You are very close. All you need is the F word to put it all together and add a dash of second amendment.
That ought to keep you up at night.
That’s really what this comes down to.
Update, 5:40 p.m.: Two hours after this post was published, Fox provided the following statement to Mediaite (without addressing the substance of the Media Matters report):
Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. FOX News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.
Bill has addressed the lies about the Falklands, although there are new lies now about his involvement in the JFK assassination conspiracy. Plus, he claims he witnessed nuns being executed in El Salvador when records show he wasn’t even in the country at the time the events happened.
It’s more important to fling poo at those institutions that are trying to keep Bill O’Reilly honest than to force Bill O’Reilly to actually be honest.
But no matter. I never expected Fox would censure O’Reilly in the same way that NBC disciplined Brian Williams. Part of this is because NBC still clings tenaciously to the concept of being a news organization while Fox News does not.
Come to think of it, wasn’t it Fox News that won a Supreme Court victory several years back that made it Ok for it to lie? Yeah, it was something like, it doesn’t have to tell the truth. There’s nothing in the constitution that says that a media outlet that purports to report the news has to do so honestly or something to that effect. They all might lie but Fox News takes pride in being audaciously dishonest and getting away with it. It’s that audacity to flout the rules, while demanding everyone else adhere to some purity test, that I suspect is the real attraction for the Fox News viewer. It’s the thrill of making everyone else march to Fox’s drummer.
So, it doesn’t really matter what you throw at Bill O’Reilly, Fox is going to stand by him and they’ll pretend that they have addressed all of the accusations adequately and it’s only the left wing media and enemies that are going for Bill.
But it would be wrong to assume that it’s only MMFA or some radical Decembrist faction of a commie left that wants to bring down Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. Hey, I didn’t vote for Obama-twice! I have been called a racist for not sticking with my tribe when what *I* saw in 2008 was an inexperienced but ruthlessly ambitious opportunist hired to carry out the wishes of the financial services industry that was about to lose its shirt in the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s. My objection to Obama is he is really a country club moderately conservative Republican and he’s governed like one. So, how does the Fox News conditioned viewer handle people like me? I’ve seen the confusion in their eyes when they try to reconcile what they’ve been told with the fact that I am standing there saying I am a liberal who loathes Obama for purely non-racial reasons. It’s like watching Fembots about to explode. They can’t quite grasp it.
(Now that I think of it, I’ve seen some lefties have the same reaction. There’s a nugget of a problem there that the left has not accepted about its own side.)
No, the fighters against Fox extend beyond the usual suspects. It includes anyone who has to sit with brain dead relatives at dinner who have become mean spirited, crotchety, vile, bigots robotically spitting ultra-conservative nonsense in a garbled illogical word salad. Those people go out and vote, because they’re angry, and they don’t sound like they know what they’re supposed to be angry about. Nothing they say makes any damn sense. And it’s very difficult to want to be around them because they behave as if they’ve had a lobotomy. You can’t construct a logical argument with people who have had conditioned responses and thought-stopping reactions to anything you say. Seriously, they can contradict themselves several times in the same sentence and never even realize it. They are operating in pure fearful, emotional, enraged mode, thinking there is a child molester behind the potted plants and that the Muslims are going to kill them in their beds while they unknowingly support the most regressive economic theories the conservative right has to offer because God, or something.
The John Birch Society ain’t got nothing on Bill O’Reilly and Fox News. John Birch was fringe until Fox came along. And Bill has a single talent. He is extremely effective at turning perfectly ordinary people into obnoxious right wing Archie Bunker types who actively celebrate their willful ignorance and call themselves holy. That is a gift to the ultra wealthy. The rich and powerful will fight tooth and nail to protect Bill O’Reilly. He is their golden goose. His distortions and ability to provoke irrational anger keeps his audience in a state of poised suspension, ready to hurl themselves like zombies at the first fresh brains O’Reilly shakes in front of them. As informed citizens, they’re useless to the rest of us and, in most cases, actively harm their families and friends by their inability to see when they’ve been flimflammed. It’s pure gold to the small evil group that runs the world and to whom no one we know belongs.
The true Fox News watcher will joyfully accept their role as a minion to the corrupt. They will tell you that there is nothing you can do to change a corrupt system except pray for the second coming. How this justifies joining the army of corruption, I’ll never understand, unless it is to bask in the glory of being on the side of the powerful, especially those corrupt powerful who masquerade as godly. It sort of reminds me of the people who are flocking to the middle east to join ISIS. We all know ISIS is brutal, totalitarian and mindless but some people are attracted to that. Fox News only beheads people metaphorically. Its enemies still suffer the same fate, and the meanness, misogyny and cruelty is still there, but there’s less blood.
Oh sure, things were different when the typical Fox News view was younger. People were more helpful, there was a real sense of community, labor was stronger and public education was better and well funded. But they seem incapable of figuring out how we got to this place where we have gone back to the economic conditions that lead to the Great Depression. They do not see the role of Fox News in the process.
And that’s just the way Fox likes it. So, no need to draw further attention to itself. Defending Bill is just going to make it look like it needs to defend Bill and that’s not the kind of face Fox wants to present to the world. That shows a sense of vulnerability. The Fox News viewer doesn’t want to feel vulnerable. Fox wants to look impregnable, a mighty fortress against the commie left even if it’s more like a prison for the gullible.
Ok, we all know it. There are things we can not change in this world. So we must continually chant the serenity prayer as we watch Fox, and media like it, tear the fabric of our country apart. There’s nothing we can do about Fox News and it’s ability to lie, distort, mislead and destroy. We can only wait until the vulnerable reduce in numbers and the younger, less religiously motivated internet era demographic matures. Fox News will just become another niche channel for the unhinged. Then we will start the long, hard slog to recovery, reversing all the crap it has flung at us.
Filed under: General | Tagged: bigots, Bill O'Reilly, christian fundamentalists, el salvador, falklands, Fox News, fundamentalists, ISIS, john birch society, lies, Nuns, Supreme Court, word salad | 23 Comments »
Bill O’Reilly lies about his war stories, just like Brian Williams. Actually, he’s worse than Williams because CBS has footage of what happened and who was there and Bill O’Reilly was no hero.
Butcha know, the people who watch Bill O’Reilly aren’t interested in the truth. They are interested in being flattered by a tall guy who went to Harvard. He’s the church lady’s crush. She will stand by her man no matter what he does or how much he lies. He’s the authority figure they crave even while they protest too much that they don’t need a man.
At least now, we can dispense with the pretense that he’s journalist with any kind of integrity. This is a shock to no one. Fox News is going to rally around his flag. He won’t get disciplined or fired. No, that’s for the liberal media that’s trying to take him down. Fox News operates under a different set of standards. And that’s fine as long as everyone is in on the joke.
Sorry about that image so early in the morning. Let me pass you some brain bleach.
What I am referring to is the peek at the Republican agenda that McConnell revealed yesterday. Let’s take a look, shall we? This bit is from the Washington Post:
“You know, I think the gridlock is going to end,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in an interview Wednesday. “Senator McConnell knows how to make the Senate work and I think he’ll make us a bigger party, a better party, by . . . crafting bipartisan legislation.”
No, Rand, the gridlock is going to end because Republicans no longer have any reason to say “NO, Non, Nein!” to absolutely everything proposed by the other side of the aisle. Republicans had their chance to craft bipartisan legislation for 6 straight years. In fact, every day of the last 3 congressional sessions was a new day for Republicans to wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “It’s a new day. There are millions of Americans in dire straits waiting for us to help them recover from the financial mess of 2008. I’m going to do something different today! I’m going to propose bipartisan legislation.” That’s certainly what all of the media pundits are going to pressure the Democrats to do. But Republicans did not set this example for the past six years. Nope, not a one of them. Instead, they shutdown the government precisely to avoid bipartisan legislation. So, Rand is lying. I know because his mouth is moving.
HEALTH CARE It is a delicate topic, but top Republicans acknowledge they cannot repeal the Affordable Care Act, particularly with Mr. Obama able to veto any such effort. They will no doubt take some repeal votes, but their initial focus could be on smaller changes.
For instance, a medical device tax used to pay for the law is opposed by lawmakers from both parties who represent manufacturers, and a repeal of the tax could pass Congress. And another group of Republicans and Democrats has also called for returning the health law’s definition of full-time work to 40 hours from 30, arguing that the lower limit is forcing too many people out of work because of employers’ efforts to comply with the law. Mr. Boehner singled out that measure as one that he would like to see advance.
Returning the definition of a full timer to 40 hours is supposed to help?? How is that supposed to work, Mitch? If you’re not going to fully rescind Obamacare, it’s only going to make the part-time work crisis more severe. By the time, Mitch is through, no one will be eligible for benefits of any kind. Yeah, that will make things better.
Back to WaPo:
For more ambitious legislation, senior Republicans are discussing a fast-track procedure known as “reconciliation,” which would permit them to push a measure through the Senate with just 51 votes. Among the targets under consideration: tax reform, cuts to Medicare benefits and an increase in the federal debt limit.
The argument that the Democrats always made about Obamacare is that it was better than a sharp stick in the eye. Now, we’re going to get a sharp stick in the eye. You people on Medicare shouldn’t get too comfy either. Mitch is planning to cut your benefits. Oh, yeah, we tried to tell you but would you listen?? No. So, now you’re about to find out that Republicans don’t really give a crap about your biblical morality. They want your money. Every penny of it. They are all about stripping government down to the studs and giving its profit making potential over to their friends who helped get them elected. Fox News is just a front, a club, if you will, for you retired people to hang out and get captured like flies in a spider web.
But you’ll see.
Republicans hate Social Security and Medicare with a white hot passion. Medicare was passed during the Johnson administration only by overwhelmingly voting in Democrats to Congress so as to reduce Republican opposition to insignificance. Social Security was also passed over their dead bodies back during the Depression. Now that they are in charge, and we have an weaker president than even I ever thought possible in the White House, Republicans are going to do all they can to make sure they stamp both programs out or cripple them so badly that they may become worthless. You may indeed be the last generation that benefits from all your hard work. But it is my generation, who paid *extra* taxes into the surplus fund so that we could retire, and have almost no other pension benefits, that will feel the most severe pain. Because Republicans are going to cut a deal with you to screw us over and we are going to watch as you hastily pull the ladder up in order to save your own skins.
We’ve seen what is underneath the Fox News lovers kimonos too. And it is not pretty.
There’s a “Hands up/ Don’t shoot” Friday campaign going on over at Twitter. It’s a nice gesture, no pun intended. But I can’t help thinking about how much more powerful the message would be if we could get ordinary Americans, not just the social media savvy and political activist types, out on the sidewalks banging pots together.
I used to think that internet campaigns would be enough. Not anymore. Non-violent, but non-silent demonstrations are probably the way to go.
MLK Jr. would approve.
Update: My sisters-in-law were a little uncomfortable with me using the word “thug” to describe Michael Brown in a post the other day. I see their point. I based my assessment on the video that was released of his actions in the convenience store. One of the things that struck me as I watched it was that I really couldn’t tell what was going on with him and the clerk behind the counter. Reaching over the counter to get something doesn’t mean stealing, not that stealing something in a convenience store is justification for getting shot 6 times. It’s not, by the way. This is not 18th century Williamsburg where a servant could be hanged for stealing a silver spoon. But I couldn’t tell with any certainty what was transpiring at the counter. Plus, the volume on the video was off so for all I know, he might have had a perfectly friendly interaction with the proprietor. There just wasn’t sufficient data for me to determine what was going on there. I would not be friendly to the prosecution on a jury if the charge was shoplifting or robbery based on that video.
No, what bothered me was when he left the store and roughed up the clerk on the way out. The clerk clearly looks distraught and Brown’s actions looked aggressive and unnecessary. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pointing that out. But “thug” is a right wing word, apparently. I’m not a cable news junky so I’m going to have to rely on the SILs here when they tell me to refrain from using it to avoid looking like a right wing nutcase. Maybe “bully” would be more appropriate. Still not a killing offense, though probably more prosecutable than we can feel comfortable with, considering what happened shortly afterwards. It looked like a minor assault to me. I guess it would have been up to the clerk as to whether it was worth pursuing. For sure Brown needed a stern talking to, but, um, not 6 shots to the torso.
I’m troubled by this piece of footage for many reasons. Matt Taibbi’s book, The Divide, describes so many instances of young black men being arrested and harassed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like on the sidewalk or the stoop in front of their apartment buildings. And the trouble they face because of these arrests is unconscionable. Really, it’s overkill and debilitating. Then I see this video and I think, that kid definitely needed correction. Maybe not jail, and not a mark on his permanent record and certainly not death, but something. Like, maybe his grandmother should have been sent that tape so she could see he wasn’t a choirboy. Shaming your grandmother might have been enough.
So, this one time, I’m correcting my language from the right wing “thug”, which I came to independently of cable news based on my first impressions, to “bully”, because that’s what Brown’s actions show.
We shouldn’t be afraid to tell it like it is though. That kind of behavior is unacceptable. Not worth dying for but certainly not good. It doesn’t diminish the horrible and unnecessary impact of Brown’s death. Or of Eric Garner’s death as he was chokeholded by police. Or any of a number of tragic deaths at the hands of people who think black people are less than human.
So, to all you Fox News watchers out there, there is a reason why racism is not acceptable, in thought, word and deed. If you are thinking it, it becomes OK to hurt people who are not like you. You need to ask yourselves if it’s Ok to be an anti-semite in your head as well. Of course it’s not OK. What we are seeing in Ferguson is a variation of the dehumanization and malignant behavior described by Phillip Zimbardo based on his Stanford Prisoner Experiment and his investigation of Abu Graihb in his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
It starts in your head when you allow yourself to think other people are less than you are and it’s all downhill from there.
Don’t start down that road.
My post on religious narcissism is getting a lot of hits. The hits come and go. It’s clearly hit a nerve probably because it feels truthy. But I’m not the only one who has made the connection between some religious people and narcissism. And I’m not condemning all religious people, not by a long shot. I have no problem with those people who know their boundaries and can coexist peacefully without insisting on sticking their beliefs into our heads. I’ve long been a proponent of God 2.0, that is, a new kind of experience that is independent of bronze age mythology. In other words, god needs a rewrite and a makeover but I can live with the metaphorically minded in the meantime.
We can not rule out the possibility that the right, seeing a potential push back against their ramming religion down our throats, is going to fight dirty. I’m not Frank Luntz or Karl Rove and I am not employed by Fox News (or I would be a lot wealthier right now) so I can’t tell what form their coming attack is going to take but I’m pretty sure that there are agents out there combing the blogs looking for trigger words and memes. I’m not being paranoid or inflating my influence. It’s just something they do and they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t scour political and cultural blogs for potent memes. It happened in 2008 and it’s going to happen more and more leading up to the 2014 and 2016 elections. There’s a lot at stake.
This meme has legs so I expect them to start conjuring a response. No one likes to be called a narcissist, even if they only think that it has something to do with vanity while they miss the bigger personality disorder. It might put the religious off their kibble if they start looking undesirable or if they start to sense that the rest of us are on to them. It could trigger narcissistic rage, which is Bill O’Reilly’s forte, or it could mean that the rest of us can gain a toehold to resist them. They’re not going to like it in any case so I’d keep my eyes and ears open for a response.
I’m trying to put together a post that explains how to deal with people with narcissistic personality disorder but it’s not an easy one to write because there is no magic bullet that will make these people stop behaving the way they do. It’s harder in America because the critical mass of “nones” hasn’t been reached here that would be a more powerful counterweight to the religious narcissists. The “nones” category is growing rapidly (I suspect there are many god 2.0 people among them) but our culture still reveres the religious and because these people have a powerful microphone right now, they will get a greater amount of attention than they are entitled to.
So, I’m going to punt for awhile while I continue gathering my resources and instead recommend a podcast from Mormon Stories. Mormon Stories is hosted my John Dehlin, a Mormon on the liberal end of the spectrum, who is studying for his PhD in psychology. I highly recommend this podcast in general because Dehlin’s interview style ranks right up there with Terry Gross, IMHO. Where has this guy been?? He should be way more famous. Another great podcast host is Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist, whose warm, resonant radio voice reassures thousands of disaffected new atheists that they’re not alone.
Anyway, what I really love about Dehlin’s podcast is he is documenting the struggle that modern Mormons are having with their church in terms of gender equality, homosexuality and the history of their church. These Mormons want to stay connected to the culture they grew up with for many good reasons but they need the church to recognize their concerns. Dehlin takes a rigorous approach to religion in general and some of his podcasts have explored the types of religious believers that exist in this country as well as why religion is so compelling from a social psychology perspective. Here are a couple episodes from that latter category.
One of the things I took away from these podcasts, as well as Seth’s podcast, is the importance of knowing you are not alone. Just because your entire family, neighborhood, culture appears to be spouting anti-birth control nonsense or is obsessed with the pedophile that is lurking behind every tree, doesn’t mean everyone is going nuts. If you speak up, you may find you have a lot more people on your side than you thought. They tend to keep quiet when they think they are outliers.
The other thing I learned, that Ryan Cragun confirmed, is that it is a LOT harder to organize people on the left side of the spectrum because they don’t consider themselves to be joiners. This will always be an advantage to the right. Now, we might want to try to figure out why the left and the skeptical community don’t join forces in the same way the right’s disparate communities do but I suspect that it might go back to our childhoods. If you are forced to join a religion or social structure that you may not feel affinity for, you may resist any attempts to join a sympathetic one in the future. That’s just one working hypothesis.
One final thing, Cragun says that religious fundamentalists are a lot more unpopular than they or we are lead to believe. He says the problem with popularly reported surveys is that the participants are rarely asked to rank fundamentalists in the same way they are asked to rank atheists. Consider those surveys in the same light as the ones commissioned by WaPo where people are asked to rank taxes, the budget deficit and every other thing except unemployment as the most important things that government should tackle. So, yeah, fundies are living in denial when they think they are universally loved and admired.
Gotta go now. Get your headsets on and enjoy.
Filed under: General | Tagged: Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, God 2.0, John Dehlin, mormon stories, narcissistic rage, religious narcissism, right wing, ryan cragun, Sam Vaknin, Seth Andrews, the psychology of religion, The Thinking Atheist | 5 Comments »
This is sad. I really like Paul. We agree on so many things. He’s one of the few people who is getting a clue about the myth of structural unemployment.
But with Obamacare, he’s hopeless.
I think it has to do with his own social isolation. He lives in Princeton surrounded by some of the most successful individuals in the world. Of course, all around him is the detritus of 6 years of dismantling of the R&D industry. He only has to cross Route 1 to visit the now shuttered lab where I worked for 15 years. Some of the smartest people I know are having a really hard time figuring out what just happened to them. But it’s unlikely that Krugman knows many of them, or any of the less accomplished people I know.
Here’s the part of Paul’s latest Conscience of a Liberal post on Obamacare that I resent most:
The current state of public opinion on health reform is really peculiar. If you’ve been following the issue at all closely, you know that the Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone seems to know that.
It’s easy to understand how that happens for Fox-watchers and Rush-listeners, who are fed a steady diet of supposed Obamacare disaster stories.
Um, I HATE Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. I consider them to be on the same par as pneumonic plague. They spread misinformation quickly and the effect is always malignant. I don’t watch cable news of any kind and I don’t listen to Rush. So, where could I have possibly gotten the crazy idea that Obamacare is a disaster waiting to happen??
Maybe it’s from my own data and observations. Maybe it’s because the plans are not so great for the price. Maybe it’s because some of us could afford the lousy premiums if we could get a subsidy but our incomes are too low to qualify (could someone please explain how that even makes sense??). Maybe it’s the persistent feeling that Obamacare is leading to a less secure job market. Maybe it’s because for some of us, it’s a choice between cashing in some of our IRA and facing a steep tax penalty to pay for our premiums or being forced into Medicaid where the state may collect our estates from our heirs when we are dead. There are a million reasons why Obamacare might not be working so well for the rest of us, 40 million approximately. If Obamacare is only reaching 7 million new subscribers, doesn’t that leave most of the 47 million uninsured still uninsured?
Here’s my take on Obamacare: It’s full of poison pills. There’s just enough in it to help people with pre-existing conditions and some self-employed people to thrill the cockles of the liberal’s heart. For everyone else, cost controls are not in place, there are no mechanisms to force competing carriers in a local market to cooperate with each other leaving the unsuspecting facing steep out of network costs, the unemployed are still mostly not covered (and they can’t afford the premiums anyway without a subsidy) and to get any kind of public option, aka Medicaid, you have to give up nearly everything you own and have spent your whole life working for.
This is not a good plan, Paul. Most people do not live in Princeton or NYC. They live ordinary lives with ordinary wages and this plan seems to have bypassed many of them. Obamacare was cobbled together by a chief executive who seemed to want to wag his penis around instead of actually pushing for a well crafted piece of legislation. Then it was severely compromised by Congress, first by Republicans who are malignant narcissists and then by Democrats who repeatedly sold out their constituents in a desperate attempt to prop up a guy who was not ready to be president. Why the push to ram this extremely flawed piece of legislation through so quickly? Why was it more important to save Obama’s ass than to ask him to do a good job? Why aren’t enough liberals asking those questions?
Don’t insult us, Paul, especially those of us who are die-hard liberals who find the right wing utterly repugnant. It’s not going to make Obamacare better and won’t help the party. It reminds me of the days when anyone who saw through Obama in 2008 was called a racist. It’s not fair and it’s beneath you.