Right-wing propaganda marches in Parade Magazine

Just like all of you, I can't resist a small dose of celebrity nonsense. Partly because it is omnipresent, and partly because it's a strange human compulsion to dig through others' dirty laundry. So I'll read Salon's The Fix, I glance at the covers of the Enquirer and Us Weekly when I'm in the supermarket, and when I get the chance, I read Walter Scott's Personality Parade, published each Sunday in Parade Magazine.

Parade bills itself as "the most widely read magazine in the country" with more than 75 million weekly readers. Mostly it's insipid pap, but occasionally hidden inside the tedium is a little gem that imparts deep insight or, more often, scary right-wing propaganda.

Take last week's "Personality Parade" for a perfect example. Putatively a Q&A column about the lives and loves of celebrities, Scott occasionally drops some bias in the mix, under the guise of "opinion." Since this week's outrageous column won't be available until October 17, I'm going to reprint it in all its short, bizarre glory.

This exchange appeared nestled between a tidbit about how actor James Woods damaged a nerve in his elbow from leaning against poker tables too much (don't worry: he's fine!) and the band that appeared in the new NBC show "Three Wishes" (the band's called Ryan Shupe and The RubberBand):

Q: I'm interested in where Fidel Castro gets the dough to shore up his bankrupt regime. Can you illuminate? -- Robert Henry, Los Angeles, Calif.
A: In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, which bankrolled him to the tune of $4 billion a year, Castro has turned to Hugo Chavez, Marxist president of Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil-exporter. In addition to shoring up Castro, he's funding revolutionaries and terrorists throughout Latin America.
In case you missed that rhetorical slight of hand, let me spell it out for you. Scott took a question about the international globe-trotting jet-set superstar Fidel Castro -- well within his purview as a glitzy dirt-slinger -- and deftly turned it into a lie-filled tirade about the democratically elected leader of another country.

What we also have here is a really fascinating, explicit insight into how the right-wing propaganda machine works. Between Pat Robertson's calls for assassinating Chavez in August and Walter Scott's reinforcing of the "terrorist-funder" / "enemy of the state" meme, it seems we must be getting much closer to taking military action on Chavez. Stay tuned to Parade Magazine and you can read all about it!

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