As the tide of public opinion pulls further away from the self-proclaimed rightwing "moral majority" (which in fact is but a very vocal minority), conservative talkshow hosts and newscasters are reacting. Suddenly, EVERYTHING is a leftwing conspiracy, not just every national problem since the Louisiana Purchase -- but also the personal failures of the rightwing newsies as well. Taking refuge in their shrinking media corners with them are their rightwing GOP counterparts (Tom Delay, et al.) desperate for an easy forum from which to spew their vitriol. (UPDATE: Response to LJBK from Dems.com Reader Nancy Kuhn)
Rightwing Talk Show Hosts Show True Colors In Face of Growing Public Disapproval
(with an intro by Cheryl Seal)
During the 1990s, rightwing talk show hosts were in their glory. Clinton's scandals gave their arrogant self-righteousness a great outlet, while growing distrust of government gave them an opening for spinning anti-leftwing conspiracy theories. Americans were so sick of political doublespeak and wishiwashiness that someone spouting an unabashed opinion - any opinion - could find an ear. Thus the Rush Limbaughs of the world were able to rise to prominence. The public was fascinated by their hard lines, mostly because they were hard lines in a world of soft gray, not because of what the lines meant or where they were headed.
Now times are getting tougher for rightwing talk show folk. The public is now no longer skeptical of "the government" (a vague and ominous rightwing concept without real definition) as much as they are of specific individuals governing and are beginning to weary of hypocrisy in any form. It's hard, for example, to believe Rush Limbaugh really had America's interests at heart all along when, once the prime object of his vitriol was gone (Clinton) and the object of his adoration ensconced (Bush), he still finds new monsters lurking under every bed. It's hard to believe Dr. Laura is really an uncompromising champion of integrity when she is silent on all of the moral slips of the Bush clan yet took every opportunity to spit on Clinton - or that she truly cares about the welfare of children when, at no time does she EVER consider the quality of the air they breathe, water they drink or health care available to them in all her diatribes. It's hard to believe that Bush is a "uniter" when every action he's made is calculated to divide the nation even further - and even divide the nation from the rest of the world.
As the public climate shifts, you can see the rightwing talkshow hosts beginning to squirm and wilder and wilder accusations flying hard and fast. A leftwing conspiracy is now responsible not just for all of our national woes, but for the rightwingers' personal failures. Dr. Laura's T.V. show wasn't canceled due to its low quality (worn out topics presented by an uncharacteristically mealymouthed Dr. L), oh no! It was all due to the gay community's protests. John Stossel's segment on environmental education in an upcoming special wasn't pulled because he was caught manipulating kids and deceiving their parents, of course not! It was killed by a plot by "enemies of freedom."
Worse yet, the most extreme rightwing hosts are allowing their equally-threatened rightwing GOP counterparts (Tom DeLay, et al) to use their narrowing little media corners as forums for their desperate (and thus extremely vicious) diatribes against the "left." But these are symptoms of the disease - the disease of self-righteous narrowmindedness. Its terminal stages cause the same sort of behavior seen in rabid animals near the end: an increased frothing at the mouth and a tendency to stumble aimlessly in narrowing circles.
Stossel and DeLay Join Rightwing Newsies Matthews and O'Reilly in their Shrinking Corners
Well, we have to take the good with the bad, I guess. Tonight, Fox's O'Reilley actually said that Dick Cheney "is HIDING" his energy-task force donor/witness list, and should be forthcoming with the names because "the people have a right to know." O'Reilly also stated that the father of the Texas children drowned by their mother deserved some measure of accounting for forcing his wife to have child after child when she had experienced postpartum depression after the first and second births, an attempted suicide after the second or third, and a continuing need for medication after the fourth and fifth childbirths - ALL with postpartum depression relapses.
The bad news..... over on "Hardball," MSNBC's Matthew's has just gone clean over the edge. This guy is even talking about running for office as a democrat?!!! (like no one will notice he's a rabid rightwinger) Tonight he served up "softball soup" to House Majority Whip (and defacto conservative leader) Tom DeLay,R-Texas, giving him a real gift of a pitch:
"Daschle and Gephardt don't want to drill for oil in Alaska (ANWR) or the Gulf or Maine-coastal areas, that means they want us to be dependent on Mideast oil and Saddam Hussein. These guys are buddies of Saddam Hussein!"
Yep, the lowly Matthew's actually said this to DeLay! Of course DeLay turns giddy with delight... not even in his wildest dreams would he hope that a prime-time commentator (a "former democrat" at that) would try to make energy policy and the Democratic party's two most influential leaders, SYNONYMOUS with treason and aiding Saddam Hussein. Matthew's doesn't even allow for the possibility that there might be better alternatives to drilling in ANWR. Instead, just the fact that Dems and enviros want to avoid drilling in ANWR and other coastal areas MEANS THEY ARE TREASONOUS! There's no doubt about it - Matthew's completely embraces the Goebbels school of "information" and public discussion of the issues - just smear 'em, accuse 'em, and shoot 'em.
A few minutes later, Matthew's had Democratic Rep. Waxman on for an interview (Waxman with a remote feed in front of the capital) but at every turn Matthews denigrated Waxman as often as he could. Matthews accused Waxman of staging a GOP-Starr type "inquisition" of VP Cheney's SECRET energy task force. Waxman calmly replied that there was no investigation, no accusations, just a letter asking for some answers to some questions about who was there and what was discussed. Waxman then got around to mentioning that if anyone should be mentioned in the same sentence with Saddam Hussein, it should be Cheney, with Haliburton's un-disavowed ties (through subsidiaries) with supplying Iraq with oil hardware and equipment. The great, balanced Matthews pooh-poohed Waxman's entirely legit. comments as "small potatoes" (some words to that affect), and went on a long spiel to the effect that Republicans had been proper, nonpartisan, and patriotic to subpoena every Clinton paper, phone number, or receipt for the last 30 years (killing Jim McDougal and Vince Foster in the process), along with a similar journalistic witch-hunt smear which drove Adm. James Borda to shoot himself as well. The Democrats, on the other hand, says Matthews, are simply engaged in partisan politics and whimpering for wanting to know who met with Cheney's energy Task Force!!
Back to O'Reilly, "the spin factor" had good old
John Stossel of ABC on.
I looked forward to hearing Stossel's side of the
story - I figured his side
of his ABC story on "environmental education = scare tactics, distortions,
and an agenda" at least deserved giving him a chance
to, you know, come clean
or clear up the confusion. But, where does Stossel go with this opportunity? Instead of acknowledging that the parents might have had some grounds to be disappointed in
the way the show was aired
(after all, it is a big step to complain to a network and request your children be removed from a popular broadcast) Stossel went straight on the the attack, accusing the Environmental Working Group of raising a fuss "after the fact" and condemning the Enviro. Working Group and all activists with a imilar agenda as "ENEMIES OF FREEDOM." Really - I'm not making this up! Just to make
absolutely certain where
the blame lies for Stossel's disappointment over
just a small portion of the
footage from his show being yanked, in Stossel's
NEXT sentence he leaves no
doubt who is to blame: He says "It's the extremists who dominate the debate."
O'Reilly askes, "Are you happy they killed your segment?" Stossel: "No, I'm not happy... two months later, after (finger "quotes" in air) "environmental educators" scared them"... they complain. [note from C.S.: Oh, yeah, Stossel? Then how come our expose of your tactics, based on parent complaints, ran OVER two months ago!]
O'Reilly: "The education is brainwashing them?"
Stossel:"Yes ... they have some wrong facts..." etc., ad nauseum.
Well, that's enough for one day ... at least 2 or 3 letters, and hours of reading and watching news.
But all I can say to Daschle, Gephardt, and the Democratic party is if you let Chris Matthews accuse you of treason on prime time network TV without even making a reply, I say, to hell with you! If Gore had had enough guts to say "I made campaign fundraising phone calls from the White House because as a leader of the Democratic party, that is one of my responsibilities, and the alleged law I broke was passed in 1898 before they had even invented telephones" he would be president today. Most Americans have SOME respect for the presidency and White House, and asking a party leader President/Vice President leave the White House grounds to use a pay phone to comply with a 100 year old law is absurd and infantile. I know Presidents Bush (1) and Reagan solicited their supporters from the White House, and it is absurd that the Democrats can be disarmed so easily by the right-wing and media attack chorus. Please don't put us through another Gore in '04! Hell, you can't even get Cheney to tell you WHO he talked to in person, much less what he does or doesn't ask for via phone!
Response to LBJK: Don't Trash Al Gore!
I write in response to LJBK's article on the media's clearly right wing bias which was a good article until the last couple of paragraphs where it sank into a totally false attack on Al Gore. To begin with, Al Gore very clearly did say he made White House fundraising phone calls just like Reagan had but the right wing media never reported it. More importantly, Al Gore won the 2000 Presidential election despite the most unprecendented media attack ever waged against a Presidential candidate. I recommend people check the archieves at the Daily Howler for a detailed documentation of this media attack. This clear victory has been stolen in a blatant coup that has trampled the clear will of the people of Florida and the american people who chose Al Gore to be their President in 2000. 2004 will be Al Gore's re-election campaign. The White House thief must not be allowed to get away with this coup and no other democrat should be allowed to take away Al Gore's victory either. The will of the people must prevail and they chose Al Gore. There's no democrat anywhere that could face the odds that Al Gore faced in 2000 and prevail. There's no democrat anywhere that has the years of experience or the record of accomplishment on behalf of the american people that Al Gore has. I strongly object to LJBK's use of right wing tactics to attack our elected and rightful President, Al Gore.