Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Why I Call Them “The GOP/Media Complex”, 01/29/09 Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 29, 2009

Digby and Jane are both wondering why we’re still seeing far more Republicans than Democrats on TV even after Obama won the White House and the Dems increased their control of both Houses of Congress.

Dday helps explain: It’s the Villagers.. They’ve been gleefully serving the GOP by marinating people’s brains in right-wing frames for so long that many if not most Americans don’t know how to think other than in right-wing frames.

Here’s an example from Mellow Velo, one of the blogs in my sidebar:

On Monday, I gave a speech to a local group of business professionals that included actuaries, lawyers and experts in a number of areas, many of who had been peers/colleagues. The topic I was given was “the Top Ten Things I Wish Someone Had Told me About Retirement”. Given the expertise of the audience, I kept it light and funny and based on feedback, succeeded in keeping every one’s attention.

Afterwards, a woman I didn’t know came up and asked why I didn’t mention tax cuts as the best possible solution to the crisis that both social programs (Social Security & Medicare) and our economy in general currently face. Aside from the fact that I made every attempt at being non-political, and intentionally did not offer an opinion on solutions, I was intrigued enough to play along. She went on about how much tax cuts would spur the economy, encourage investment and generally solve all of the country’s problems.

After she was done, I asked her how capital gains tax cuts worked when no one was realizing any capital gains; how income tax cuts worked when people are unemployed and have no income; how business tax cuts work when businesses are closing or cannot get capital to start or expand. She responded that tax cuts had caused the economic boom of the Reagan and Bush Junior years and if repeated, would drive our economy to new heights. Since she really never answered my questions, we parted with a smile and a hand shake.

This woman is not an idiot nor arguing in bad faith. She honestly believes this blatantly wrong spiel. Her problem is that the mass media she’s most likely to have encountered is dominated by people pitching that spiel.  As I said in the comments thread for that post:

This is the overripe, bitter fruit of what the Olin Foundation and other conservative groups focused on media control have given us: Bright, personable people like the woman you mention who have been marinated in anti-tax and anti-government nonsense from Rush Limbaugh and his imitators on drive-time radio and FOX for so long that they literally don’t know anything else exists.

Oh, and why do the righty movers and shakers hate taxes and government?

1) Because they don’t see themselves as part of our community. If everything goes to hell, they figure they can wall themselves up in their gated communities and go on as they always have (they soon find they’re wrong, but then they’ve been pushing their own drivel for so long they’ve made the mistake of believing it)

2) Anti-tax and anti-government stances are a cover for racism. This was copped to by no less than Republican strategist and Reaganite Lee Atwater way back in 1981:

In 1981, during the first year of Mr. Reagan’s presidency, the late Lee Atwater gave an interview to a political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, explaining the evolution of the Southern strategy:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,’ ” said Atwater. ”By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

6 Responses to “Why I Call Them “The GOP/Media Complex”, 01/29/09 Edition”

  1. thescoop said


  2. Charles II said

    This is one area where I feel let down by Obama (and the Clintons, and Gore, and Kerry). Ever since Ross Perot’s flip charts, everyone has known that the American people are hungry for clear explanations of what is going on. Obama is a former community organizer. He knows how precious every contact with the public is, that the opposition has tons of media to do their work for them. He knows this is a game of inches, where you convert one person at a time. Yet he has not used his speeches to educate the public.

    I very much agree that America’s problems come down to a cultural issue, rather than a political issue. Americans believe things like the world is ending, poor people are all lazy, skin color determines intelligence, Arabs are all crazy violent and so on. Until those mental maps can be confronted, it’s very hard to get things done.

    I once said when we were talking about the Democrats that leaders have an obligation to let their followers know where they’re headed. That way, if people go stray or fog settles in, people know where to go. The main reason I think the Democrats suck as leaders is not what they actually do, but that they say they’re going here and then go somewhere else. So, anyone following them ends up lost and embarrassed.

  3. The problem is that it’s the marinade, Charles. The other side’s been controlling consensus reality for so long that even smart people, like the woman quizzing the guy behind Mellow Velo, have no clue about it — and even people who are at partly aware resist seeing the big picture because they think it’s just too crazy and tinfoil-hattish.

  4. Stormcrow said

    Mmm, I think there’s something neither of you has mentioned.

    The Villagers, and the malign influence they have over our national discourse and the prevailing memes, are a direct consequence of media ownership.

    And I know PW understands that issue, because I bookmarked one of her own blog posts from two years ago about this. I call it up whenever I’m trying to explain this to people. The New Moonie Times.

    This must be at least half a dozen times I have consulted that bookmark now. I found it straightaway: => “America” => “American Collapse” => “News media – Corruption and Purchase – Propaganda as News”.

    OT: FF3 does rock. Bookmarks that were nearly unusable in FF2, in consequence of the sheer size of my bookmarks.html file (~11 MB), are now completely accessible.

    If the media were not, by and large, owned and very much controlled by hardcore Republicans, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. Because it would not be a problem.

  5. Charles II said

    The associative tree works like a charm, doesn’t it Stormcrow?

    If I may quote myself from 2002:

    They lie to us. We know they’re lying. They know we know. We know they know we know. So what is the problem with the American media? More specifically, what’s the problem with The Washington Post?

    It’s easy to excuse the behavior of most of the media. American newspapers have been reduced to canned astrology columns, Little League scores and restaurant reviews. Television “news” is mostly salacious tales like Monica and Chandra.

    But The New York Times and The Washington Post don’t work that way. They employ bright, professionally-trained journalists. Then they set them to serve as trained seals to the powerful.

    I like the image of Tom Friedman clapping his flippers and jumping for fish.

  6. joel hanes said

    Where is the law that tells us how to impeach Sally Quinn and David Broder?

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