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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to pulverize the propaganda

Right-wing propaganda is destroying this country. Propaganda forces Democrats to frame all issues in right-wing terms, and to focus only on those problems which Fox News considers worthy of attention.

Not long ago, Steven Almond contributed a piece to the NYT which argued that Fox News will become powerless if non-conservatives simply ignore it.  Balloon Juice gave a superb response:
The logic goes something like this:

1.) Ignore Mean Republicans
2.) …

I will agree that Almond’s piece was wrong-headed, but the problem is coming up with a good strategy to counter the right-wing propaganda barrage. Allow me to make five suggestions.

1. Non-conservatives must not cooperate with the propagandists. Not even momentarily. Almond is, to this extent, correct.

2. Insist on truth in labeling. Every Democrat, liberal and moderate — including the president — should refer to Fox News, by name, as a nest of liars. Never say “Fox News;” always say “The Fox propaganda network.” No weasel words; no euphemisms.

Use the harshest terms imaginable. The White House press secretary should use such terms, and so should all Democratic congressfolk. When the inevitable backlash erupts, double down. Never apologize.

3. Engage the enemy while marginalizing him. The Democratic party should erect and publicize a “Propaganda watch” website which chronicles the many lies emitted each day by the right-wing misinformation machine.

It is important to engage with Fox News, but only in the way a specialized team might engage with a zone of radioactivity.

4. Do the research. Investigative reporters should track the money and the intelligence connections behind the Murdoch empire, Clear Channel, and Breitbart. That work has not been done.

For example, we know that the Breitbarters recently got ten million dollars in venture capital money. From whom? How can these “venture capitalists” hope to make any profit from a site that does not feature advertising? (And even if it did have ads, would the economics justify the investment?)

5. Put pressure on larger internet media to cover non-conservative viewpoints. For example, most of Memeorandum’s links veer right. They almost never allow stories from (say) Alternet or The Nation to set the agenda. Yet they often link to Malkin or Breitbart -- not just as commentators, but as if they were reporters. If we wrote to the folks at Memeorandum — not just once, but regularly — they might be more evenhanded.

I think the five tactics listed above would do much to combat the propagandists. The first three points are directed at politicians and other “important” figures; we smaller-scale bloggers and citizen journalists cannot really help. But when it comes to points 4 and 5 — well, that’s where we can do real service.

Thoughts of your own...?

Meaning MSNBC is right? er, the only one left? Er, so progressively demented I think I would trust Fox more, although I watch neither.

What happened to the Great Center, of which neither MSNBC or Fox cares to dabble in.
I think MSNBC does a lot of good. I expect a certain amount of dementedness during an election year, of course. At any rate, you can't compare MSNBC -- or frankly ANY other TV outlet anywhere on earth -- to Fox News, in terms of a willingness to put big money behind big lies.

I doubt that TV propaganda was quite that bad even in the USSR. Hell, the examples of TV under the Nazis that I've seen -- yes, the Nazis did have TV -- were quite reasonable compared to Fox.

The problem is that the center has been defined as the left.
Okay Joseph,

I could not make it through your list because...

You used the "left" "liberals" & "Democrats" interchangeably. Much has changed in the world since Reagan. The Democratic party has nothing in Common with FDR's 4 [some say 5] freedoms...both party's are beholden to the concept of ALL power must go to a few "elite"...please make a note of it.
You raise a good point. I say if the Dems are going to be saddled with the liberal label -- and they are -- they might as well earn it. For a long time, I've advocated that the left should take over the party, just as the Tea Partiers have taken over the GOP.
Three issues that have not been adequately covered by either side,

Parallel Foreclosures, which ARE a constitutional violation yet proclaimed as legal by Obama and his minions,

The state pension issue, no discussion of where pensions have been inflated, and where they have been fairly distributed, and if pension promises were made in trade for votes.

Gay Marriage, once again, the issue has been turned into zealous indignation by the religious side, and anger and frustration on the liberal side, without any real discussion of the similarities and differences.

These three defining issues have been so screwed by political extremists on both sides that I no longer trust Fox or MSNBC as fair as I can reach the remote to make sure I don't ever accidentally tune into either one.
Okay, Alessandro, you speak quite reasonably. But what I'm referring to is not really a matter of issues as of approach.

I mean (to use the most obvious examples that come to mind)...when Fox shows a graphic of Fidel Castro "loving" Obama and Hillary (directly after Castro had written an opinion piece castigating both) -- or when Fox routinely and repeatedly places a D label next to any disgraced Republican ("by accident") -- well, come on. No other news outlet on earth does that. Even Pravda under Stalin was not so bold.
I do all the above plus I castigate/criticize anyone watching Fox, though I keep my mouth shut around gun-toting crazies (ordinary crazies I don't mind). You can be kind: "You know Fox doesn't broadcast the truth," or you can be a tad harsher,"What are you stupid or fucking crazy?"
Ok, how about some screen grabs of Fox's worst visual moments, then post them. That can be very damaging to a new stations reputation in a relatively short time.

If you have either satellite tv or cable with a digital box, or even a dvd player with a hard drive recorder, you can record first, then review and make screen grabs of offensive visuals.

How you make the screen grab can sometimes be an issue, but even a digital still camera grab, done at the proper shutter speed, ASA, and contrast, makes a very easy to read visual.

This was taken off the screen, I think from a digital freeze frame, text was added, and wala. Keith Olbermann, lying fast talker
It's rather difficult to castigate Fox News when there is no alternative. MSNBC, are you kidding me? Oprah was more informative than MSNBC or CNN (I'm guessing, I never watched Oprah but apparently Anderson Cooper is trying to be her and has a morning talk show). I think you can do more good, catch more flies with honey, and clean up the entire industry by attacking them all. Instead of polarizing people who watch Fox, include them. Show that the entire industry is dumbing people down and not covering important issues. Get everyone behind demanding news instead of infotainment. I get more angry at MSNBC and CNN than I could possibly get at Fox. "Our" stations, if you have the stomach to watch them, choose ONE tabloid story, and then hammer it all night long. Over and over and over. An entire night of nothing but "Zimmerman lied about the money he has." An entire week of it! How is this relevant or informative. If we're going to target the misinfo Fox News puts out the way to do it would be "MSNBC and CNN ran their blowhard mouths off for a week about a juror flirting with John Edwards instead of correcting the record on this and this and this." Rinse. Repeat. Shame our sacred cows. Maybe one of them will break away from the herd. I doubt it, but they deserve the shaming. And yes: listing the issues we want to hear about instead of their tabloid crap should be first and foremost.
Public figures on the Democratic side shouldn't stoop to name calling. What they should do is forcefully correct the lies and distortions coming from Fox and AM Hate Radio when asked or if they are a target of the smears. They should sue for liable and slander when possible. I remember Harry Reid (D-Punchdrunk) saying something about Rush Limbaugh then backing down.

Don't count on the print and broadcast media for anything, how many reports were there about health care in France, Germany or Canada did you read or see during the HCR debates?

They also have downsized their research departments and don't have the means to dig out things like who is Brightbart's sugar daddy.

Another fallacy that many have bought into is that the Fairness Doctrine would violate the First Amendment. Broadcasting licenses are issued by the Federal government they can legally require opposing opinion programs be aired. If there were free speech Don Imus and Howard Stern would still be on terrestrial radio.
don't hold your breath waiting for points 2 & 3. They require some body parts that most Dems lack, namely balls, guts, & a spine
Sonrisa @ 10:45, what if it's willful malfeasance?
What if instead of lack of spine it's a Swiss bank account with regular deposits from Wall Street/Corporate America?
If we think they don't have the gutz we forgive them and vote them back in hoping some day they'll grow a pair. How much do you think they were paid to steal the nomination form Hillary and install the Wall Street Toady?
Thanks for the link to the Almond piece. I found it more honest, penetrating and resonant than Jonathan Haidt's stealth conservative proscriptions (currently masquerading as liberal mollification on a blog near you!). As for your own battle plan, I'm unconvinced that it is substantively different from MSNB. More acrid, more rancorous to be sure. But more effective?

If some at MSNBC were even half as interested in arguing for what they believed as they are in attacking what they don't believe we might get more done than sticking propaganda warning labels on all the merchandise. This is especially true since red tribe increasingly measures the worth of its rhetoric by how much vexing it causes blue tribe. No, it strikes me that what you are advocating is doubling down on a pair of threes. I'll sit this round out, thank you.

All of this is beginning to foul the air with a stench the likes of which we have not smelled since the divisiveness over slavery, and we all know how that tiff played out. Not that I'm advocating peace at all costs, mind you. It turns out that the fight against sociopath-takes-all-capitalism may be every bit as important to mankind's evolution as the fight against human bondage. In a certain sense, it is itself the evolution of that struggle.

The only way to solve this problem is to buy back our government. I wrote it all up in 2001, but couldn't get anyone to join me.

Individually, we have less money, but there are a lot more of us than there are of them.

Carolyn Kay
Mike @ 3:37-

it occurred to me more than once that, despite the (very real)sexism & misogny prevalent during the 2008 election, the real reason Hillary wasn't allowed to run in the general election was that the Daley's wanted to own their very own Prez. Think about it. It would of been bad enough if Hillary was screwed out of the nomination in favior of a real candidate, but she wasn't. Insteads she was forced aside in favor of some cardboard cutout Daley Machine toady. HOw insulting is that?

Maybe you vote for gutless candidates, but not me. I voted for Cynthia McKinney (the only true democrat left in the race after Hillary was booted out) in 2008, & this year my Mormon of choice is Rocky Anderson
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