THE LATEST FROM COLUMNIST FEELGOOD! Mimicking Beck and playing the fool, Rich keeps us barefoot and clueless: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2009
John Harwood stumbles and falls: Cable news is getting more partisan, John Harwood says in todays New York Times. More specifically, he reports that the audiences watching cable news channels have gotten more partisan over the years.
Forget about those changing audienceslets consider the actual work done by the cable news channels. Is there a potential problem when cable news channels become more partisanless objectivein their presentations of news? Early on, Harwood quotes someone offering a clueless dismissal of this silly idea:
What, Feltus and Harwood worry? In effect, Feltus says voters are smart enough to adjust for the slant of some cable channels. This is an utterly silly analysis. But Harwood simply proceeds ahead, offering no questions or comments about it.
When voters watch a cable channel, are they smart enough to understand what color filter is over the lens? Maybe, maybe not. But what if that channel feeds them fake facts? Are they smart enough to understand that? Presumably, no: After all, if everyone already knew all the facts, there would be little need for news orgs at all. News consumers can also be burned when they are handed accurate factsaccurate facts which are highly selective and thereby misleading. Or when they are handed absurd analyses built upon accurate facts.
These things happen on Fox all the timeor when youre watching Rachel Maddow. You can decide for yourself where it happens more. (For ourselves, we think this is a losingand anti-democraticstrategy for liberals to adopt.)
In the past few weeks, pols and pundits have often fumbled in explaining whats the matter with Fox. Sorry: There are basic problems with partisan news. At the very least, we ought to learn how to explain what those problems are. Just for starters, we ought to know this:
People who know that Broadcaster X is a [liberal/conservative] can still get misled by his or her work. Viewers can even get misled when every statement by Broadcaster X is accurate. Blithely, Feltus waves this problem away. But so did Maddow, when she offered her absurdly limited analysis of whats the matter with Fox.
THE LATEST FROM COLUMNIST FEELGOOD: Well have to admit, it was Frank Richs column which most stuck in our mind this weekend.
Mainly, the piece was Richs latest name-calling venture, aimed at conservatives and therefore designed to make us liberals feel good. But frankly, can anyone dumb us liberals down quite the way Rich does?
The McCain-Palin ticket lost every demographic group by large margins in 2008 except white senior citizens and the dwindling fifth of America that's still rural? Were not entirely sure what that triumphalist statement means, and Rich makes no attempt to explain it. But in fact, McCain-Palin won the demographic group known as white voters by a roughly 56-43 percent margin. (That has been a fairly typical margin among white voters in recent presidential elections. ) Meanwhile, McCain-Palin lost the demographic group known as men by the large margin of about 49-48.
In past columns, Rich has enjoyed noting the inexorable transformation of America into a white-minority country...by 2042 in the latest Census Bureau estimatefailing to note that Obama was trying to pass health reform this year. Rich seems to think that this demographic transformation inevitably dooms the conservative movement. But dont worry! If liberals keep listening to dummies like Rich, conservative leaders will find many ways, long before that magical year, to turn growing minority populations against progressive interests.
Rich will keep us liberals fiddling. The other side will be hard at work inventing frameworks designed to keep us voting for corporate and big money interests.
In that odd highlighted statement, Rich was performing as Columnist Feelgood again, telling us liberal readers the silly things we presumably long to hear. From know-nothing pseudos like Rich, this piffle substitutes for the kind of work which might build winning progressive frameworks, understandings and ideas. How can health reform be in the pitiful state its in, given the utterly ludicrous state of American health care? Simple. Intellectual leaders like Rich have kept liberal readers barefoot and clueless. Yesterdays ridiculous column was the latest in a long, sorry line.
Frankly, Rich is the pits.
Richs odd statement about demographic groups came fairly late in a gruesome column. The columns real feature was its endless name-callingthe very sort of brainless name-calling we liberals have been decried, for very good reasons, in the past year. The name-calling started in the headline, and continued onward from there.
How fatuous is this big bloated dope? Herewatch him dumb us all down.
The G.O.P. Stalinists Invade Upstate New York, said Rich in his headline, seeming to channel the cuckoo Glenn Beck, while almost pushing a bit of a Halloween line. Indeed, Richs column almost reads like parody, so persistently does it dress its targets in silly historical costumes. The clowning started in paragraph 2but it continued from there:
The right is a wacky, paranoid cult. Theyre Jacobins creating a GOP killing field. This silly clowning continues throughout, with Richs targets described as a wrecking crew who have now staged a putsch. They are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode. They are the Stalinists of the right. This being a column by Rich, they are also racists, of course. Presumably, this explains why the McCain-Palin ticket lost every demographic group by large margins in 2008 except white senior citizens and the dwindling fifth of America that's still rural.
As Rich executes this familiar old strain, his Feelgood work is done. That said:
In a meaningless House race in upstate New York, they have supported a candidate with whom they agree more, as opposed to a candidate with whom they agree less. To an idiot like Rich, this means they are Stalinists staging a putsch, creating a GOP killing field.
Lets remember this column the next time we moan about Becks inane, mindless ranting. (By the way: Scozzafava has now endorsed the Democrat, thus making Rich look even dumber. Why should a conservative Republican feel obliged to support her?)
Columns like this help explain a key factthe lack of anything resembling a progressive politics in this country. All over the country, your team-mates thought they were reading a fiery liberal when they read this silly column. They may not have realized that they were actually reading the work of a know-nothing dope.
Your country has no progressive politics because people like Rich have sat in the saddle, defining the parameters of the liberal/progressive outlook. Rich has been dumb for a very long time. At this point, in columns like this, he seems to be trying to prove it.