw at the time which side of the bread was buttered, and was simply doing some corporate kissing up with her hostile remarks. But historically, this subjugation of the press had been going on since the Watergate and Vietnam era.

  8. ThresherK

    I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to

    Hey, Connie, you got give Martina a time machine to do that. Great grasp of history.

  9. Mike G

    CHUNG: But you know what? I think it is, OK, if you believe that, you know, then go ahead and think that at home. But why do you have to spill it out?

    Hey Connie, if you’re going to be a sheep-like, witch-hunting, corporate-whore teleprompter bimbo, you know, then go ahead and be that at home. But why do you have to spill it out?

    Newsreaders are vapid, pretty faces, empty suits who deliberately cultivate the intellectual curiosity of GW Bush so as not to sully their dry-cleaned minds with ethical conflicts over their meal-ticket career. I long ago gave up on expecting anything but a shallow corporate minstrel show from TV news.

  10. dolphin

    Never have understood the “you’re lucky to have the freedom to speak your mind so shut the fuck up” argument

  11. Mark Rogers

    I hate to interrupt a good old fashioned electronic lynching of Republicans but it should be remembered that support for the Patriot Act and other infringements on civil liberties had no small number of Democratic votes and that by no means all Republicans were supporters of the Patriot Act and other such legislation. Many libertarian Republicans fought hard against what they saw to be serious threats to our freedoms.

    And I don’t remember the Administration of President Obama doing a whole lot to undo the national security state of the Bush Administration. In fact both parties are continuing to look for new ways to increase government access to our information. http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/beyond-cispa-the-cybersecurity-bills-you-need-to-worry-about-right-now-cybersecurity-act-of-2012-secure-it-act/

    I also find it amusing that advocates of the nanny state and government meddling in everything else are shocked when the power of government is turned against them and the protections they expect to find are not there, wiped away in efforts to impose some solution to another problem. For example, at one time the several states might have protected the civil rights of their students but no more. Or consider RICO laws which were expressly created to fight organized crime, in part by expanding various police powers at the expense of civil liberties, but are now used far more broadly, threatening the rights of all sorts of other people besides mobsters.

    Finally, here is one of the greatest moments in live tv ever. While I think Connie Chung has pretty much always been a joke as a journalist, the same cannot be said for the two men here. And this is the logical conclusion of the ‘journalists are not on our side’ mindset. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGg_dpGhlf0

    • I hate to interrupt a good old fashioned electronic lynching of Republicans but it should be remembered that support for the Patriot Act and other infringements on civil liberties had no small number of Democratic votes ….



      God, you’re tiresome. Is your failure to grasp the points made in my posts an actual thing or are you just trying to be irritating? If it’s intentional you’re not doing yourself or your cause any favors. You’re just making yourself look dense as a load of bricks.

      • ThresherK

        Maybe if the Connie Chungs of the media world taunted more escapees from totalitarian governments our erstwhile right-wingers would respect a (nominally) independent press and the freedoms it safeguards.

        (Surprised I could type that without dissolving into a gigglefit.)

  12. “I hate to interrupt a good old fashioned electronic lynching of Republicans but it should be remembered that support for the Patriot Act and other infringements on civil liberties had no small number of Democratic votes …”

    You really should think about being in the circus, other than in the GOP’s KKKlown KKKar where you and Jim pretty much live. I mean, it’s a great trick that you can do, being able to type while having your fingers in your ears and a blindfold. Your spelling and grammar are decent, work on the coherency of your arguments.

  13. Min

    Just reading that made me little bit ill.

  14. Randy

    A little off topic so forgive the intrusion.

    Why should I/we think it’s possible to have a reasonable discussion with people that voted to have a witch exorcist a heartbeat from the Presidency in 2008?

    • ????

      I’ve heard Bobby Jindal’s name thrown out there for Romney’s Veep, now he did talk about performing an exorcism on some woman who had cancer. But I thought Palin just had some preacher from Africa pray over her. I didn’t think she actually performed exorcisms? Anyway, is that any stranger than Mitt Romney doing post-mortem baptisms? Or any other whoo-hooo religious belief?

  15. Randy

    Perhaps I misspoke. Pastor Thomas Muthee of Kenya, the prayer dispenser, was identified as one who exorcised witches. The vids are still up on youtube.

  16. One night in late 2001, my friends and I were watching While You Were Out on TLC – which has gone round the twist now – and an Australian carpenter refused to wear an American flag, sending an American lunkhead into hysterics. It was a shocking incident and that TLC would air it then said a lot about what TLC has become.

    • Isn’t that the same channel that was home to Sarah Palin’s reality show? We stopped watching TLC after “Changing Spaces” got boring, which was several years ago.

  17. John Muthee is not JUST an exorcist, he’s a witch hunter. It appears that the last witch he chased out of town didn’t actually, like, move.:


  18. krissy

    I guess comments like those were pretty typical back then but then again Connie Chung was never the biggest thinker, she was just Maury Povich’s arm candy. She’s probably a birther now.