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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is There A Voice Of Sanity Amongst The Raving Masses

In my local paper today **subscription required**, there were dueling write-ins from readers responding to criticisms of the media. As always in this portion of the Bible Belt, it came down to Fox"News" versus MSNBC.

On the conservative side, a man named Lacy was attempting to rationalize the actions of the fringe conservative movement by claiming two things: Fox"News" is superior to all other channels not just because of their "fair and blanaced" stance, but because they have a larger audience share. Even though both of these statments are preposterous, the later is still somewhat of a mystery - why do conservatives believe that high rating equal accurate reporting. The two are mutually exclusive as should be easily recognizable to even those with a partially functional frontal lobe.

Media Matters has multiple examples of not only Fox's fringe-conservative bias, but of how they blur the line between straight news reporting and opinion.

The second piece of Mr. Lacy's poorly constructed thesis was what really struck me. He claimed that people like Glenn Beck weren't guilty of dispersing racism and hate-speech, it was Kieth Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

There was a portion of his piece where Mr. Lacy spoke of the right to bear arms - a trending topic amongst the tea-party set, of which this gentleman sounded like an ardent supporter - and he concluded his piece by telling urging the man with whom he was responding to "not go outside". The thinly veiled threats from the reactionary fringe aren't as veiled as they once were.

Here is my response piece to him which will be published in tomorrows edition of my city's paper.

In Response To Bill Lacy’s Op-Ed From Wednesday, Oct. 13th.

I’ll not waste time on Mr. Lacy’s thinly veiled threat at the end of his opinion peace where he suggests that Mr. Watson should “not venture out into public”, as rhetoric such as this is no commonplace in the modern conservative movement. But what I will focus on are two glaringly preposterous notions that make up the flaccid thesis within Mr. Lacy’s piece.

First, is the accusation that Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are purveyors of not only fear, but also “hate-speech”. My first reaction to this would be to pose the question to Mr. Lacy – what exactly is your definition of “hate-speech”? While this sort of classification of speech requires no definition to most people, it is apparent that Mr. Lacy lacks understanding in this manner. However, some forms of “hate-speech” have - by some form of bizarre osmosis – become acceptable in certain circles within our modern socio-political dialogue. Does this mean that we all have to accept the notion that the demonization of a specific religion, culture, or race is part of America? Absolutely not. So, to Mr. Lacy, I would ask when he has ever heard Olbermann or Maddow use “hate-speech” or the tactics of fear. It seems to me that Mr. Lacy has never watched either of these programs, but relies on the latest set of talking-points to be distributed through various conservative “news” outlets.

There is a way that Mr. Lacy’s ignorance on this manner can be explained. Ever since Fox”News” gained such wide-ranging attention, conservatives have muddied the debate in America by claiming some liberal conspiracy has threaded its way through virtually every news organization and that every story reported on by anyone other than Fox has an obviously and scientifically provable “liberal bias”. This, by and large, is how conservatives view the genesis of “hate-speech”, through the prism of ideological mistrust.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been watching Olbermann since his days at ESPN and have been watching Maddow since her premiere broadcast on MSNBC, even listen to her radio program on the still operational and ever growing Air America radio network. The truth about these two people and their programs is that they don’t hide the fact that their shows are more liberal, more progressive, more Democratic than other programs. This is not to say that they have never challenged the Democratic Party on ideals and legislation, as they have. The difference between MSNBC’s giants of prime-time reporting and the entire Fox”News” network is that Fox continues to hide behind the “fair and balanced” meme. They are, for lack of a more colloquial term, patent liars in that regard.

As far as Mr. Lacy’s final assertion in his piece, that Fox”News” is somehow vastly superior to any and all other networks simply because they have a larger audience share, is beyond laughable. The very standpoint that he is making is that higher-ratings equal accurate reporting has no basis in fact whatsoever. I watch Fox”News” a great deal. I watch not because I feel that I am going to get any information that will benefit my day, my walk in life, but I watch to see the every growing ignorance and blindness within the modern conservative movement. I watch to see what new stunt, what new conspiracy-wrapped-in-a-riddle-inside-an-enigma Glenn Beck is going to uncover at 4pm. I watch to see how marginalized people like Bill O’Reilly have become. I watch, and I see a network that has created such willful ignorance within people in my own community. It is a truly saddening thing to see unfolding each and every day.


Felix said...

What is hate speech? How about this comment from Keith Olbermann yesterday on Michelle Malkin:

"...the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee jerk fascistic hatred, without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed up bag of meat with lipstick on it."

That's seven childish, spiteful insults in a single sentence. Say what you will about Fox, but none of their commentators could match that much bile in one sentence.

aironlater said...

Ah, dear Felix, you mistake a snarky dis predicated on the receivers own socio-political foundation for actually hate-speech. Your aparent attempt at redefining true hate-speech is not only pathetic, but patently predictable. But, thanks for playing.

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