INTERLUDE—DON’T GO NEAR THE ANIMALS: In a tribalized political culture, scripted tribunes from the tribes will rush to demean The Others.
“I can’t even imagine what Those People are like,” some headstrong spokesmen will cry. For part 3 of this series, click here.
Last night, on Special Report, the hacks got busy describing the beasts involved in Occupy Wall Street. (To watch the full segment, click this.) Charles Krauthammer answered Bret Baier’s first question. As he did, it almost sounded like Charles has been Where the Wild Things Are:
KRAUTHAMMER (10/12/11): The protests on Wall Street are mindless. At least the Tea Party, whom the media and Democrats denigrated as a sort of toothless, uneducated peasantry, they had a program, they had an idea, they had a plan—smaller government, less taxes, less regulation.Violence is possible—and the beasts might leave things unkempt! But then, when Stephen Hayes got his turn, he engaged in similar musings. By his own admission, his mouth was hanging wide open:
And when you ask people in Wall Street what they want, they don't know. Their plan? Eat the rich. And what happens afterwards, after that meal, they have no idea. Democrats are making a big mistake in embracing a movement of this sort. In the end, they could have attached to them all the sort of weirdnesses or the excesses that you could get. Violence is possible. If it happens, it will redound to Democrats. And even just sort of obnoxiousness. If they leave the site on which they are on soiled and unkempt, that's not going to look good.
HAYES: I saw the email from the Democratic congressional campaign compete seeking petitions to support the Occupy Wall Street protesters and my mouth dropped wide open. I could not believe that you had the formal fund-raising arm, campaign arm of the Democrats in the House embracing this movement with all of its excesses that we've already seen. I mean, that I think is one of the fundamental points.Hayes didn’t bother detailing “all of the excesses that we've already seen.” When it came to the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of the fringe, it didn’t seem he had to.
But I want to go back to something that A.B. [Stoddard] said. These are people protesting the Obama administration from the left. The idea that this is going to be a sustainable movement is preposterous. Look at the Gallup poll—20 percent of Americans as a high water mark are self-identified liberals. This is the fringe of the fringe of the fringe of the fringe. They're not serious people. They don't know what they're talking about. Their motives and their goals shift every single day. It's not a sustainable movement. They'll get some life breathed into them because of the media coverage; the media seems to want to encourage this. But they're not a serious movement.
For what it’s worth, Hayes was rather selective in the polling data he offered. He could have presented polling data which showed wide support for various stances favored by the Occupy movement. But that movement is full of Wild Things—and Fox viewers had to be warned.
Charles got the last word in this segment; he drove home the basic point about the Wild Things in the park. And if a viewer stuck around to learn what Mr. O might think, he got to hear Dennis Miller’s views about “these people.” In his mind, Dennis has been Where the Wild Things Are:
O'REILLY (10/12/11): Dennis Miller joins us now from Los Angeles. All right, so where do you stand on these people?For Dennis, the lack of dodge ball did it. But then, Mr. O has been playing this game for more than a week by this time. On Tuesday, he discussed the wild things in his weekly segment with the repurposed and vacuous Juliet Huddy, who stated the tribe’s party line:
MILLER: Well, I realize I'm no longer the biggest loser on Wall Street this year...You know, the kids in this group don't anger me. Some of the older losers I look at and go, “Oh, get on with it, for God's sakes.”
But kids have always, through the ages, dedicated their lives to core beliefs that they are not wise enough to elaborate on. They're at the parapets but they sort of “Les Miz” the point. And when you mix in the fact that we raised a generation that are a little narcissistic, you know what I mean, like no dodge ball, relativism in everything, everybody gets the same grades, nobody wins tug-of-wars, you've got a bunch of kids who were taught to be precious out there.
If you want to break this thing up, Billy, overnight, go down there and set up a jobs fair where you're offering jobs that started in entry level position that afternoon…If you opened up a jobs fair out there you'd see contrails heading away from that park.
O’REILLY (10/11/11): Now, we do know what this crazy Occupy Wall Street protestor said. Roll the tape.Huddy had no apparent politics when she started at Fox. But she’s very blonde, and she has the right figure, and she has submitted to being repurposed. She never has a thing to say; perhaps to her credit, she isn’t even very good at faking a pseudo-conservative stance. But given her obvious assets, Mr. O is willing to flash her wisdom once a week. It’s always a horrible segment.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTOR (videotape): Gandhi today is a tumor, that the ruling class is using, is using constantly, using constantly to mislead us. The French Revolution made fundamental transformation but it was bloody. Like India, the result of Gandhi and 600 million people—600 million people living in maximum poverty. So, so, that's so—so, ultimately, the bourgeoisie won't go without violent means.
O'REILLY: All right. Power to the people! Right on! See, this is why you can't hang with those people, I mean, that would drive you crazy listening to that guy for more than 30 seconds. That's why we had to stop.
HUDDY: You—well, he had a lot of people clapping and cheering for him and he kept going, “Revolution, yes!” And everyone would cheer. I think like three-quarters of the crowd has no idea what he's talking about and I think that's actually, probably, a high estimate.
Back to the way of the tribes:
Night after night, viewers of Fox are being taken Where the Wild Things Are. In fairness, Bret Baier provided a bit of balance last night with his opening question. Nancy Pelosi has been hypocritical about the tea party, he said—but Eric Cantor has been hypocritical too. (Baier: There's obviously hypocrisy on both sides...Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, saying Occupy Wall Street are “angry mobs, mobs growing on Wall Street.” And he called the Tea Party “an organic movement that was a positive role in the election.”) Among Baier’s panelists, it fell to A. B. Stoddard to provide what passed for balance. After describing the Democrats’ hypocrisy in some detail, she offered these leavening words:
STODDARD: Republicans at the same time should associate themselves with this anger and frustration over joblessness and they shouldn't be critical of these protests. Ignore them, or say “I understand your grievances,” but there's no point on casting aspersions on this, on this Occupy Wall Street. The protests will go on and on. Will they have a political component or an influence? I don't think so. But there's no reason to criticize the movement.Charles and Stephen described the Wild Things. Stoddard offered a few softer words.
People in the conservative tribe are being told that "those people" are beasts. Day after day, night after night, they hear about the Wild Things through Fox and through talk radio. But in fairness, this isn’t entirely different from the way some pseudo-liberals played the game when the tea party movement began. There was some truly ludicrous conduct within that burgeoning movement. But some leading liberals jumped in with their pathetic dick jokes. And many liberals overstated problems as often as they could.
Our side has never stopped pretending that the bulk of Those People don’t know that Medicare is a government programs. Those People are just so dumb, we cry. We’ve gone Where the Wild Things Are!
In a highly tribalized political culture, tribal tribunes will always go to this beastly place. Don’t speak to those people, these tribunes will shriek. It has to be Us Against Them.
There has always been an allure to The Hate. Tomorrow, some current examples—and a trip to a nation at war.