unleashing killer blood-sucking zombies
August 5, 2011 8:28 AM   Subscribe

How the US media marginalises dissent

The American media deploys a deep and varied arsenal of rhetorical devices in order to marginalise opinions, people and organisations as "outside the mainstream" and therefore not worth listening to. For the most part the people and groups being declaimed belong to the political Left. To take one example, the Green Party - well-organised in all 50 states - is never quoted in newspapers or invited to send a representative to television programmes that purport to present "both sides" of a political issue. (In the United States, "both sides" means the back-and-forth between centre-right Democrats and rightist Republicans)

Marginalisation is the intentional decision to exclude a voice in order to prevent a "dangerous" opinion from gaining currency, to block a politician or movement from becoming more powerful, or both.
posted by infini (66 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, from a Canadian perspective... you're supposed to speak from the middle! That's objective and fair and measured. Take both sides of the debate.

Never mind that "center" is a moving target, without any actual meaning. But if you don't talk from there, you're probably a crazy, and not "considering both sides of the issue."
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:35 AM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Using Ralph Nader as the poster boy for dissent is not enhancing this argument for me. I still blame Nader for the Bush presidency. The author says Nader wasn't at fault, it was the corrupt courts deciding Bush v. Gore. But without Nader, it never would have been close enough to need to go to the courts.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Now that you mention it, why doesn't Gene Ray have a slot on Fox News?
posted by b1tr0t at 8:50 AM on August 5, 2011


An additional point not really covered by the article is the overwhelming tendency to limit the reporting to only relaying and not investigating what "both sides" say on a particular topic. There is very little analysis of the veracity of any statements or the implications of superficially populist policy announcements, especially early in the news cycle. Idiocy and irresponsibility are rarely pointed out. The soundbite sets the agenda, and blithely steamrollers any in-depth debate of any given topic. This allows the continuing portrayal of serial liars and snake oil salesmen as "serious people", as they are seldom shown up for what they are, and it permits them to continue setting the terms of the debate. It would be much easier to introduce new ideas and their proponents into the debate if the current crop were exposed for the charlatans that they are.
posted by Jakey at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


A lot of the examples in the article are really fringe ideas though. How are the media supposed to handle it when someone on the left talks about seizing corporate cash to pay debts or someone on the right talks about the government's plan to outlaw all firearms?
posted by burnmp3s at 8:57 AM on August 5, 2011


I still blame Nader for the Bush presidency

Or you could blame half of your country. And in the next election, more than half.

Out of curiosity, I haven't seen the breakdown state-by-state. Were there states where 0 votes for Nader would have tipped the results in favor of Gore, or is the argument based on popular vote totals?

I think it's also worth pointing out that a lot of what the Tea Party advocates is technically dissent, and they get plenty of airtime. I feel like the issue this guy is talking about has more to do with the Left not being taken seriously in the press, because right-wing dissent is well-represented.
posted by Hoopo at 8:59 AM on August 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Look, there's only so many hours in the day, and those hours are already filled with the media discussing the media's reaction to the latest media story about the media, so it's not like there's time to cram in more coverage. Now here's Lisa with entertainment news. Coming up: your tweets, read live!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2011 [18 favorites]


This has all been covered quite well by Noam Chomsky. I'm surprised I didn't come across his name in the piece.

The Nader-caused-Bush issue is bullshit. Katherine Harris gave us Bush (along with millions of other Americans who voted for the shithead).
posted by Jim Slade at 9:02 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Using Ralph Nader as the poster boy for dissent is not enhancing this argument for me. I still blame Nader for the Bush presidency. The author says Nader wasn't at fault, it was the corrupt courts deciding Bush v. Gore. But without Nader, it never would have been close enough to need to go to the courts.

I hear you, but at the same time, had Gore run a real campaign, as a real alternative, he could have had the votes to cover it. Instead, he ran as a candidate virtually identical to Bush. The nation mostly shrugged and viewed the ensuing fracas like a somewhat interesting TV program.

In the year 2000, Bush and Gore were almost identical on paper. Gore ran as Clinton II, Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" and "a uniter, not a divider." No one had any idea how destructive Bush was going to be. This is why it's important to vote, even when the candidates seem nearly identical.

I saw Michael Moore at speak at NYU on the day the election results were supposed to come out. He seemed unconcerned about whether Bush or Gore would win - instead, he said he was glad that Nader had made a difference. He had hoped it would teach the Dems a lesson.

A lot of the examples in the article are really fringe ideas though. How are the media supposed to handle it when someone on the left talks about seizing corporate cash to pay debts or someone on the right talks about the government's plan to outlaw all firearms?

It's not "seizing corporate cash", as if a bunch of G-men are raiding Apple. It's raising taxes on corporate profits.

As for a plot to "outlaw all firearms," a responsible paper would point out that no such plot exists. Ta-da.

Out of curiosity, I haven't seen the breakdown state-by-state. Were there states where 0 votes for Nader would have tipped the results in favor of Gore, or is the argument based on popular vote totals?

There were enough votes for Nader in Florida that, had Nader received no votes, Gore would have taken the state, barring other shenanigans.

Gore already had the popular vote in 2000. Bush took the most votes in the electoral college, however, and that's what matters.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:07 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a bit of a misnomer to call this marginalizing dissent. Right-wing nutjobs get PLENTY of coverage. Gun nuts, bible nuts, tax nuts, "small government" nuts, etc. What gets marginalized in the US is the Left. Period.
posted by DU at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2011 [24 favorites]


I can recommend a couple of great books containing essays on this very subject by Russ Kick: Everything You Know is Wrong, Abuse Your Illusionsand Everything You Know is Still Wrong, published by Disinformation. Basically, the media doesn't exist to inform you, it exists to DIVERT you.
posted by Renoroc at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


That is what the article says, yes.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:11 AM on August 5, 2011


This marginalization of the Green Party stuff is bullshit. Running a Green Party candidate for President without a single "Green" member of Congress isn't how you build a party. What they ought to do is follow the Tea Party example: organize at the grass roots, and run candidates as primary challengers to centrist Democrats. Get candidates elected nominally as Democrats, but have them express true allegiance to the Green Party platform.

Otherwise, this is just another exercise in explaining away electoral failures by blaming the "corporate media."
posted by BobbyVan at 9:16 AM on August 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


he said he was glad that Nader had made a difference. He had hoped it would teach the Dems a lesson.

It did! That lesson is, "swing further rightward".
posted by adamdschneider at 9:16 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look, there's only so many hours in the day, and those hours are already filled with the media discussing the media's reaction to the latest media story about the media

Or filled with lurid details about the freshly cooked gourmet dish the infamous psychopathic pedophile ordered on his first-class flight to face trial after being extradited from Europe, another pervert eating like a prince on the public dime... Or all the lurid details with a hefty side of innuendo from the latest white trash murder story from the trailer park belt in South Florida, or any other minuscule, small town horror show amplified and distorted into national news for the sake of spectacle... Or filled with the latest celebrity death/domestic abuse/fatal illness...

What was it Ford said about the Model T? "You can get it in any color you want, as long as it's black." That's kind of how the news is, these days. It's designed to make people cynical about their neighbors and to see themselves sorted out into groups of shared cultural identity unified in their opposition to some vague, menacing other, whatever their preferred criteria of "other" may be, whether it be undocumented ("illegal") immigrants, the Islamic menace, creeping socialism, or those culturally elite liberal academics that always ruin everything.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Look at his face; Nader's never fully recovered from that episode of Bell's Palsy he had a few years back. Probably the cause of the slight slurring I've noticed lately, too.
posted by jamjam at 9:21 AM on August 5, 2011


This marginalization of the Green Party stuff is bullshit. Running a Green Party candidate for President without a single "Green" member of Congress isn't how you build a party. What they ought to do is follow the Tea Party example: organize at the grass roots, and run candidates as primary challengers to centrist Democrats. Get candidates elected nominally as Democrats, but have them express true allegiance to the Green Party platform.

You're talking about building a party's strength, but that's not what the article's about.

Perot didn't have party support in Congress, but he was allowed at the debates. Nader was not. Why was having Perot at the debate more acceptable than having Nader at the debate?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's a bit of a misnomer to call this marginalizing dissent. Right-wing nutjobs get PLENTY of coverage. Gun nuts, bible nuts, tax nuts, "small government" nuts, etc. What gets marginalized in the US is the Left.

That's exactly what the article is saying. It places side-by-side the "fringes" of the right and the left, and shows how while the former is given credibility by the mainstream media, the latter is most often not.

Which is a valid point, although I'm still hesitant to buy into the "show both sides = objective reporting" idea. As was pointed out upthread, there's also a distinct lack of analysis of these points of view, leading to this false equivalency that if a Democrat says the sky is blue, then media outlets would be wrong to not interview a Republican saying the sky is plaid.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:26 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Otherwise, this is just another exercise in explaining away electoral failures by blaming the "corporate media."

Corporations and elected officials create the crap, the media just spreads it around. None of them are innocent here, really.
posted by uniq at 9:26 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of the examples in the article are really fringe ideas though. How are the media supposed to handle it when someone on the left talks about seizing corporate cash to pay debts or someone on the right talks about the government's plan to outlaw all firearms?

It's not "seizing corporate cash", as if a bunch of G-men are raiding Apple. It's raising taxes on corporate profits.


The article specifically mentions nationalization as an option that should apparently be taken seriously and responds to the statement "But while the country is flush with assets, it doesn't mean the government can seize them to pay for public debt" with "Why not?"
posted by burnmp3s at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2011


In the year 2000, Bush and Gore were almost identical on paper. Gore ran as Clinton II, Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" and "a uniter, not a divider." No one had any idea how destructive Bush was going to be. This is why it's important to vote, even when the candidates seem nearly identical.

Not at all true. Many, many people knew exactly how destructive Bush was going to be and were shouting it from the rooftops. The only people saying they were identical were the Greens, and mostly after the election to justify everything.

The Ted Rall article is dead on, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:28 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wasn't Perot leading in the polls during certain parts of the 1992 election? I don't think Nader ever hit that kind of high water mark.

But building a party's strength is a pre-requisite to media coverage. That means using the internet and local gatherings to create a following, and something for the media to cover. Just because some asshole from a party with half-a-million followers has an opinion doesn't mean it should be covered by the press.

Look at Ron Paul. The guy is nominally a Republican, but his politics are hard-core libertarian for the most part, and he gets lots of attention. The far-left ought to be cultivating its own "Ron Pauls" if it wants more attention paid to its ideas.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:28 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I'll happily agree that Gore's campaign sucked, however.)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 AM on August 5, 2011


Right, I get that it says what I said. What I'm asking is why it is called "marginalizing dissent" both in the title and the subtitle. Is it a pretense to the usual false equivalence ("both sides do it") so they get taken seriously?
posted by DU at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Otherwise, this is just another exercise in explaining away electoral failures by blaming the "corporate media."

Corporations and elected officials create the crap, the media just spreads it around.


See: UK, Murdoch, Cameron, Brown, Blair and assorted mobile phone messages
posted by infini at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2011


Why was having Perot at the debate more acceptable than having Nader at the debate?

Perot's polling was high enough that he had a reasonable but small chance of winning the electoral votes of at least one state. In real life, he beat Clinton in Utah and Bush in Maine.

But for Nader to win the votes of a single state, or even to come in second in a single state, was inconceivable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look at Ron Paul. The guy is nominally a Republican, but his politics are hard-core libertarian for the most part, and he gets lots of attention. The far-left ought to be cultivating its own "Ron Pauls" if it wants more attention paid to its ideas.

You mean by astroturfing? Ron Paul couldn't even carry his own district during the Republican primaries. The internet spamming did absolutely nothing to help him.

What I'm asking is why it is called "marginalizing dissent" both in the title and the subtitle. Is it a pretense to the usual false equivalence ("both sides do it") so they get taken seriously?

Possibly because the author believes the US government is controlled by conservative thought, and so Leftist thought therefore constitutes dissent.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Katherine Harris gave us Bush (along with millions of other Americans who voted for the shithead).

Let's not pardon Al Gore, who let himself get roped into running against Bill Clinton and the successes of that administration. There's no reason that contest should have been close enough to Katherine Harris to make a difference.
posted by Legomancer at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I'm asking is why it is called "marginalizing dissent"

Exactly. Dissent is not being marginalized. The Tea Party isn't corralled into Free Speech Zones when they demonstrate. Dissent is OK so long as it's the right kind.
posted by Hoopo at 9:37 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


You mean by astroturfing? Ron Paul couldn't even carry his own district during the Republican primaries. The internet spamming did absolutely nothing to help him.

Good point. Media coverage does not translate into electoral success. Important to keep in mind when we think of reasons that left-wing parties haven't caught on in US politics lately.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2011


the Green Party - well-organised in all 50 states

Er...
posted by anigbrowl at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Marginalizing dissent" is another way of saying, "manufacturing consent", and Herman & Chomsky nailed this one over twenty years ago.
posted by Rumple at 9:40 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


The broader point is the sort of silliness from people I might otherwise want to agree with that makes me want to punch holes in walls.

The media don't quote the Green Party or invite its representatives to participate in debates for the same reason they don't invite representatives of the Libertarian Party or the Natural Law Party or the US Taxpayers Party: they are electorally irrelevant at the national level, and almost completely irrelevant at the state level.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:43 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


It did! That lesson is, "swing further rightward".

That wasn't the lesson. That was what the Dems did in response to Nader running. The actual lesson was; Democrats, listen to your fucking base and swing further left or we'll have to create a party that actually stands for any of the things you SHOULD stand for.

The fact that the Dems chose to do the idiotic thing, swing right to run after the votes from the right (which they're never going to get) rather than the smart thing, actually move left to chase those votes from Green Party/Liberal voters (which would not have been particularly challenging), is entirely on the Dems.

Don't blame Nader. Blame those who voted for Bush and the Dems for indulging them.
posted by lydhre at 9:43 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


That wasn't the lesson. That was what the Dems did in response to Nader running. The actual lesson was; Democrats, listen to your fucking base and swing further left or we'll have to create a party that actually stands for any of the things you SHOULD stand for.

The thing about ultimatums is that you have to follow through on them to be taken seriously. Where is this hypothetical left party? Why don't the Greens have any seats in any state races? The last Green campaign that went anywhere that I know about, which I worked on incidentally, was Matt Gonzalez' run for Mayor in San Francisco. He came so close to beating Newsom that I expected there would be a credible green candidate in every single local election in the surrounding counties or the following years. Nope, not a one.

So yes, I do blame Nader, because all I can see is that he seeks publicity in presidential elections but has done nothing to build a political base in the succeeding decade.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:53 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


How are the media supposed to handle it when someone on the left talks about seizing corporate cash to pay debts

Since the government already does this with individual debts why should this be considered a fringe idea?
posted by IvoShandor at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


we are talking about different things, ignore the above.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It did! That lesson is, "swing further rightward".

That wasn't the lesson. That was what the Dems did in response to Nader running. The actual lesson was; Democrats, listen to your fucking base and swing further left or we'll have to create a party that actually stands for any of the things you SHOULD stand for.


Yes, I of course was joking that the Democrats learned the "wrong" lesson.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:00 AM on August 5, 2011


Where is this hypothetical left party? Why don't the Greens have any seats in any state races?

Because the damn narrative, every single election season without fail, is vote for the Democrats (any Democrats!) or the Republicans will win! If you vote for third party candidates you are, yes, YOU PERSONALLY, destroying all chances for the Democrats (any Democrats!) to win seats! Bad person! Terrible awful person! Don't you know how much worse it's going to get if the GOP's in power? DON'T YOU???

It's uncanny. And it's happening right in this thread.
posted by lydhre at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


> There were enough votes for Nader in Florida that, had Nader received no votes, Gore
> would have taken the state, barring other shenanigans.

This depends on the unspoken assumption that all Nader votes would have gone to Gore, which is unproven and I think highly unlikely. Many Nader votes were protests against both parties and the system in general. If I hadn't had Ralph to vote for I would have written in Pogo the Opossum or stayed home rather than vote for either Bush or Gore.
posted by jfuller at 10:09 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I wouldn't have stayed home, I had a list of choices in state and local elections too. Pogo would have gotten a vote.
posted by jfuller at 10:11 AM on August 5, 2011


"Marginalizing dissent" is another way of saying, "manufacturing consent", and Herman & Chomsky nailed this one over twenty years ago.

Yes.

However, what will be interesting to observe going forward is how global msm deals with the positioning and references to the 'superpower' of the world in context of current events. There is a wider swathe of humanity online with access to/reading stuff like Al Jazeera English than perhaps Chomsky twenty years ago (before the advent of ubiquitous internet and communications globally).

What has changed, imho, is how internal politics of the US are now visible to and perceived by others, how its impacted others (stock market responses across the world for eg) all due to a window to the world which perhaps was not as transparently available or uncurated as it is today.

For example, I've been noticing in the local Singaporean news op eds to the effect of how American lawmakers (the Administration, the govt or whatever) have lost their credibility due to what is perceived internationally to be short sighted squabbling over something that impacts the world i.e. a lack of a sense of responsibility in the context of the increasing interconnectedness.

In this context, issues like these, served up and made available on sites like these, are beyond the hyperlocal problem of Nader vs Perot and whatnot and more about issues of credibility, reputation and social capital (in terms of global politics, economics and diplomacy).

We're all living in a glass house now (thanks for the banhammer g+) so where are the margins and what linen is being hung out to dry becomes worthy of a closer look and think.

A great way to get a quick look at this is by simply changing the version of Google news and seeing the headlines and what changes/d. Very informative.
posted by infini at 10:14 AM on August 5, 2011


In Soviet Russia, dissent IS consent.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:14 AM on August 5, 2011


Because the damn narrative, every single election season without fail, is vote for the Democrats (any Democrats!) or the Republicans will win! If you vote for third party candidates you are, yes, YOU PERSONALLY, destroying all chances for the Democrats (any Democrats!) to win seats! Bad person! Terrible awful person! Don't you know how much worse it's going to get if the GOP's in power? DON'T YOU???

I'd love to see the Dems embrace a more leftist platform, but since the strategy of moving to the right apparently worked (if by "worked" we mean "achieving the goal of getting elected"), they have little incentive beyond altruism to actually do this.

The real problem, as I see it, as one of not controlling the narrative. As the article points out, leftism is shut out of the mainsteam media. But let's say that seasoned Democratic politicians began to grow a spine and actually started pushing a more leftist agenda. Would American voters continue to cast their ballots decidedly to the right of center? I don't know, but the catalyst to make that change lies with our elected representatives, and I don't think voting third-party is going to give them the incentive to take that step or, at least, it hasn't done so far.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2011


How are the media supposed to handle it when someone on the left talks about seizing corporate cash to pay debts

Since the government already does this with individual debts why should this be considered a fringe idea?


I'm not sure what you mean. I'm talking about the US government being short on cash, and (rather than raising taxes, cutting spending, or taking on more debt) seizing money from private corporations, possibly as part of some sort of nationalization scheme. That's the sort of thing that happens when an actual socialist regime takes power, not anything close to what could possibly happen in the current US political climate. Even when FDR had the political will to push the New Deal through based on the fact that the country was teetering on completely rejecting capitalism in general, the government didn't go so far as to directly seize assets from major corporations or nationalize industries like the railroads or banks. To me that is solidly in the fringe category.

You could argue that it's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that big media interests treating fringe ideas as non-mainstream perpetuates the situation where the ideas are considered to be fringe, but to me that is assuming that the media have a much larger control over mainstream thought than they actually do. Look at the riots and revolutions in the Middle East, they didn't happen because the media started taking dissent seriously, they happened because the demographics and conditions were right for enabling a strong backlash against the status quo.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:28 AM on August 5, 2011


Gore moved left in response to Nader, just a bit too late. In the last few weeks, he went considerably leftward and his poll numbers (perhaps coincidentally) went up. Had he run as a left-of-Clinton inheritor of Clinton's (economic) legacy, he would have won easily. The fact that he ignored the strategic implications of both Clinton and Nader is largely his own fault.

Similarly, if there were a Nader on the horizon right now, I think Obama's most recent negotiation would have been well to the left of what it was. The White House's explicit argument is that they have no need to cater to the left because the left has nowhere to go. Were that not the case -- were there a left-wing candidate that hot-headed, non-pragmatic leftists might actually vote for, the dissatisfaction of the left would be a genuine threat for Obama and his personal desire to go right would be countered by a pragmatic need to stay left. As it is, ever since 2000 and especially the nomination of Kerry, the left has been enamored of pragmatism: nominate the Dem most likely to win, and never take any actions that might backfire like 2000. But as we've seen, the Democratic establishment only reacts to serious threats to bring the whole system down, which is what Nader was, and did.
posted by chortly at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2011


I'm not sure what you mean. I'm talking about the US government being short on cash, and (rather than raising taxes, cutting spending, or taking on more debt) seizing money from private corporations, possibly as part of some sort of nationalization scheme.

We were talking about two different things, as I noted in tiny print above. I was referring to the fact the government can seize your funds if owe the government a debt. Many private corporations have had huge government debts over the last few years. That's what I thought was being referred to. My fault for the misreading.

Also to the OP, enjoyed the article in the FPP, thanks for posting.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's a bit of a misnomer to call this marginalizing dissent. Right-wing nutjobs get PLENTY of coverage. Gun nuts, bible nuts, tax nuts, "small government" nuts, etc. What gets marginalized in the US is the Left. Period.

Lefty nuts tend to be boring and make for bad television. More to the point, the Tea Party is actually getting people elected. Get your dissenters into congress in numbers large enough to turn legislation and I guarantee more coverage.

That said, it's worth pointing out that the fringes of the right are as disgusted with the Palins of the world as much as the Obamas, and depending on what you mean by marginalized, you could indeed add them to the mix, and drop the period. They include the likes of, say, antiwar.com which has been against American intrusions overseas since before the first Bush war.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:27 AM on August 5, 2011


"What they ought to do is follow the Tea Party example: organize at the grass roots, and run candidates as primary challengers to centrist Democrats."

Also: Have billionaires secretly backing you.

We've had the Nader discussion already. You don't get to tell people how to vote. If you don't like it, run a better candidate.
posted by Eideteker at 11:34 AM on August 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Have billionaires secretly backing you.

I see your Koch and raise you a Soros.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am still waiting for my check from that dude.
posted by Eideteker at 11:51 AM on August 5, 2011




8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

And, if none of that works...
9. Kent State.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:01 PM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, are you suggesting Kent State is keeping "Young Americans" from protesting in 2011?
posted by stinkycheese at 12:18 PM on August 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the year 2000, Bush and Gore were almost identical on paper.

Well before the 2000 election Gore had written a book on the environment, founded the GLOBE Program on Earth Day 1994, and strongly sponsored the Kyoto Treaty (symbolically signing it in 1998). Bush was the governor of a state that led the nation "in air pollution, in toxic chemicals released, in factories violating clean water standards" and "according to the Environmental Protection Agency, of having the dirtiest air in America, of ranking 47th in water quality, and having the seventh-highest rate of release of toxic industrial byproducts onto its land." You'd think supporters of the motherfucking Green Party might have seen a teensy-weensy difference instead of saying there wasn't any difference, as Nader himself did.

Gore ran as Clinton II

Gore should've run as Clinton II, but he didn't. He distanced himself and chose Joe Lieberman as his running mate.

There were enough votes for Nader in Florida that, had Nader received no votes, Gore would have taken the state, barring other shenanigans.

According to the Florida Department of State election results for president in the 2000 election, Bush beat Gore by 537 votes, 2,912,790 votes to 2,912,253. Nader got 97,488 votes in Florida. If fewer than 1% of Nader voters had voted for Gore he would have won Florida, and the election.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


> 3. Schools That Educate for Compliance and Not for Democracy. Upon accepting the New
> York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990, John Taylor Gatto upset many
> in attendance by stating: “The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except
> how to obey orders.
-- 8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

I think about that every time somebody starts singing the "more education is the answer" song. I'm sure Gatto is right but it wasn't new in 1990. Paul Goodman was telling us the public schools were in the business of training compliant little consumerist worker bees in Growing Up Absurd, written in the late 1950s and published in 1960.


> 9. Kent State.

Hmmm. Four protesters killed at Kent State fifty-odd years ago and it's shutting down protest to this very day? Vs. how many thousands of young people shot down (so far) in the Arab Spring and the protests have not stopped? Maybe entry #9 in that list should be something about balls.
posted by jfuller at 12:26 PM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Because the damn narrative, every single election season without fail, is vote for the Democrats (any Democrats!) or the Republicans will win! If you vote for third party candidates you are, yes, YOU PERSONALLY, destroying all chances for the Democrats (any Democrats!) to win seats! Bad person! Terrible awful person! Don't you know how much worse it's going to get if the GOP's in power? DON'T YOU???

Bullshit. Nobody raised that argument against Matt Gonzalez. There are lots of places where a Democrat can't run that a Green can - even if it's in a safe Republican seat, raising the profile is effective. Likewise, it can be effective in a safe Democratic seat. Quit whining about the narrative and think strategically. Obviously it's not a good idea to run an aggressive campaign in constituencies where the parties are finely balanced because both sides will demonize you. Pick sensible candidates that are educated, make alliances, build pluralities, and start small with things like seats on school boards or county-level offices.

By exaggerating the difficulties and resoting to stupid typographical excesses, you just affirm the stereotype of third party supporters as being crazy. If you want to get taken seriously by voters and maybe get elected, dress and act like a grown up.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


In 2000, the media-backed consortium that sponsored the presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush banned Green Party candidate Ralph Nader from participating. Security goons even threatened to arrest him when he showed up with a ticket and asked to be seated in the audience.

The California Green Party gubernatorial candidate was arrested at a debate just last year.
posted by homunculus at 1:34 PM on August 5, 2011


Because the damn narrative, every single election season without fail, is vote for the Democrats (any Democrats!) or the Republicans will win! If you vote for third party candidates you are, yes, YOU PERSONALLY, destroying all chances for the Democrats (any Democrats!) to win seats! Bad person! Terrible awful person! Don't you know how much worse it's going to get if the GOP's in power? DON'T YOU???

It's uncanny. And it's happening right in this thread.


It's happening in this thread because people remember Nader, when this turned out to actually be true.

I'm not sure what you mean. I'm talking about the US government being short on cash, and (rather than raising taxes, cutting spending, or taking on more debt) seizing money from private corporations, possibly as part of some sort of nationalization scheme. That's the sort of thing that happens when an actual socialist regime takes power, not anything close to what could possibly happen in the current US political climate.

Watch your words. That's what happens when a communist regime takes power. Socialism is basically what many nations in Europe have, and they don't exactly seize corporations over there.
posted by JHarris at 2:02 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A great way to get a quick look at this is by simply changing the version of Google news and seeing the headlines and what changes/d. Very informative.

What's Hot

Bahrain: Shouting in the dark

How the US media marginalises dissent-hmmm

Danny Danon talks to Al Jazeera

Libyan rebels claim Gaddafi son killed

The cold war on British Muslims

Let America be America again

Ukraine judge orders former PM's detention

Supermax prisons: 21st century asylums

The top 1%

America's reactionary feminists

Iranian terrorist group has close US allies
posted by clavdivs at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This has all been covered quite well by Noam Chomsky. I'm surprised I didn't come across his name in the piece.

yup, Chomsky said it best.
posted by ReWayne at 2:48 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The relative marginalization of left-wing ideologues vs. right-wing is strictly a matter of perception.

Right-wing ideologues are perceived, first and foremost, as representatives of their ideological peers, and are thus easily recognized.

Left-wing ideologues are plenty-well represented and included, but are instead identified as representatives of some special interest group or another rather than of their fellow ideologues.

In other words, for every "conservative activist" there's a "civil rights leader" or "labor historian," but it's a distinction without an (intellectual) difference.

It does tend to inconvenience those very few left-wing activists who don't have an identity group upon which to hang their opinions, but that's far outweighed by the advantage the greater number of activists gain by laying rhetorical claim to a posture which is regarded as intrinsically more credible than mere ideology.
posted by MattD at 3:10 PM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


" The relative marginalization of left-wing ideologues vs. right-wing is strictly a matter of perception."

I don't think that's the point though. The point is that people's perceptions are manipulated by the media to fit an agenda, whether it belongs to a political view or to a media organization that wants... what? Ideological conformity?

What I see here in Canada is that newspaper websites in particular, most (all?) of which are owned by large corporations, mostly take a negative, patronizing or contemptuous stance towards ideas they consider to be "left". For example, anything related to environmental issues is, almost by definition, only discussed in the context of the economy, and often labelled as socialism in some way. When they get tired of that approach, entire groups are dismissed as "radical" organizations, when 20 years ago these same groups were clearly part of the mainstream.

But that's strictly only my perception.
posted by sneebler at 8:55 AM on August 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the age of information, and creativity, hence the "creation and control" of information. You might call this age the biggest experiment ever undertaken, this "relatively new internet, and its lifelike ability to engage world thought processes."

Knowing how humans work, then means this "experimental environment" will become a frontier of war, using information and perceptions as the spoils of said war, when coupled with realities of economic power. So, classical media is all bought and paid for, with expected results in this experimental environment.

The internet which appears to be a free exchange of information, is definitely not, with the advent of universally placed information officers beginning about 6 years ago. Vast monies drive what seems to be spontaneous communication. Certainly spontaneous communications exist, all watched over by vast computational muscle, which at every moment continuously projects what applied social force will steer perceptions to precipices that guide decision making by all parties.

Hello Singularity. One of the most consternating revelations of the last 4 years is that the results of research favor the purchaser of the research. These days markets find us, with little effort. The ads on my pages are always a revelation as to who the web thinks I am, and what it thinks I want. Read the media, it will tell you who is running the shell game at any moment. Where are the sheeple being led? Just stay a couple of steps ahead, and you will see who has leaned on whom. It is tiresome to watch the overfed demand more. Shall we soon pay a fee to see the sun? We already do, some Americans work three jobs, just to have a door to close behind them at night, and never mind the sun, and other inconsequential expectations.
posted by Oyéah at 9:32 AM on August 6, 2011


Noam Chomsky has published around 80 books complaining about how silenced he is. Just imagine how many he'd have pumped out if America wasn't an evil fascist hell-hole intent on burying its dissidents in oppressive honorary degrees and arduous speaking engagements.
posted by joannemullen at 5:02 AM on August 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Weirdly formatted copy/paste removed. If there's something worth saying there, please try to make it clear what it is and do it without gigantic doses of whitespace.]
posted by cortex at 7:25 PM on August 11, 2011


« Older "I want kids to find out that reading is the best...   |   Friday Flash Game Wants To Eat... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments