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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Escape from Fox World

Salon has published an article based on a theme similar to one I've sounded. In previous posts, I have advised readers to blame the Tea party if Romney loses the election. Salon writer Jonathan Bernstein tells us to blame the Fox/Rush information loop. Same difference:
The truth is that Romney is constantly constrained by what conservatives want him to do and by what they believe. Furthermore, what they want is generally unpopular, and what they believe is far too often simply cut off from the reality that the rest of the nation lives in.

So Romney cannot have a coherent foreign policy because what his voters want to hear is that Barack Obama sympathizes with terrorists. Most Americans, meanwhile, think of Obama as the guy who took out bin Laden. Romney cannot have a sensible tax policy because conservatives insist that he promote large, self-funding tax cuts for the rich. Most of the nation, however, supports raising taxes on the rich, and reality insists that cutting taxes also reduces revenues.
Would a Republican candidate with more conservative "street cred" have done better? No, because...
...there are two problems with that theory.

One is that it’s likely that any winning candidate, after spending years fighting for the Republican nomination, would be so far inside the conservative closed-information feedback loop that he or she would be doing the same things. It’s not because the candidate pressure from the right but rather because he or she has lost perspective on what anyone outside of that loop believes. And the second is: We’ve seen no evidence that Tea Partiers are willing to trust anyone.
I'll go further. I think the Republican "feedback loop" explains why Mitt Romney, king of the flip-floppers, has finally flipped over to the side of ultra-conservatism. He probably will not flip back. He is, God help us, sincere.

This is why Fox News exists: Not just to speak to the gun-totin', resentment-filled hoi polloi, but also to brainwash guys like Mitt Romney -- although in his case (as Gene McCarthy once said of a much better Romney), a light rinse would have been sufficient. Don't make the mistake of presuming that our ruling class is smart. The one percenters are just as susceptible to propaganda as are other people.

We usually think of propaganda as something proceeding from the plutocracy, but the misinformation flow also goes in the other direction. Indeed, that was the Milton Friedmanite program for Global Ideological Conquest. Take the message to the people? Yes, said Uncle Miltie, we must do that -- but more importantly, we must take the message to those who have a lot of money. If our aristos had not been hammered with decades of incessant, seductive, Randroid propaganda, Mitt Romney would now be a more reasonable fellow. He'd be, in short, George Romney. And he'd be about ten points ahead of Barack Obama.

Perhaps we've reached a turning point. The right-wing outrage machine can't get its memes to circulate outside of the Fox/Brietbart ghetto. (Yes, the previous sentence mixed metaphors; I don't care.) Most Americans aren't talking about the much-ballyhooed "redistributionist" video, because most Americans have finally learned to tune out Fox-brand hooey.  

The right has gotten scary. And the scariest thing about right-wingers is that most of them do not know how scary they seem. Some of them do understand that their scariness has become self-defeating, but even they just can't stop. Personally, I wanted to sit this election out -- I still don't like Obama -- but fear of the alternative brought me back.

Look and see: Rush Limbaugh claims that feminism causes small penises. Conservatives are distributing millions of DVDs claiming that Obama's real father was an American communist -- a theory that irritates the die-hard birthers. Obama is being hanged in effigy -- as a chair. Todd Akin thinks Mitt Romney is dragging him down. New Mexico's Republican Governor wants to see proof of "forcible rape" before rape victims can apply for childcare assistance. Mormons are seeking to excommunicate a Mormon writer who has dared to criticize Romney.

And Fox News is trying to gin up a controversy condemning Obama for not denouncing Piss Christ, an inane 1987 provocation by a fraudist named Andres Serrano. Yes. That again. As if Serrano's pseudoart for pseudothinkers had any bearing on our actual problems.

Update: This typically insane conserve-anoia site tries to convince readers that Obama has spent $155 million promoting Piss Christ. In fact, Obama has nothing whatsoever to do with that stupid photo, which was created during the Reagan presidency and which is now being shown at a museum in Brooklyn. You really should read the afore-linked article to see the kind of insane anti-reasoning that passes for argument in right-wing circles. These creeps make the people who call into George Noory's radio show seem like intellectuals.

Frankly, I think people have had it with that kind of crap.

After the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Ronald Reagan (unfairly) said: "They've gone so far to the left, they've left America." Today, those within Fox World have gone so far to the right, they've gone right out of their minds. The people trapped inside that box cannot be heard by those outside. If Mitt Romney loses, he will do so because he lost the ability to leave Fox World.
Excellent analysis. I'm old enough to remember the current Romney's father, George, and the doomed campaign he ran against Nixon in 1968. He was crucified for the "I was brainwashed on Vietnam" statement, and so the nomination went to Nixon who turned out to be a war criminal and a semifascist thug. In today's climate, Romney's more honest and open father would be considered a RINO at best and "soft on defense" as well.
Try and get a wider angle anybody ?

"Habermas focused on the pernicious effects of commercialization
and consumerization on the public sphere
through the rise of the mass media,
public relations, and
consumer culture.
He shows how political parties undermined parliamentarian politics,
and how numerous factors worked against rational-critical debate."


A public sphere
from which specific groups would be eo ipso excluded
was less than merely incomplete;
it was not a public sphere at all." (Habermas 1967:85)

IIRC, Driftglass calls the closed-information loop the "Conservative Fart Rebreathing Jar". ^__^
I admit, Rush Limpblob's attempt to blame underhung men on women's lib is irresistably over the top in kookiness...but this is too serious of business to blame all the disinfo on Fox News and the wingnuts.

May I point out, it's not mindlessly bashing Obama to notice that both the Washington Post and CNN were shilling for his "Race to the Top" program during the Chicago teacher's strike? That little misinfo campaign was despicable and outrageous...and much more subtle to the not-tuned in, so as Black Agenda Report calls it, that amounts to the more EFFECTIVE evil.

Obama's "Race to the Top" program is a continuation and escalation of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program. Both roads lead to the privatization of our public schools. The current program accelerates it by bashing teachers instead of kids.

I'm sorry to not have the name of the teachers' spokesperson during the strike, but he was brilliant in deflecting CNN's corporate whore's repeated attempts to get him to denounce "bad teachers" --- which is code for "we need to bust unions and privatize schools."

He actually said, "the question has to be reframed" (YES!) and then went on to explain how important it is to demand rehiring some of the teachers "fired" when entire schools are shut down, to give the displaced kids at least a modicum of continuity.

I'm just not that interested in the wild slant of Fox News. I'm more interested in the bigger danger posed by the "reasonable" sounding deceit practiced by the corporate news across the board while the clowns have everyone all worked up and distracted.
I know you said we can go elsewhere while you're focusing on the election, but I'm just hoping I can say this here, for perspective.

I'm not advocating voting Romney by any stretch...and my wish to cast a vote for Jill is looking dim as I will have no address from which to register in time for the election. :/

But it pains me to see "our side" pointing fingers instead of safeguarding our own information stream.

ps- I did like the movie reference! lol
Zee, I hear ya -- and believe me, I can't wait for this shitty election to be over, so I can get back to complaining about the president.
As I've told Joseph before, I plan on voting for Jill Stein. So even if you can't yourself, prowler, at least you can take heart in knowing that another person who monitors this blog is going to be supporting Jill. I absolutely will not vote for Obama, not the least of which because I consider him worse than our last Pres, George Bush 2. Barack is the fella that makes me with George Bush 2 was back in office for a third term.
To the commenter up above, Unions are not the 100% good guys when they trade unrealistic pension promises and demands for their vote.

I'm not saying they are the bad guys either. But to simply believe that everybody thinks unions are the good guys is wrong.
People who know nothing about teaching, unions, public pensions shouldn't be talking out of their ass.

I don't believe that 'everyone' (ie. the human collective) thinks Unions are good or are the good guys. The thing is, I believe in a very high degree of Unionization and do think Unions are generally a good idea. So much so that I could be called a Syndicalist, except that I don't actually subscribe to Syndicalism (nor am I anti-Syndicalist) simply because I don't fit into any paradigm or subscribe to any named or labelled philosophy. I'll admit that I'm anti-capitalist and I think it's an insult that all of America's so called leftists are capitalists, albeit capitalists who believe in regulated capitalism. Either way, Jill Stein and Stewart Alexander are the only actual leftist (or left-wing) people running. And I'd choose Jill over Stewart, despite the high degree to which Stewart and I could sit down and agree upon when it comes to economics. I happen to think that most Americans believe Fox News and most Americans oppose Unions, the fact that Scott Walker was not impeached is such an indicator.
[i]The right-wing outrage machine can't get its memes to circulate outside of the Fox/Brietbart ghetto. ... Most Americans aren't talking about the much-ballyhooed "redistributionist" video, because most Americans have finally learned to tune out Fox-brand hooey.[/i]

At its peak audience of 2 to 3 million Americans, Fox has never been tuned in, for about 98% of the people.

For its memes to take hold always required their migration into the larger media outlets, which are allegedly not right wing mouthpieces (but acted that role, repeatedly).

Cf: the treatment of Clinton and Gore by the MSM, for how that always used to work, with little Fox presence in those dramas. Back then, the stories were planted in Murdoch media in the UK, talked of in the WSJ op/ed pages, and thus secreted into the MSM.

So what's happening now is a change in the receptivity of the MSM to those agit/prop efforts. Perhaps it is because it's become increasingly clear that the wolf the boy called out actually is nearing the doors, on so many subjects. One SCOTUS replacement and the high court shifts to repealing Roe, for example.

Or a couple more liberal Justices on the bench and some juicy lawsuits might be won for the people-- for instance a lawsuit to force reinstatement of protection for the public air waves, i.e. the Fairness Doctrine.
Well said PZ

Joseph, you can take heart in the fact that as much as the rightwingers loathe Barack (for all the wrong/imaginary reasons) they just won't be voting for Romney. A couple of very knowledgeable ladies of my acquaintance (Old South) said when the Mormon chose a Catholic for a running mate, he lost the South. I grew up here and heard nonstop of the evils of the Catholic Church. I didn't even know Eddie Murphy/Paul Ryan was Catholic, but there you have it. Apparently, some Southern publications aren't even sugar coating it, but saying this outright.
Scarlett O'Hara was Catholic. Do southerners hate her as well?
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