The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery

The following post is new to this blog, but is from a while back. Well worth reading, you will see.

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

While the exceedingly cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let’s review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night,   Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: “F**k it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State.  His speech was stirring. I predict he  will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don’t let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to

So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, “The President is against what happened today” (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between  a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, “The President is against what happened today”, what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds.  Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of  Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories.  She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle “wandering eye” Bachmann, “my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis,  outrage is the one and only agenda.  Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the Media.

When 1999 rolled around, scandal was everywhere, the country was eating up the Lewinsky scandal, it was on the News every evening still, we were being enveloped in scandal, the nations news were quickly becoming overblown National Enquirer Fluff.  I am convinced that the most conducted searches on Altavista, Lycos and Infoseek were all about blow jobs, casual khaki suits, Al Gore creating the internet, and Love Story! Al Gore was soon to be biggest feather in the cap of cable shock-jockery, he was a Beta Male, whatever that meant, I didn’t know, and he was certainly too wimpy to be President. While GWBush was quickly becoming the newest shiny object of these people, he was so upstanding they droned on and on about, his morals were exemplary! He was the epitome of what Al Gore was not, he even flew a plane during Vietnam in Alabamstan! He was a man! Al Gore, umm not so much. Rachel Maddow is just one more cable shock jock to pick up the reins of misinformation and run with them! If you don’t think I am right, type in Al Gore i and automatically you see, Al Gore invents the internet as a continuing top internet meme! Wow! It’s still a lie to this day, he never said that, and yet, it survives as one of the biggest lies of the 1990’s.  There has been a rather loud drumbeat by the press as of late to throw another election to yet another nutcase.It’s been happening a good deal lately,to this President too, and just as the wishy-washy lefties of that decade  failed to stand up for Al Gore, the same is happening today with our current President. In part we have to blame the shock-jocks of cable TV whose lives depend on the next manufactured outrage, and they are no better today than yesterday. Rating soar when there is a tinge of scandal or intra-party fight in the air. It is much more fun to discuss so called “moral failings than there were back then and their ratings soar when they can manufacture their next scandal. Name recognition is everything people,  Al Gore most certainly did not say the President has failed on Global Warming, he saves his most poignant criticism for media, notice how each and every one of them left that out! I’ll get back to the HuffPo’s take on Al Gore’s 7000 word essay after some background.

Things were great in 1999, the economy was still on fire, and it literally had nothing to do with deregulation, which as we now know would lead us down a path of returning our country to pre-Depression era nation! But that is another story for that others have covered far better than I.  We all know Republicans are trying to create their Libertopia! Well in the 1990’s the Clinton administration implemented smart policies, that stimulated the economy in a micro way, it was designed to broaden the number of minority businesses that could compete for government contracts, although it was a mere 5% mandated, it did work and stimulated a community minority owned businesses which of course effect their communities in the form of job growth, greater tax base it was part of the reason the economy of the latter 90’s was good, the Clinton administration implemented little policies that assisted job growth using a micro-economic model.  This policy was known as the The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.  Upon entering office, one of the first things the GWB administration did was roll this particular mandate back, using the power of executive order.  But I digress, certainly as so many people analyzed at the time, Al Gore=George Bush. Jokes on you folks! Al Gore was nothing like George Bush.   Al Gore as VP had his own successes to fall primarily his pet project, the Reinventing Government Initiative, which was a huge success, as it introduced modernization of the federal government, with the notable exception of  FBI director, Louis Freeh.    These were just some of the specific policies that Gore tried to run on, but guess what, it didn’t matter, because TV shock-jockery was going to have its way, and its way was to create a situation that allowed trivia to overtake a Presidential election, and that gave us the Presidency of George W Bush. Let’s remember this, the Bush administration was seeking to eliminate all those good programs implemented by the Clinton Administration that benefited our economy, and the media failed utterly to cover the important pieces of the Gore campaign that sought to discuss and explain just these issue, while instead they obsessed over Gore as Beta male and his khaki casual coat???? I still bristle at just the memory of this tomfoolery taking place right before our eyes.

Cable TV shock-jockery pushed the third-party run of Ralph Nader. To this day we often blame him and him alone for Gore’s loss, but I do remember how the cable TV shock-jocks could not get enough of Ralph Nader, they gave him a platform to sew the seeds of discontent among the electorate. They certainly never challenged his assertions that Gore=Bush, and that same meme goes around today among the many people who believe the world is black and white, that Obama=Bush, it isn’t any more creative or any more truthful than it was in 2000. Nor is it a creative analysis of our current political condition, however, the cable TV shock-jocks need more outrage,  for better ratings, and Nader being no different that the current line of go-to guests that parade daily on cable TV, who are most often known for their combative, bombastic personalities, in fact none of these people are any different from the Real Housewives that parade on BravoTV 7 days a week, as they’ve traded nuance for outrage and outrageous behavior. If this weren’t true, would Pat Buchanan still be a TV talking head? I think not! It is time we paid attention to these venues that seem go to for many people on both sides who are politically active, because they continue to sew the seeds of discontent and their intended targets are almost always Democrats. If things were equal, David Vitter would have been drummed out of Office for soliciting prostitutes, it is an illegal activity, yet, there he sits, in Office. My point is, Nader didn’t do anything that the cable TV shock-jocks didn’t continually push, the meme that America needed some drastic change, because things were going much too terribly in terms of our morals, and with that America elected a man, not terribly well suited for the Office of the Presidency.  Our cable TV hero’s saved us, or did they?

So now Rachel is the latest to  dip her toe into the very crowded “Outrage” pool, and you know she did it with some bombast of her own, claiming that the President “Doesn’t like what happened in NY”. This is a lie, an absolute complete lie, but she did it anyway. Why? That is the question. Why do they do it, they do it because it works and attracts a certain kind of angry viewer, one that thinks in terms of black and white, one that refuses to see the gray shades that direct our days and nights. Partly it is because of money, in order to remain on the air, one must stay relevant, and the way to stay relevant is to manufacture outrage to attract the angry believer. There is gobs of money in sharpening ones ability to manufacture Outrage for the sake of ones viewers, ask Rush Limbaugh, who I understand is a very nice dude IRL.  He lives a very comfortable life  because he is a master at manufacturing outrage. The rise and fall of Glenn Beck is the latest example of a dude who is a master at manufacturing outrage and literally selling it to his viewers via faux education programs, but his loyal listeners, viewers and readers have no doubt enriched him even more, by buying into his manufactured outrage, I don’t know what he is like IRL, but you know, no one is that bad, he just knows what works on his audience, well Rachel’s audience is no different are they, they thrive on outrage.

So let’s turn to the 7,000 word essay that Al Gore wrote in the Rolling Stone. My goodness, those on the left that manufacture outrage for a living were on a roll, they made assertions that Al Gore wrote that the President had “Failed”, he failed to lead on climate change, but you know who Al Gore took to task for the failure to educate people about the importance of doing something about climate change, our media, and these are the same people who are making claims that Al  Gore called the President a failure. A Time Magazine blog made claims that Gore “attacked the President for  his failure to lead“. Huffington Post never a place to be left behind in leveling attacks against the President made the claim that Gore blasted the President over failing to take the lead on the issue of Climate change. Each of these organizations hid the fact that Al Gore saved his criticism for media organizations, like theirs for failing to educate people on the truth of climate change. Al Gore  specifically indicts the media, corporate leaders, both political parties and by extension voters. To Gore their cumulative inaction on the serious challenges that lie ahead, which are exacerbated by climate change in some ways exonerates the President, because there is little one man can do to  alter the trajectory of our nation, where climate science deniers are granted equal status with the overwhelming evidence that climate change is occurring.

The fact is, Gore did single our the media not the president, in his excellent piece.   Reading the piece, one realizes he takes the media to task for indulging in “debate” about whether the research indicates that climate change is real and human-made.  Gore goes on to make the point that the science is unanimous. But the serious subject has been changed into nothing more than entertainment. And the media has turned to manufacturing outrage about the subject rather than  devoting themselves to serious reporting on global threats, in search of bigger audiences. He specifically calls out Fox News as a 24/7 purveyor of disinformation and propaganda.  Instead of presenting the facts of Gore’s critique of their  methods,  the media prefers to say Al Gore is fighting with the President. It is just one more piece of evidence that as a whole our modern medias goal is to manufacture Outrage, as it keeps them relevant. And is seems no cable TV shock jock is exempt from the need to drive viewership through Outrage. Rachel, and her media colleagues seem unable to help themselves, and are more than willing to engage in the same tactics of the righties. They are leading us down the same path they did in 2000, they are trying to obfuscate their role in driving politics, rather than reporting on politics.   If we continue to not call them out on this, we will end up like we did in 2000, with a politician of their choice, because it drives their ratings. We must keep our eye and them and force them to return to reporting facts.  Because at this point, they are merely a part of the problem.

16 thoughts on “The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery

  1. Excellent Post!!
    A big THANK YOU!! Finally, someone other than me can see that Rachel sometimes crosses the line.
    I like Rachel Maddow, but I don’t always agree with her. Sometimes she comes across as though she were channeling Jane Hamsher.
    I wish Rachel a full recovery.

  2. Watching the likes of Dylan Ratigan who rants on-and-on about the Democrats being just as bad as Republicans, a “pox on both their house”, I could come away with the attitude of “WHY BOTHER TO VOTE?” Is this what some of these know-it-all talking heads want in our democracy?

  3. Well done.
    I watch very little TV. The little that I watch are sports. No shock jocks; no sit coms; whatever. I read books.
    I decided that I had good reason not to watch TV.

  4. Very powerful stuff. I was OUTRAGED at Gore for blasting the president but again I never read the whole thing till later and now feel a little ashamed at my own presumptions and realize nothing the media does can be trusted. It’s all a way to manufacture descent so they can get the candidate they want in the white house.

  5. I had already been out of the closet 8 years before Rachel was born in 1973. She doesn’t speak for me. She has no idea of what life was like for gay Americans before the Stonewall riots of 1969 except by reading about it. Sure, it isn’t a perfect world nor will it ever be but during Rachel’s short life things have become a hell of a lot better for the GLBT community than it once was. And under Barack Obama, gay rights have been addressed more than under any president in our history. But that’s not good enough for Rachel. She doesn’t seem to realize that social movements, like a woman’s right to equality and civil rights, were spread out over many decades, often baby steps but moving in the right direction (and will continue until there is full equality). I fear Rachel is from a spoiled generation that “wants it ALL and wants it RIGHT NOW!” Just because one is a Rhodes Scholar, doesn’t mean they know everything.

  6. Why does it take people so long to really find out what Rachel Maddow is all about? I’ve said and posted before about her desire to put down President Obama any chance she gets. I don’t bother to watch this so-called great gift to the left. She is full of shit 99% of the time. Quit watching her.

  7. Tweety Bird (AKA Chris Matthews) is now all over television promoting his new book about his idol JFK. Matthews always has to bring up that President Obama would do well to read it to find out how he could become a better president by emulating JFK. Part of Kennedy’s “greatness” was that he was assassinated that gave us “Camelot”…many legends not based upon reality. It took an arm twister like Lyndon Johnson to get most of the Kennedy agenda passed through Congress where JFK was essentially ineffective.

  8. I got over the Rachel phenomenom when she became best friends with Dan Choi and backed him on all of his bullshit against the president. She hasn’t been nearly as giddy about the repeal of DADT as she was at being whiny and bitchy when she thought nothing would happen on it. At one point, she was getting the vapors on a nightly basis. I couldn’t take it anymore – it was so depressing to have someone so smart buying into the bullshit.

  9. Matthews has been saying for a week that Obama should be more like JFK (whatever the hell that means in Matthews world). So many of the pundits want Obama to be like somebody else. I can’t wait to see who they decide should be more like Obama in the next 20 years. I think when the story is finally all told, Obama will end up being one of the best, proactive and progressive presidents of our lifetimes.

  10. Forgot to add – I’m so damn happy to have lived to see this man elected to office. I never thought it would happen, but boy did we pick a winner in Obama.

  11. I haven’t watched Rachel in many months. In fact, with the exception of Chris Hayes new show on the weekends, I quit watching MSNBC completely about 6 months ago or more. I’m giving Chris Hayes a chance, but after last weekend where he gave my nemesis, Glenn Greenwald, a platform for his bullshit, I may not be watching him much either. I haven’t posted about it yet, but I had an exchange with ole Glenn on Twitter on Sunday, people seemed to really like it. I got many compliments from folks for taking him on. It was kind of a hit and run. I hit him with a bunch of Tweets, he responded a couple of times dismissing me, I ripped him a little more…but then I had work to do on a website and walked away. Well after I walked away, it continued without me. Saturday, I took on Michael Moore and he responded as well. I think I struck a nerve. I’m love being an instigator on Twitter, I am the youngest of 5 boys. :)

  12. Ahh I get the impression that Hayes will listen to all points of view. I don’t know why but I really like Hayes but its not him only that’s giving a lot of airtime to Greenwald but also Maddow among others. It seems like the bastard has a bunch of allies on the pretend left.

    BTW how did Moore respond to your criticism?

  13. I think that it is ‘the nature of the beast’. I doubt that you are going to get a large audience if you are not controversial and playing up to emotions. As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
    Being reasonable and logical does have an audience; but, it is a lot less exciting.

  14. Dylan Ratigan is making snarky comments that President Obama “wants” to destroy democracy in the nation that first created it….Greece. The prediction from his MSNBC show is that the Eurozone will cease to exist within a year. Speaking at an emergency Cabinet meeting, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he would seek to avoid a bailout vote by speaking with opposition conservatives who expressed support of the European bailout plan for Greece.

    “Elections as a solution, today and at this moment, would mean a much greater danger of bankruptcy and, of course, exit from the euro,” the prime minister declared in the meeting, AP reported. “I will talk to (opposition leader) Mr. Samaras so that we can examine the next steps, based on a wider consensus.”

    The situation in Greece lately has had much influence on world stock markets. Maybe Obama is also looking out for U.S. markets, perhaps, not wanting our markets to crash here.

    Ratigan, with much fanfare introduced HIS U.S. Constitutional Amendment to “Get Money Out” of politics. A worthy goal but after nearly a month, only 237,497 people have signed his petition after weeks of Ratigan’s daily pleadings from his TV show, so maybe he is not the political power he thinks he is.

  15. I just realized that Glen Greenwald is connected Charles Koch as he’s associated with the Cato institute. Whats interesting is that I’ve also noted that he is in no way a liberal. None of his beliefs or anything he states is based on liberalism besides pieces here and there. In fact he’s well liked by libertarians which are the complete opposite in most regards to liberalism.

  16. Thanks everyone for your comments. I just think the the Press has some stake in there being a competition, because that helps their ratings. We have to quit allowing them to do that, Al Gore was directly criticizing them, not the President, but as per usual, it makes better copy to portray him as criticizing the Pres and to represent some split in the party. Al Gore himself, lived through this, he knows what it is all about, as evidenced by the misrepresentation of his person during the 2000 election, via the media. He would never play that game, not ever.

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