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March 1, 2009 12:45 AM   Subscribe

While lobbyists line up to torpedo Obama's proposals, and while John Bolton dreams about nuking Chicago, it has been revealed that CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli's recent, supposedly spontaneous on-air outburst against Obama, was most likely a fake-news stunt coordinated by right wing PR operatives. (last link to a Playboy article, but it's SFW)

from the last link:

February 19th: Rick Santelli, live on CNBC, standing in the middle of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, launches into an attack on the just-announced $300 billion slated to stem rate of home foreclosures: “The government is promoting bad behavior! Do we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages?! This is America! We're thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July, all you capitalists who want to come down to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing."

Almost immediately, the clip and the unlikely "Chicago tea party" quote buried in the middle of the segment, zoomed across a well-worn path to headline fame in the Republican echo chamber, including red-alert headlines on Drudge.

Within hours of Santelli's rant, a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008

[...]

ChicagoTeaParty.com was just one part of a larger network of Republican sleeper-cell-blogs set up over the course of the past few months, all of them tied to a shady rightwing advocacy group coincidentally named the “Sam Adams Alliance,” whose backers have until now been kept hidden from public. Cached google records that we discovered show that the Sam Adams Alliance took pains to scrub its deep links to the Koch family money as well as the fake-grassroots “tea party” protests going on today. All of these roads ultimately lead back to a more notorious rightwing advocacy group, FreedomWorks, a powerful PR organization headed by former Republican House Majority leader Dick Armey and funded by Koch money.
posted by ornate insect (66 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
i am so not surprised.
posted by mwhybark at 12:52 AM on March 1, 2009


i am so not surprised.

Yeah I'm not surprised either, but it still feels good when something like this gets disinfected by the sunlight. Like police brutality (see ginky's FPP down-page), media manipulation is something we can't afford to get blasé about.
posted by ornate insect at 12:58 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


If we're still running a legal war with Iraq and Afghanistan, why isn't it sedition for right-wing pundits and politicians to call for the (violent) overthrow of the government? Sounds like there are a lot of Republicans who should be spending some time in front of a military tribunal in Gitmo.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:58 AM on March 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't know while these people are gonna bother. George W. Bush was the most successful president in terms of attaining his agenda in the last 20 years. There is one thing thats pretty clear is that Barack Obama was the only candidate that really studied Bush before he ran. I don't think this kind of nonsense is even making any meaningfil noise past the desk of Robert Gibbs.
posted by Rubbstone at 1:18 AM on March 1, 2009


This is so ridiculous. The public has, on the whole, got solidly behind Obama, and to a lesser extent the Democrats as a whole. The Republican's ratings, Obama's, and his political skill, is such that Republicans are incapable of winning an argument, no matter how they frame it or how devious they are. Even if they were right on something, I'm not sure they could sway popular opinion very much. Why then do guys who think they're so smart they can pull a fast one on hundreds of millions of people, fail to comprehend that it wouldn't do them any good if they did?
posted by topynate at 1:19 AM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know wh[y] these people are gonna bother...

Here's why (from the first link):

former chief executive of HCA Inc. unveiled a $20 million campaign to pressure Democrats to enact health-care legislation based on free-market principles

[...]

Opinion polls indicate that Mr. Obama's broad goals enjoy popular support. But crucial details of the president's agenda will be decided in coming months by close-in legislative fighting, where big industries and the members of Congress that support them have plenty of clout.

[...]

The agriculture lobby quickly recoiled Wednesday against President Obama's vow to "end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them,"

[...]

an alliance of electric utilities, coal and mining companies said it will spend as much as $40 million to make sure Congress approves a global-warming plan with funding for technology to reduce emissions that includes carbon capture and storage at coal-fired plants.

And that's from the WSJ, not Mother Jones!

The truth is that what you and I think is only ever a very small part of the picture.

I think it's imperative we be aware of just how desperate and eager certain well-connected people are to see Obama fail; we should be on our toes for four years of fake scandals and planted "news."
posted by ornate insect at 1:27 AM on March 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responds to Santelli; Santelli responds back on Hardball.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:28 AM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


It bugs me that Chris Matthews again blew the chance to point out to Santelli that bankruptcy judges are allowed to alter contracts, so why are mortgages somehow sacrosanct? I mean, that's the crux of this whole argument, that it's a major sin of moral hazard to alter contracts entered into in good faith with investors involved. Yet that already happens with other contracts, just not with mortgages, at least not until now.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:50 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's been a long time since Playboy did some real quality journalism.

If they keep this up, I'll find myself saying, "I have an RSS subscription for the articles."
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:50 AM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


They feed on outrage and attention.

I say we starve them.
posted by vapidave at 4:34 AM on March 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder if Obama can short-circuit corporate lobbyists? Universal health care would make a lot of poor and middle-class people grateful, might get them out to vote for the first time and might make them send money in the next campaign. Similar with winding down the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror.

The one thing people have that corporations don't is a vote in the general election.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:39 AM on March 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Of course big business is gonna come out against Obama; this is probably just the first volley of several conspiracies (oops! Did I say the C-word!? Crap, now a big chunk of people will simply disregard this story because conspiracies are of course the beliefs of crazy people!).

Obama has such widespread support, and the amount they're talking about is such a small percentage, this "revolution" will amount to a hill of beans.

But keep your eyes peeled...(and keep your tinfoil hats on, amirite?)
posted by zardoz at 4:43 AM on March 1, 2009


Where in the Playboy article does it say that Santelli's outburst was a "fake news stunt"? The accusation seems based on the fact that chicagoteaparty.com was registered last summer, when, lest we forget, a Senator from Chicago was running for President. That's pretty thin. News flash: people register speculative domain names ahead of time. Is there any evidence that somebody fed Santelli his lines?
posted by The Tensor at 4:57 AM on March 1, 2009


I think the implication is in the speed of dissemination of clips and soundbites by what was obviously an existing mechanism savvy to what was going down and ready. Scheme, not conspiracy. To be expected.
posted by acrobat at 5:31 AM on March 1, 2009


media manipulation is something we can't afford to get blasé about.

Media IS manipulation.

It garners heartfelt approval when it bolsters one's world view, it evokes outrage when it counters one's personal agenda.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 5:32 AM on March 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


an existing mechanism savvy to what was going down and ready.

In other words, competent politics.
Observe it. Learn it. Use it.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 5:34 AM on March 1, 2009


It is interesting to see how many people care more about pure ideology than fixing our problems. But in any case, I kind of hope that rhetoric about bailing out the "losers" gains traction, as there seem to be an awful lot of them right now and I'm sure they'll appreciate being called that.
posted by JHarris at 5:36 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


i guess this is where we see whether congress really is owned by the highest bidder
posted by pyramid termite at 5:52 AM on March 1, 2009


I think the implication is in the speed of dissemination of clips and soundbites by what was obviously an existing mechanism savvy to what was going down and ready. Scheme, not conspiracy. To be expected.

So Drudge posted it on his site faster than any solitary, non-scheme-involved person could have? The article says:
Almost immediately, the clip and the unlikely "Chicago tea party" quote buried in the middle of the segment, zoomed across a well-worn path to headline fame in the Republican echo chamber, including red-alert headlines on Drudge.
If the path to headline fame in the echo chamber is "well-worn", where's the conspiracy? It sounds like 'net-based media operating as usual.
posted by The Tensor at 5:57 AM on March 1, 2009


Despite their funding, I don't think Obama has all that much to worry about. He's so good at communicating that he can just bypass Congress and go to the people, and the people want sweeping change. We had 30 years of 'trickle down' and all we got from that is rich folks pissing on us, a crumbling infrastructure, a weakened military, a demolished reputation abroad, and growing numbers of folks living in poverty even as the rich have grown their wealth.

It is my sense that Obama knows that he has one chance to alter the trajectory of this country in a big way. He knows this is that chance, and strike or ball, he's swinging for the fences. If Obama succeeds, in 20 years we will have a healthy, educated populace and a civilization increasingly powered by clean energy. We will look back on the Obama administration as the beginning of a new dawn in the U.S. It'll be costly, and painful, as most major change is, but it will be well worth it all in the end. I'll almost definitely end up paying more in taxes to help pay for all of this, but that's life, and it will be a small price to pay to have a country with a future.

And what's our alternative? Put off fixing healthcare until the costs drag our businesses down globally? Wait until we're all choking on pollution and vast swaths of the population are fleeing the coasts due to a rising sea level before we start cleaning our energy use? Wait until the roofs of our schools are falling and killing our students before we give them adequate schools in which to learn? Obama is doing what needs to be done. He's a man on a mission and I do not believe he can be deterred.
posted by jamstigator at 5:59 AM on March 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


It really doesn't matter if Santelli's rant has been outed as a staged act. The desired effect has been accomplished. The rant will get far, far more attention (and influence many more people,) than will any news about it being staged. The rant is sexy, above the fold stuff. The outing, not so much. Maybe page-3...or after the second commercial break. Conservative groups understand this and will exploit the hell out of it from now till forever.

I noticed that, the very day following Obama's speech, conservative groups already had commercials running nationwide attacking his plans...predicting disaster if we turn to socialism.

The industries and forces that stand to lose if Obama actually makes the sorts of changes he's suggested have almost infinitely bottomless pockets with which to saturate the media with which to scare the hell out of people, in order to turn opinion against Obama. Where are the supporters of change? And do they have pockets deep enough to go toe-to-toe with big pharma, big finance, big oil, etc? Somehow, I doubt it.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:03 AM on March 1, 2009


In other words, competent politics.
Observe it. Learn it. Use it.


Yeah! Get your own Poop Hats, libtards!
posted by EarBucket at 6:11 AM on March 1, 2009


So did Santelli actively collude with Republican lobbyists to distort the media? Talk about journalistic integrity! Glen Greenwald is gonna have a field day with this one.
posted by mek at 6:27 AM on March 1, 2009


Of course its a conspiracy. Just because they have gotten away with this for years doesn't diminish that fact.
posted by UseyurBrain at 6:27 AM on March 1, 2009


Kinda of amazing that people would rally around stopping help to the little guys but not around stopping help to the banks. That alone suggests that it is astroturfy-- I think people are much angrier about the bonuses and unearned profits than they are about some guy next door not getting evicted so you aren't in danger of having a crackhouse next door and losing value on *your own* home. I think people are smart enough to understand that.
posted by Maias at 6:32 AM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this where I say that I'm kinda in love with Robert Gibbs? Because I kinda am.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:44 AM on March 1, 2009


Another remarkable conspiracy by the incredible geniuses of the dastardly Right Wing! How DO they do it? Time and again they use their subtle tricks to dupe the American people--not to mention countless Mefites! It's no wonder they have exercised COMPLETE CONTROL over our great commonwealth for centuries! So powerful are they that no force known can remove them from power! They are masters of the universe, evil superheros, unstoppable ubermenchen! They will rule us forever!

Oh, wait....
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:07 AM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyone who watched CNBC deserves the misinformation they receive (which is half of Wall Street, BTW). CNBC is nothing more than financial porn. It's full of half-truths, blatant inaccuracies, and pandering to the financial services industry (mainly the brokers).

And Santelli was a plant? Who gives a shit? He didn't do anything that his lefty counterparts aren't already doing. He argued "fairness, contract law, and moral hazard". His lefty counterparts would argue "Wall Street fatcats, corrupt bankers, and the government needing to look out for the little guy". Both arguments are fallacious and simplistic. Didn't stop him from making it. Doesn't stop MetaFilter from making it once a week.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:07 AM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


These guys have been operating in the open for years. It wasn't like the Arkansas project was any great secret. A conspiracy implies some kind of hidden cabal. The sad fact is that for all the resources the right pushes into these echo chambers there is limited empirical evidence that this ability to drive news cycles has been at all effective at winning elections. After 4 years of near total control Bush was only able to eek out a narrow victory in 2004. The 1992 victory by Gingrich was less about Rush Limbaugh and more about a trifecta of congressional scandal, Clinton's political missteps and the long term trend of southern realignment from Democrats to Republicans.
posted by humanfont at 7:27 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maias, I can tell you that my dad is more angry about the mortgages. Even if the mortgages were fraudulent, or near-fraudulent. And this is a guy who's been pissed on his whole life by Big Business types - he still sides with them over the little guy. Patty Hearst Syndrome, or something.
posted by notsnot at 7:41 AM on March 1, 2009


I agree with the monster, Santelli, but not for reasons that he would like. I say no foreclosure bail-out because I would like to see the suburbs are turned in to wastelands of empty houses and roving gangs of bicyclists squatting in mcmansions and growing vegetables in golf courses. Everyone will be talking in a futuristic patois and organizing in to tribes. The wrecks of SUVs will be picked through for microchips, antennae parts, and usable mechanical constructions.

It will not be safe for the god-fearing to wander in to the wilderness, they will stay in their fortress like enclaves but will be slowly poisoned by the 'barbarians' outside who repurpose industrial waste into ammunition in the ongoing conflict between the capitalists-socialists and the anarchists. (The two new dominant political parties in non-mortgage-bailout America)

So, thank you Mr. Santelli, keep those mortgage bail-out away, see what happens to your precious country. Bwa ha ha ha ha cough cough cough ha ha.
posted by fuq at 8:08 AM on March 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


They feed on outrage and attention.

I say we starve them.


No, they feed on money and power. Sunlight kills them, but they can deflect sunlight through false outrage (i.e. "how dare you bring up how my stated policies would affect families like mine--leave my family out of this!" from Palin).
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on March 1, 2009


...while John Bolton dreams about nuking Chicago...

But let's be open and honest here: who among us HASN'T?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:37 AM on March 1, 2009


I've dreamed about nuking Chicago *and* REO Speedwagon.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:13 AM on March 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


I've never dreamt about nuking Chicago, but I did once dream that the top three floors of the UN had been destroyed and I had a comically huge moustache.
posted by DU at 9:23 AM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


You have to admire Obama's political skills here. He ran as the "bipartisan" candidate, well, not exactly, but once he got to DC his "Hope and change" mantra seemed to be all about bipartisanship. A lot of people on the left were upset with this, seeing 'bipartisanship' often equating the democrats rolling over and doing whatever the republicans wanted. But if he's going to be all "bipartisan" then he can't pivot off the republicans.

But he's being smart here by turning his opposition into the "special interests" republicans love so much. He's keeping his "bipartisan" cred and casting opposition to his plan as the provenance of the "Lobbyists and special interests".

Or maybe Obama just seems really smart because his opponents seem to have the smarts of retarded 4 year olds.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 AM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


At that financial responsibility summit thing this past week (which I can't stop talking about) he called out people on both sides by name. I wonder if it was a warning that he will do the same when it comes to legislative battles--publicly noting the correlation between a particular vote or bloc and lobbyist support and getting citizens to apply pressure to fight it.
posted by troybob at 10:45 AM on March 1, 2009


dear rick santelli,
please never ever consider killing someone. or cheating on your taxes. or speeding. you clearly don't have the skills to cover your tracks.

seriously, when will people with a hidden agenda finally learn to cover their tracks?

totally unrelated but still: who's the person worst-screwed by the oncoming of teh webbernet? Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt might be able to grab that title. ten people tops must have known he bought that title, then wikipedia came around and now he can't impress even bernie madoff.
posted by krautland at 10:51 AM on March 1, 2009


Wow. They're really, really bad at this, hey? The Spanish military coup we saw here on the blue had more style and pinache. This right-wing undermining has the effect of acting against what people are actually aching for - financial relief - solely because it comes from Obama. If Obama told the country he was going to personally send a shoebox full of 20s to each and every American, the right would howl with rage against it. Their desire to see him fail far outweighs any benefit his ideas might give the country. We all know that. But that they're so hilariously maladroit at their attempts keeps this circus from tipping down the chasm of tragedy. It's a farce.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:19 AM on March 1, 2009


I really think that the general public is more aware of these games than they were before the last election. The scales have fallen from their eyes to some extent.

The Republicans are quickly becoming irrelevant; the "principled opposition" approach is being interpreted by a huge swath of the public as unhelpful and obstructionist. They (the Republicans) had their chance, they flexed their muscles, and accomplished very little. The electorate is much more concerned now with getting off dead-center than they are with ideology and partisanship.

And all the Republicans have offered up (even the heralded new-wave Republicans like Eric Cantor) is more of the same. I watched Cantor on Stephanopolous this morning and all he could talk about was how the new direction will harm business. He's trying to make it more "homey" by calling business "small-business" but the message is the same - save the dukes and duchesses, and they will save the serfs. Same shit, different day.

Obama could be dead wrong, but he's the perfect guy at the perfect time. The people are fed up and ready for change, and he's willing to really give change a try. I think, by and large, he's doing the right things. At least he's come out swinging.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:29 AM on March 1, 2009


They (the Republicans) had their chance, they flexed their muscles, and accomplished very little.
Actually, they accomplished quite a bit. Things would be better if they hadn't.
posted by Flunkie at 11:55 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Santelli Doctrine
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on March 1, 2009


I do not understand why Americans are frightened by taking public ownership of those things that are required by a modern, healthy society.

There are certain things all your citizens need and which much be provided to a high level of quality of service that demands focus on something other than mere profit.

It is just plain stupid to think that private business can adequately provide all the things needed for a healthy, long-term society. Not everything can be reduced to money-making.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:08 PM on March 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


The industries and forces that stand to lose if Obama actually makes the sorts of changes he's suggested have almost infinitely bottomless pockets with which to saturate the media with which to scare the hell out of people, in order to turn opinion against Obama.

Sure, but Obama can get on all the channels in prime time and speak directly to the American people and call this stuff out. It's just that no president before him had the integrity to do what was needed to break the hold of special interests on government (before internet small-dollar fundraising, none could--literally--afford to).


At that financial responsibility summit thing this past week (which I can't stop talking about) he called out people on both sides by name. I wonder if it was a warning that he will do the same when it comes to legislative battles--publicly noting the correlation between a particular vote or bloc and lobbyist support and getting citizens to apply pressure to fight it.

That's what I'm talking about--I think Obama is quite clear-headed about the fight he's plunged into.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:14 PM on March 1, 2009


Not everything can be reduced to money-making.

I've thought for at least the past decade that this is the most cancerous, sickening concept at the core of American culture. It's really infected all of our institutions and our thinking about everything. (I have actually listened to a university president talk about 'market share', in reference to enrollment.)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


(The concept that everything is about money-making is cancerous, that is.)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:21 PM on March 1, 2009


I would like to "reveal" that "supposedly" many here may feel their "dreams" have been fulfilled tomorrow morning when AIG receives another $30,000,000,000.00 with Mr. Obama's approval, after having already received $150,000,000,000.00.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 1:04 PM on March 1, 2009


You can rephrase the healthcare debate by pointing to several ways that universal healthcare makes FISCAL sense. First, our businesses cannot compete globally if they have healthcare costs on their books.

Most importantly, we have agreed as a society that it is important that our citizenry have at least a baseline degree of education. We don't provide this as merely an option; we demand that children attend school until age X, by law. This is because an educated populace is a productive populace, economically speaking. More apt to invent new kickass stuff, solve difficult problems, etc. So, we invest, in socialized manner, in the intellectual health of our citizenry, because that benefits society as a whole. How then does it make any sense AT ALL to invest that much of ourselves in the intellectual health of our citizenry, then decline to provide anything at all for their PHYSICAL health? When people die, we lose all we have invested in educating them. And while it is true that an educated citizen is more productive than one that is uneducated, so too is it true that a living citizen is more productive than a dead one.
posted by jamstigator at 1:07 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does anyone find it odd that the people that have spent the last 30 years talking about how pro-business they are only seem to market themselves in terms of how much their competitor's product sucks? I mean even when they're asked, point blank, about what it is they're offering, they respond by saying, "Something better than the other guys. They suck suck suck!"

I'm not sure if they think they're wowing the venture capitalists or the customers with that.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:28 PM on March 1, 2009


Most importantly, we have agreed as a society that it is important that our citizenry have at least a baseline degree of education...

While I agree completely with your thesis, I think it should be pointed out that the same people who are going to fight tooth-and-nail against anything close to national healthcare, are also the crowd who have been steadily dismantling public education in the US. I'm not sure they give a piss about the fallout of their actions as long as they can proudly fly their banner.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:35 PM on March 1, 2009


yeah, Denninger getting an award from Accuracy in Media is just another quantum of evidence that this panic is 90% bullshit fear mongering intended that things continue their downward course through 2010.

As Rush said, it's important that the liberals fail, just like the Cardinals lose.

Republicans suck.
posted by troy at 2:02 PM on March 1, 2009


Not everything can be reduced to money-making.

Well, to play devil's advocate, the argument is that humans have imperfect knowledge, and will always misallocate resources unless there's competition and a profit motive. Of course, these people always assume that privatization leads to competition, and that profit only comes from producing a higher quality product.

Also, no one's explain to me why, since taxes are men with guns taking my money, it's only morally acceptable for those men to use the money to buy more guns.
posted by heathkit at 2:10 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


There are certain things all your citizens need and which much be provided to a high level of quality of service that demands focus on something other than mere profit.

10% of this country -- the country club republicans -- has got it good and you do not fuck with them.

Another 30% or so are cultural warriors that the above 10% are willing to pander to, WRT anti-abortion, teacher-led Christianity in schools, etc. That was the McCain/Palin bloc.

Another 30% of this country -- not necessarily the above 40% -- are very conservative and do not like 20th century liberalism, giveaways of their money to immigrant Mexicans, urban AAs, and any other ne'er-do-well group of failures.

However, I must say that the middle class of this nation is suspicious of people deriding "profit". Profit is evidence of efficiency, while deficits imply mismanagement.

And, theoretically at least, there's something to be said for free-market competition driving efficiency up and margins down, compared to a state enterprise that is free to tax what it wants. Plus there is no free-rider redistribution problem with pay-for-play services.
posted by troy at 2:12 PM on March 1, 2009


I think that what everyone here is forgetting is that Santelli has been ranting about the government's actions for the better part of the last 18 months. He ranted against the Bush Administration's policies, he ranted against the bailouts of Fannie and Freddie, of AIG, of Bear Stearns being sold off in the shotgun wedding last March.

I think that a lot of people are trying to find a conspiracy/thread when there really is none. Yes, Drudge had the headline on his site within minutes, but guess what - it means nothing other than the fact that Drudge knows how to push buttons and Drudge knows what makes headlines and draws in viewers. Period, end of story.

NBC ran the story on its 6.00 news that night - so what? It's a good news story because it's a good headline and draws eyeballs. Conspiracy? Hardly. Hell, I heard more about Rush Limbaugh's speech at the CPAC convention on NPR over the last 24 hours than I would have otherwise heard. Is this a sign that the conservative media machine has infiltrated that last bastion of supposed liberal content, NPR? I hardly think so.

Santelli's rant got a lot of press because it was quotable, it was inflammatory, it came during a peak in tensions over "what the fuck do we do?" in the housing/economic crisis. And, ironically, I would suggest that it's an interesting piece of news because the Republican party has been utterly and totally incapable of formulating a coherent, just, defensible and pragmatic response to recent events.

I find it interesting that of all his rants, Santelli gets picked up by the mainstream press for *this* one. Maybe it's because the *liberal media machine* thinks it makes for a great class-warfare story? I honestly don't know, and honestly don't care - but if I were an editor for either a left or right leaning media outlet I would be all over this story because it can be used by either side to fire up the base: Liberals screaming class warfare and hypocrisy, conservatives screaming government manipulation and interference.

Personally, I think the author of the original poster's article is making a mountain out of a molehill and stretching to find connections that really aren't there. Santelli's rant got the press it did because it makes for a great headline. Drudge knew it running the story in all its tacky splendor on his site, and NBC knew it running it as one of their lead stories on the 6:00 news. Columnists on both sides knew it writing their responses and here we all are, talking about it because those damned news people did their jobs and got our attention.
posted by tgrundke at 2:16 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


why it's only morally acceptable for those men to use the money to buy more guns.

Aside from opportunistically installing or protecting business-friendly regimes, the armed forces' mission is to protect private property, same as the public police force. And guess who owns 70% of the private property in this country.
posted by troy at 2:32 PM on March 1, 2009


It is just plain stupid to think that private business can adequately provide all the things needed for a healthy, long-term society. Not everything can be reduced to money-making.

Unlike, say, Alberta's oil sands.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:04 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


a healthy, long-term society

Who wants a healthy, long-term society when we can have a war with Iran?
posted by ornate insect at 3:19 PM on March 1, 2009


And, theoretically at least, there's something to be said for free-market competition driving efficiency up and margins down, compared to a state enterprise that is free to tax what it wants.

Okay, so let's break this down.

Using a recent Republican illustration to make the point, how could an essential public safety function like volcano monitoring be turned into a viable profit-making enterprise? Who pays? The people of the towns effected? Well, let's see. How'd you propose they do that? I guess they could pool their money in some way, but then, you'd need a way to make sure everyone pays a fair share since everyone shares equally in the benefit--oh wait, that sounds like a tax.

There often just isn't money to be made in looking out for the public good or in making the costly investments needed to develop the basic public infrastructure that ultimately markets depend upon to exist and grow. Markets exist as a product of government.

Without at least some kind of rudimentary public infrastructure and regulatory scheme (i.e., one or more common currencies for exchange, regulations to protect property and institutions to enforce them, public spaces in which vendors operate, infrastructure to ensure the survival of a consumer base) you can't say that markets, free or otherwise, can exist at all. Free markets only exist within the context of legal systems, institutions and infrastructure that promote trade.

Historically, most tribal cultures didn't engage in free trade. Tribal leaders allocated resources at their discretion. When multiple tribal groups engaged in trade of surplus goods they entered into agreements that set basic ground rules for how trade would be conducted. Only with the growth of empires and large state government apparatus (Egypt, Greece, Rome) do anything resembling modern markets begin to appear.

In other words, there is no such thing as a pure, deregulated market. Markets are bi-products of particular regulatory schemes and effectively depend on regulatory mechanisms to exist. Without basic rules governing property rights and fair exchange, for instance, you don't get markets. You get chaos.

Competition can work well in markets that are properly designed to reward the right kinds of competition (i.e., competition based on the quality or value-added of goods and services). But there is much, much more to the world than markets.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:10 AM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone who watched CNBC deserves the misinformation they receive (which is half of Wall Street, BTW). CNBC is nothing more than financial porn. It's full of half-truths, blatant inaccuracies, and pandering to the financial services industry (mainly the brokers).

That's what I tell the rest of the desk, but I don't control the remote, otherwise we'd be watching Bloomberg. But I guess it could be worse, we could be watching FBC.

Santelli's rant...it seems like they showed it every 15 minutes for two days, and each time, I would instinctively flinch from the anticipated spittle.
posted by malocchio at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2009


Joe the Plumber: Metapundit
posted by homunculus at 3:16 PM on March 2, 2009


Glenn Reynolds says that the Playboy blog entry has been taken down, as has the TPM post.

Santelli wasn't involved with that web site. They used his name without permission.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:22 PM on March 2, 2009


New York Magazine is calling bullshit on this story as well; apparently the authors were involved in faking some Maroon 5 interviews in the past. Looks like some awfully thin gruel at this point.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:32 PM on March 2, 2009


I don't understand why Santelli's name not being explicitly attached to one of these websites causes the whole house of cards to come falling down. There were still a bunch of people paid to put up "tea party" websites mere hours after Santelli's rant, with associated domain names registered well before the "spontaneous rant" was to occur, right?

Even the "debunking" article by NYM says "Is it weird that this domain name was purchased back in August? Totally. "
posted by mek at 8:29 AM on March 3, 2009


Newsbusters on this.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:34 PM on March 3, 2009


Newsbusters? You mean, the obviously objective source of information that characterizes itself as follows:

NewsBusters.org | Exposing Liberal Media Bias

?

Not in the slightest bit an outfit one might suspect of being part of some coordinated effort to push back against counter-right-wing activism online. Nope. Nossir. That'd be a right silly thing to suspect.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:29 PM on March 3, 2009


Right up there with suspecting some rich people of being pathologically obsessed with getting richer and staying that way.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:31 PM on March 3, 2009


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