Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The right wing noise machine takes it to a new level

by digby

I wrote about their latest ploy for Salon this morning:

Conservatives are trying to give us all a headache — and not just by taking away our health insurance and worshipping Donald Trump. They are launching an attack on the concept of reality itself. This is not entirely new, of course. The right has made good use of propaganda and the old “you can believe me or you can believe your lying eyes” routine for many years.

Recall that back in the early 2000s, many of us were alarmed to see Iraq war propaganda making its way into the mainstream, eagerly passed on by major newspapers and cable news shows. The people pushing the attack had a long history of advocating for the invasion before 9/11 and had even made clear they were hoping for a pretext. Nonetheless, in those days of compulsory patriotic flag-waving the media showed no inclination to be even slightly skeptical, and the result was catastrophic.

Even as news was filtering out that the case against Saddam Hussein for supposedly aiding Osama bin Laden was thin to the point of nonexistence, top leaders such as Dick Cheney were blithely asserting that they had proof. The media largely took them at their word. When it became obvious that Saddam’s WMD cache did not exist, many on the right simply insisted that it did. This 2015 poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University shows that tons of people still believe it:
Overall, 42 percent of Americans believe that U.S. forces found active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. Republicans are more likely to hold this belief than Democrats: Fifty-one percent of Republicans think it’s “probably” or “definitely” true that an active program was found after the 2003 invasion, with 14 percent saying that it was definitely true. Still, large portions of other groups think that the WMD program, a major part of the justification for the invasion, was actually found, including 32 percent of Democrats.
It was a confusing time. But war propaganda is hardly unprecedented and America has deployed it as often as any country. From the Hearst yellow journalism that ginned up support for the Spanish-American War to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam, the United States government used such tactics to gain public support for wars overseas.

The first Gulf War featured one of the most blatant examples ever when the first Bush administration hired the P.R. firm Hill & Knowlton to help them sell the war. According to John R. MacArthur’s book “Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War,” their focus groups showed that there was a particularly vivid storyline that worked: the mistreatment of infants.

So at a hearing prior to the vote, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and Rep. John Porter, R-Ill., called a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. The distraught young woman testified about a terrifying event at a Kuwait City hospital. She said, “I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital. While I was there I saw the Iraqi soldiers coming into the hospital with guns and going into the room where 15 babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

From that point on the “babies yanked from the incubator” story was emblematic of the viciousness of Saddam’s troops. I personally knew people who were moved into supporting the war because of it. And it was a lie. The young woman who testified was not some anonymous Kuwaiti candy-striper but rather a member of the royal family whose father was the ambassador to the U.S. When human rights organizations investigated later, they could not find that she had any connection to the hospital, or any evidence that any incident of that kind had happened at all.

Back in the 1960s, when the modern conservative movement was birthed in the wake of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, one of the Republican explanations for that defeat was that the media had a liberal slant. This grew into a bedrock belief over the next decade as the Watergate scandal unfolded. By the time Reagan came to power in 1980, it was being deployed as an organizing principle.

Conservatives learned to challenge the media’s alleged liberal bias as a tactic to make reporters leery of any news that reflected negatively on conservatives. It was very effective. By the time right-wing talk radio came along and later Fox News, with its pretensions of being “fair and balanced,” conservatives had convinced millions of people that their version of reality was the truth and that mainstream media and major newspapers were all catering to the liberals.

It succeeded in making conservatives uniquely subject to misinformation and right wing propaganda. Now they are deploying a new tactic. Jeremy Peters of the New York Times reported on Monday that the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have cleverly rebranded the mainstream media once again. It’s no longer the “liberal media.” It’s now “fake news” — the online phenomenon that emerged in this election cycle to foment clicks, profits and chaos for a variety of reasons.
In defining “fake news” so broadly and seeking to dilute its meaning, [conservative commentators] are capitalizing on the declining credibility of all purveyors of information, one product of the country’s increasing political polarization. And conservatives, seeing an opening to undermine the mainstream media, a longtime foe, are more than happy to dig the hole deeper. 
“Over the years, we’ve effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with. And now it’s gone too far,” said John Ziegler, a conservative radio host, who has been critical of what he sees as excessive partisanship by pundits. “Because the gatekeepers have lost all credibility in the minds of consumers, I don’t see how you reverse it.”
It is going to be a very difficult task. The right-wing media complex is all-in on this. According to the Times, everyone from Laura Ingraham to Erick Erickson to Donald Trump himself is labeling anything they disagree with, including the fact-check sites like Snopes or Factcheck.org, as “fake news.” Millions of people have been conditioned to believe their claims for years, which means polarization is only likely to get worse. If Americans can’t even agree which facts are real, it’s hard to see how we’re going to be able to govern ourselves.

The Holiday fundraiser continues. Thanks to all who have contributed so far. I'm very grateful.

cheers --- digby

Happy Hollandaise everyone.