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Given #1: The media is not your friend

Mike Lux can’t understand why the networks are getting all giddy about the TeaParty movement.  It’s all they ever cover.

To be clear, the tea partiers aren’t the only angry people in America. There are plenty of working class swing voters who aren’t inclined to buy into the tea party stew of racism, nativism, and Ayn Rand style libertarianism, but are deeply troubled that the jobs situation isn’t improving and that no one in government seems to be looking out for them. There are plenty of progressive activists angry at the Wall Street bankers, the health insurance companies, and the other corporate interests that are screwing them, and are angry that too many politicians seem to be in their pocket. In both cases, Obama and his fellow Democrats still have the opportunity to reach them, still have the ability to make absolutely clear whose side they are on. If Democrats show those voters that they will reject those special interests, and fight hard for average folks’ interests, they can still win this election. If they show voters that they are just as angry about what’s been done to regular people as the regular people, they will have a better 2010 than anyone is predicting right now.

The media loves-loves-loves this tea party story, but the tea partiers really aren’t anything new, and they don’t represent a very big group of voters. There is a lot of anger out there, but most of it is righteous anger that Democrats can and should tap into – anger that Wall Street and other bad actor big companies have been allowed to destroy our economy, and that no one is taking them on for it.

I have to go back and do my research but wasn’t OpenLeft one of the places that was dumping all over “the bubbas” during the primaries?  You know, the working class women who weren’t in love with Obama because they knew poison when they saw it? Well, whatever.  We’ll come back to that later.  The primaries are where this problem started.  If only Mike Lux would have a Soylent Green moment about them, we could start talking the same language again and get on with it.

Anyway, about the TeaParty.  Mike probably already knows the answer to this.  There have been reports in various places, the latest in The Big Short by Michael Lewis, that Hill staffers are glued to cable TV. The media shapes their worldview with  distortion and misdirection and bad information. Yep, you can put any stupid thing you want on CNN or CNBC and Congresscritters act like Rupert Murdoch and the other media owners have sunk their electrodes deep into the brains of the American public. But it isn’t true.

What the media has the power to do is amplify the voices it likes and mute the voices it doesn’t like.  It likes the TeaPartiers because they are militantly anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-progressive.  Sweeet!  The neo-feudalists don’t have to lift a finger.  Well, that’s not strictly true.  We know that hard-ass Republican movement conservatives are funding the TeaParties.  But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to all of the attention they’re getting.

Nevertheless, there are people on Capitol Hill who are watching that nonsense and getting the heebie-jeebies.  OMG, the TeaParty is on the march!  They’re in your Walmart.  They’re pissed off.  They want you to do Republican things and be all bi-partisan and sell out women. And it’s working so well. Congress is scared to death of TeaParty people.  They’re so scared that they don’t even see the ax that’s about to fall on them from their (former) friends.

Mike, the media is never going to cover your frustration with the Democratic party.  The Democrats aren’t listening to you because they are transfixed by Fox News.  No matter how much you tell them they are pissing you off, they will ignore you because you and your rowdy band of progressive activists are not on the TV.  If the cameras aren’t covering you marching on the Mall and shouting slogans or throwing cherry bombs through the windows of some Democrat who just voted on the most regressive Republican health care reform bill in history, then you don’t really exist to those Hill staffers. And the cameras are never going to cover you, no matter how many millions you get to march on Washington.

Even Corzine’s loss and Martha Coakley’s defeat won’t register for awhile because it takes effort to analyze the polls and it’s so much easier to hear some blond spokesmodel tell you what those elections really meant based on some slanted poll the network conducted.

If you want to make a difference, you have to stop trying to get your politician’s attention through the media.  The people you want to reach are those very same voters you dumped on during the 2008 primaries.  Remember the working class?  Yeah, well, they don’t even know you exist.  They don’t read blogs.  But they might read a bumpersticker.  They might read guerilla messaging.  You can infiltrate them with signs and unanswered questions.  You could write a book.  Don’t fill it with tree hugging, birkenstock wearing, vegan, recycling crap though.  They really don’t care about that stuff.  They want to know whether you feel for them and their unemployment status.  Do you know what it’s like to work so hard and never seem to get ahead?  Have you ever had to take a 30% cut in salary to keep the lousy job you have?  Can you sympathize with the newly unemployed couple who can’t pay the mortgage on their house and will soon have no home for themselves and their two kids? Have you seen your friends with PhDs in the sciences wandering around the grocery store, not knowing what to do with themselves because they’ve lost their jobs and their industry has gone to Hyderabad for the indefinite future?

Those are the people you have to reach out to, not your politicians.  Not all of those working class schlubs are watching Fox.  They are waiting for a different answer.

You will not get good media.  If you get to be popular, the parties will dump on you.  Your friends will abandon you.  You will face humiliation, jeers, lies about you.  People will find out where you live and put dead bunnies on your doorstep.  You will not get to sit at the kewl lunch table.

You know what?  Forget about the media.  Hillary did and she almost beat the bastards.  She was knifed by her own, not by Fox news.  Go around them, Mike.  Be the anti-media.  Get all mysterious.  When you start to attract their attention, don’t return their phone calls.  Play hard to get.  Deliver your messages without them.  When the pols lose and lose and lose, they’ll eventually get a clue.  The Republican party is a lost cause.  The Democrats have an infection that needs to be cured.  But don’t put your faith in either one.  Put your faith in the people you scorned in 2008.  Women, working class people, Hillary supporters, the FDR style liberals.  Get them on board, Mike, and you can turn this thing around.

But don’t expect the media to acknowledge your existence.  They have you right where they want you right now.  Silent and invisible. Accept that as a given and move on.

46 Responses

  1. Another tip for Mike:

    Don’t ever support a candidate who is the “media darling.”

  2. Right on target. I would hope that some would take your advice, but considering their collective record……Not much hope.

    Miq: Bingo.

  3. I often see people talk about the news media as if they are independent but insane.

    Once upon a time journalism was a profession and television news was considered a public service. During the past 30 years we’ve seen television news get taken over by corporate interests. A handful of individuals and corporations control all the major television, radio and print media.

    When I was a kid the network news was only on for half and hour each evening. Now we have three 24/7 cable news networks as well as the regular network news, yet people are less informed than they used to be.

    Why do people like Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck, Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd make big salaries being ignorant and inane in a profession that supposedly specializes in disseminating accurate information?

    No employer in their right mind would pay them anything for the drivel they produce, UNLESS the employer wanted them to produce drivel.

    This information comes from Bob Somerby via Corrente:

    Health care facts they don’t want you to know

    Per capita health care spending (2007):

    United States: $7290
    Switzerland: $4417
    France: $3601
    United Kingdom: $2992
    Average of OECD developed nations: $2964
    Italy: $2686
    Japan: $2581

    In the past couple years we’ve heard lots of talk about HCR, but very little accurate information. It’s not an accident or coincidence. The people who own the media don’t want the public to know the truth.

    • Yep, they crap this crap on purpose.

      • Journalists shouldn’t be millionaires because dirty money from the corporations causing social ills tends to get in the way of truth-telling and fact finding. Money also blinds most from problems occurring outside of their gated or guarded homes and makes them more likely to judge people based on stereotypes and assumptions. The corporations who own the news only care about making money so they will usually hire journalists who are known to be extremely partisan, crazy, and willing to sell out their integrity to be a shill for corporate interests and ratings.

        • well, back in the day (and I do mean the day, like way back), the only folks that were journalists were rich dabblers in stuff like benjamin franklin. Remember Rosebud? Randolph Hearst was not exactly Uncle Walter. We’ve always had town or regional newspapers owned by rich and powerful families. The one in the part of Oklahoma that i grew up in way back when my dad was little was run by oil rich families … you know those nasty folks like the character Daniel Day Lewis portrayed in the movie? A lot of them of been well grounded in representing establishment interests. It’s just that it’s not been so international and so wide spread. It’s not like your town newspaper is owned by one corporate nasty, he owns newspapers all over the world now.
          The media has rarely been the friend of the little guy.

    • We have censorship not by too little information, but by too much.

  4. I remember when the nightly news would report on the cost overruns incurred by a certain defense contractor, we don’t hear that stuff anymore.
    I wonder why?
    Anything to say?

  5. I am a tea party member and supported Hillary in the last Primarys.. None of the tea party groups I know are taking money from the Republicans. We feel they are as much the problem as the dems have been..

    The tea partiers I know want Term limits for all of our servants and the women in the groups have just as much say as the men and in some cases more say.. I don’t know about the Republican view of women except that Mccain had more women in higher positions making more money than the Dems …

    And if either of these parties attempt to make women walk two steps behind them – they will be toast and the tea party will be leading the way…
    this message may not make it in because i don’t know if I go my name correctly inputted..

    • The tea party movement was started by Republicans. This is well known. No time to look it up but I will post a link later.
      Yes, we need a third party but be careful who you hang out with.

  6. also, none or very few of the tea party members are giving the Republicans any support financially.. and we won’t unless we are sure they won’t do the same thing the Dems are now doing.

    We all get emails and letters from them asking for money and from what I can gather our money goes to those candidates that are actually fiscal emotional and mental conservatives…

    we really do need a 3rd party in this country.. JMO

    • Last week I was invited to attend a Tea Party get together that was organized by local Young Republicans. The person offering the invitation was quick to say that she was not a Young Republican, but that people were angry with everyone – Republicans and Democrats. It sounds like doublespeak to me. The Young Republicans are organizing against themselves?

      • It sounds like doublespeak to me. The Young Republicans are organizing against themselves?

        Lol, precisely. The latte liberals are the ones they’ve been brewing for (i.e. themselves), the tea partiers are organizing against themselves. 😉 Zomg!Socialist takeover! OhNo!Teabaggers who can’t spell! It’s tribalism to preserve the respective brands (GOP/Obama) by distracting from actually challenging the problems with those brands and instead keeping people divided and fighting a fake fight with each other. So nothing real gets accomplished. Just fake reform.

        • Wonk, I’ve missed your voice. There should be some way to get around the false dichotomy presented. It escapes me for the moment but it has to be there or we are totally screwed.

    • I don’t think all of the people attending the Tea Party protests are extreme right wingers. I think a lot of them have good intentions and are rightfully tired of government serving corporate interests. However, the large tent of the Tea Party movement takes money from right wing interests and are affiliated with the Republican Party.

    • The tea party organizers are upfront about the fact that they want to work through the Republican Party only. They’re not at all interested in third parties. The people who attend may be, but they’re not.

      • Frankly, if your goal is to take over one of the legacy parties it’s probably easiest to take over the GOP. I don’t have a clue how anyone would get around the big donors in either party though.

        It could be done from the precinct up but that would take a few elections and I don’t think the Tea Partiers, or any other group, could hang in for that long.

  7. unfortunately, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as “leadership” goes. Who in their right mind would run for elected office? It used to be the opposing party would dredge up dirt and you might get it in the media if it was checked out and true. Nowadays, in the dem party, it is your own that are your frenemies.

    I find it absolutely dismissive and rejecting of our party to not concentrate on jobs and to really tell people how horrible they feel about their pain instead of blaming bush and focusing on the teaparties. and to call anyone who questions or disputes the party line a racist. Or try to confuse them with 17 minute convoluted answers.


  8. Really don’t know what to say about the inanity of some things at TL. Consider this little gem…

    I’d like to have ties like that. (none / 0) (#103)
    by observed on Fri Apr 02, 2010 at 02:36:16 PM EST
    I don’t have a huge eye for clothes, but if his ties don’t cost $500 or more/ per, I would be surprised.

  9. Fantastic post!
    It gave me deja vu from 2000. I was out of my mind with fury over the stolen election right under my eyes. yet, the very little publicity this matter had in the media was only about blacks, mostly the ones in Florida. I wanted to scream: “hey, what about me?” like Mike Lux.
    I learned better since and in 2008 I asked B0bots:
    “Why are the people who brought us Bush pushing Obama”?
    I summed up their answers here

    MSM is after a good story (unseating of inevitable choice)
    MSM is actually impressed with Obama
    MSM wants to kiss ass of the next president
    MSM – they’re human! maybe they want to stop being evil already
    Both parties do it
    They hate Clinton
    Ted Kennedy!
    Who cares what they’re doing?
    It’s not true – what planet are you getting your news from?

  10. Put your faith in the people you scorned in 2008. Women, working class people, Hillary supporters, the FDR style liberals.

    Absolutely the people entirely ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream media. But I don’t see how anyone could win an election to a national office without them.

    • McCain took public financing, but it cost $10 to $15 per Obama vote. That’s why the people scorned in 2008 weren’t needed–the “movement” was so media-driven. Most people don’t pay attention, but there was the candidate of all candidates that was sold even stronger than Bush 2. How many who had never voted before were “inspired”?

      Remember the crescendo towards the end of the Dem nomination? The huge numbers that showed up in Portland to see The One? The media kept upping the tens of thousands. No one mentioned that the Decemberists were giving a free concert (rare to see), kayakers floating by and Sunday bicyclists were counted, as were the Hillary supporters I knew who reported back. The event was put-on by the event organizers that Kerry used to bring out the same number (if counted correctly) when he ran for President (was Springsteen the free concert)?

      I studied the aerial photos and there was no way that the numbers were as large as the media reported. But, hey, it was inevitable. Lots of tingles. No qualifications for the job, but looked good in a suit. We’ve been there, done that.

  11. Somebody mentioned TL. Ever notice that it’s absolutely verboten over there to refer to what happened in the primaries? (Though every now and then BTD will throw some red meat to Hillary Clinton’s supporters and then sit back and let squeaky cr@p all over the thread that results.)

    The thing is, though, as we know here, the question of “the primaries” will not go away, not because we are a shrieking band of paranoid holdouts, etc., but because the primaries caused a huge rift that Obama and his faction simply want to ignore. And when the can’t ignore it, because somebody brings it up, they attempt to shout it down or shame it into silence.

    Me, I’m just waiting till November and stocking up on popcorn.

    • Popcorn is an excellent idea. It’s gonna be entertaining in every case.

    • You mean Squeaky the guy who bought Jeralyn an IPad?

      • The very one. The one who claims to have been a supporter of Hillary Clinton during the primaries. And who claims to be a woman. BTW, how to you know the latter is not true?

        • When did squeaky “claim” to be a woman? He simply never responds to that topic at all. I have it on very good authority from a most reliable source that squeaky is a male. I thought for a long time it was a she.

    • The primaries are not going away because voting rights were stolen. And no one steals an election to do good. Period.

      • Exactly. And to say, “just get over it”. It’s as if people can do any kind of stuff they want to do to you and you just need to “get over it”.

        Forget that!

        • If they had nothing to hide or be ashamed of they wouldn’t say “get over it” and ban anyone who mentions the primaries. If Obama had won with the most votes and went on to become the liberal hope man his supporters had dreamed of then they would be the ones telling us “told you so” since the primaries. They say get over it because they want to bury all evidence that they’d been hoodwinked and bamboozled along with using misogyny and voter fraud to elect a Republican-lite opportunist into office.

        • Those are for me the dirtiest words in the English language. Since 2000.
          I end friendships over those. No kidding.

        • We did get over it. (And, by it, I mean the Democratic party.)

    • They’re like little kids. They ripped this party apart, and now they’re all confused, looking around for it, wondering what happened. Actions, consequences, etc.

      • Actions, consequences, etc.

        Elections have unicorns.

        • Lol

          The Unicorn returns to her forest. She tells Schmendrick that she is different from all the other unicorns now, because she knows what it’s like to feel love and regret.

          Even ficticious creatures are smarter than Failbots. They’re capable of regret.

    • Mentioning the primaries at TL just makes BTD and the girly-men over there look like fools for backing the current POTUS. These are egotistical guys who really can’t stand looking at the stooopid things they’ve done.

      The primaries can’t go away, or we risk repeating them. Never again should the public allow a party, not either party, to game the caucuses or pull the Rule contortions that the Democrats did last primary season.

  12. RD, this is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. Yes, we all know how ignored Mike feels and will continue to feel. We know because we’ve been here for a long, long time now. We remember the primaries when we Hillary people were racists bigots who feared change. We know we were because the media told us we were. And, then they told the Bill Bradley plus african american Obama coalition we were.

  13. RD asks ” wasn’t OpenLeft one of the places that was dumping all over “the bubbas” during the primaries?”

    Yes. The “creative class” post from Chris Bowers, “Changing of the Guard,” is a classic of the genre.

    Bowers also participated in the access blogger news blackout of single payer advocacy that enabled the so-called “public option” bait and switch (which Obama betrayed anyhow, quelle surprise, so even though Bowers threw women under the bus, it was all for nothing. Except continued access, of course. There’s that.

    And now Bowers is going to do for financial reform what he did for health care reform! Heaven help us…

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