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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Right Wing Entitlement Culture: Pt. II - The Media

UPDATE: Somehow I posted the unchecked, raw version of this post the other day without noticing it. So, in the spirit of showing you that I'm not a dithering buffoon who doesn't understand grammar, here's the version that should have been posted.

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In the second installment of our series on Right Wing Entitlement Culture, we examine the singular aspect of the modern American landscape that the Right claims is largely against them - The Media.

While the Modern American Right continually blast the "Mainstream Media", it's interesting to note that they also love to blather endlessly about how Fox"News" enjoys a massive audience share that other outlets should be jealous of.

Admittedly, I do watch Fox"News" now and again, but not for the reasons that they claim most people do. More on that aspect of the Right and the media in America in a moment.

I thought I would start this off with what is likely the perfect example of Right Wing Entitlement machinations: a healthy dose of rank conjecture, conspiracy, and more than a sprinkling of insistence of victimhood.



Immediately Breitbart goes after his most prestigious foe - Media Matters. Not because they are explicitly wrong by using context and the precise and accurately accounted words of the Modern American Right and their Fox"News" masters, but because he has a metaphorical hard-on to see Eric Boehlert and company be proven false by any means necessary.

This is the first, and most shining example, of conservative framing - attack the messenger without merit.

In terms of O'Reilly's insistence that he and Fox"News" have proven that Media Matters is a sham operation funded almost exclusively by George Soros, he again references the demonstrably misleading chart of Soros's financial contributions to Media Matters - something Breitbart and Fox"News" have tried to do with NPR as well.

This is where Breitbart - accompanied by an easily convinced O'Reilly - start to make completely false connections with Media Matters, Daily Kos, and Anthony Weiner's staffers that is the perfect definition of "unfounded". What O'Reilly postulates is that simply because people question Breitbart's motives and sources, they are simply trying to "smear" him.

Here is where they actually got it wrong, though their instincts were right from the start.

Andrew Breitbart has been so eager to prove that his socio-political opposites are nothing but corrupt and immoral that he will distribute and champion material that he apparently doesn't properly vet. And for those that used this template as a rational for going after the story and it's credibility, they were wrong - this time.

Breitbart then tries to explain his specious and laughably poor "connections" by referencing the non-controversial Journolist story as if it were in any way controversial. But, to a Conservative or Libertarian, any way to besmirch media that you don't control automatically demands that you label it as controversial.

The pair then went full-on Beckian to insist that MSNBC, Media Matters, and the White House are in this together in order to attack Breitbart and Fox"News". Again, this is something that is not even provable or even in the realm of speculation. What Breitbart and O'Reilly are relying on is another piece of conservative framing - something that media outlets have decided to cover based on nothing more than the Right has said that it was true.

Certainly, Barack Obama has had meeting with bloggers and reporters that champion the Left, but he has be equally open to those on the Right. But, I suppose that O'Reilly and Breitbart think that since they have both not been invited to an exclusive "sit-down" with Obama that this means that there is some sinister plot to destroy them.

Immediately following, O'Reilly defends his network's easily probable track record - defending, championing, and even employing members of the Modern American Right - against attacks targeting them when Breitbart boasts it is simply "projection" by the Left. It's at this point in the "interview" that reality is completely turned on its head.

After Brietbart lambastes The Huffington Post for being a primary source for ensuring that conservative claims never see the light of day - something that simply doesn't happen - O'Reilly goes full on "you know they are going to try and kill you". And Breitbart is more than eager to embrace that meme. After all, conservative victimhood works to their advantage more often than most people are willing to admit.

With that said, I'm not going to state that people of any ideological stripe have not threatened Breitbart. But one has to question what those threats are and if they are real or just posturing. We have all seen where conservative rhetoric leads to.

So how does this "interview" express the very real aspect of Right Wing Entitlement Culture in relation to modern media?

Primarily, it demands that anyone within the Modern American Right never be accountable for their previous mistakes and favor a singular instance where they were correct. I'm reminded of the popular phrase that "a blind squirrel can find a nut every great once in a while".

Secondly, The Right demand on a daily basis that their framing be used as a primer for all media coverage. Unfortunately for those of Liberal/Progressive perspective, this is all too true - even though the opposition that makes these demands will never admit it. Just take a look at virtually all the Sunday Shows on all major networks and you will see this in action. The Modern American Right demand that all media push their narrative - regardless of its merit - again and again and again. This is where they get the term "Liberal Media Bias". If someone doesn't genuflect to their particular belief system then you are guilty of heresy of the highest order.

For classic examples of what Breitbart and O'Reilly are referencing, check here and here.

Let's get back to the notion that Fox"News" has such a large audience share because their "reporting" is accurate, yet they can't seem to embrace the idea that this would make them "mainstream".

I have stated many times that accurate reporting and ratings-share are mutually exclusive creatures and to state that one equals another is a complete fabrication. This equivocation is another form of Right Wing framing. If this were true, then it should cross over into all forms of communications to audiences: The film AVATAR would have been more factually accurate than The Hurt Locker, as more people saw the former at theatres than the later.

Also, employees of Fox"News" have also claimed that America is a nation that is "Center-Right", yet that flies in the face of the fact that a plurality oppose the views that Fox and their compatriots champion.

The job of the American Media is to report the events of the day. When those events are beginning to be largely shaped by Right Wing ideology - and the media doesn't accept that premise - those that are attempting to shape it consider themselves being attacked by those they are attempting to control. This is the very nature of Right Wing Entitlement culture in relation to media.

Essentially, they are spoiled children being told that they can't have all that they want all the time. The reality is that their socio-political opponents are not in control the way they are being presented as.

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