Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Republi-CON Media CONplex, Cont.

UPDATE V:  "Stephen Colbert is not only funnier than any cable news show—although Fox News can be unintentionally hilarious—he’s also better at informing his audience about the issues than traditional news outlets. That’s not just my opinion; it’s the conclusion of a study released Monday by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center."

Read The Daily Beast, Colbert Is Ivy League TV Compared to Fox News, which quotes a few jokes from Colbert, including this one to illustrate religious/Christian hypocrisy:

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it."

UPDATE IV:  This time it is Bush's chief speechwriter from 2001 until 2006, who has realized the harm done when the lunatics are running the asylum, or in this case, the  Republi-CON political party:

 "Among the saddest aspects of a political culture premised on the exaggeration and organization of grievances is the way policy debates get pulled into a vortex of paranoia. . .

This is the way the modern ideological market often works. It is driven by entrepreneurs of outrage, marketers of resentment, innovators in the on-time delivery of anger. Their market share does not need to be large to be influential. Several thousand calls to Congress can seem like a populist wave."

Read the Washington Post, The entrepreneurs of outrage.

UPDATE III:  Ironically, even a long-time Republi-CON nut now realizes that 'the party needs to control its nuts.'

"'Republicans don’t want careers in government and give little thought to how to get there,' she writes. 'Often they run for president only because they hope it will lead to more speaking gigs and TV appearances. That may explain why Republicans seem to attract the sort of candidate who enjoys startling people at cocktail parties with outlandish remarks. There’s a great living to be made by appealing to rubes and hotheads. Even if you lose, you’ll get a talk show.'

Two pages later: 'About half of the Republican presidential candidates in the last two election cycles would have inspired every stupid woman in America to drive to the polls, sobbing, in order to vote against them.'"

Read the Washington Post, Ann Coulter back on airwaves, reenergized by shutdown and exemplifying unhappiness of GOP.

UPDATE II:  "Sarah is selling Sarah. The former vice presidential candidate and half-term governor of Alaska is a commodity of one and a marketing machine. She has created a new politics of profit.

Palin's reanimation on the tea party stage probably means no more than the other intentions she has floated but never executed. She spent almost a year of the last presidential election cycle teasing the far right that she was going to run for president. She never did, but lots of network TV interviews and speculative articles drove up her name recognition and brand identification.

And she's not running again.

Palin is re-running the same show in her home state of Alaska by hinting that she is going to be a candidate for the U.S. Senate. She will not run though. There is too much risk of failure. She's not the near-unknown who was elected governor of Alaska and then quit 2½ years into the job. She has a profile, and she intends to use it to make money, which is one commitment she knows how to keep. Running and losing is always bad for business.

Palin is a product. Not a candidate."

Read CNN, Sarah Palin follows the Donald Trump method

UPDATE:  "When Senator Ted Cruz of La Mancha jumped on his trusty steed and charged the windmills, he explained: 'Everyone in America knows Obamacare is destroying the economy.' He added that accepting the Affordable Care Act would be like appeasing the Nazis.

Cruz is a smart man, and maybe this is just disingenuous demagoguery. But there’s a scarier possibility: After spending too much time in the Republican echo chamber, he may believe what he says.

In the 1990s, as conservative talk radio spread across America, liberals felt victimized. But, in retrospect, the rise of talk radio, Fox News Channel and right-wing Web sites may have done greatest harm to conservatives themselves.

The right-wing echo chamber breeds extremism, intimidates Republican moderates and misleads people into thinking that their worldview is broadly shared.

That’s the information bubble that tugs the entire Republican Party to the right . .

Research suggests that the echo chamber effect is disproportionately a problem on the right, leading inhabitants to perceive a warped reality. Many Republicans were shocked that Mitt Romney was defeated last fall because they had been assured that he would win. And a Pew survey last year found that the proportion of conservative Republicans who believe Obama is a Muslim has doubled since 2008 to 34 percent.

Then there was the time Glenn Beck aired the theory that Obama is the anti-Christ (he later said he had been joking).

The right-wing bubble makes it harder to elect Republican presidents by enforcing an ideological purity in primaries that weakens candidates in general elections. Too much time in the bubble also leaves some Republican politicians saying things that just sound nutty to independents."

Read The New York Times, Suffocating Echo Chamber.

"Regular readers know I have a love/hate relationship with the Tea Party. What I love is all the good people participating in the civic process for the first time; the determination to challenge corruption in the GOP establishment; the effort to bring civil-liberties concerns and skepticism of foreign wars back under the Republican tent; the commitment to a republic where people are free to pursue happiness as they see fit; the healthy skepticism of central planning that subverts markets with cronyism and corporatism; and alarm at our national debt.

What I hate about the Tea Party is the epistemic closure that plagues it; the unthinking embrace of obviously unqualified politicians like Herman Cain; the notion that "real American" culture is something other than pluralistic; the unseriousness about governing; its frustrating inability to distinguish between mutually beneficial compromise on one hand and betrayal of principle on the other; the veneration of hucksters like Glenn Beck and blowhards like Rush Limbaugh; the double-think that characterizes its attitude toward the safety-net; and the subset of its rank and file that expresses personal disdain for all non-conservatives even while casting themselves as disrespected victims.

I've always been far more sympathetic to the Tea Party's rank and file than to its elites. In my experience, an American who shows up to a community protest rally tends to be earnest and well-intentioned, whereas the ideological entertainers they tune into on the way home tend to be cynical, opportunistic hucksters who constantly misinform while selling cheap anger and gold at obscene markups. 

I've argued in many posts that right-wing media regularly and egregiously misinforms its Tea Party audiences, whose trust in talk radio and Fox News is misplaced, and called on conservatives who know better to affirm as much. As I see it, Tea Partiers would be furious if they understood the degree to which they're misled, and would manage a better movement if better served by conservative media. . .

[T]he vast majority of Americans assume the media they consume isn't regularly filled with obvious untruths. While there is media bias across the ideological spectrum, talk radio and Fox News engage in a special kind of misinformation.

The Tea Party rank and file deserves better."

Read The Atlantic, A Soldier Criticizes His Army Comrades' Tea Party Ideology

And see The Republi-CON Media CONplex