Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The Culture War and the Growth of Irrationality - Part One, Talking Heads Lie and Slander to Shame Their Enemies into Silence
Change is in the air. And it is not the change that Barack Obama talked about. It is millions of Americans feeling deeply in their bones that things are changing too quickly and for the worse. And these millions of average people are paying much more attention to what is going on in Washington than they ever have. Americans are more informed and following events more closely. But, paradoxically, viewership of network news is down, news magazine and newspaper subscriptions are at staggering lows. Newspapers are going under and Time and Newsweek are barely alive.
But is this really so paradoxical? If you want to gamble wouldn’t you tend to play where that you’re pretty sure the game is not rigged? Sure, the odds are always going to favor the house, but why just give your money away? How much of Harry Smith, Brian Williams, George Stephanopoulos kissing up to Obama has it taken for the average American to know it’s a rigged game with the networks? They lie by omission: they never fully covered the Van Jones story, the ACORN scandal, Max Baucus’ drunken rant on the floor of the Senate, Climategate, the violence from lefties at Tea Parties and townhalls, the congressional vote on a statehood election in Puerto Rico and on and on and on. They make up and continually spread lies about Barack Obama’s most feared opponents. And when that perverse stuff goes wall to wall, 24/7 people tend to move on. So, in order to keep some viewers coming back, the pimps at the nets act like Tiger Woods is news. And the exodus from their lying dens of iniquity has continued nonstop. The White House gang and their sycophants in the media carry on and wail about Fox News. But when people turn it on and watch regularly they usually become convinced that there is a more accurate view of the world than they will ever get from the old media. Or if the Fox game is rigged too, that a combination of the two differing slants might move everything toward even.
I find it especially irritating the way the old media try to demonize and dehumanize their most effective opponents. (And why would a professional journalist have an obvious enemy? But the way they savagely attack as if it was their job makes it obvious that they actually do think it is their job) Here I refer mainly to their dishonest and mob-like attacks on Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News. They don’t even attempt to be fair, honest or objective when it comes to these targets. It reminds me of the social bullying that goes on in junior high and high school. The talking heads sit around and make yuckie faces and assassinate the characters of people they fear. You never hear them offer anything objectively verifiable to back up their opinions. Often a group of these lefties will happen upon one of their Great Satans during a discussion and they will launch into a long jag of pure subjectivity. It has been accurately compared to Orwell’s Two Minutes of Hate in 1984. Every possible permutation of ‘stupid.’ ‘ignorant,’ ‘evil,’ ‘racist,’ and ‘unlettered,’ ‘backward,’ ‘religious’ and ‘rural’ is pulled out and enjoyed to the fullest degree. They seldom provide a fact or a shred of argument; there is just subjectivity and hate. I am sure we are dealing some sort of mass psychosis when these rants get going: infantilized and privileged adults in packs acting like junior high school kids . They are unhinged and divorced from reality: it is like a fugue state or an unusual absence seizure. But only where two or more lefties congregate: while all this goes on these are not sane people; they are not in touch with reality. It put me in mind of the lizard brain meme some of them use to attempt to discredit their enemies. There is nothing rational or mature going on here.
I often watch these panel shows via YouTube, Eyeblast and other video formats on my computer. While watching and listening I rehearse counter arguments in my mind. But I have come to the conclusion that reason is useless when you are dealing with men who have no understanding of reason. All these leftie denizens of the talk shows are lacking in the ability to reason and base most everything on group/mob feelings. One sure sign of irrationality: I have never heard so many demands that people disagreeing with them just shut up as well as the repeated but baseless assertions that their opponents operate well outside civilized norms. This is unusual. Americans have not generally feared others being allowed to express their opinions. But it seems to have become rather accepted on talking head shows that a panel of network approved and pampered libs (with a sprinkling of token pseudo-conservatives) have some kind of hallowed insight into who should be denied their most basic constitutional rights. They are out of touch with American roots and values and deeply in tune with some moon barking, bullying strain of irrationality. I am not going to say this is a result of the liberal arts, history, and political science departments of high schools and colleges having become leftie fiefs. Why belabor the obvious? These poor people were never taught how to read or think critically, they didn’t go to the trouble to learn on their own and now the public discussion is daily diminished by this plague of a learning disability
These MSM gab fests often react only obliquely to anything they disagree with. They are usually incapable or unwilling to directly answer any position of the opposite side. So they endlessly assert that the opponent’s statement has no place in a decent society. They will dismiss their opponents as racist, traitorous, sell outs to special interests, haters. Their point is always that the offending statement should be ignored because they successfully placed a hex on it with one of these leftie insults. This refusal to consider the position of others is essential to irrationality.
I came across a good example of this a little while back. The leftie group Media Matters for America named Glenn Beck Misinformer of the Year. Their website had a long page explaining all of the reasons for their choice of Beck. There was not a free standing objective fact that directly supported their calumny on that page. It was all subjective judgments. For example they cited Beck’s accusation that Barack Obama is guilty of prejudice against whites. I might not always want to go that far in describing the president but it IS a judgment call. [Though the obsession with questions of race by doctrinaire lefties such as Obama and their tendency to want to grant favors from the state based solely on skin color or ancestry makes it difficult to not think of them as racists. Such issues are of marginal interest to most conservatives and I only feel the need to bring it up rarely: let’s nott let the matter die but there is no point in beating a dead horse either.] Beck had given reasons and examples from the public record for his characterization of the president. Beck sees prejudice. I think that honest people can easily have a difference of opinion about this issue. But to call it a lie is going beyond what the circumstances warrant. To call that misinformation is itself a lie and is truly misinformation. I saw no honest attempt to engage in honest and open discussion. It was subjective slandering with the intent of undermining a man’s reputation.
It’s difficult enough to have a reasonable discussion just because the two sides share so few assumptions. And lefties have long been schooled to hide their assumptions behind sweet sounding goals. Rather than say. “The more people who work for the government the better,” they will say. “Everybody has a right to health care.” And, “The evil insurance companies kill thousands every year by denying care and putting so much money aside for profits and bonuses.” How do you talk to someone who won’t be honest about their motives? I am beginning to think that it’s best to not waste time and energy even talking to them. Just watch and see who they support and never vote for that person.
Much of what goes on with the MSM is not communication but an attempt to exert raw power. The MSM outlets have a shared ideology and they attempt to force it by endless repetition into the unconscious of all members of society. And they are somewhat successful at this. The average American tends to accept the idea of man caused global warming unquestioningly. Most people accept the racial and social divisions preferred by lefties and obediently follow clues as to which social class has been chosen for special treatment this week. This is a class of communication. It is information poor but rich with feelings and subtle commands cues.
To strengthen the MSM command structure there is much attention paid to boundary issues. A lot of time is spent reinforcing the command that it is not acceptable to listen to competing sources of communication. Attempts are made to poison all the other wells. Endlessly it is communicated that it is wrong and racist to disagree with Obama. It is wrong and racist to watch Fox News or to go to a Tea Party. This is just psychological bullying. Information is seldom used in these communications. The enemies of the MSM are just unendingly called unkind names as such racist or profit seeking, sell out. When I was young elementary school kids accused social pariahs of having ‘cooties.’ This bullying by the media is a near equivalent. It separates the sheep from the goats and those who cheerfully enlist to carry on the bullying immediately communicate that they will go to great lengths to be part of the power structure. We saw a sort of reverse aspect of this bullying recently. People and groups lined up to defend to give Harry Reid a total pass on racially insensitive remarks that would never have been tolerated from a conservative.
Much of what the old media do is just basic propaganda. They repeat the same few themes over and over. They rely on repetition and the illusion they have tried to create that there are no other answers. Fortunately talk radio, the internet, Fox News and such give people other sources of information and opinion. And from those vantage points the old media look empty and shallow. More than that, they look unaccountably self-important as well as weak and clingy. And they seem scared to death of losing all the power they have convinced themselves they have but which is evaporating before their eyes..