Thursday, January 28, 2010

The American People are angry--and that understandable anger has been shaped and aimed

Liberal commentators have one thing in common with their conservative counterparts: while everyone talks about how angry "the American people" are--nobody talks about the tidal wave of right wing propaganda that has shaped and molded this anger--and directed it at the very people who are trying to save them, however imperfectly.

It helps the manipulators that today's economic issues are too complex for most voters to understand. That's the simple truth. No amount of "common sense" is going help Joe Lunchbox make sense of default credit swaps and the things hedge fund managers do to "earn" their hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars incomes (taxed lower than their secretaries, natch).

This propaganda campaign employs dozens of fake populists with daily talk shows that dominate AM radio, plus a "news" station whose tag line should read "What the foreign cullud man in the White House did wrong today." That includes Fox's faux straight news programs, by the way--not just the O'Reillys and Hannitys et al.

And it includes not just general-purpose denunciation & ridicule of everything any Democrat ever said and did (often accusing them of exactly what Republicans are doing)--we also have the spectacle of the healthcare denial industry spending $1.4 million a day to defeat any kind of healthcare reform.

Commentators talk about the Massachusetts Miracle and the Tea Parties and every other sign of public distress as if people just sat in their homes poring over the Senate healthcare bill, reading annotated copies of the Constitution, and studying the findings of and (two reputable factchecking organizations)...all before forming their personal opinions.

If only.

In reality, opinions are formed before any facts are found. Then people look for "facts" to support their conclusions, and for ways to dismiss or downplay countervailing facts. What really affects them are media figures who look and talk like them--only better-looking, more nicely dressed versions of them--and ads and whisper campaigns that inflame their fears and angers and appeal to their inner 10 year old.

The people engineering this, like Karl Rove, are brilliant and amoral. (Does anything think Karl Rove is religious? Or shares any of the tastes of the Republican rank and file?)

They have achieved with words and images the subjugation of a people that once required militias with weapons to achieve.

It is irrational to assume that people are rational. Countless times I've seen smart people tie themselves in knots trying to reason with ranting bigots who are obviously innumerate and incapable of rigorous analytic thought. All you can tell such people is "go to a community college for a couple of years. Take statistics and basic science courses that teach scientific method before you write another opinion."

Rational people are fooled by these coached questioners--like the ones you find on newspaper website comment threads--because they've learned to parrot worthwhile terms like "junk science." Only they define "junk science" as any science whose conclusions they don't like.

At least half of the American people have been tricked by right wing propaganda. I concede that there's left wing propaganda out there as well--wielded especially well by public employee unions and organizations advancing some socioethnic group at public expense (such as the racist organization self-named "The Race"--only they translate that into Spanish so English speakers won't notice the racism).

But the left wing propaganda doesn't have the giant bullhorn provided by America's Angry Billionaire's Club, financed by people whose names you wouldn't recognize, but whose companies you would--entities like Walmart and Mars Candy, and major developers, and the people behind the Chamber of Commerce (which purports to represent small business but doesn't--just the biggest ones). There are dozens of lobbyists for every Congressman, and only a relative handful of them represent liberal causes. The rest--usually retired Congressmen--command humongous salaries paid for by the Angry Billionaire's Club.

So, yes, the American people are mad at Obama, and the Democrats, and Congress in general.

Now look behind the curtain. Please?

No comments: