R.I.P. TO BOTH

Posted in Quick Hits on April 20th, 2009 by Ed

First, I am done with Teabaggers. They stopped being interesting six weeks ago and I'm amazed my stamina held out this long.

Second, Little did not wake up this morning. Brief services were held in the garden. Her favorite activity was escaping from her cage to join Liz in bed; now she has escaped from the biggest cage of all.

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Rest in peace, friend.

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TUNNELING TO CHINA

Posted in Rants on April 20th, 2009 by Ed

I can't imagine a lazier blog post for someone left of center than "Fox News is a joke," a statement which immediately redlines the nearest No Shit meter. As hard as it may be to conceive, though, in the past two weeks the network has jumped a new and bigger shark. To watch their "coverage" of the teabagging non-movement is to watch a network that no longer puts up the slightest pretense of being a news organization and fully embraces its role as a free 24-hour infomercial for mobilizing the vast herd of idiots who stare at it unquestioningly throughout the evening hours.

"But Ed," you say, "where have you been? This has been the case for 13 years." No. This is different. It hasn't been like this before. Having already hit rock bottom years ago, the network now appears to be tunneling through the Earth at a frightening pace.

Teabagging organizers seem extraordinarily proud of their alleged 200,000 person turnout on April 15. Leaving aside the fact that the figure is vastly inflated, that number isn't terribly impressive given the two weeks of round-the-clock fawning coverage and pleas for turnout on the network of record among bovine Americans. Am I overstating it? Media Matters has a massive list of videos, broadcast screenshots, quotes, and details on the network's decision to aggressively promote the events. While the network feebly attempted to hide behind a "coverage isn't promotion" defense, it is undermined considerably by the persistent liberal bias of reality:

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Every on-air personality sprinted out from behind the news desk to "cover" these "events." FoxNews.com contained a complete list of the dates, times, locations, and websites of the protests. They gave copious airtime to bobbleheaded promoters like Malkin and Instarube but also to "grassroots" organizers like this shaved ape who organized the Houston bagging.

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They interviewed the tool who wrote the "Tea Party Anthem" in his spare time between gigs behind the local bus station. But as bad as the promotional campaign was – and Media Matters effectively documents the whole thing – it pales in comparison to the live coverage on the 15th.

Watch Neil Cavuto, who spent the day at the Sacramento teabagging, make up an attendance figure when he thought his mic was off and then triple it on the air. Watch a Fox News "reporter" (apparently on loan from local frat house) ask viewers, "(W)hen are we going to wake up and start fighting the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?"

When all was said and done, the total amount of free marketing and promotion provided to the far right think tanks who created this non-event was staggering: 23 individual segments and 73 on-air promos in just eight days. What would that have cost at the going advertising rates? Other networks responded by all but ignoring the protests except to mock them, as this CNN reporter did on the 15th. This resulted in the predictable paranoid hysterics about media bias. What no one cares to explain, of course, is what about this was worth covering, what the objective was, and what was accomplished. The answers are nothing, nothing, and nothing, respectively.

While Murdoch media have always been shameless mouthpieces for the right interrupted only by ass-kissing editorials, I'm not sure that American audiences have ever seen a news network resort to infomercial-style hard selling for weeks on end to promote a specific event – an event that Fox sponsored. We can safely imagine that were the shoe on the other foot and CNN anchors were broadcasting live from "CNN Presents: Rallies to Support President Obama," Beck et al would be gushing blood from every orifice in an effort to expel as much biblical rage as possible before their black little hearts exploded from the strain.

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