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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Here's why Rachel Maddow is not "just like Glenn Beck"
Posted by Jill | 5:58 AM
We live in a media culture in which pulling stuff out of your paranoid, crazy ass is regarded as just as valid in terms of truth as actual facts. It started, really, with Ronald Reagan's talk about the welfare queen in the Cadillac, and came to true, horrific fruition with Dick Cheney's One Percent Doctrine -- that if there is a one percent chance that something COULD be true, you assume it is 100% true. This is what allows the insane street-corner-equivalent ravings of Glenn Beck to be taken seriously by too large a segment of the American population.

Conservatives like to paint the two left-of-center hosts on MSNBC as meaning that all of MSNBC is just like Fox News. You could make an argument about Keith Olbermann if you like, though for all his eminently parody-able bombast, he doesn't pull stuff out of his ass like painting capitalist John D. Rockefeller as commissioning Communist art for the buildings that bear his name.

Perhaps part of the reason the Olbermann/Maddow axis is regarded with such fear and loathing by the right is BECAUSE facts are their stock in trade. And perhaps the reason that even leftish outfits like SALON draw parallels is because of things like Keith Olbermann's tireless crusade to speak truth to idiocy about health care reform, truth which led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for free health care fairs in districts whose representatives were opposed to universal health care. And because Rachel Maddow dares to debunk horseshit that has bamboozled the mainstream press -- horseshit like the highly-edited "ACORN tapes" that brought ACORN down based on lies and selective editing:

We know from Brad Friedman's refusal to let the right-wing lie-based jihad against minority citizens go just HOW badly the mainstream media failed in its coverage of this story, and its all-too-eager willingness to believe the story of a couple of white punks based on highly edited video -- editing that can be done now by a middle-school kid with a PC.

But as you watch the above video, note how Rachel acknowledges that individuals in individual ACORN offices MAY have committed some misdeeds -- misdeeds that have absolutely nothing to do with James O'Keefe's videos. And that is the difference between Rachel Maddow and Fox News, and the difference between the left and the right. We do NOT march in lockstep. We do NOT worship our leaders and demand absolute fealty to them. We scream with outrage when our leaders decide that assassination of American citizens is OK. They decide that going to war based on lies is OK.

But what Rachel proves here, as she does every night in the meticulously-researched news stories she covers, is that it is possible to have opinion-based journalism that is based on FACTS, not just crap you pull out of your ass because it whips your frothing minions into a frenzy. You will never in a million years see a left-leaning newsmaker appear on a Fox news program without being somehow ambushed by doublespeak and lies. Rachel is unfailingly polite to her conservative guests, even the odious Richard Cohen, the so-called "ex-gay therapist" -- a guy who stands in opposition to her very being. Perhaps this politeness combined with a ferocious intellect and ability to decontstruct and demolish even the most carefully constructed fallacy is the reason for the fear and loathing of her from the right.

Whatever they call her, she practices real, legitimate journalism -- which is more than one can say for even the much-respected New York Times coverage of James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles.

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Blogger Barry said...
>We scream with outrage when our leaders decide that assassination of American citizens is OK.

I think I missed your outraged post on this. Perhaps it was while I was on vacation. In any case, Greenwald spurns the "liberal" label, so I'm not sure that referring to his posts with the pronoun "we" really helps make your case -- i.e., that the left is "better" in terms of independent thought.

I actually shun Hannity, Beck, Coulter, and Limbaugh for many of the same reasons you do -- I find them mindless partisan hacks who really have nothing to offer a thinking person.

By contrast, the right-leaning writers I do read (Reynolds, Volokh, McArdle, etc) are not afraid to criticize Republicans or to admit when Obama is right about something (indeed, McArdle actually voted for Obama.)

In short, I think the case you're trying to make can only be made by cherry-picking examples from both sides.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
Jill, email me. It's important.