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    Thursday
    Dec202012

    Speaking of irrelevance

     I wrote a month or so ago about a political group-blog, League of Ordinary Gentlemen, and how they were once an interesting collection of young political thinkers who allowed a leftward tilt to turn into Leftist silliness. Tod Kelly is one of the silliest writers there who announced a while back that he joined the Republican Party to help change it into...uh...something he thinks is more appropriate.

    He's writing a series of posts regarding what's wrong with Republicans, and his latest is hilarious. Because Republicans voted down the UN/disability controversy a little while back, Kelly says the GOP is now irrelevant. But he goes on to show how the GOP got here. Below is a bit of the unintentional humor:

    There is also the case of Air America, the much ballyhooed liberal “answer” to conservative talk radio. To be certain, its format was every bit as shock-driven and conspiracy-laden as its right wing competitors’. Mark Malloy, Air America’s evening host, often referred to the then-president’s family as the “Bush crime family” and “rat bastards;” wild tales of our country being taken over by Halliburton execs were often breathlessly reported. But for whatever reason, Air America never connected with its target audience the way right wing talk radio had. The network went bankrupt in 2010 after years of anemic ratings and negative net revenue. Its highest rated show ever drew approximately 1.5 million listeners a week. As a comparison point, conservative media staple Rush Limbaugh alone regularly draws almost 15 million. In fact, Limbaugh, Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingram, and Art Bell’s Coast to Coast each draw more weekly listeners than all the shows on Air America combined drew at the network’s peak. Liberal propagandists would, I’m sure, love to have the power over the Democrats that conservative propagandists have over the GOP. But they can’t; they just don’t have the juice.

    (Tellingly, the only non-mainstream media news shows that have broken through to hold steady audiences of mainstream liberals are satires of cable news. Even then, however, tu quoque comparisons to conservative media lack punch: both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are happy to target liberal politicians as well as conservative, and they actually spend most of their time targeting the political media.)

    The mainstream media itself has not been unaffected by ill-gotten ratings gains, of course. In 2004, Dan Rather erroneously reported that George W. Bush had shirked his duties in the National Guard. More recently, NBC was caught editing a 911 call in an attempt to make the Trayvon Martin shooting seem even more sensational. Even so, the comparisons of these true outrages to Fox’s shenanigans are not entirely apples-to-apples. When the mainstream media is caught with its pants down, it is forced to make a correction and people get fired. What’s more, other mainstream news desks report on their brethren’s transgressions. On the other hand, when Fox is caught fibbing, other parts of the conservative media machine hold their tongue. If Fox has ever corrected, apologized or fired producers when they’ve been caught making fiction, I have yet to see so.

    But for Republicans, the troubling difference isn’t simply in the way their media behaves; it’s the way the two party react to their respective media. When MSNBC, liberal talk radio, or even NBC puts their foot in it, Democratic politicians and policy makers are not beholden to sacrifice their own credibility by picking up and running with the polished turd they’ve been handed. MSNBC’s Ed Shultz may be every bit the ass that Sean Hannity is, but liberals have no problem publicly sending him to the woodshed if he steps over the line. If a high-ranking member of the DNC is caught disagreeing with something Garrison Keillor says, he isn’t forced to travel to Lake Woebegone and grovel for forgiveness.

    At this moment, we are speeding toward a Fiscal Cliff that should have been put to bed weeks ago. The Republicans just lost an election, are tanking in the polls, and do not have the elected body count to give a “my way or the highway” ultimatum to Democrats. And yet this is exactly what the media machine is pushing them to do. Doing so will be politically disastrous for the GOP, and might actually negatively impact their chances as far away as 2014. Media pundits, on the other hand, know that such a crisis would be a boon during the traditional slow-news days that post-election time brings. (And let’s be honest – going over the fiscal cliff would make it easy to continue to sell advertisements for products that cater to the end-of-civilization set.)

    So, conservative radio and Fox control the GOP, or something like that, while media in general, although they might be slightly biased toward Democrats at times, a few of them, they are mostly held in line by a higher standard of professional journalism, so Democrats don't have to answer to MSM, or pop culture media like Jon Stewart, Colbert or Maher.

    Kelly shows a few examples of when MSM have punished their own for dishonest bias, but he says Fox never corrects it's lies or punishes anyone for dishonesty, although Kelly doesn't provide any examples like he did with the MSM. I'm not familiar with anything a Fox reporter has done that compares with what Ed Schultz has done, but Kelly must certainly have something in mind -- he just doesn't tell us what it is.

    The difference is that Democrats control MSM, for the most part, so, no, they don't answer to media -- they give MSM its talking points, or so it seems. On almost all issues, MSM is in line with Democrat talking points. Krugman or Ezra Klein will sometimes question the administration, but they and practically all other MSM reporters and journalists and pundits end up taking the Democrats' side in all political fights. The MSM are way more powerful than FOX and talk radio. Plus, practically all universities, unions and Hollywood/pop culture are on the side of Democrats and remain silent when controversies like Benghazi would embarrass the party. Only a handful of Leftists in media have denounced the administration's foreign interventions, while if Bush were in charge during these interventions and drone killings, two even US citizens, the MSM would be up in arms, as would unions, universities and Hollywood/pop culure.

    Our staunch Republican spokesperson, Tod Kelly, is a funny man. I think he's shooting for Stewart's job. While there are many flaws in the GOP that need criticism, claiming talk radio and Fox as puppet masters to Republicans in Congress is the same kind of conspiracy thinking that Kelly ridicules when he goes back to drag Lyndon Larouche out of the museum's basement. Speaking of irrelevant...

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