This could serve as a type of media headline game.
Parsing Politics and Finding Cool Stuff on the Internet
This could serve as a type of media headline game.
This story is thick:
Last summer, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly came to believe that his wife was romantically involved with another man. Not just any man, but a police detective in the Long Island community they call home. So O’Reilly did what any concerned husband would do: He pulled strings to get the police department’s internal affairs unit to investigate one of their own for messing with the wrong man’s lady.
Roger Ailes—treating his local police department like a private security force and trying to damage one cop’s career for the sin of crossing Bill O’Reilly.
The article goes on with the details from the Nassau County Police Department. Just like Rush Limbaugh and his drug problem as well as Donald Trump and his spoiled treatment on the part of his dad (as he then goes on to question Barack Obama’s education credentials and if he is worthy to be out POTUS), we now have O’Reilly who talks big talk, calls people pin heads, and does his best to be the conservative champ in terms of moral righteousness. I wonder how he will spin this on his show. Victimization possibly?
While the left or those who enjoy attacking the right’s seemingly 1950’s esque “let’s take America back” style of reform, which if we were to go there, it would be horrendous, these quick labels of “racist!” hurt discourse and frankly are mostly inaccurate. The right is not stupid. Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are big figures who use racial stereotypes to joke or make their points and then whine when they are picked on. The judgments made on them may be overdrawn but they could save the headaches by avoiding inaccurate racial stereotypes in the first place.
If you live on the east coast in the U.S., you most likely have heard about Hurricane Irene non-stop for the past week (at least). A few of the places you may have heard bits of news from would of been the Weather Channel (as well as other local or national news stations) as well as Facebook (as well as the World Wide Web). Both of these media outlets covered this hurricane quite extensively. The former was done by professionals while the latter was done by mostly normal joe’s. What both have in common is that they stirred up interesting reactions in all of us.
T.V., especially weather coverage, can go over board. The constant reporting and sometimes worst-case scenarios may really freak people out to the point of hysteria. Facebook seemed to have had similar effects. One friend of mine noticed an interesting trend that isn’t necessarily unique to Hurricane Irene but still interesting: while many people freaked out about Hurricane Irene, many people freaked out about people freaking out about Hurricane Irene. If you think about it, this irony surely does play out in many situations. I don’t have T.V. so I somewhat tried to avoid Facebook so that I could sit back and watch the rain come down and relax over a shut-in type weekend.
One final note: politics has to come into play somehow with this hurricane and the hysteria (doesn’t it?) Two pieces worth checking out: Rush Limbaugh’s usual comments regarding the hysteria:
It was a rainstorm and there was a lot of flooding and there were deaths associated with it,” Limbaugh said. “But they hype — folks, I’ll tell you what this was, was a lesson.
“If you pay any attention to this, they hype — the desire for chaos, I mean, literally — the media desire for chaos was a great learning tool. This is a great illustration of how all of the rest of the media in news, in sports, has templates and narratives and exaggerates beyond reality creating fear, so as to create interest.”
With at least 40 people dead (and rising) and millions in damage, the king of hype and hysteria has to chime in, doesn’t he? However, I partly am in agreement with Rush. Some members of the media, and I include Facebook in this, have a tendency to almost want drama, hype, and buckets of craziness, in not only national events but their own lives.
Second, Ezra Klein et al wonder if we didn’t hype the storm enough considering what it was capable of:
A lot of the commentary over whether the storm got too much attention has been based around the damage the storm did or did not do. NBC’s Al Roker, for instance, tweeted, “Since when is covering a storm that kills 16 people and counting, causes massive flooding and millions in damage hype?” Over at the New York Times, Nate Silver runs somenumbers and concludes that Irenes ranks as “the 8th-most destructive storm since 1980, adjusted for inflation and the growth in wealth and population.”
But the Irene hype occurred mostly before it made landfall, and so mostly before we knew how bad it really was, or wasn’t. Storms are unpredictable, both in their path and intensity, and though Irene mostly broke our way, it could easily have swung towards New York City and picked up speed before smacking into the city. If that had happened, we would be having a very different conversation right now. So the question isn’t whether the storm was overhyped given how things actually went, but whether it was overhyped given how they could have gone. I’m not enough of a meteorologist to render a verdict on that, but it’s the right question to be asking.
Mark Oppenheimmer analyzes the religious approach by her show and compares her to antebellum evangelist Charles Grandison Finney:
Ms. Winfrey has religious antecedents besides the black church. Kathryn Lofton argues in her new book, “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon,” that to understand Ms. Winfrey it helps to know Charles Grandison Finney, the great antebellum evangelist.
In his 1830 revival campaign in Rochester, Mr. Finney formalized the “anxious bench,” a pew or altar where sinners congregated while members of the crowd prayed for them to repent or become Christians. A whole plotline revolved around the bench, and worshipers eagerly anticipated its ritual. Who would sit there? Would they be saved? “At every point,” Dr. Lofton writes, “the preacher prodded, focused, named and decried.”
Dr. Lofton argues that in an atmosphere suffused with Ms. Winfrey’s beliefs in miracles, angels and pervasive spirituality, audience members got to see guests participate in “the familiar ritual turn of daily confession and rejuvenation.” Whether the day’s show featured the organization expert decluttering somebody’s home or “confessions of a once-upon-a-time Haitian child slave,” the redemptive plot arc, the payoff of deliverance, was the same.
And like the best hellfire preachers, Ms. Winfrey could be merciless in exacting those confessions. “Guests are forced to admit their worst transgressions,” Dr. Lofton writes, “to say precisely how they felt when they pulled the trigger, for example, or, in Governor McGreevey’s case” — that is James E. McGreevey of New Jersey, who resigned after cheating on his wife and coming out as gay — “to describe the sordid locations of his clandestine sexual encounters.”
Oppenheimmer doesn’t like Oprah’s use of “seeing your suffering as a desirable experience” for change. Oprah did rise from being raped at age 8 (or 9) to where she is today. But many know (Oprah included) that you do not have to have such terrible experiences to reach the stars.
Sean Hannity continues to lament. I love how his “American” panel takes Sesame Street, a handful of pocket cases across the country, Nazi tactics, and thus paint a picture to their viewers depicting what a “liberals” is all about. And by all, I mean every one of them. That’s wide brush bigotry.
Well put by Conor Friedersdorf (as always). His strategic breakdown of Rush’s show and logic exposes his cowardly approach to “talk show discourse”. This is worth a full read:
In order to fully grasp his mastery of the strategically ambiguous monologue, let’s go back to the line I flagged before: “Last night I was as proud as I have been of the U.S. military in I don’t know how long.” Earnest praise for the troops? Sure seems like it on first listen. Mocking allusion to Michelle Obama’s controversial “proud of my country for the first time” remark? Also plausible! Especially in context. Certainly some of his listeners heard it that way and chuckled. But also totally deniable if necessary! The important thing to realize is that there is no right answer, other than whatever happens to be more convenient for Limbaugh at a particular moment in time.
Hence he and his flock of followers are nearly impossible to nail down. There is always an escape back hatch to go out of and cry foul.
This failure to articulate and defend a single coherent position is the tactic of an intellectual coward, one who has abandoned any pretense of adding to the discourse, and satisfies himself by being an especially adept manipulator. In a man as smart as Limbaugh, it is a perilous course, for it can only end in self-loathing. But credit where it’s due: he is damned good at the game he plays.