The Fox News/Rush Limbaugh Alternate Reality Machine And The Dumbing Of America!

Below are some of my thoughts and observations on the strange competing realities in our political universe.

Once upon a time in America there was a media that was known as the 4th estate, a term that is attributed to Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), a British politician, as quoted in Thomas Carlyle’s book, “Heros and Hero Worship in History” (1841)…

Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all.

I remember when I first became aware of politics, in my teen years…the mid to  late 70’s…the role of the press was still focused on presenting the truth. It was a noble goal that all major media outlets adhered to. I think All the President’s Men shows it very well. Sure there were differences of opinions and op-ed pages and politics was politics, but facts were also facts back then. I think politicians and people in the media were a lot more careful about what they said, especially if it was being recorded in some way. I imagine there was a lot of trash talking going on “off the record”, which was a concept that used to be respected too. Now we have people secretly recording or openly recording damn near everything. Twitter is causing all sorts of trouble for people, especially if they didn’t think before they tweeted.

With Rush Limbaugh rising to national attention around 1988, a whole new dynamic began in the media that in the mid 90’s was magnified by the introduction of Fox News. I first listened to Rush Limbaugh during the summer of 1992, I believe. I was painting a house and thought I should listen to what the opposition was pushing in the lead up to the presidential election. It as maddening to listen to, he was blatantly and unabashedly lying without any remorse. If he ever took a call from a listener, it was a supporter or the person was shut down pretty fast if they challenged him at all. I was enraged. That was my first exposure to the right-wing’s master plan of misinforming the mass electorate and conditioning them to block out any conflicting information.  They are given Frank Luntz generated slogans to repeat whenever they are confronted with information that doesn’t fit with their well programmed beliefs. It is really an alternate reality that they’ve created, sort of like the one President Bush worked within, from Ron Suskind’s classic piece on the Bush presidency…(emphasis mine)

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

And I would add to that the fact that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were the media wing of that reality. The effect of all that alternate reality is a whole lot of confused people in this country. You can’t really necessarily blame these people, many are unknowing victims of the misinformation. Recent polls where they break out the Fox News viewers, show some pretty stunning results…

  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

For the trolls out there nodding in agreement, every one of those bullet points is the opposite of what is true. Just so we’re clear.

The other impact that Fox News and Rush have on the misinformed masses is to stoke anger and hatred towards President Obama and the Democrats in general. Media Matters has hundreds, perhaps thousands of examples of how they do that. Some of it is subtle and much of it is not so subtle. They clearly like to throw fuel on the fire of racism that continues to burn, particularly in the south. Probably the best examples of this are the folks at the Tea Party rallies who speak up about how they feel. I really don’t understand how someone can be so hateful and let that hatred direct all of his/her opinions. The Republican noise machine and brainwashing apparatus that is Fox News has warped their ability to distinguish lies from reality. This noise machine seems to inoculate their followers from either knowing that it is a lie or subconsciously they may know it, but they play along because the hatred and demagoguery overwhelms any moral reservations they might have about lying. This phenomenon has become more and more pervasive and since the compliant, agenda driven media never seem to call bullshit on them, it only encourages them to continue. Don’t feed the damn bears, people.

What is the answer to this phenomenon? I certainly don’t know the answer to that, but I certainly will do my part to help shine a light on these people that seem to be intent on destroying our democracy.

Join A Union!

I love this story and hope more of it happens. I want to see a resurgence of unions, we need them now more than ever.

Wisconsin’s workers haven’t only fought back with protests and recall efforts. Since Scott Walker began his attack on Wisconsin’s public employees, faculty at three University of Wisconsin campuses have voted to join the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

A Comprehensive Look At The Manning Controversy!

I’m not going to copy and paste from this post by Shoq Value, it is worth reading the whole thing if you have any interest in the concept that the Bradley Manning controversy is being over hyped and used as a way to fatten people’s wallets by bringing attention to them and raising the number of clicks and donations to the “PAC of the Week” at Firedoglake. And of course you know Glenn Greenwald is in on Jane Hamsher’s PAC thing too, right?

Shoq Value has been taking on Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher quite a bit, I’m getting caught up on his posts but haven’t read this one and this one, which look like some fun weekend reading to me. Go take a look if you give a shit about all this, I totally understand if you pass on it. It gets pretty pettty…I like that, pretty petty. Tweet fights are the new slap boxing. I’ll be doing a little posting this weekend and I have a lot on the plate for next week. Have a good weekend, ya’ll.

More Friday Night Fun – Political Quiz!

I did this political quiz at It was pretty fun. Here are my results, which they give you code for to paste into your blog.


Quiz: What Kind of Liberal Are You?

My Liberal Identity

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.

Take the quiz at Political Humor

Questions On Libya Answered Right Here – By A Real Journalist!

Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times has a great piece about the human side of the crisis in Libya. It sheds light on why it was important for the UN to do something about it. It provides much needed context for people to understand why it was urgent that we moved when we did and it answers the question that everyone is asking – why did we go in? Maybe if the media did a little original reporting like Nicholas Kristof, they could show that instead of just running banners across the screen and asking over and over again “what is our mission, why are we going in?” Hey, idiots, isn’t that your job to find out, instead of just bringing on one of the many strategists trying to get their mugs on television and make a name for themselves. Go do some freaking reporting and maybe you will find out stuff like this. From Nicholas Kristof’s piece…an extended paste job, because it’s important…(emphasis is mine)

This may be a first for the Arab world: An American airman who bailed out over Libya was rescued from his hiding place in a sheep pen by villagers who hugged him, served him juice and thanked him effusively for bombing their country.

Even though some villagers were hit by American shrapnel, one gamely told an Associated Press reporter that he bore no grudges. Then, on Wednesday in Benghazi, the major city in eastern Libya whose streets would almost certainly be running with blood now if it weren’t for the American-led military intervention, residents held a “thank you rally. They wanted to express gratitude to coalition forces for helping save their lives.


This is also one of the few times in history when outside forces have intervened militarily to save the lives of citizens from their government. More commonly, we wring our hands for years as victims are massacred, and then, when it is too late, earnestly declare: “Never again.”

In 2005, the United Nations approved a new doctrine called the “responsibility to protect,” nicknamed R2P, declaring that world powers have the right and obligation to intervene when a dictator devours his people. The Libyan intervention is putting teeth into that fledgling concept, and here’s one definition of progress: The world took three-and-a-half years to respond forcefully to the slaughter in Bosnia, and about three-and-a-half weeks to respond in Libya.


“Opinion was unanimous,” Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, told me on Wednesday after a visit to Libya. Mr. Gabaudan said that every Libyan he spoke to agreed that the military strikes had averted “a major humanitarian disaster.”

“Men, women and children, they are ecstatic about the role of the coalition but worried that it may not continue,” he said.

Some Congressional critics complain that President Obama should have consulted Congress more thoroughly. Fair enough. But remember that the intervention was almost too late because forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi were already in Benghazi. Indeed, there was a firefight on Sunday right outside the hotel in Benghazi where foreign journalists are staying. A couple of days of dutiful consultation would have resulted in a bloodbath and, perhaps, the collapse of the rebel government.


A senior White House official says that the humanitarian argument was decisive for President Obama: “The president was chilled by what would happen to the people of Benghazi and Tobruk. There were critical national security and national interest reasons to do this, but what compelled the president to act so quickly was the immediate prospect of mass atrocities against the people of Benghazi and the east. He was well aware of the risks of military action, but he also feared the costs of inaction.”

I’ve seen war up close, and I detest it. But there are things I’ve seen that are even worse — such as the systematic slaughter of civilians as the world turns a blind eye. Thank God that isn’t happening this time.

Wow, isn’t it great to have some real reporting going on instead of just “there are many questions” or “critics say this or that”…go ask the freaking questions, get some answers and then report about it you dimwits. Go read Nicholas Kristof’s whole piece, there is some that I didn’t paste. And go visit his blog, which I just added to my blogroll, and give him some mad props for being a real journalist.

The People Of Libya Thanking The World For Caring – In Your Eye, Pundits!

Here is a screen grab from the video below, this is a peaceful celebration in Libya thanking France, the UK and the U.S.A. for caring. Stop listening to the talking heads on the television all trying to be Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh or the left’s version of it…Jane “Hamwallet” and Glenn “Greenwallet”. (Angry Black Lady deserves credit for Hamwallet, unless she borrowed it from someone too. :))

And here is the video of the protest, about 2 minutes long. Hat Tip to Roberta in MN for sending me over to The Only Adult In The Room to grab it.

Is CNN As Sexist And Stupid As Their Employee Erick Erickson?

I just read this piece over at Media Matters and my jaw about dropped to the floor. I’ve heard people complain about this guy and have read a few things that he’s said, but I’ve never seen him other than a clip or two. I’ve also heard the calls for CNN to have a little respect and get rid of the guy. Maybe this one will get him booted, but I doubt it. From Media Matters…

While you think about that, check out current CNN contributor Erick Erickson’s “working theory on Obama in Libya“:

There is not in any way, shape, or form any rational explanation for the United States engaged in Libya to do nothing except for one I can think of — Barack Obama’s re-election.

Suddenly Obama can look Presidential again — all through manufacturing the need for American involvement where there was no need. Barack Obama wants to be re-elected. The best playbook for his re-election is that of Bill Clinton. But Clinton had a government shutdown and Kosovo. In the absence of either, Barack Obama must manufacture them.

And he has.

That is one big pile of crap he just unloaded. It’s one of those things that is so stupid, I would feel stupid even responding to it. So I won’t, everyone should be able to see it as a pile of crap, no need for my color commentary on it. But just when I thought I had seen the worst of it, I read further. The next bit puts him in a league with…well Glenn Beck comes to mind, although I don’t think even Glenn Beck would go this far, at least about women anyway. Here’s even more for you…

Here’s another Erickson theory about Libya, also from the his March 21 radio show:

ERICKSON: By the way, it’s the women’s fault. … It’s, apparently, the women in the Obama administration who have decided we needed to go to war in Libya. … This is typical. This is so typ– i’m mean, I’m going to bring my inner sexist out I’m afraid tonight, some of you are going to be very upset with me. But this is like women drivers. We’re going to war in Libya, we have no plan, we have no map, even if we have a map of war, um, it wasn’t going to get read, they were going to pull over and ask the French apparently for help, or at least make the guy pull over and ask the French for help. This is crazy.

And more:

ERICKSON: This is just silly. I mean, back-seat driving by the women, and they’re gonna get Barack Obama lost. What is it with Barack Obama caving to the women? I mean, now we know who rules his personal life. I guess Michelle is firmly in charge as well, if Barack Obama is going to cave that easy to three women in his administration over what to do with Libya.

And even more:

ERICKSON: It took the women to get him involved, and the women apparently went in without a clear plan. No shopping list.

Now if that doesn’t show a complete lack of respect for women, I don’t know what does. You would have had to scrape my mother off the ceiling if she were alive to read or hear that. My god, what in the hell is wrong with that man. If CNN doesn’t do something after that tirade, they have absolutely no respect for women either. Once again, it is so stupid that responding to it would just make me feel stupid. Feel free to go to this link and register a complaint. It is to the John King USA show, where Erickson is listed as a political commentator. As soon as I publish this post, I’m heading over there to do it.

Welcome Home President Obama, You Are Doing An Incredible Job, Thank You!

I know it’s fashionable right now on both the left and the right to attack President Obama. And since our media has completely deteriorated and has no standards, no ethics, no integrity, they just let any bonehead who is a “critic” of the president come on and spew whatever the hell they want. Facts aren’t necessary anymore, supporting evidence isn’t necessary anymore and the opinions of the anchors and reporters are embedded in almost all the questions they ask these days. Everyone is trying to be like Fox News, it appears. If they can create some news, they will have whatever bonehead it takes to do that, including the likes of Jane “Hamwallet” (thanks Angry Black Lady, I love it) and Glenn Greenwald. But beyond those two, they will have any freshmen nutball congressperson or senator on and they are welcome to say whatever the hell they want, no challenges, just an open platform for them to propagandize at will. It’s a free-for-all, yee haa, giddy up.

I think President Obama has handled the Libyan crisis incredibly well. He didn’t rush into it, he didn’t commit our already strained military any more than he had to and he allowed France and and our allies to own this one…we already are trying to sell our other two military endeavors that were handed to us all slimy, smelly and nasty.  “I’ve got a couple of wars I’ll sell you, CHEAP!” But of course in our dumbed down world of cable news, they have to have something to nitpick and you can throw a rock and hit twelve pundits trying to make a name for themselves who will say whatever they need to to make that name. The cable media has become like a traveling circus with mostly freak shows on the schedule.