BuzzFlash Honors (362)
CONGRESSMAN LOUIE GOHMERT
There are moments when large groups in a society become seized with mass hysteria, which is akin to sociological psychosis. Since the election of Barack Obama, we have seen this phenomena growing like a cancer across a segment of white working class America. The science fiction theories presented as fact and pure logic-defying nonsense have spread like a cancer among the FOX Fraudcasting, Tea Party and a large segment of the Republican Party.
The latest bizarre theory advanced by the likes of Texas Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert is an extension of the latest GOP obsession with the 14th Amendment. Simply put, the most recent psychotic fear spreading like wildfire among the radical right is that terrorist mothers are coming to the U.S. to have babies. These babies, under the 14th Amendment will have U.S. citizenship. The Al-Qaeda moms will leave the U.S. with their babies, train them to be terrorists, and send them back to kill Americans as U.S. citizen terrorist moles when they become adults. Talk about a ticking time bomb!
Okay, let's start with the hypocrisy of the Republican Party always supporting the NRA, and one of the policies Texas Republican Congressman like Louis Gohmert support is that people on the FBI terrorist watch list cannot be prohibited from buying guns. That's right, while Gohmert is emphatically arguing about the danger of terrorist babies, he's supporting the right of alleged terrorists to buy guns.
It's getting so competitive among the vast army of right wing media shills that it's becoming increasingly hard to get attention as flavors of the month come and go. Right now Glenn Beck is the corporate media darling, so you don't hear much from Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, for in stance, or Michelle Malkin. Even Bill O'Reilly has become more of a right wing "senior statesman" as compared to the schizophrenic, psychotic, demagogic performance artist known as Beck.
So it must be hard for a B-team winger, such as Laura Schlessinger, to get attention and keep her radio show ratings up. Maybe that explains why she said what is known as the "n-word" 11 times in 5 minutes to a black caller who was inquiring how to handle racial slights from relatives and friends of her husband, who is white. Basically, Schlessinger told the caller to get a thicker skin and unleashed a barrage of the "N" word to firmly establish her point and garner a lot of publicity, which she did. It was the right wing media outrage of the day as far as corporate mainstream media news coverage and the blogosphere. Mission accomplished, Laura!
Dr. Laura apologized for the outburst by the end of the day, which gave her high visibility in a second news cycle. You see how these things work in right wing PR land.
Glory be, Mark "Adulterer in Buenos Aires" Sanford was a leader in the GOP rebellion against federal stimulus money. Well, that was until a short time ago when he accepted stimulus funds for South Carolina's unemployment fund.
As the New York Times noted:
The governors [including Sanford] focused their ire, in particular, on provisions that pushed states to expand jobless benefits to some previously ineligible workers, like those seeking only part-time work or people new to the work force. They argued that the changes would lead to tax increases.
Two months ago, however, with the bright lights of political promise dimmed by a scandal involving an extramarital affair, Mr. Sanford quietly signed a bill passed by the Legislature that expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits. The move paved the way for the state to claim $97.5 million in stimulus money to bolster its financially ailing unemployment insurance trust fund.
Somehow South Carolina -- with its current GOP candidate for governor a woman, Nikki Haley, accused of two adulterous affairs who won the GOP primary by saying that she would resign if elected and someone could prove the affairs -- appears to be one of the wackiest Republican states, sort of like a seedy cartoon. Maybe it's no coincidence that the the Civil War started in South Carolina when the Union's Fort Sumter was attacked by an S.C. state militia.
Maybe it's his past gig as the chief theater critic for the New York Times that so fully prepared Frank Rich for his role as the New York Times trenchant weekly analyzer of America's culture and its politics.
After all, we have become a nation of spectacle, in which entertainment, media and politics have merged into public theater -- with corporate news outlets replacing the Barnum and Bailey three ring circus.
Sensationalism, celebritydom, and predictable punditry have supplanted substance and the dissemination of news based on fact. Ratings and corporate bias triumph over a journalistic effort to unpry the truth.
So when Rich moved from being chief theater critic to top-ranked cultural and political columnist, he knew the tricks of the trade, so to speak, and the difference between a fictional play and the reality one confronts when leaving the theater: he can, unlike most corporate media members, distinguish between the two.
THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS
As we noted in our BuzzFlash Wings of Justice Award to Anthony Weiner for lambasting the House GOP for denying medical funding and aid to 9/11 responders, the Republicans have no shame in their greed-driven hypocrisy. After all, the Bush Administration and Republicans drove us into two wars and a national state of hysterical fear over 9/11, playing the "patriotic card" at every turn.
Bush, whose administration was asleep at the wheel when warned in advance of possible Al Qaeda hijackings, became a media hero when he went to Ground Zero and hugged and praised the 9/11 responders. But as usual, the GOP uses emotional issues and manipulation of fear to loot the country, not to save it. To paraphrase the long-gone comedian Fred Allen, you can take all the sincerity in the Republican Party and put it in a flea's navel and still have room left over for a caraway seed and Dick Cheney's heart.
The goal of the Republican Party is to maintain exorbitant tax cuts for the super-wealthy and favor corporations and the finance industry over the welfare of middle, working class and poor Americans. That's it: there's really nothing more to their ideology than greed. They'll use coded racism, manipulation of the white middle class, and any dirty trick that they can get their hands on to achieve that singular goal.
BuzzFlash has repeatedly warned of the danger for violence and death that the right wing media echo chamber is inciting -- along with a large number of Republican politicians and the corporate-Dick Armey backed creation of the Tea Party. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post recently noted Beck's likely relationship to a man with an arsenal of guns who got into a shoot out with Oakland police, but whose real target were people who worked for the ACLU and the Tides Foundation.
If you stopped for a moment in puzzlement as to what the Tides Foundation is, you would join most Americans. Those of us who have dealt with non-profit funders of progressive causes know the Tides Foundation as a great financial backer, almost an incubator, of liberal organizations. It is akin to a link in a potential infrastructure of progressive foundations, think tanks and media that could counteract what has so successfully been built on the right. However, it's not high profile like the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation (the favorite right wing think tanks of Bush and Cheney), and is located in San Francisco, not D.C.
So why would a tea party type set out, locked and loaded with guns the NRA would slobber over, to assassinate leaders of a relatively obscure Foundation of importance to progressives? Well, Glenn Beck is probably the answer, since -- according to Media Matters -- he has recently mentioned the Tides Foundation on his show 29 times!
CONGRESSMAN ANTHONY WEINER
It was a wonder to behold -- call it an Alan Grayson moment because there are so few of them -- a Democratic Congressman actually expressing outrage at Republicans. Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York took to the House floor to denounce the GOP for using parliamentary tactics to try and prevent a fund for the health of 9/11 responders from being established. (Can you believe their chutzpah? It just gets more other worldly in terms of hypocrisy as time passes.)
As one news article noted, Weiner ripped the Republicans to shreds. It was a wonder to behold as Weiner wouldn't yield the floor in the usual clubby fashion to GOP reps trying to take the wind out of his sails.
It's so rare for a D.C. Democrat not to act like he or she is walking on egg shells when dealing with Republicans that watching Weiner erupt in indignation kind of takes your breath away.
Andrew Bretbart may smell like bad ass, but he knows how to grab center stage as the corporate media breathlessly latches on to his bigoted scams and lies and -- thus -- making the Democrats in D.C. looking like they just took a bath in watered down cow dung. That's why BuzzFlash honored him as the Media Putz of the Week a few days ago.
Breitbart's ostensible most recent target, as ACORN and multiple other progressive groups and persons have been, was Shirley Sherrod, a role model for racial healing that BuzzFlash honored with its Wings of Justice Award. And took her down he did, as he utilized FOX and the right wing echo chamber to prime the corporate mainstream media into its usual tabloid frenzy whenever a juicy morsel of mistruth and fraudulent character assassination emerges from the likes of Drudge, who gave Breitbart his start, or FOX Fraudcasting.
Except Sherrod was not the target, just the vehicle to distract the media from a week in which Obama signed a relatively weak but nonetheless historic financial reform bill. What's more, the right wing media echo chamber has two main strategies to weaken America's movement forward as a socially and economically just society: 1) make vulnerable whites feel that they are being vicitimized by blacks and other minorities (make them feel it in the gut); and 2) yank the chains of the Democrats in D.C. by making them look weak when attacked. On both counts Breitbart, FOX Fraudcasting, Beck, Limbaugh and their co-horts are extaordinarily successful.
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There's little left to say after years of FOX Fraudcasting using its large cable TV viewership to pump racism like an IV line into America's living rooms and the brains of Ditto heads. Even though FOX may hire fetching blonde bimbos to sex up its propaganda machine, it is the war room for returning the white American male to the top of the paternalistic money and social pyramid.
To accomplish this goal, it has to convince the economically besieged white working class that minorities, particularly blacks, are more a threat to them than the rich white guys who are picking the pockets of what used to be a vibrant middle class in America.
FOX has become an essential tool in creating the myth of an American "center" that leans right, when the nation would topple over to the left if the truth had a chance to get its pants on before racially coded falsehoods made their way around the corproate media (hat tip to Mark Twain). Murdoch and his Goebbels, Roger Ailes (who started his career as a producer for Mike Douglas and then was the "maestro" who created the "new" Nixon during the 1968 election), use the emotional hot button of race to divide the economically short shafted into racial camps. They play the game of white entitlement with expertise, creating fiction and hyperbolic exaggerations in order to fan the flames of discord among America's diverse population. The truth doesn't matter to FOX viewers; it's the reassuring and rage provoking narrative of white victimhood that ignites its audience. The truth becomes whatever fits that narrative and stirs up dust, even if it is factually false or grotesquely distorted.
As one of our readers and commentators pointed out in an e-mail to us, the Obama White House has, in the past, been highly critical of FOX Fraudcasting for its bias and even boycotted the station for a period of time.
But it is one thing to talk the talk and another thing to walk the walk
The White House may criticize the right wing media, but they react like dogs having their collars yanked whenever one of the Breitbart, Drudge, Limbaugh, FOX, Beck style of right wing character assassination squad goes after an executive branch staffer. In short, they cave in because of their fear of the right wing white voter, as if those psychotic people are going to support anything about the Obama administration anyway.
So talk is not good enough when your Rahm Emanuel craven fear of the mythical center-right voter actions undercut your spoken words. In the Shirley Sherrod affair, Andrew Breitbart knew how to make the White House look like fools and the Obama Administration fell for it. That's the bottom line.
Maybe all you need to know about Andrew Breitbart was that he was Drudge's protege, and now the protege has begun to eclipse his mentor for sleaze, if that is possible.
So Breitbart was the guy behind the infamous and falsely reported "Pimp" scam that brought down ACORN based on selectively edited footage and deception about the facts. This is normally called lying -- and it is. But what really is at play is the long-term GOP gutter tactic of character assassination. You can say what you want about the Republicans, but they go for the personal attack and then use the right wing media echo chamber to blow a falsehood into a seeming truth. It's a high stakes game of liars media, and because of the wimpiness of the Democrats in D.C. and the television "news" reliance on pseudo scandals blared across the web and on television by the seedy right wing world of slanderous operatives.
So Breitbart's operation carefully edits remarks by a USDA employee, Shirley Sherrod, to make it appear that many years ago, she felt a lack of sympathy for a poor white farmer as she worked for a program in Georgia that helped primarily rural black farmers, and Breitbart is charging that she is a racist. Of course, the right wing media echo chamber went to town and sooner than you can say "No Backbone" the Obama Administration had Sherrod fired from her current -- or now former -- position in the Department of Agriculture. Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack even sternly admonished Sherrod, based on Breitbart's stilleto job, without seeing the full video.
Don't forget that Joe Scarborough -- who half the time appears bored with his own prorgam "Morning Joe -- is on MSNBC, and he ain't no liberal; he was a conservative congressman from the Pensacola area before retiring, claiming that he wanted to spend time with his children. Except, true to Republcian hypocrisy, he was divorced and got remarried -- Gingrich style -- to a Republican committee staffer just a few months after announcing he was resigning to spend more time with his children
Oh yeah, and something else odd happened after the announcement of his resignation in 2001, an aide in Florida, Lori Klausutis, died under rather unusual circumstances in Scarborough's Fort Walton Beach home district office. The story was that she fainted, her head hit a desk and she died as a result. No one found her until the next day. She was married and neither her husband nor family would talk to the press. There were many rumors that swirled around considering the circumstances -- Scarborough was divorced, he had just resigned "for the family's sake," the alleged cause of death appeared to be a one in a million shot, there were rumors that Scarborous was having an affair with Klausutis, and so on.
Scarborough always sloughed off the calls for a more extensive inquiry into the death of Klausitis, and later made a joke about it on the Imus show. "Morning Joe" has always seemed to handle the incident with either levity or a thin prickly skin. (We should add that the predominant rumor speculation at the time -- and BuzzFlash was hot on the story since we were around prior to 99% of the progressive sites up now -- was that the aide was pregnant by Joe and committted suicide, but, as we say, there is no proof of that, and that is why there was a call for a more thorough investigation.)
Given a disaster resulting from a private corporation -- BP in this case -- and the Republicans are all over the media complaining that the federal government is not doing enough to fix a catastrophic problem created by a private company, which they always vaunt as being more reliable and trustworthy than government. Now, that's some heapin' load of hypocrisy right there, enough to choke every Tea Party fanatic that could be rounded up.