Uncommon Sense

May 8, 2010

Rabid Right Attack Dogs

Part of the strategy to dismantle America’s middle class is to attack any person or agency that wants to help poor and middle income folks. Hence President Obama, who is a center-left politician, is a flaming liberal, a socialist, a radical to the attackers. Unions are dangerous agents of socialism. Organizations designed to help the poor manage their lives and participate in our democracy, like Acorn, are targeted with dirty trick campaigns and forced to close. Straw dogs are so prevalent, they have become a fire hazard and if ignited they will burn our house down. The cornerstones of the misinformation campaign are the Internet and right wing radio and television. These are the people who have claimed “left wing bias” so loudly about our traditional media sources, a claim that cannot be verified by any independent study, that people have believed that big lie. If our current media have proven anything is that they are pro income—they will do almost anything for money. I happen to like PBS a great deal and when I was commuting to work, I listened to NPR’s Morning Edition regularly. I was also perplexed to hear that the lead story most days of the week concerned Israel. I understood that when there were big stories coming from the Middle East, but often when there was no significant change in anything going on in Israel, there would be some sort of story near the top of the show. NPR didn’t try to hide anything, they were getting fairly large grants to report the news from Israel which meant they had money to cover events in Israel even when they had little money to cover anything else. As a listened I had been lulled into thinking that stories occurred in order of their importance, which is generally true, but the story you have because a grant allowed you to acquire it always trumps the story you don’t because all you have is a wire service (or now web-based) report.

Back to the role of the right wing drum beaters. Calling Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck and their ilk “entertainers” is a little like calling hoodlums who have ransacked your house “decorators.” Paying these guys premium wages to destroy our democracy under the guise of freedom of speech is really going to puzzle the social archeologists of the 22nd century. “Did they know that these guys were inflaming hatred and bias?” “Why did they allow them to do that?”

I was actually a fan of the Limbaugh show in the early 1990s, until Bill Clinton got elected and Limbaugh started titling his show with the tag “America Held Hostage, Day XX.” Huh? What happened to poking fun at Femi-Nazis, and pointy headed intellectuals (my people). As I listened and paid more attention, Limbaugh’s bias became more vitriolic and more unhinged from reality. Several people reported calling his show to correct stories he had gotten wrong and no such corrections were forthcoming. That’s when I stopped listening. I firmly believe that “the truth shouldn’t get in the way of a good story,” but that only applies to fiction and jokes, not politics.

Glen Beck, Limbaugh’s successor, as the crown prince of right wing attack dogs is hard to watch. I can’t imagine Jonathan Swift or Douglas Adams inventing thoughts such as this man is capable of. Bizarre connections between the attacked and anything with the label bad on it (socialism, being weak, being un-American, etc.) trip off of his tongue. I don’t imagine anyone can actually follow his tortured arguments, they are left with just President Obama Something Bad as a conclusion. At least the magicians of my youth had the courtesy to say “nothing up this sleeve, nothing up this sleeve, and voila” when they pulled a rabbit out of nowhere, but Beck chugs along merrily as if he is establishing a rock solid chain of argument. Amazing. And these guys get millions of dollars to undermine our country.

So, Limbaugh begets Beck, Beck pushes Limbaugh to new heights. The Obama administration is now a “regime,” behavior that was lauded when George W. Bush was president is now condemned and, because these diatribes are so successful in mobilizing the Republican “base,” Republicans in Washington are borrowing from their playbook. Republican leaders in Washington refer to centrist policy offerings as “dangerous socialist” policies. The health care plan, centered on big business insurance companies, is “experimental” and “socialist.” The president is called a liar in open meetings by duly elected representatives who then use that fact to raise money for their re-election campaigns.

What ever happened to “My country, right or wrong?” What ever happen to “Country First?” What ever happened to civility? All of these used to be right wing clarion calls.

Apparently they don’t pay and they don’t polarize; that’s what happened. The fact that such behavior is un-American apparently escapes these people.

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