April 11, 2003
Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans: The Battle for Democracy in Our Homeland, Part VII
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Seventh in a Series of BuzzFlash Editorials
Can the Heathen Right Wing Media Pundits be Conquered and Civilized?
If the pro-democracy Constitutional patriots are ever to govern in America again, they better be prepared to launch a strategic, long-term attack on the extreme, violent rhetoric of the Bush Cartel media pundits.
The right wing media has extended the acceptable boundaries of discourse into a mob excitement range that a KKK Grand Dragon would feel right at home with. Twenty years ago, you couldn't get past the TV studio security guards if you spouted the manic, incendiary invective that comes out of the contorted mouths of the FOX/Regnery Press wingnut pundit "All Stars."
Furthermore, the right wing Republican double standard dictates that only the "saved" followers of the God King Bush can engage in such bilious, threatening verbal attacks.
As an example of our theory, let's put some words into the mouth of Molly Ivins and anticipate how the right wing media celebrities would respond. So, Molly, did you say?
Of course, Molly Ivins didn't say ANY of the above inciting comments. But imagine the reaction in the right wing echo chamber among columnists and radio and television shills for the White House if she had. There would be calls for her prompt imprisonment -- and perhaps hanging. After Patriot II, Ashcroft might have her arrested and detained as a "traitor," without the right to counsel.
Yet, Ann Coulter, who makes a fortune as a television "celebrity pundit" and "author," actually made the following statements:
It would be easy to dismiss Coulter as a sort of right wing Howard Stern "shock pundit." But this underestimates the impact that Coulter, Limbaugh, O'Reilly and their ilk have on extending the boundaries of acceptable hate and threats of violence in America. The Bush administration takes advantage of this new expanded range of intimidation by declaring that opposing Bush is equivalent to supporting terrorism, or that to oppose Bush on the war is "to aid the enemy." Unfortunately, far too many Americans have heard Coulter-like remarks caroming around the right wing media echo chamber until they become truthful to them, so the claims of the Bush Cartel propaganda machine ring true to ditto heads.
Let's take a look at another "leftist appeaser," Martin Sheen. Supposing Sheen, a supporter of gun control, attended a Million Mom March rally and exhorted the crowd: "Now, George Bush is saying to the NRA, 'I'm with you guys on guns.' In any other time or place you'd be looking for a lynching mob." And supposing the Million Moms responded with shouts of "let's do it" and "I've got a rope."
Of course, once again, Martin Sheen never would utter such a disgusting, menacing threat.
But one of Bush's closest pals, Charlton Heston, said virtually the exact same language about then Vice-President Al Gore during the 2000 election campaign. Speaking to an NRA "Get Out the Vote for Bush Rally" in Grand Rapids Michigan, Heston, in October of 2000, said something that should have resulted in a visit from the Secret Service: "Now, [Al Gore is] saying 'I'm with you guys on guns.' In any other time or place you'd be looking for a lynching mob." The crowd responded with "let's do it" and "I've got a rope," according to a Grand Rapids newspaper.
So here's the figurehead leader of the NRA, which claims it's composed of "law-abiding" citizens, suggesting that the sitting Vice-President of the United States, a Democrat of course, should be lynched. And he gets away with it. After all, Chuck Heston is "law abiding." Just recall his lack of compassion (in "Bowling for Columbine") toward a young girl who had been killed in a Michigan classroom by a gun wielding grammar school classmate.
Speaking of Michael Moore, wonder if he had said, in his acceptance speech at the Oscar's: "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests."
Did Michael actually urge violence against U.S. law enforcement officials? Of course not. Well, it was that famous right wing nut G. Gordon Liddy who actually said this exact quote on his radio program back in the mid-90's. Did you hear any hue and cry from the "rule of law" right wing Republicans back then. Of course not; extremism and the promotion of violence in the defense of idiocy is no vice to them.
This sort of violent, right wing extremist "talk" has real consequences. In November 2002, Sen. Tom Daschle said that the escalation of extreme right wing rhetoric over the past few years has coincided with an increase in personal threats against him and his family. According to Gannett News Service, Daschle compared "the fervor conservative commentators stir up among their listeners with the violent impact religious fundamentalists have in other countries."
"What happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen," Daschle told reporters. "They want to act because they get emotionally invested. And so, you know, the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically, on our families and on us, in a way that's very disconcerting."
Of course, Daschle was the intended victim of the Anthrax terrorist (along with his staff), a crime that has never been solved by the Bush administration. The other targets of the Anthrax terrorist were Democrats and the "liberal" media. So Daschle knows of what he speaks. (We have been critical of Daschle at times for his lack of challenging the Bush Cartel and the right wing. What he needs to do is not just challenge the threatening language of the right wing once. He has to make it into a campaign.)
It's also clear that we shouldn't dismiss these comments as nothing more than hyperbole. When Ann Coulter said, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity," who knew she was prophetic? Not only are we bombing Iraq, but the Southern Baptist Convention, the country's largest Protestant denomination, and the Rev. Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse are preparing missions to Iraq to provide aid and conduct conversions.
"I think it's a colossally bad move to have a group whose leader says Islam is 'evil' follow in the wake of U.S. troops in Iraq," Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, told reporters. "It would seem to confirm every suspicion in the Muslim world that the war on Iraq and the war on terrorism are really a war on Islam."
Ann Coulter's outrageous comment, dismissed at the time as another one of her attention getting rants, once again shows that in the Bush administration, yesterday's outrage becomes today's reality.
The Democrats and Independents are at a distinct disadvantage in their campaign for civility in debating public policy. The cable airwaves and radio talk shows are literally owned by Bush Cartel advocates who believe that shrieking and intimidation are the way to move America forward.
Regnery Press and other right wing publishers spend vast amounts of money to promote books that continue to obsess on Bill Clinton and hold liberals responsible for the ills of George W. Bush's inept administration. The tone is bitter, hateful, bullying and deluded.
With media consolidation, the assault on democracy by rabid, slobbering blowhards that wouldn't collect a dime if they held out a beggar's cup on a street corner 30 years ago.... well, with media consolidation the voices of truculence and thuggery are only going to grow louder.
Even in smaller markets, radio talk show hosts are hopping on the bandwagon, urging confrontations with peace marchers. And there's more. In Tennessee last year, a right wing Nashville talk show host incited mob action in the Tennessee legislature to protest an alleged tax increase. It's not the only incident of its kind.
We have one hope.
If enough patriots who cherish our democracy and our Constitution start shouting back we might be able to save our Constitution and our democracy. If enough patriots increase their written, telephone and protest march challenges to the credibility of the media, we have a slim chance of arousing the American public to the enemy within.
Only then will we know if we can be successful in conquering the right wing pundits and converting them into civilized behavior.
If they don't convert from their Cro-Magnon ways, they should be shunned from television, given a few bucks for a day's supply of cheap wine, and left to wander the streets among the deranged and homeless.
It would be divine justice at work in this One Nation Under God.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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Additional Note: Let us leave you with one final quote: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt said that back in 1918.
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Four Sites with Media Protest Information:
Back the Media
the Hearts and Minds of Americans: The Battle for Democracy in
Our Homeland, Part I: The "Infallibility" of America's
Part II: The Democratic Leadership Doesn't Even Have a Clue
Part III: These Men Died in Vietnam While George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Avoided Combat Like Cowards
IV: John Kerry, Don't Apologize For Telling The Truth: The Future
Of Democracy Depends Upon Exposing The Chronic Lies And Deceptions
Of The Bush Cartel
V: OPTION 3c
VI: Iraq, For All Practical Purposes, Will Become America's 51st
State. In More Ways
otherwise noted, all original