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Tuesday, December 05, 2017


Is the media marching toward cretinism?

by digby

So MSNBC fired Sam Seder because they were too craven and cowardly to ignore right wing hit men who pretended to be offended by what anyone with a 6th grade education knew was satire.

Jesse Singal writes about the flap:
Yesterday, the Wrap reported that MSNBC was cutting ties with its contributor Sam Seder, host of the progressive podcast Majority Report, after the following old tweet of his, archived here, was unearthed:

At the time of the tweet, there was a heated discussion going on over filmmaker Roman Polanski, who some liberals were attempting to rehabilitate despite the fact that he had been convicted of child rape for a case involving a 13-year-old girl, forcing him to flee the United States. Seder’s tweet comes across as shocking, of course — that’s the point — but any adult human who takes more than 20 seconds to sit with it will realize that Seder was abrasively ridiculing those who were defending Polanski on the grounds of his artistic brilliance. He was not — and the fact that anyone even needs to type this sentence suggests that the invention of the internet may have been a grave error — literally saying that if his daughter were raped, he would hope that the rapist possesses certain creative attributes.

But the tweet’s obvious intent didn’t matter to the far right, which began enthusiastically circulating the tweet after far-right manosphere personality Mike Cernovich first resurfaced it last week. Soon it was further broadcast by a sizable chunk of far-right Twitter, including figures like, well, the son of the sitting president of the United States, Donald Trump Jr.

Last week, Seder put out a video explaining the situation:

Last week, I wrote about how companies desperately need to do a better job distinguishing internet outrage that can be safely ignored from outrage that needs to be responded to. The former often comes from people who were never your customers in the first place — but online, they can pose as your customers to try to force you to take some action that furthers their agenda.

This is a textbook example. The people trying to get Seder fired have every incentive in the world to pose as outraged customers of his advertisers, and as deeply concerned about sexual assault, when in reality, all the available evidence suggests that they are mad at him for criticizing men who, overwhelming evidence suggests, actually committed sexual assault.

These right wing supporters of Donald Trump and Roy Moore are sending Seder's advertisers unctuously dishonest comments saying how offended they are because they are supposedly "survivors" of pedophilia or whatever and the advertisers panic and drop the show.

This may be a bad faith tactic by the right but we expect that from them. What is concerning to me is the stunning cowardice on the part of MSNBC and other companies in buckling to this nonsensical charge that what he said was the opposite of what he said. In fact, it's mind-boggling, headache-inducing, ridiculous.

This is the equivalent of the British government putting Jonathan Swift in jail for proposing cannibalism.

We are becoming very, very dumb in this country. So dumb that we are electing infantile imbeciles to lead us. But if media companies that are not affiliated with the right wing join this stampede to cretinism it's hopeless.

Full disclosure: I appear regularly on Sam's radio show on Ring of Fire and on his podcast, Majority Report.

Please subscribe to the podcast and contribute to the defense fund so that he is not dependent on timorous advertisers. And sign this petition to have MSNBC rehire Sam. They need to recognize who their audience is. It isn't right wing cranks who pretend not to understand satire.