Catapulting the Propaganda — Again

The great and much-missed blogger known as Billmon has a post over at Daily Kos that really deserves to be read, re-read, and printed out and mailed to the local newspapers for their edification:

For some years now, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by the political dark arts — especially the very dark art of disinformation: the systematic creation and dissemination of false narratives designed to discredit your opponents and/or drive undecided audiences away from their cause.
The difference between disinformation and just plain lying is in the scope of the enterprise: A lie is intended to conceal a specific truth (e.g. “I did not have sex with that woman”). Disinformation, on the other hand, is aimed at constructing an entire alternative reality — one in which the truth can find no foothold because it conflicts just not with a specific falsehood, but with the entire fabric of the false reality that has been created. It puts the “big” in big lie, in other words.
These basic disinformation techniques were first pioneered by the totalitarian movements of the 1930s, such as the [GODWIN REDACTION] and the Soviet KGB, but they’ve been brought to their full fruition by the modern advertising, public relations and political consulting industries. Proving once again that what communism can do, capitalism can do better.
Karl Rove’s White House was, in many ways, the Olympian ideal of a disinformation operation — a propaganda achievement that will probably never be topped, at least in American politics (God willing). But it looks as if the House Republicans are giving it the old college try.
Thus the rather amazing press conference Minority Whip Eric Cantor held earlier today, in which the Virginia Republican in effect accused the Democrats of inciting violence against all those innocent teabaggers out there who are simply expressing their sacred constitutional right to spit on black people and fax pictures of hangman’s nooses to their elected representatives.
The basic objective of all this, as I wrote way back when, is very simple:

The goal is to confront the public with two sides hurling identical charges at each other — the better to convince them that it’s just another partisan mudfight and who the hell knows . . . anyway.
In that sense, the “mirror image” technique is a like a bomber scattering chaff behind it to try to fool enemy radar or deflect a heat-seeking missile from the real target. As I said, it’s one of the tricks Rove would use when Team Bush lost the news cycle, which suggests the past few days of coverage of the Great Teabagger Freakout have done some real damage –- or at least, that the Rovian high command thinks it has done some damage.
Will the ploy work this time? I don’t think so, or if so, only to a limited degree. The material may have been brilliant, but the performance sucked –- even Cantor couldn’t make himself sound like he actually believed it. Sure, Fox News is ready (as always) to take the baton and run with it, but I think the mainstream corporate media deadheads, brain dead as they may be, have finally picked up on the scam… — Spock with a Beard: The Sequel

Jake Tapper audio

Here’s the audio of the Jake Tapper segment on Laura Ingraham that I wrote about it earlier.

I’d like point out that that it is listed on Ingraham’s site as:

Isn’t it already problematic that Tapper and ABC allow their “work” with Ingraham to be described this way?

Update. It’s much worse than I remembered. From chuckling along with Laura Ingraham’s jokes to hardly disputing a single thing she says, it is a repulsive performance that demeans journalism.

A thousand little Wacos

It will be interesting to see what the Reasonoids make of this:

VANDERBOEGH: I am telling you we are motivated to break windows, we feel a deadly threat from the Federal government and the orders that the Democrat party has given us. […]

COLMES: You’re telling people to break the windows of Democratic headquarters. You’re telling people to commit acts of vandalism. You’re supporting breaking the law.

VANDERBOEGH: May I tell you my personal motive for doing this? I’m trying to save the lives of Nancy Pelosi, and every one of these people who do not understand the unintended consequences of their actions. […] Because they are not paying attention to the million of people across this deepening divide that politics no longer avails them. […] We refuse to participate in the system, and we refuse to pay the fines, and we refuse arrest. Now where do you suppose that’s going but a thousand little Waco’s.

Careerist sociopaths

I’ve been taking in a lot of right-wing media the last few days because I was curious to see how the wingers would defend the death threats and so on that some on the right have been making against Democratic Congressmen. So I had Laura Ingraham on the radio this morning as I drove to work.

She was ranting and raving about how the threats weren’t really happening and if they did happen, they didn’t come from the right, and if they were happening and they did come from the right, then they weren’t as bad as ACORN or the guy who threw the shoe at George W. Bush. She had a guest named Jake, who seemed a little more reasonable than her but who didn’t dispute anything she said and said things like “Well, I’m sure you’ve received threats too.”

When Ingraham suggested that Hoyer scheduled the news conference to discuss the threats in order to score political points, she asked Jake what he thought, and he said “I only report the facts, but I do have an opinion”, suggesting he agreed with Ingram but couldn’t say so explicitly (you probably have to listen to the tape to see what I mean about this).

Turns out it was Jake Tapper.

I doubt Tapper is that much of a right-winger, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on. He knows that national tv news is a dying medium and that he may have to jump on the Murdoch crazy train at some point in order to pay the bills. In short, he’s a careerist sociopath, ready to dance on the graves of Congressmen if it means he can keep a Fox gig lined up down the road.

Update. One thing in particular that Ingraham said, and which Tapper didn’t dispute was (I’m paraphrasing) “if you defy the will of the people, you have to expect that a few weird malcontents will come after you.”

Update update. I will try to post audio of this time so you can make up your own mind about the segment.

Law Enforcement is in on the Smear

While the usual suspects are spinning away the latest round of death threats by the right-wing lunatics, someone appears to believe it isn’t just hype pushed by the liberal media and the Democrats:

More than 100 House Democrats met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon with representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police. The lawmakers voiced what one senior aide who was present described as “serious concern” about their security in Washington and in their home districts when they return this weekend for the spring recess.

Usually only the congressional leadership has regular personal protection from the Capitol Police. But at least 10 lawmakers have been offered increased protection by law enforcement agencies, said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

This is nothing new for these guys- while Sarah Palin is literally putting crosshairs on congressmen, law enforcement has had to deal with this before:

The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. “Why would they try to make people hate us?” Michelle asked a top campaign aide.

We lucked out the last time, and hopefully we will luck out again this time.

This, though, is what infuriates me about the glibertarian response at Reason that DougJ pointed out last night. The entire economic theory of the glibertarian, boiled to its essence, is the belief in the causal relationship that tax cuts + deregulation = free market magic! They ignore everything else, hundreds of years of evidence and economic theory that it just isn’t that simple, and just keep talking about less taxes = MOAR FREEDOM.

But then, when there is a honest to goodness obvious causal relationship right in front of their very eyes, what do they do? Ignore it, or excuse it, or dismiss it as just a couple lunatics.

It’s inexcusable. There is a direct relationship to the rhetoric of the Republicans in congress, right-wing leaders like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey and others, the right-wing media at Fox and the various wingnut welfare venues and Rush Limbaugh, and the recent uptick in threats and vandalism. You don’t have to trace it. You don’t have to wonder why some people are acting up this way. Again- Sarah Palin is literally putting crosshairs on congresscritters. Rep. Neugebauer screamed “baby killer” during Bart Stupak’s speech, and all of a sudden Bart Stupak’s voice mail and fax machine are overflowing with threats calling him a baby killer. Republicans screamed “socialism” all year long, and what do you know- a two-thirds majority of Republicans think Obama is a socialist. It really is crazy how this shit works, isn’t it, libertarians?

This does not take much effort to realize that the Republican leadership, both elected and unelected, are ramping up the rhetoric from the already fevered pitch, and the people are reacting. Meanwhile, Reason magazine sits around with their finger in the wind and their thumbs up their collective asses mumbling “no one is dead yet” and “hoocoodanode!” Not one breath will be wasted condemning the behavior or noting why it is happening, though. They will offer some better ways to protest, so thanks for that!

At this point, these hacks are looking like the idiot tobacco industry executives who denied for years that tobacco was addictive. Which, considering Reason’s long relationship with big tobacco, is kind of fitting.