Friday, June 22, 2007

Defending Those who Can't Defend Themselves

One of the coolest kids I know, Allison Hantschel, has a column in the DailySouthtown about the regular attacks on journalists by folks like Rush Limbaugh.

I agree with Allison (Athenae at First-Draft) in her response to USA Today founder Allen Neuharth, who said he thought the idiotic things Rush says were amusing. As I was discussing with the brilliant and media savvy volvodrivingliberal the other day, the power of right-wing talk radio over the public airwaves is not something to dismiss as only fodder for the weak minded. Rush's heuristic techniques and language seeps into the popular culture on both sides. Some of Rush's phrases become anchor phrases that can frame an issue so that we see the phrase but not the underlying deeply disturbing premise.

What do I mean? Here's one example, Rush constantly calls the media "The Drive By Media"

Now what image does that bring up?

Criminals. People with guns who drive by and shoot people. Criminals who should be in jail, not allowed to roam the streets.

And what race of people are the current drive by shooters?

They aren't white mobsters are they? He is comparing them to the current violent murderers who do drive by shootings. This is his casual "joke". In one phrase he compares the media with cowardly, murdering thugs. And he is never called out on it.

When over 108 journalists and 39 media support people have been killed to cover Bush's war, calling them killers is disgusting and disrespectful of their sacrifice.

Here's part of Allison's column.

Limbaugh and his lesser lights, imitators like Mark Belling in Wisconsin and Melanie Morgan in California, have made their bones on mocking, attacking and denigrating.

Ignoring such slights -- laughing them off -- has led us to what New York Times columnist E.J. Dionne called "the rightward press," in which constant pushing from the right-wing end of the political spectrum so intimidates the so-called objective press that it attempts to pre-empt criticism by feigning docility.

Treating hatemongers and advocates of violence (Morgan memorably called for New York Times editor Bill Keller to hang) as performance artists who shouldn't be taken seriously -- respectfully interviewing them as fellow travelers -- is what has led to this state of affairs in which there is literally nothing a conservative can say that will get him or her in trouble.

Ignoring these people -- acting like they don't matter -- allows their influence to grow in the dark like mildew, unchallenged, uncontested.

Read the rest here (link)

OH, and before she explodes into a flurry of, "I never said that!" Here is the audio proof of Morgan saying "Hang 'em". You will of course note there is no, "If tried and convicted and then found guilty" (which is what she and her colleagues have now be trained to say as there legal talisman after I busted them on their violent rhetoric. Listen here. (link)

Melanie Morgan's history of attacking the press is well documented. Criticizing the media for not doing their job is one thing, saying "Hang 'em" is another.

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Sinfonian said...


You're it.


7:21 AM  
Metro said...

I'm in favour of Cliff Schecter's contention that being nice to these jerkoffs is what got the US into this mess in the first place. The Fairness doctrine at least reined in the true loonies.

But what do I know? Here in Canada we have hate speech laws to take care of @$$#0!3$ like them.

2:40 PM  
Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Shakesville [] is still down. I learned in an e-mail from Melissa that it's a denial-of-service attack.

If we, the sane, ever regain control of the government, we need to direct some of its resources [Carnivore, maybe?] toward finding these cyber-crooks. If some of these digital storm-troopers were frog-marched out of their parents' basements, prosecuted, and convicted. I reckon the incidence of such attacks would decline steeply.

Meanwhile, is it time for "I am Spartacus" again?

5:45 AM  
Jim said...

Find me an objective, complete story in any major newspaper of record and I might have some sympathy. As it stands they really are the drive-by media. Ask any Duke lacrosse player.

3:02 PM  
Metro said...

Tell you what Jim, I'll aim to do that when you find me a right-wing radio host who's not a violent crackpot and pathological liar released from an asylum and given a chair and a mike.

You want objective news? This fine organ called the internet has news to suit your tastes. I tend to take mine from the BBC and CBC, not always 100% accurate, but always better than Wingut Wadio.

Not one of them could survive an encounter with a professional fact-checker. Limbaugh, for one, claimed that some study had discovered that "the bigger the bra size, the smaller the IQ".

Which seems to me a dangerous thing for a man with his own set of DD's to say.

1:15 PM  
Jim said...

You could always try Michael Graham or Jay Severin on wtkk. (podcast versions available at The boston globe already tried to attack Jay and was forced to publish a retraction. If you have access to a library with back issues of ladies home journal look for "The High IQ and the Small Bosom". Rush may have given the wrong study information but if I recall correctly that particular error, he did say he read it over 20 years ago. That little detail seems to always get left out of the story. But it wouldn't be news if they gave you all the facts would it?

9:04 PM  
Jolly Roger said...

Oxy-Moron is such an icon, we should be able to use him for some handy catch-phrases of our own.

Here's one for you.

"Chimpy's numbers are going down faster than a teenaged Dominican prostitute. And his fall will be harder than Limbaugh after meeting up with a bottle of Viagra and the aforementioned prostitute."

9:07 PM  
Metro said...

Thanks Jim: I was glad to learn there was an explanation for that particular example of Rush judgement.

What excuse is there for the rest of his broadcasting career? Or the proliferation of his fellow loonies?

I'll have a look at Mr. Graham and Mr. Severin. I hope they live up to your estimation.

8:09 AM  
Metro said...

Wow Jim. I don't think anyone here has made Spocko's point about violent, crazy right-wing radio loons quite as well as you did.

In response to my call-out for a sane, reasonable radio personality broadcasting from the right wing of the spectrum, you offered me:

Jay Severin. Famous for his remark concerning Muslims: "You say we should befriend them, I say we should kill them."

Delightful. Truly an inspiration to us all, and an argument for democracy and civil discourse.

Michael Graham: A man who just a few weeks ago called for the Sopranos style "whack"-ing of Bill and Hilary Clinton. In 1999 he apparently said that the deaths of athletes in the Columbine Massacre was "a benefit."

As I recall, the original furor here at Spocko's Brain had something to do with eliminationist rhetoric ...

Thanks for providing those sterling examples from the cat box which is right-wing radio.

And it's people who stand behind these statements that call the real reporters "drive-by" media?

Now it's off to the BBC to rinse the poison from the porches of mine ears.

9:10 AM  
Jim said...

I'm not sure about the Graham comment. I haven't heard that comment. I doubt that Severin ever said such a thing. This type of comment was what the Boston globe had to print a correction about. I've never heard him make any comments about killing muslims. I've heard him make many comments about how we need to do a better job killing terrorists and gettting out of Iraq. I suggest you actually listen to them rather than google for whatever negative comments can be found.

5:43 AM  
Metro said...

Actually jim--what more do I need to do?

The Globe apologized not to Severin, but to its readership. They didn't misquote Severin--the press release issued by CAIR, quoted by the Globe mis-stated his actual words, while leaving his intent standing.

The Graham call for the murder of the Clintons you can find in any number of reputable places. Here's CNN's transcript:

Find me a leftie talk-show host (and no, Colmes doesn't qualify) who's advocated murder.

Yet, let's be absolutely clear heere: you are willing to take direction on how to think about the world from people who publicly, before an audience of thousands, express a wish to see other people murdered, sometimes en masse?

This seems, to quote someone or other, "highly illogical." I don't consider murder one of the big American values.

Reasoned argument wouldn't contain exhortation to murder. And such exhortations are noteably a feature of the pundits of the Right.

I wouldn't listen to Al-Qaeda, so why should I listen to anyone else who advocates mass killings?

11:38 AM  

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