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Hullabaloo


Sunday, January 31, 2010

 
Ailes And "It"

by digby

The ABC round table got much more interesting today with the addition of Roger Ailes to the roundtable. (I suppose the right could characterize it as their answer to obama's foray into the Republican Lion's Den last Friday.)



KRUGMAN: If I can just — you know, what bothers me is not the nasty language. Glenn Beck doesn’t, you know, it’s not — what bothers me is the fact that people are not getting informed, that we are going through major debates on crucial policy issues; the public is not learning about them. And you know, you can say, well, they can read the New York Times, which will tell them what they need to know, but you know, most people don’t. They don’t read it thoroughly. They get — on this health care thing, I’m a little obsessed with it, because it’s a key issue for me. People did not know what was in the plan, and some of that was just poor reporting, some of it was deliberate misinformation. I have here in front of me when President Obama said, you know, why — he said rhetorically, why aren’t we going to do a health care plan like the Europeans have, with a government-run program, and then proceeds to explain whey he’s different. On Fox News, what appeared was a clipped quote, “why don’t we have a European-style health care plan?” Right, deliberate misinformation.

All of that has contributed to a situation where the public…

AILES: Wait a minute, wait a minute…

KRUGMAN: I can show you the clip, and you can…

AILES: The American people are not stupid…

KRUGMAN: No, they’re not stupid. They are uninformed.

AILES: If you say — if (inaudible) words are in the Constitution, if the founding fathers managed — they didn’t need 2,000 pages of lawyers to hide things, then tell, then tell…

KRUGMAN: Oh, come on. Legislation always is long.

AILES: … then tell people it’s an emergency that we get it, but it won’t go into effect for three years. So you don’t have time to read it, you…


KRUGMAN: People, again, this was a plan that is — it’s actually a Republican plan. It’s Mitt Romney’s health care plan. People were led to believe that it was socialism. That’s — and that was deliberate. That wasn’t just poor reporting.


HUFFINGTON: Well, Roger, it’s not a question of picking a fight. And aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using, which is, after all, inciting the American people? There is a lot of suffering out there, as you know, and when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be the next in the killing spree…

AILES: Well, he was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people. So I think he was probably accurate. Also, I’m a little….

HUFFINGTON: No, no, he was talking about this administration.

AILES: I don’t — I think he speaks English. I don’t know, but I mean, I don’t misinterpret any of his words. He did say one unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television. So I don’t think it’s — I think if we start going around as the word police in this business, it will be…

HUFFINGTON: It’s not about the word police. It’s about something deeper. It’s about the fact that there is a tradition as the historian Richard Hofstetter said, in American politics, of the paranoid style. And the paranoid style is dangerous when there is real pain out there. I mean, with…

AILES: I agree with you. I read something on your blog that said I looked like J. Edgar Hoover, I had a face like a fist, and I was essentially a malignant tumor…

HUFFINGTON: Well, that’s…

AILES: And I thought — and then it got nasty after that…

HUFFINGTON: … that was never by anybody that we ...

AILES: Then it really went nasty, and I thought, gee, maybe Arianna ought to cut this out, but…

Hofstadter would simply summon his inner Frenchman and say, "et voila."

Taylor Marsh made a very  smart observation about Walters' other sexy interview:
Scott Brown doesn’t even have a business card, but people are asking him about 2012. My favorite part of the Walters interview is that Brown has “no regrets” about his nude Cosmo spread.

Brown told Barbara Walters “you have to have a sense of humor about yourself,” and links the centerfold to many of his successes that came later in life. “If I hadn’t done that… I never would have been sitting here with you. It’s all connected,” Brown told Walters.

It’s a reminder of political symbolism that now exists, where resume and policy are puny substitutes for the “it” factor, especially when it meets the perfect moment in time.

The Republicans are especially adept at this kind of politics. They are the ones who turn movie stars into presidents, after all. But in what is probably a very astute reading of the zeitgeist, they have recently been focusing heavily on the sex symbol style: Schwarzenneger, Palin, Carrie Prejean, now Scott Brown. (It's quite bold of them to go for the male centerfold, I admit, since that makes them feel all funny down there and all, but they can get away with things that Democrats can't because they don't have to worry about hypocrisy.)

Liberals usually have a leg up in popular culture, to be sure (except for the torture and violence porn that's so beloved by Americans of all stripes.) But when it comes to American Idol politics, and even despite the star power of Obama and the first lady, the Republicans are way out ahead. They've completely  moved beyond talent, intelligence, skill or experience and are now strictly focused on crazy blowhards and unadulterated sex appeal. It worked for Fox.


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