Keeping the tribes far apart: In his October 17 blog post for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi said that some on the right will “attempt to portray Occupy Wall Street as a puppet of well-known liberals and other Democratic interests.”
As a prediction, that wasn’t half bad. But in truth, Taibbi vastly understated the types of efforts now being made by folk like Bill O’Reilly.
As he teaches the red tribe to fear the blue, Mr. O has been an unvarnished disgrace. Editorial boards have shared this disgrace—but first, let’s get clear on the type of fear Mr. O has been peddling.
O'Reilly has been pimping Big Fear and Big Hate. Last night, he started his show in a way which has become quite familiar:
O’REILLY (10/26/11): More violence from the Occupiers. That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo.The best thing you can say for that is that it's idiotic.
Last night in Oakland, California, some Occupy Wall Street protesters tried to defy police orders and march on City Hall. At least five protesters were arrested, several injured, along with two police officers who were also hurt. Police estimate nearly 1,000 demonstrators took part in the clash last night.
And in addition, more anti-Semitism is surfacing among the Occupiers:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (videotape): And I'll say that the Jews control Wall Street, Google Jewish billionaires, Google Jews and the Federal Reserve Bank, Google Jews and Wall Street. America's finances controlled by the Jews, Wall Street, the media, the legal profession. The Jews commit more white-collar crimes than any other ethnic group on the earth.
O'REILLY: Now in the face of that, a CBS News poll asked Americans from what you have heard or read do you generally agree or disagree with the views the Occupy Wall Street Movement hold? 43 percent say they agree; 27 percent disagree; 30 percent unsure.
Now, Talking Points believes that reflects the media coverage of the Occupiers, most of it favorable to them despite the violence and anti-Semitism.
The use of that videotape was a classic case of “nut-picking.” O’Reilly used the words of a single nut to demonize a whole movement.
But O’Reilly has been at this project for weeks, pimping the anti-Semitic line hard. Last night, Dick Morris helped him establish this sad, ugly point. “It's only beginning to come out that they are anti-Semitic, that the Muslim groups are involved and stuff like that.” So Morris thoughtfully said, serving as Mr. O’s first guest.
This is stupid, disgraceful stuff. On the other hand, one has to say that it tracks the way we liberals went “nut-picking” with respect to the Tea Party movement.
We liberals nut-picked that movement’s racists, and Fox is now nut-picking anti-Semites. Your tribal mind will instruct you to say this isn’t the same thing at all!
Sorry. It pretty much is. In some ways, our nut-picking was even worse, since we used gong-show “surveys” by hapless professors to (vastly) extend the range of our side’s R-bombs and B-bombs.
(Today, the bigots support Herman Cain. Though we can explain that too!)
Mr. O’s second guest last night was the ever-brilliant Ann Coulter. At one point, O’Reilly asked her to comment on Obama’s sympathetic statements about the Occupy movement. In her reply, Coulter showed a second way Fox abuses the reds to keep them hating the blues:
COULTER: I would say this would not be half as annoying if he were not buddying around with his pals at Goldman Sachs and Citibank and Solyndra and all of his rich friends. I mean, you were asking Dick Morris earlier how is it that 43 percent of Americans can say they sympathize with the goals of Occupy Wall Street? I think it's very simple. It's because of the name “Occupy Wall Street.”Wall Street got bailed out by Obama! Plainly, that’s what the average viewer would think based on what Coulter said. What was O’Reilly’s response to this disinformation? He said this:
In point of fact, these people are not against Wall Street. They are walking right past George Soros' house and protesting outside Rupert Murdoch's apartment. Well, you know the name of the group isn't “Occupy Producers of Products We Disapprove Of.” They say “Wall Street.” I agree with them and I think they are ruining a good cause.
When Wall Street is not behaving in a free market way, taking bets, speculation, risk-taking—all of that isn’t good for the economy. But when the bets go bad and they go running to their Democrat friends in the White House from Bill Clinton to President Obama and get bailed out by the American taxpayer, that is not a free market. And I think all Americans should be angry about that sort of crony capitalism.
“All right, Ann. Thanks very much, as always.”
O’Reilly has been a total disgrace as he has waged his moronic, hate-drenched campaign. But then, so have the editors of our biggest newspapers.
How long can this sort of thing persist before such leading citizens speak? Answer: O’Reilly can keep this up until the cows come home! The New York Times is too afraid to complain about this sort of thing from Fox—always has been. Besides, those editors like to drop their own bombs! This morning, they drop the N-bomb (“Nativists!”) right in the headline to their latest name-calling editorial.
The editors are afraid to challenge the likes of O’Reilly. Instead, they wage tribal war against southern whites. (For their readers, it’s highly therapeutic!) And of course, they enjoy throwing their own tribal bombs. Do these High Manhattan Buffoons ever leave home without them?
Taibbi pretty much called this shot. Divide and conquer! It’s how the plutocrats win.
Even Huddy pitched in: Late in last night's O'Reilly program, Juliet Huddy appeared for her weekly spin-bath.
"We begin with the Council on American Islamic Relations," Mr. O said. "Apparently, they support the Occupiers!"
The Muslim groups support the Occupy movement! Huddy is paid to be blonde—and to play along. Last night, she accomplished both tasks.
Mr Somerby writes:ReplyDelete
"This is stupid, disgraceful stuff. On the other hand, one has to say that it tracks the way we liberals went “nut-picking” with respect to the Tea Party movement."
Even if one were to concede Mr Somerby's point, that both sides are equally guilty, it still doesn't mitigate the fact that there is no equivalent, moral or otherwise, to the right wing echo chamber which can be heard and seen and read 24/7 from coast to coast and border to border.
As Mr Somerby himself has noted many times it wasn't the right wing media who took Al Gore down in 2000 but rather the willingness of the "mainstream" media to see things their way.
You can call it laziness but you ignore the constant, steady drumbeat from the right at your own peril.
The anti-semitism of certain participants in OWS, and of the progressive/left assault on Israel, shouldn't be dismissed. I love the point Bob makes about nut-picking though. The way all tea partiers were portrayed as racists was also blatantly misleading, though their animosity toward Obama and birtherism shouldn't be dismissed.ReplyDelete
The NYT print edition ran an article about anti-semitism and OWS with an interesting survey result; 1 in 6 Americans agree with the statement "jews have too much influence in Wall Street." It would be informative to compare the expressed anti-semitic feeling in OWS with that of the population at large, as well as the expressed racist sentiments of tea partiers with the population at large. If it could be demonstrated that OWS is LESS anti-semitic and Tea Partiers LESS racist than the general population, all the pundits' heads would blow off.
Were people asked whether Christians have "too much influence on Wall Street?"ReplyDelete
I'm kidding, of course.
this is just too cool for words! :)ReplyDelete
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