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Friday, July 30, 2010

 
Confederate Rump Strategy

by digby

I think Joan is right here:

Fox News has, sadly, become the purveyor of a 50-state "Southern strategy," the plan perfected by Richard Nixon to use race to scare Southern Democrats into becoming Republicans by insisting the other party wasn't merely trying to fight racism, but give blacks advantages over whites (Fox News boss Roger Ailes, of course, famously worked for Nixon). Now Fox is using the election of our first black president to scare (mainly older) white people in all 50 states that, again, the Democratic Party is run by corrupt black people trying to give blacks advantages over whites (MSNBC's Rachel Maddow laid out this history last week).

Consider four of the biggest stories the network has peddled since Obama entered the White House:

  • Glenn Beck and others went after "green jobs czar" Van Jones, an African-American, false claiming Jones signed a 9/11 "Truther" petition, correctly noting he'd said some not-nice things about Republicans. Jones resigned.
  • Then the big story was ACORN, the community-organizing group run by a black woman, Bertha Lewis, and known for working in low-income black communities. First, remember, ACORN allegedly committed voter fraud in the 2008 election (in fact, the voter registration problems at ACORN were self-reported, and the fraud was on ACORN, because they paid some scam-artist workers to register voters that ultimately didn't exist – and thus wouldn't vote). Then Fox hyped the big Breitbart video lie: that James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles went into various ACORN offices dressed outlandishly as pimp and prostitute, and got advice on how to beat taxes and set up a child prostitution ring. In fact, once law enforcement officials began examining those charges, they found they were false. Fox owner Rupert Murdoch's New York Post even had to headline its story: "ACORN set up by vidiots: DA."
  • More recently, Fox has been pushing the story of how the Obama administration protected the New Black Panther Party from charges of voter intimidation, stemming from complaints by three Republican poll workers that the "Panthers" were intimidating mainly black voters in Philadelphia in 2008. No intimidated voters were ever found, and conservative Abigail Thernstrom blasted other GOP members of the U.S Civil Rights Commission for trying to use the non-story to "topple" Obama.
  • Then came Shirley Sherrod. I have no doubt that, if CNN hadn't found Roger and Eloise Spooner, the white farmers helped by Sherrod, Fox would have peddled Breitbart's lies all week, to further its paranoid and politically driven narrative that Obama is a "racist" who's out to oppress white folks as "reparations" for the centuries of discrimination blacks have endured. It's crazy, sure, but Ailes worked for Richard Nixon, who pioneered the "Southern strategy."
Remember that Pat Buchanan has compared the Tea Partiers to "George Wallace voters," and bragged that he won them over to Nixon.
The Republicans aren't making a purely racist play, of course. There simply aren't enough racists in America anymore to get a majority that way. but it's part of the package, to be sure, and Fox is the vehicle for promoting it. (Buchanan is a sort of fish out of water over on MSNBC, although he gets his message across to the odd wingnut who might tune in.)

The point is that this is obviously part of the strategy, particularly among older voters who tend to be a rather large part of the mid-term electorate. Ailes is a very shrewd political propagandist and he knows he has a major part to play with his older, white, conservative male demographic. Breitbart's just feeding the bea.

I do have to wonder how many new, young bigots are being made with the normalizing of Fox/Breitbart racist victimhood rhetoric, though. It's not like cultures can't ever go backwards.


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