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Hullabaloo


Sunday, June 28, 2015

 
The boys and girls who cry dildoes

by digby

Vox has a rundown of the hilarious CNN "bunch of dildoes and buttplugs" flub yesterday which, if you haven't heard about it, needs to be seen to be believed:



Yes, folks, they actually worked up a terrorist scare over a gay pride parody flag with dildoes and butt plugs. (It doesn't seem to have occurred to even one of them that ISIS is not exactly a friend to the gay community and isn't likely to join their pride parade but whatever ...)

Anyway, Vox does point out an important point about all this underneath the absurdity:
Mistakes happen — we at Vox have made our own — but the way that CNN covered this is a bit concerning, and not for the error so much as for the fear-mongering.

The network spent several minutes telling Londoners that ISIS was in their midst, frequently reminding viewers of last week's bloody terror attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait. They portrayed the London gay pride rally as sullied by violent Islamist extremism. And they displayed on screen, for long stretches, the image of a totally innocent gay pride supporter, repeatedly suggesting that this man is in fact a terrorist.

CNN does not normally confuse ISIS flags with satirical dildo flags. This was clearly their JV team making a flub. But that flub was totally consistent with the network's approach to terrorism, which for years has over-hyped threats, blasting viewers with hysterical warnings of imminent and omnipresent danger. It is a network whose terrorism coverage has been not just clumsy and irresponsible but cynical, exploiting people's earnest fears and the bloodshed of real victims in order to create a more titillating TV viewing experience.

In many ways, the CNN team responsible for this bit was just following normal protocol: over-hyping threats is, for the network, part of the daily routine. It just so happened that they went a little more overboard than usual here and got caught doing it. Usually, the act is not quite so obvious, and it's not at all funny.

The Islamic terrorism fear-mongering on television is way out of proportion to the threat of it in the US. And it's done with this underlying implication that they are not only coming to "kill us all" as Lindsay Graham put it, but that we are under a serious threat of ISIS taking over the country. Why else would this threat be taken as something we must pull out all the stops to confront when we can't even get background checks for the kind of gun violence that we live with routinely? Mass killing is dangerous to individuals regardless of the motivation. The people who were killed in the Boston bombing are no more dead than those who were killed in Charleston.

ISIS is not going to take over America. It's not going to take over Europe either. They can kill people with terrorist attacks, absolutely. And we should be concerned with that. And they can cause global havoc, no doubt about it. But since we are so blase about the 30,000 people who die each year from guns and don't seem to see the necessity to roll up the constitution to stop those who kill for any other political ideologies, maybe our media could dial down the threat mongering a little bit. Lindsay Graham is going to have a heart attack.


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