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Matt Taibbi on Fox News and the Tea Party (2010)
September 2, 2010 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Matt Taibbi takes on the Fox Network's systematic racial demonization and the Tea Party phenomenon.
posted by fantodstic (72 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
August 2009: Advertisers deserting Fox News' Glenn Beck

May 2010: News Corp.'s Murdoch defends Fox News' Glenn Beck, even though there was an increase of house ads run on Beck's show, and viewership was down 30% from January (but still "easily beating CNN and MSNBC" viewership).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd.

Yup. It's a fairly literate rant, but what's new here?
posted by beagle at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2010


It's funny that he has to suggest boycotting Fox's advertisers, because boycotting News Corporation itself is so challenging.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If all the advertisers left Beck's show, he'd just revamp it as an informercial about cash-for-gold scams.
posted by box at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2010


Perhaps an egregious side effect of Murdoch's success is not providing an outlet for racism, but to pull other networks closer to his along the political spectrum. When most of the media treats racism with a shrug, because it's otherwise bad for ratings to question it, it makes the default, moderate position one that tolerates systemic discrimination as a matter of course.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


Sure, I'd like Fox News to go down. But boycotts? I do not want the coming class conflict to be via the wallet. There's no way for the non-rich to win that war.
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on September 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


Taibbi: "The same Americans who six or seven years ago were looking skyward in search of poison-distributing Saddam-drones and buying duct tape and bottled water to protect themselves against imminent Muslim attack are now probably not spending five minutes a week worrying about Muslim terrorists -- and instead arming themselves against the coming black-Mexican-leftist-communist state."

They're not spending five minutes a week droning on about Muslim terrorists? Where has he been the past, oh, two months?

"July 29, Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy continues the Radio Rwanda theme, saying, 'If the feds won't protect the people and Governor Brewer can't protect her citizens, what are the people of Arizona supposed to do?' "

Who is Jan Brewer -- Queen Elizabeth I or something?
posted by blucevalo at 11:02 AM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's no way for the non-rich to win that war.

There are a metric fuck-ton more of us. It's important that we stay divided along bullshit lines, so that we never really coalesce against the real problem. If 100 million Americans suddenly stopped shopping at walmart FOREVER, someone would surely see it on the balance sheet.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:05 AM on September 2, 2010 [26 favorites]


But most poor don't have the luxury to shop elsewhere even in the unlikely event they have true information (i.e. not from the corporate-controlled media).
posted by DU at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sure, I'd like Fox News to go down. But boycotts? I do not want the coming class conflict to be via the wallet. There's no way for the non-rich to win that war.

You realize the only other alternative is the pitchfork? The non-rich-enough-to-afford-their-own-private-army-of-Blackwater-mercs won't win there either.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:07 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd.

I wonder if it's not just tired, but actively unhelpful to the progressive cause. How much time and energy is spent tracking, refuting, ridiculing, and getting outraged over every single stupid thing Glenn Beck or some other Fox News cretin does or says? What does any of it actually accomplish, other than stirring up the readers?

I often suspect progressive bloggers and commentators are being played for fools. Fox News waves the red flag, progressives dutifully respond. Meanwhile, real political causes that might lead to real progress, like campaign finance reform, get shoved aside in favor of the outrage of the day.

I'd love to see more progressive activists just ignore this steady stream of bullshit altogether, and maintain a steady focus on more important issues.
posted by Pants McCracky at 11:13 AM on September 2, 2010 [35 favorites]


My feelings about Matt Taibbi's writings are the same ones I have for Ted Rall's political cartoons - red meat agitprop rhetoric for the combative radical left mainly, but as original, thoughtful, persuasive commentary? Not so much.

The Radio Rwanda comparison is ridiculous - Glenn Beck isn't instructing his audience to go around murdering people (which Radio Rwanda literally did).

Surely there is more than enough to criticize Fox News/Breitbart/WorldDailyNet etc etc for without resorting to this kind of exaggeration.

On the financial pressure/boycott question, Murdoch isn't particularly ideological (just pro-business, pro-market, pro-profit in a blunt kind of way) and would respond if Fox News was in trouble commercially due to its politics. But Fox News's politics and differentiation from other cable news networks has made it a runaway success and it will probably have little trouble replacing advertisers who pull out due to boycott pressure.
posted by Bwithh at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Taibbi: One of the few positives in this Tea Party phenomenon is that it's shown how quickly masses of Americans can be convinced to completely change their minds about shit.

What it confirms is how gullible and easily manipulated a large part of the American public really is. Just think how much fun it will be when a really smart, charismatic kook arrives on the scene to channel all this hate and energy in a purposed direction.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


And in other sleazy News Corp news:

A NYT timeline of the phone hacking undertaken by Murdoch's News of The World
posted by stagewhisper at 11:17 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, back in reality, illegal immigration is down sharply and more illegal immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration than under Bush. The Obama administration is also increasing audits of businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Deportations are up 10% over 2008 and audits are up 400%.
posted by jedicus at 11:18 AM on September 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Radio Rwanda comparison is ridiculous - Glenn Beck isn't instructing his audience to go around murdering people (which Radio Rwanda literally did).

Radio Rawanda didn't start out instructing their audiences to kill people, either. They eased their way into it.
posted by vibrotronica at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wonder if it's not just tired, but actively unhelpful to the progressive cause. How much time and energy is spent tracking, refuting, ridiculing, and getting outraged over every single stupid thing Glenn Beck or some other Fox News cretin does or says? What does any of it actually accomplish, other than stirring up the readers?

Same problem the entire Left has. Also the Democratic party. They want everyone to love them and agree with them, so they spend endless time trying to convince the illogical and/or selfish. Take a stand. Win votes that are winnable. Do the right thing.
posted by DU at 11:26 AM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


What is this Blank Panther story? I keep hearing it mentioned but I have no idea what the actual thing is.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:33 AM on September 2, 2010


I'd love to see more progressive activists just ignore this steady stream of bullshit altogether, and maintain a steady focus on more important issues.

Isn't that basically what he's saying?
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:35 AM on September 2, 2010


There's no way for the non-rich to win that war.

Well given they've got control of all the heavy artillery and have perverted the election process, economics may be the only sane way to hit back. The wealthy still depend on us giving them the little bit of our income that is discretionary to them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:36 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is this Blank Panther story? I keep hearing it mentioned but I have no idea what the actual thing is.

Well you see there are these panthers. And they are black. So they hate America.

I think it stems from two looney-tunes who dressed up in paramilitary fatigues and stood -- within legal distance, as is their right - of a single polling place in November 08. In the Fox News rightwing noise machine, this becomes: THE BLACK PANTHERS AND ACORN STOLE THE ELECTION ALSO THEY ARE BLACK AND PANTHERS BE AFRAID!
posted by joe lisboa at 11:38 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Upon further inspection, they appear to have been bona fide poll watchers (I was a legal observer in 2008 and am familiar with the gig), which just makes it all the more of a put-on to cast it as voter intimidation. Also too, they are black.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:40 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I think I vaguely remember reading about that two years ago. People are still talking about that?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Radio Rwanda comparison is ridiculous - Glenn Beck isn't instructing his audience to go around murdering people (which Radio Rwanda literally did).

In opposition to this straw man, what he actually referred to was Radio Rwanda's insistence that the Tutsis were conspiring to kill Hutus, leaving the Hutus to figure out the appropriate response. This is a pretty good analogy to Beck et al. calling people murderers, traitors, dictators, and foreign agents. Just as Radio Rwanda did, they are telling lies. Then they leave it for their listeners to figure out the appropriate actions.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Radio Rwanda comparison is ridiculous - Glenn Beck isn't instructing his audience to go around murdering people (which Radio Rwanda literally did).

But even so, they are being influenced and trying to kill people of importance from group who use "indoctrination" to "warp children's brains".

They might not say "go out and kill them" explicitly, but they are certainly the flame which keeps the pot of fury boiling.
posted by quin at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And whitey's on the moon.
posted by punkfloyd at 11:54 AM on September 2, 2010


FWIW, The New Black Panther Party has NO ties to the Old Black Panther Party (blatant self-link).

But I think what is interesting is that while the tea partiers, astro-turf or not, have created a mass mobilization that has a complicated strategy (electoral, activist, grassroots and muscular), the left has largely resigned to symbolic protest (mass marches on Washington) and defeatist cough cough some of the comments on this very thread are a good example cough.

What I would love to see is for progressives, who are sick of the race-baiting and pandering to wall street of the right and tired of the war god compromising and pandering to wall street of the democratic party, to pick up their spines and go to war: if it's subaru, boycott and picket their dealerships; if it's lily-livered democrats, barnstorm for their primary challengers; if it's racist anti-immigration policies, we need to picket and build public pressure against ICE.

This country has a long history of social movements, often begun with less people than on a regular metafilter thread, rising up and getting children out of factories, ending segregation, getting women equal rights, and inventing the weekend. I wish we'd remember that some time.
posted by history is a weapon at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2010 [31 favorites]


Bwithh: "The Radio Rwanda comparison is ridiculous - Glenn Beck isn't instructing his audience to go around murdering people (which Radio Rwanda literally did)."

Radio Rwanda as a propaganda tool began by mixing pop culture with op/ed pieces and only slowly gave way into urging Rwandans: "The graves are not yet full. Who will help us to fill them?".

Indeed, part of its appeal was "countering the other" to ostensibly protect a sacred way of life by banding together like-minded individuals under a single cause.

The only difference may be how long a period of incitement is required for U.S citizens to "cut down the tall trees" in their own country. It may be that no amount of incitement will achieve that goal. I'd like to think so.
posted by boo_radley at 12:05 PM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Have you ever played mafia wars, or anything else like that, where each time you start making a little money consistently, it finances your ability to get a little more consistently, and so on and so forth, until suddenly you're making tons of money from lots of different revenue streams?

That's the trouble with boycotting something like News Corp. They've been playing the game for a long time, and drying up one revenue stream here or there is not really going to impact their financials. It has to be an epic, coordinated effort, and it has to happen everywhere at once, for a sustained period of time.

Coordinating something like that is really hard to do, if for no other reason than some folks have a tendency to support something just because other people hate it so much. It's also why companies strive to be diversified, so that one revenue stream drying up (through boycotts or mismanagement or lack of sustainability) doesn't take down the whole company. It's why you should be diversified on your income sources, as well.

Econ 101? Sure, but for some reason people who boycott things seem not to understand this.
posted by davejay at 12:09 PM on September 2, 2010


Hey, late to the party.
posted by boo_radley at 12:09 PM on September 2, 2010


Perhaps a better parallel would be the Japanese media in the 1920s, which was infected by anti-Korean attitudes and were entirely happy to print anti-Korean propaganda. Then the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake came along, which was a nightmare -- 7.9 on the Richter scale, and lasting between 4 and 10 minutes. About 99,000 people died, included, in what must be the most horrifying detail of all, 38,000 people packed into an open space in a former Army clothing depot, who were incinerated, en masse, when a fire tornado swept over them.

In the chaos that followed, the Japanese media printed rumors that Koreans were poisoning Japanese wells, and the population took over, exactly justice on ethnic Koreans and anybody else who had non-Japanese pronunciations of Japanese words, such as Chinese nationals, Okinawans, and even Japanese who spoke with regional dialects. They eventually murdered between 2,500 to 6,600.

You don't have to actually tell people to murder. Fan the flames of hate enough, and spread enough rumors, and people will eventually figure out what to do for themselves, especially when a crisis occurs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:09 PM on September 2, 2010 [32 favorites]


"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - Some Catholic Guy
posted by blue_beetle at 12:16 PM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would favorite history is a weapon's post 100 times if I could. Not because I think that people are going to take to the streets anytime soon in reaction to the hate mongering that sells, sells, sells in the media, but because Sam's site contains a wealth of information that I've used to teach classes on writing for radicals, and so on.

I will Nth the uselessness of boycotting Fox. I already do that. I haven't had any use for Fox--oops, let me retract that, I do watch my local beisbol team on FSN, dammit. What I do instead is write letters and nasty grams every time I see Coulter or Limbaugh or Beck appear as expert analysis on a supposedly "neutral" show like CBS Morning News or the Today Show. It especially galls me when they lead a segment with these asshats and then let whatever bile they're trotting out that day stand unchallenged. I let the local station and the national office what I think about these practices and how much it makes me NOT buy whatever products they advertise around those segments--and I keep track, and I send copies to the sponsors, too. Most of the replies are just pro forma, but I guarantee, if enough people take 10 to 20 minutes a day to do the same, it will have an effect. Hell, that's how people like Beck and Limbaugh got audiences in the first place. They can disappear the same way.

I make no secret nor apology of my leaning to the left so far I am likely to fall over. I run a community center in a low income neighborhood FFS. But I will say openly that I have absolutely no problem with conservative thought, conservative expression, conservative argument, and you can put Republican or whatever you want to stand in for conservative. But I absolutely cannot stand the blatant bilge off the sort that is detailed so well in Taibbi's opinion piece. I am old enough to remember when Republican senators like Chuck Percy and Everett Dirksen actually realized that they represented ALL of their constituents, not just the ones foaming at the mouth about the latest xenophobic scare.

Ugh. I better stop now.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Caught Glenn Beck's show for the first time ever a couple weeks back. I didn't know who he was at first, but I saw his FUCKING CRAZY EYES and was like huh? His rant was about how some guy poured acid into a swimming pool to keep out the black people and was never prosecuted for said act. What did he extrapolate from this tale? How government is never dependable. I almost bashed my head through the TV
posted by angrycat at 12:42 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pants McCracky makes a good point. I was thinking the other day about the old "reality based community" comment from one of Bush's aides. Here's the quote, in part
"and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do"
link
At the time a lot of people made fun of the comment , but what the aide was really talking about was driving the decision cycle. When the Left spends a lot of time "analyzing" the situation and then reacting, it means that the Right is always ahead of the game. I suspect that Bush's aide had some familiarity with the works of Col. John Boyd, an American military strategist who developed the concept of the decision cycle, what he termed the "OODA loop." Briefly, the OODA loop consists of observation, orientation, decision and action. If the Left is always observing and orienting itself to the actions of, say , Glenn Beck, then Beck is always going to control the dialogue.

I think part of the problem is that a lot of leftist types come from or are heavily influenced by the liberal arts academic world, where close reading, and critical theory have become very influential. Analyzing someone else's narrative isn't enough; it's time to write our own compelling narratives. We should have less Rhetoric 101 and more Creative Writing 201.
posted by wuwei at 12:54 PM on September 2, 2010 [23 favorites]



What is this Blank Panther story? I keep hearing it mentioned but I have no idea what the actual thing is.

It's a story about cats with senile dementia.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2010


I recently added my local conservative talk station (Rush, Beck, etc.) to my presets and flip to it now and then to see what they are talking about. Sometimes I listen as long as 30 minutes. The thing that makes my head assplode is that even though I read the newspaper, visit web news sites, and listen to NPR like 5 hours a day, sometimes the entire 30 minutes goes by without me being able to figure out what they are talking about at all. If I do figure out what they are talking about, I can never figure out what sorts of points they are making. They just say random things and I can't even understand them enough to figure out which parts (if any) I agree with. Which is a shame, because I am very open-minded and willing to listen to people who are worried about immigration, etc.

I heard the Black Panther thing too and couldn't figure it out for the life of me. I thought they were talking about the 60s.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:15 PM on September 2, 2010


freecellwizard: "Sometimes I listen as long as 30 minutes. The thing that makes my head assplode is that even though I read the newspaper, visit web news sites, and listen to NPR like 5 hours a day, sometimes the entire 30 minutes goes by without me being able to figure out what they are talking about at all. If I do figure out what they are talking about, I can never figure out what sorts of points they are making."

Someone said that this is like those signs on highway on-ramps: DENVER LOCALS DOT COM, for every city everywhere in the world. Or "50 HARD WORKING PEOPLE NEEDED TO MAKE $$$$$$$ NOW!!!"

And you drive by thinking, "who falls for these things?", and while the answer's NOT YOU, because you're too busy petitioning for the UN Charter on Human Rights, or buying an iPad or whatever, there are people who thing "Yes, I am lonely and in need of $$$$$".

These are signals that you are not wired to respond to, nothing more.
posted by boo_radley at 1:27 PM on September 2, 2010


history is a weapon, I agree with beelzbubba. Your site is an amazing resource. Thanks.
posted by stagewhisper at 1:45 PM on September 2, 2010


What boo_radley said, plus this: The fact that the talk radio shows were borderline incomprehensible to you is a feature, not a bug. It's not about "truth" or "fact". It's about group dynamics—the in-group vs the out-group. What they are selling is not discussion and analysis of facts, it's politics as college football. The people who came up with the "Black Panthers fixed the vote by intimidating white voters" meme don't care if it's true or not. In fact, it's better if it's a lie. When we say "nuh uh, that's a lie", that just brands us as the out-group and binds the believers closer together. It's borderline useless to argue with the true believers, because they don't care if what they're saying is true or not. Case in point: a very large number of Republicans claim to think that Obama is a Muslim. Do so many of them really believe what they said, or are they answering a poll in a way that identifies them with their group?
posted by vibrotronica at 1:50 PM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Econ 101? Sure, but for some reason people who boycott things seem not to understand this.

No, this is nothing like Econ 101. The fact is that boycotts have been very effective in the past, but more, it's good not do business with people who you perceive as evil just for your own satisfaction, whether or not it will actually change anything.

What's your suggestion for a plan of action?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:50 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Case in point: a very large number of Republicans claim to think that Obama is a Muslim.

Technically, they think he's a n****r, but they can't say that out loud. "Muslim" is a second-best.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:02 PM on September 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I was curious about what it would take to boycott New Corp. The Boycott Everything "Fox" & "News Corporation" group on facebook provided a handy and imposing list:
●► DON'T watch these Cable TV Channels: (If you must watch your favorite Fox show, watch it on a TV that is NOT connected to a cable converter box...or most Fox shows can also be seen online.)
◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙

FOX News Channel
Fuel TV
FX
National Geographic Channel
Speed
Reality TV
Stats, Inc.
myTV
FOX Business Network
FOX Movie Channel
FOX Classics
FOX College Sports
FOX Sports Enterprises
FOX Sports En Espanol
FOX Sports Net
FOX Soccer Channel
(Your local "Fox" & "myTV" affiliates)

●► DON'T go see any of these movies:
http://www.foxmovies.com/
http://content.foxsearchlight.com/films

●► DON'T rent or purchase any of these DVD's:
http://www.fox.co.uk/dvd/out-now

●► DON'T watch your local Fox affiliate or reruns of Fox shows that are shown on other channels. (i.e.), American Idol, The Simpson's, House, Family Guy. Also, "myTV" is a Fox affiliate.

●► DON"T subscribe to or purchase these newspapers:
◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙

Wall Street Journal
New York Post
Smart Money
The Times-Herald Record (Middletown, New York)
The Courier-Life (Brooklyn)
The Brooklyn Paper

●► DON'T listen to any of these Clear Channel radio stations (or at least don't admit to it if surveyed)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_broadcast_stations_owned_by_Clear_Channel

●► DON"T subscribe to or purchase these magazines:
◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙

The Weekly Standard
Barrons
Big League
Inside Out
Donna Hay
Dow Jones & Company
ALPHA
News America Marketing
Smart Source

●► DON"T purchase books published by:
Harper Collins (Sarah Palin's publisher, owned by News Corp)

●► DON'T use the following websites for online purchases:
Jamster.com (mobile phone content provider. i.e., ring-tones & games)

●► DON'T use these 'other' News Corp services and/or assets:
◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙◙

MySpace.com (online community)
Photobucket.com (photo sharing)
AskMen.com (Men's online magazine)
Broadsystem (Telephony provider for media companies)
Beliefnet.com (Inspirational advice)
Blue Sky Studios (CGI Animation films)
IGN Entertainment (video games)
kSolo.com (myspace karaoke)
Movielink.com (movie downloads)
NDS Group (pay-TV operators)
Rottentomatoes.com (movie reviews)
Spring Widgets (myspace widgets)
WhatIfSports.com (online games)
Fox Interactive Media (oversees the Internet business operations of News Corp)
Colorado Rockies (MLBaseball)
I must say it's not a particularly easy thing to do. That's a pretty hefty chunk of pop culture and media - and that's just in USA.
posted by vanar sena at 2:09 PM on September 2, 2010 [13 favorites]


Um I suppose I could have just posted this wikipedia page on News Corp assets. It's even more weighty than that list above, particularly for folks outside USA.
posted by vanar sena at 2:17 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got to say this, man—panthers are right scary. Fox News commentators, not so much.
posted by Mister_A at 2:22 PM on September 2, 2010


Can we really ignore these people? I remember when Ann Coulter was a novelty. Now her entire schtick is a business model (Beck, Malkin, Palin, etc) and probably the future of the GOP. Everytime I walk into a large chain bookstore I'm a little surprised at the large displays near the entrace devoted to the newest conservative book. I mean, we're not talking political theory here, but the print equivalant of right-wing talk radio. These books are best sellers.

I'm not sure what anyone can do. Ignoring them validates their views and addressing them is exhausting. These people are easily swayed by Beck's rhetoric. I don't think they're people necessarily interested in politics or good government. They just want to turn on the TV or the radio and hear things they already agree with.

A little while ago there was an article here from Noam Chomsky about how the right should be addressed and embraced, not ridiculed. I don't see how that's possible anymore. Your typical Beck fan probably worries most about things like Black Panther takeovers and falsified presidential birth certificates than middle class tax breaks or the diminishing buying power of the dollar. I'm not sure how you can address that. Its not practical. The level of crazy here takes years to undo. Its like in movies where children meet up with their parents that abandoned them decades before. All it takes is a hug at a local diner and mom and daughter are suddenly best friends. Real life doesn't really work out that way.

I'm hoping that all this noise is caused by the 20% of the electorate that are going to vote GOP/3rd party anyway and expect Fox's "outrage of the day" like its a part of a normal life. If a few million people want to live in an alternate reality and yell random things out like "restoring honor" like its some deep philosophical statement, then we really can't stop them.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:26 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what anyone can do. Ignoring them validates their views and addressing them is exhausting.

I've been thinking about this a bit myself, and I'm wondering if the smart move wouldn't be to start inviting them on to shows and forcing them to defend their points against people equipped to shoot them down, and call them on their bullshit. Do it aggressively, and make it clear that any talking points will be drilled into and if it's not valid, it will me mocked. Build the conditions to prevent the common tactic of just spewing a long string of nonsense by having the host immediately start breaking down every part of what they just said and demanding that they back up the statements.

If they refuse to come on the shows, call them out as cowards not willing to back up their position. Do this often and loudly.

It's an asshole move, to be sure, but at this point, the only way to start shaking their listeners faith, is to see their pundits publicly refuted, right to their face, in a way that they can't be ignored.

And then the Left takes these clips, puts them into heavy rotation, and brings them up every time a new talking point on the Right is generated.
posted by quin at 2:45 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]




If you want to boycott something Koch Industries would be a good place to start. The Koch brothers have more money than Bill Gates and they use it to fund far right causes... most notably of late The Tea Party.
posted by Huplescat at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are a metric fuck-ton more of us.

Yeah, a metric fuck-ton of people that have to live somewhere (rent) and eat something (fast food). And let's not even start on how monumentally, fundamentally, shamefully ignorant most people are.

The only thing that works is demonizing them. And not with logic. Not with explanations or "here let me sit you down and explain this" because these are the sorts of people with gnat-like attention spans. No, you have to just dumb it way the fuck down. "You watch FOX? What are you, some right-wing racist millionaire? You like giving money to rich people? Pshh. Whatever, man."

Make sure you add the "whatever, man" or you might be seen as some kind of godless liberal intellectual socialist.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:49 PM on September 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


Your typical Beck fan probably worries most about things like Black Panther takeovers and falsified presidential birth certificates than middle class tax breaks or the diminishing buying power of the dollar.

I agree with a lot of what you wrote. But what I don't see is any kind of point-pounding which runs counter to the Coulter business model (as you call it). There simply isn't anyone providing an equivalent-yet-opposite which really makes the kind of un-ignorable noise as the right wing commentators. Even Rachel Maddow, bless her for all her hard work, doesn't really pound home points. Her mode is far too reasoned and her method of communication requires paying actual attention rather than simply sloganeering and shouting like everyone on FoxNews.

I don't know that I'd actually appreciate hearing the same tactics applied to forwarding the side of issues that I agree with, now that I think about it. But when the other side has mastered the pithy slogan and the Big Lie and isn't afraid to use them, persuading their target audience even against their own best interests, I don't know how to counter that.
posted by hippybear at 2:51 PM on September 2, 2010


Speaking of Coulter, the new wank is that Obama can't be a Muslim, because he's an atheist!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:10 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


jedicus: "Meanwhile, back in reality, illegal immigration is down sharply and more illegal immigrants have been deported under the Obama administration than under Bush. The Obama administration is also increasing audits of businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Deportations are up 10% over 2008 and audits are up 400%."

Yep, and if I know the Repugs, they will be able to score points against Obama by endlessly repeating that Obama is soft on illegal immigration. Actually, more like OBAMA IS HELPING MEXICAN MUSLIM TERRORISTS INVADE AMERICA, a la Bill Clinton and the War on Drugs. Bill C., if you recall, doubled the size of the Drug War and took endless potshots from the right for being "soft on drugs".
posted by telstar at 4:02 PM on September 2, 2010


It's funny that he has to suggest boycotting Fox's advertisers, because boycotting News Corporation itself is so challenging.
I kind of wonder if that's part of the reason why Conan chose not to go on Fox for his new show. I mean, It's certainly not somewhere where I would choose to work if I had enough money to say no.
My feelings about Matt Taibbi's writings are the same ones I have for Ted Rall's political cartoons - red meat agitprop rhetoric for the combative radical left mainly, but as original, thoughtful, persuasive commentary? Not so much.
Ted Rall is a lunatic, one who tried to silence his critics with lawsuits. Although Taibbi did throw coffee at one of his.

That's kind beside the point. Taibbi isn't even that 'liberal' he's mainly anti-wallstreet and pro-populist. At least the stuff I'd read of his. I don't read him all that much but he doesn't seem anywhere near as much of a douchebag as Ted Rall.
What is this Blank Panther story? I keep hearing it mentioned but I have no idea what the actual thing is.
Basically two dudes stood outside a polling station, where they were promptly ignored. But since they were black and scarry fox news started promoting the 'scandal' that they were intimidating voters. Of course, no one was actually intimidated at the time. And we're talking about two people. And also, they weren't associated with the real black panther party.
posted by delmoi at 4:06 PM on September 2, 2010


I'm wondering if the smart move wouldn't be to start inviting them on to shows and forcing them to defend their points against people equipped to shoot them down, and call them on their bullshit.

2 problems here:
1) They would never come.
2) There are, frankly, few people capable of shooting them down instantly point-by-point with facts and figures. Unless you already know what I'm going to say, or are a walking encyclopedia, chances are any argument you make against whatever crazy shit I make up on the spot will be fairly weak. That's why radio and TV shows are miserable conduits for dialog (but excellent for propaganda).

If they refuse to come on the shows, call them out as cowards not willing to back up their position. Do this often and loudly.
This already happens, and it tends to make the caller-outers sound like heroes to their supporters and idiots to their detractors. How would you feel about Glenn Beck calling Rachel Maddow a coward for not coming on his show? You'd rightfully thing he was an ass. But his crowd would love it.

There are 2 things I can think of to make some of this go away:
1) Start suing. Someone calls Obama a non-citizen or a Muslim, he sues them. This will never happen, and most of the right-wing name-calling is too non-specific for that anyway ("He's trying to turn us into commies!")
2) Fix the pathetic nonsense that passes for our education system. No one on either side has any interest in serious discussion about this, and even less will to do what's necessary to make it happen. So that's a non-starter, too.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:13 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can see niceness and intelligence losing in our country, and it really bothers me. I can see why niceness would be a losing tactic, but we should be able to outsmart a few more of these fuckwits. I just don't want to go down the crazy AND the stupid roads without a little kicking and screaming.
posted by theredpen at 4:46 PM on September 2, 2010


Not watching fox news won't hurt them. You are not their demographic. Refusing to shop at a retailer or purchase a product because of their advertising on Fox will. Here's the thing: this is the time to do it.

That's right folks - we're two months away from Christmas sales - which begin whole hog in NOVEMBER. Start now. Here's the plan:
1. Watch 5 minutes of Fox News a day.
2. Wait for an advertisement.
3. Write LETTERS to the VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES for each company you see advertising.
4. Tell them WHY you will not be purchasing their product and WHY their association with FOX NEWS and FOX Broadcasting is is detrimental to their business. CITE THE SPECIFIC SHOW AND WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT.
5. Provide a SHORT LIST of competitors WHO DO NOT ADVERTISE ON FOX who you will consider purchasing from instead. I'll be honest - you do not need to go to Burger King nor would you need to necessarily eat McDonalds - you only need to point out the alternatives and state that they will no longer be getting your money.
5. Send it.

I assure you - there is no faster way to get advertising pulled than a *handful* of letters scolding a company for their advertising practices. Seriously. A handful of letters will get advertising shuffled in the first round and eventually pulled when subsequent letters hit them.

I can attest that such a letter, while it won't get there immediately, WILL get put in front of a corporate executive, and if you have successfully equated their business with political whack jobs like FOX news they will pull their advertising spend as quickly as possible.

Now the next thing is - THIS is the time of year to hurt retailers. If you see them advertise on FOX, don't shop there until January. Seriously. You will put people out of work, but you will destroy FOX News's advertising revenue in the process.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:52 PM on September 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


I'm going to give that a shot.
posted by theredpen at 4:59 PM on September 2, 2010


Yeah, fuckit, why not, let's roll.
posted by Rat Spatula at 5:36 PM on September 2, 2010


I don't think that a boycott by a few people is going to do much. What's interesting is that with Glenn Beck, people only called for a boycott of companies that advertised on his show, not the entire network. And ultimately there are millions of conservatives, far more then enough to sustain a business.

I'm not saying it would hurt or anything, but I doubt it would help much.
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on September 2, 2010


I'd love to see more progressive activists just ignore this steady stream of bullshit altogether, and maintain a steady focus on more important issues.

A little late responding to this, but no, I can't agree, nor can I understand the rationale of not responding to the Tea Party. If their side of the conversation is the only one that gets heard, how is that a good thing?

To the argument that progressives need to rise above the mire and turn the other cheek and not respond to attacks just because they are crazy and stupid, I have a two word response: John Kerry. In case that's not sufficiently clear, here are two more words: Swift Boat.
posted by chaff at 5:59 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yup. It's a fairly literate rant, but what's new here?

The boycott of Fox advertisers is new. But I don't think he's serious. If he was he'd at least give us a list to start with. All he mentions is Subaru and Pep Boys.
posted by eye of newt at 6:58 PM on September 2, 2010


Delmoi, boycotting by a few people will *not* do much. What you need to do is to make the boycott appear to be larger and more functional than it is. The first thing is to understand how companies get data from you about them. Normally, if they want it, they solicit it. If you contact them though, and it isn't saying "golly gee whizz you're swell" there's a different process.

Emails usually get filtered out through customer service reps and even when addressed properly to vice presidents or customer service managers they get squashed since every idiot is willing to spout off some nonsense on their computer.

Similarly, complaints via phone get crushed at 1-2 levels of supervisors.

Amazingly, few people still write real mail. When companies get it, it generally gets handled a little more "traditionally" and while its opened up by someone's secretary, those negative comments wind up getting moved further upstream faster. That's right: $0.44 cents postage gets you further than the $99/month high speed internet. Building on this, figure a mid-sized company gets 15-20 mails a month addressed to their customer service or sales department. For arguments sake, lets say only 30% of those are complaints. Throw in 5 or 6 additional "hate" mails and you've created a bump (to 46% detractors). Give them 6 clear messages to "we hate fox news" and you've given them a way to turn those detractors to positives or neutrals...

Get it? while yes, you may not be able to directly hurt their bottom line without rallying massive support (which, hell, if you can, do.) you can make the appearance of a major issue apparent.

Incidentally, this is why a company I used to work for ceased publishing bilingual advertisements - and that was long before the Tea Party.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:37 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Say this for Tea Partiers (and I mean regular citizens, not the people/corps profiting from them): they showed up. They saw something they thought was wrong and they spoke up. Personally, I think they are having they wool pulled over their eyes, but that's beside the point. They realize that if something's important to you, you have to make your voice heard.

Meanwhile what have liberals and even moderate democrats done to push the changes they want? As far as I can tell, the answer seems to be, "we voted for Obama. Why hasn't he fixed everything yet?"

Are conservatives the only ones allowed to stage rallies? Remember, the 60's marches on Washington happened with Democrats in control of the federal government (not totally analagous to today's dems I realize), who were inclined towards civil rights. And they still needed hubdreds of thousands marching to push them to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Where are the protests denouncing Wall Street? Where was the deafening outcry for the public option? Where are the progressive marches on the Capitol demanding that government look after its citizens rather than its corporations?

This is the best chance liberals will ever have to change things. But they have to demand it. Where are they? Oh right, they voted, so they've done their bit.

/rant
posted by dry white toast at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Weigel: New Black Panther Story as Stewart: Crossfire, I think. Weigel's blog is def worth reading because he's sincerely interested in why people believe these things.
posted by citron at 9:02 PM on September 2, 2010


But most poor don' t have the luxury to shop
elsewhere even in the unlikely event they have
true information ( i .e . not from the corporate -
controlled media ).

I think you'll find most 'poor' don't care. Apathy is a far more insidious enemy than the hysterical rhetoric of the far right.
posted by londonmark at 12:58 AM on September 3, 2010


Ignoring them validates their views and addressing them is exhausting.

I disagree with the first part. Addressing them validates their views. It is exhausting, as you said. You can't dignify this nonsense. The dems should put together a powerful narrative vision of what life should be in 21st century America, something they have failed to do thus far.
posted by Mister_A at 8:14 AM on September 3, 2010


Although Taibbi did throw coffee at one of his.

Wow, both were class acts. You show to interview a guy and start by insulting his book, of which he is justifiably proud. They he gets stark raving mad, throws his coffee at you, and starts acting bizarrely. Don't see either of those two as buddies to hang out with, if you know what I mean.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:43 AM on September 3, 2010


You will put people out of work, but you will destroy ...

No, you won't put any people out of work, except the nitwits at Fox News. As soon as the advertisers see the resistance, they will pull their advertising and go elsewhere. If they see an actual downturn in revenue, they will undertake additional advertising to make sure people know they're sorry.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:49 AM on September 3, 2010


The GOP's new fake racial history: A Southern Republican with designs on challenging Barack Obama in 2012 offers a phony version of history
posted by homunculus at 11:35 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder what it would take to establish a new journalistic standard: when reporting on a media event, it should be standard to report the primary sponsors of that event or program. Example:
Beck: Obama is Moon Man Sympathizer

On his nationally-syndicated television program today, commentator Glenn Beck accused President Obama of being a sleeper agent for foreign Moon Man interests.

Speaking with Senate Republican John McCain, Beck asked, "What does it say to you, sir, that President Barack Hussein Obama has not deported a single illegal moon man during his entire presidency? Does it say 'This is a president who does not care to protect us from the lunar infiltrators in our midst'? A 'Moonchurian Candidate,' if you will?"

McCain responded with a nod that staffers subsequently attributed to his being asleep at the time.

The primary sponsors of Beck's program that day included Wal-Mart, Chevrolet, McDonalds, and WeBuyGoldAndGiveYouWeBuyGoldDotComFunbucks.com. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment, though the contact number for WeBuyGold et al was redirected to a Yugoslavian deli.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:08 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


To parallel homunculus' Salon link above

Factchecking Barbour's version of history

TRMS video segment on Barbour's fake personal history
posted by hippybear at 2:36 PM on September 3, 2010


Remember, the 60's marches on Washington

Remember the massive anti-war protests in 2003? Or the massive anti-Bush protests? I mean, at the end of the day, your big outing is useless to society. All the paper-mache Hitlers and goofy slogans mean nothing. Its only placates the crowd. Its what happens in the voting booth that matters. I'm finding it hard to believe that otherwise politically moderate swing-voters are suddenly in love with Glenn Beck. He just has a rabid following of the same old conservatives who always vote GOP. As far as I can tell there is no Tea Party. I don't see anyone running with a T next to their name. Its just GOP infighting that looks like it does little more than scare off swing voters and moderates.

Granted, the Democrats will lose seats in the midterm election, but the dominant party always does in midterm. Tea Party mandate and the power of crowds? Please.

Meanwhile what have liberals and even moderate democrats done to push the changes they want? As far as I can tell, the answer seems to be, "we voted for Obama. Why hasn't he fixed everything yet?"


Oh gee, I don't know. How about the massive historical healthcare reform that makes the US slightly less of a laughing stock on the world stage? The end of combat in Iraq. The credit card bill. The student loan bill. The appointment of two sane justices, not right-wing ideologues that we're so used to. Real middle-class tax cuts. Lifting on stem cell research ban (now back in courts, thanks conservatives!).

What are the GOP accomplishments? The party of no and of George Bush? What are these new Tea Party ideals? That the Civil Rights Act shouldn't apply to business discrimination? Or that the government needs to get out of Medicare? Further bullshit about being a "Christian Nation?"
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:42 PM on September 3, 2010


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