Friday, June 02, 2006

The Bleating of Cowards: Hannity, O'Reilly, & Co.

I've argued that the propagation of anti-left and pro-right narratives by the establishment media is more insidious - and thus more dangerous - than the cowardly bleating of people like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill Bennett, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. When Coulter is invited to spout her putrescence on Larry King Live, the legitimacy granted to her is CNN's fault, not Coulter's. After all, there's no shortage of desperate attention seekers willing to say and do outlandish things to get noticed. The question is, why does CNN grant an open forum to this particular whack-job and not others?

The symbiotic relationship between far right screamers and the establishment media dresses up extremist rhetoric in a veneer of decorum. When Tim Russert, David Broder, Chris Matthews, and the New York Times peek into the Clinton bedroom, they are using their supposed 'neutrality' to disseminate rightwing talking points, thereby magnifying the rightwing echo chamber.

Given that I typically focus on the establishment media, I'll grant that there are times when you simply can't ignore the fraudulence that passes as commentary from rightwing cowards like Hannity, O'Reilly, and others, whose bleating gets louder by the day. Media Matters describes how their moralistic fantasies intersect with Iraq's bloody reality:
"Despite the clear risks undertaken by journalists covering the Iraq war, some conservatives in the media have repeatedly questioned the courage of journalists in Iraq, alleging that journalists covering the war fail to report "good news" because they are afraid to leave the heavily fortified Baghdad "Green Zone" to speak with Iraqis and coalition troops elsewhere in the country."
At CBS's Public Eye, Brian Montopoli adds:
"Members of the press corps in Iraq are risking their lives trying to bring the story of the war to Americans, and the trivialization of those efforts strikes me as offensive. War reporters deserve our respect and admiration, but some in the conservative media criticism echo chamber have seen fit to slander them in order to argue that the situation in Iraq is far better than it appears. They take metaphorical shots at the messengers as the messengers do their jobs among very real bullets."

14 Comments:

Anonymous yamaan said...

It's difficult to compliment this post with anything other than a "here, here!"

6/02/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Gabriel said...

Perhaps there's something that I'm missing . . . right-wing extremists say that journalists in Iraq fail to report the 'good news' because they're afraid to go out and find it. And because they're so afraid, they remain in the area where all the bad things are happening. Is that what they're saying? What I'm hearing is that out of fear, the US journalists over there are refusing to go out among the sunshine and rainbows and happy dancing Iraqis, in favor of remaining in a place where journalists have a very good chance of getting killed while doing their job. Either right-wing news is dumber than I thought, or I'm missing something.

6/02/2006 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yamaan: Hear, hear!

6/02/2006 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Tre Gibbs said...

THIS TOPIC has been on my mind for years... and I know the answer:

What we think of as reputible media outlets(i.e. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) have actually become more like the FOX News model - they are tabloid information disguised as VNRs (Video News Releases). They have nothing to do with facts, they are only interested in ratings. Facts don't attract ratings - no one wants to see, hear or read that our government doesn't and hasn't worked properly, that our President is as inept and unqualified as you can get - no one wants to hear that our country has made disgustingly horrible mistakes that have forever ruined our political and spiritual place on the planet.
Therefore, everyone is now trying to rival FOX News and Rupert Murdoch - take snippets of truth, wrap them in lies, present them in an excitable manner, get all the viewers to tune in and get worked up.
We DO NOT have easy access to NEWS anymore. Those days are long gone.

By the way - since we're talking about this, Pat Robertson's Lear Jet crashed off of Long Island Sound today. Unfortunately, Satan's son himself, Pat, wasn't on the jet... Do you think God is trying to tell him something??

6/02/2006 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why I watch the BBC news and ignore pretty much most of the US media. It's hard to find anyone who has the balls to represent an objective view-point in a public forum. When news is about the ratings [or maybe the "celebrity" presenter] and not the facts, something's wrong.

6/02/2006 7:44 PM  
Blogger Mentarch1 said...

Similarly and in parallel to tv entertainment, the serious aspects and the integrity of news in tv, radio and newspapers has gradually left way to tabloid products, not only imitating the talk-show and info-tainment formulas but their practices as well. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? Do tell! It is simply impossible to ignore them by virtue of the fact that they are in all the news (all media confounded) lately! And what about Darfur? Or Haditha? Or George W. Bush's very latest lie? Etc.? Barely a mention, if mention there actually is. No, no, no - let's talk instead of celebrities, of crimes, of sports, of "heartwarming" stories and, especially, of the fear du jour. Why do you think the majority of journalists seems nowadays only able to regurgitate propaganda (or spin) from our leaders, from corporation-paid-for organizations or corporations proper? Three reasons: a) to preserve a supposed "access" (which constitutes *the* formula used by info-tainments with regards to studios, celebrities, etc.); b) too many journalists, editors, or producers search for the quick-and-easy; and c) too many journalists, editors or producers have fallen under the lure of gain and fame (after all, we should not forget that they too come from the same cultures as ours). Incidentally, the majority of those presumed investigative reporting shows are likewise suffering from superficiality or propaganda regurgitation, even disinformation.

And what of the forum-type shows? Once again, we find ourselves right in the middle of the tabloid universe where the one who screams the loudest, who is the most incendiary, and/or the most controversial, turns out to be the one most watched or listened to - all media confounded. Lastly, I will spare everyone here the explanations as to how some of those televised news networks, especially Fox News, constitute paragdims of tabloid tv, bias, propaganda regurgitation and disinformation.

The fact is that too many journalists nowadays simply do not bother to report the truth and reality anymore. Instead, they play the spin game while nitpicking facts and discarding those deemed "unpleasant". How have we come to this? Ratings and profits. And, of course, the prevalence of the search for instant gratification which dictates said ratings and profits.

The sad truth is that the apparent majority of us would rather be serviced an opinion, like being served fast-food, instead of making the effort to forge one (and an informed one at that!) for ourselves.

Thankfully, we have independent news agencies, the internet and blogs - otherwise, we would be in real trouble ... nonetheless, a pillar of our democratic institutions is now dangerously close of collapsing.

(The Mentarch Blog: http://mentarchblog.blogspot.com/ )

6/02/2006 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Ron A. Zajac said...

There's a corrolary to what you're talking about.

You also have to remember that the program directors also give "left" or leftish voices some airtime, and this winds up a mixed blessing.

The threat there is in getting a "wimp" left speaker. And I don't mean a left-seeming person; a straw dog. No, I'm refering to those who have sincere and progressive inclinations, but haven't done the legwork necessary to present a concise-yet-cogent case for the progressive take on current events.

Frankly, this may also typify the MO for the specific ghouls headlining this blog; Hannity, et.al. They hide their own fact-deprived "analysis" behind bluster. Well, it doesn't do any better when you hide a lack of information behind good progressive intentions or left/populist icon credentials than it does when you hide your chauvinism behind bluster and bravado, or deliver it like a snowball encasing a rock of soul uglyness (Coulter).

The left needs to learn a lesson from this: Do your homework. Take a lesson from Alice: You have to run as fast as you can just to stay in one place. If you want to actually get somewhere, you'll have to run faster than that!

6/02/2006 10:06 PM  
Blogger A Son of the American Revolution said...

It's not surprising that since there is virtually no distinction between Democrat and Republican, that the news organizations would meld together also.

It's disappointing, but isn't almost anything that tries to pass itself off as leadership these days.

6/03/2006 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The USA does not have a free press it has a commercialised press. The American press peddles the stories that readers/viewers want to buy, using reader/viewer/listener attention as payment.

While it is possible to blame the press however isn’t the real problem the purchaser? The fact that this is the type of news the majority of Americans want to hear/view?

A successful candy shop stocks the candy that they know their punters will crave after. Do you then blame the candy shop for the damage done by too much candy ?

How much “unhealthy” news will it take before Americans wake up to the fact they have been feed a news diet that is bad for them and their nation ?

6/03/2006 4:14 AM  
Blogger PhiloKing said...

As with the other Yellow Elephants, let 'em get over to I-wreck and show the world how its done. And take Larry King with 'em.

6/03/2006 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Bout time somebody said it!!!

6/03/2006 2:35 PM  
Blogger Saintperle said...

tre gibbs raises the question of whether or not that bush-league sleazoid from Hell, Pat Robertson will get the message that god is trying to tell him something with the crash of his jet.

Having heard his vicious wormtongue at work, I'm certain he'll decide god was telling him that he was PERSONALLY spared because he's god's fave.

On the other hand, I think, if there is such a being, when the plane went down, Jesus laughed at him, saying "Hey dad -- you missed. Old slimeball wasn't on the plane."

And god snapped his infinite fingers and said "Me Damn it! OK, double or nothing."

6/03/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the "mainstream media" will pay attention to the fact that most young Americans are getting their news from a network named Comedy Central? Sadly the Daily Show and Colbert Report delve into news at much deeper level than CNN, FOX and MSNBC combined. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

6/05/2006 5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, Satan's son himself, Pat, wasn't on the jet..."

"...when the plane went down, Jesus laughed at him, saying "Hey dad -- you missed. Old slimeball wasn't on the plane."

Hoping someone would die because of personal political beliefs is sick. Isee this type of comment everywhere on leftie forums. Daily Kos had a string of deathwishers hoping Ann Coulter would get cancer. Shame.

6/07/2006 10:37 PM  

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