Confusing The Issues: The BS Began on Morning Joe
Even in the aftermath of the horrendous mass murders in Arizona virtually all the talking heads in mainstream mass media, the cultural apparatus that shapes public opinion in modern societies, are refusing to call a spade a spade and tell it like it really is. It is as if everybody got together in some proverbial smoke filled room and agreed that whatever happened, nobody would tell the unvarnished truth about the causes of the massacre. Early the morning after, as most Americans were trying to digest the news listening in a mild state of shock and plenty confused, all the media commentators talked as if they were oblivious to the history of the last two years. And they vied with each other to declare the insignificance of what they do.
To listen to them tell it there is no possibility that this gun wielding mad man could have been driven to murder by the constant anti-government harangues emanating from the right-wing propaganda machine, with their gun fetishes and fear mongering. As evidence for their conclusion they are all desperately clinging to the argument that the gunman is just crazy! They passionately argue out that the rancid rhetoric of the Republican / Tea Party zealots has had no affect on the executioner. It is now Wednesday and the chorus of denial continues to swell.
Yet there is no way that they can know whether the constant vilification of the government by right-wing verbal arsonists had no affect on the decision of this guy to attempt to assassinate the congresswoman. He had not been systematically examined by psychiatrist, and if he has none of them has been privy to his record. Therefore any conclusion about his motives must be regarded as speculation. But reasonable speculations must be based on observable facts. First of all the fact that he is mentally deranged does not rule out the possibility that his decision wasn’t made in a vacuum, unaffected by the hateful anti-government rhetoric emanating from the kind of rightwing media that pollutes the air with hateful rhetoric in Arizona, or the celebration of guns and placing one’s opponent’s in the cross hairs of a gun in political ads!
As I have written over and over again ad-nauseum, it is precisely the mentally unstable lost souls who are often driven to commit atrocities as a result of these right wing harangues. This was true of Popolowski, Von Bruhn –who shot up the Holocaust Museum and killed the African American Guard. The guy who ran his plane into an IRS building must have also been unbalanced. Yet when we look at what these people had to say about why they did the things they did, the themes that emerge from their explanation are the same themes we hear in the diatribes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reiley and Glenn Beck! These themes are also echoed in the rhetoric of the Republican Party – especially the Tea Party crowd who is mesmerized by Sarah Palin! Yet we are expected to believe there is no connection? Why, because to conclude otherwise suggest that a leader of the Republican Party has blood on her hands, that her reckless rhetoric has incited mass murder?
During the 1960’s Congress passed a federal law against inciting to riot. Hubert “Rap” Brown, a leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was actually convicted under this law after he made a speech in Cambridge Maryland and a riot later broke out! The 24/7 anti-government diatribes emanating from the verbal arsonist on the right, broadcast by FOX television and ABC radio is far more persuasive than a stump speech by Rap Brown.
For media people like Joe Scarboro to argue otherwise is the grossest hypocrisy. This is because his job depends on the belief that he can influence the choices of his audience. The whole business model of commercial media is based on this assumption. Commercial media does not exist for the edification or recreation of the audience. That is only a means to their real ends: the selling of advertising time! You cannot have it both ways – for instance you can’t have physics and meta-physics too – either these people can influence the choices of their listeners or not.
It is simply not believable that these media personalities can influence the choices of their listeners through intermittent 30 second commercials – for which companies spend millions to advertise their products – but the hours they spend indoctrinating their audience with impassioned diatribes about how the government – a body elected by the American people through a prescribed constitutional process mind you – is our enemy! These people routinely libel the President’s attempt to provide health care for those Americans who do not have access to medical care as the equivalent of Nazi death camps – which, along with making ignorance fashionable, has been the major contribution of Silly Sarah Palin to American political discourse.
Yet this disgraceful ditz has the unmitigated gall to appear on television as I write and accuse those of us who question her role in the Arizona massacre of “blood libel.” Well Sarah, blood libel is your thing! We are just pointing out the consequences of your amoral, racist, reckless approach to politics. It is as much because of her rhetoric and fetish for guns and tough talk that whites have been going out buying guns in record numbers since the election of Barack Obama as anything I can think of. But because she is both stupid and amoral, and a megalomaniac to boot, she actually has the chutzpa to try and cast herself as the victim. In so doing she is counting on her followers to remain the mindless sycophants they have always been….even in the face of bloody murder! As the Rastas would say: “Boobus Americanus to Ras!”
Three days into the tragedy the outlines of the discourse as to its causes and ultimate meaning are emerging. The conservatives have selected their talking points and they are repeating them in lockstep like ideological lemmings. The party line is that there is absolutely no connection between this slaughter of innocents in Arizona and the rancorous rhetoric that has dominated Republican political speech since the election of President Obama. They are sticking to their story with the same kind of iron discipline the Grand Obstructionist Party has displayed in their attempts to block every legislative proposal offered by President Obama. And the Liberals appear thus far to agree.
The most spurious argument in a field overrun with dubious polemics is the contention that because the Assassin was reading both Carl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” and Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kempt” he could not possibly been motivated by the rancid rhetoric from the right that has so thoroughly polluted our political discourse and enraged many citizens to the point that some are using images of the President for target practice, and the Secret Service is receiving the highest volume of death threats in history. When arrayed against the facts however, this argument is quickly exposed for the dangerous sophistry that it is.
The reference to the assassin’s reading material is intended to expose the fact that he does not know the difference between Communism and Fascism; hence he does not know that the two philosophies are diametrically opposed. But that is the case with most of the people in the Tea Party movement, who routinely portrayed President Obama as a communist and as Adolph Hitler! Thus he is a typical Tea Party type, a clueless white boy lost in the blues!
If you combine this fundamental confusion about political philosophy with his irrational hatred of the Federal Government you have a classic Tea Party candidate. I defy any of the talking heads who have so confidently announced that the Arizona assassin was totally unaffected by the hate filled diatribes of the right, to present their evidence that me – and the much maligned Arizona Sheriff who agrees with my assessment – to present the evidence in support of their conclusions. Thus far I am totally unimpressed with their transparent apologia – which so far as I can see, is prompted by opportunism, delusion, denial and fear!
This explains why, in spite of the lack of any convincing evidence, the emerging consensus is that these are the actions of a single lunatic, there fore nothing useful can be learned about the danger to the stability of our society – i.e. our national security – from the manufacturing of anti-government hatred by the verbal arsonists in the Republican party and their shills in the media. This attitude is reflected in the polls measuring public opinion on the question of whether the inflammatory, violence laden, anti-government rhetoric played any role in the Arizona slaughter.
Fifty Seven percent of Americans said they thought it played no role at all. As strange as it seems to me, it’s not surprising in light of the recent election results, when millions of Americans voted against their Interests – read “On Our Dysfunctional Democracy” and “Triumph Of The Untutored Mob!” Predictably, the Palin apologist on the right are emboldened in their approach, and liberals in the media are cowed into going along with this absurd conclusion because their decisions are market driven.
The suits who run these networks – for profit lest we forget – do not want to offend their market just to tell an unpopular truth – even if real lives are at stake. After all they are businessmen not moral leaders. Thus it is profit not virtue that they are concerned with. Their behavior brings to mind an observation made by that old German gadfly Karl Marx “The capitalist will sell the hangman the rope to hang them with if they think they can make a profit!”
Harlem, New York
January 12, 2011