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Analysis: Who's Not Going To Lose

The Fourth Estate Problem And How To Begin Fixing It Without Censorship

Analysis: Who's Not Going To Lose
FLYOVER COUNTRY - It's the day before the 2008 presidential election, and one thing's extremely likely: John McSame and Caribou Barbie will lose that election ... and I say that even if they "win," because it is likely that the majority of the U.S. populace will have voted against them. And whether it's voting machine tampering, Republican vote caging or the vagaries of the Electoral College, McCain will not have the mandate of the majority of the American people - but that's unlikely to stop him or his supporters.

That non-loss loss is the subject of economist Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times, and though it's well worth reading in its entirety, let me draw attention to a few particularly good turns of phrase.

"You might think, perhaps hope, that Republicans will engage in some soul-searching, that they'll ask themselves whether and how they lost touch with the national mainstream. But my prediction is that this won't happen any time soon."

If there's one thing certain about the reactionary wing of the Republican party - that is, the neocons and religious fundamentalists - it's that the idea that their policies could be wrong never enters the realm of possibility. For some, it's because God Told Them To, and for others, it's because the fight against anything portrayed as being "for the common good" translates to them as socialism/communism, and must be opposed by every fiber of their being.

Krugman essentially agrees ...

"Also, the Republican base already seems to be gearing up to regard defeat not as a verdict on conservative policies, but as the result of an evil conspiracy. A recent Democracy Corps poll found that Republicans, by a margin of more than two to one, believe that Mr. McCain is losing 'because the mainstream media is biased' rather than 'because Americans are tired of George Bush.'"

... but what he fails to deal with is the people who won't lose tomorrow, and that's where the real problems come in.

Y'see, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, G. Gordon Liddy, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Matt Drudge, William Kristol, Brit Hume, Brent Bozell, Bill Cunningham, Roger Ailes, Dick Morris, Glenn Beck, Ben Stein, Debbie Schlussel, David Horowitz, John Fund, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin and their thousands of confreres in the media aren't running for anything, so tomorrow will come and go and they'll all still have their jobs - hell, Hannity and O'Reilly have recently re-upped for another four or five years, at a pricetag of several million dollars each - and their "jobs" are to fight against every progressive idea that Democrats and others in the activist community can come up with; to support fundamentalist Christian religious views of speech, marriage, sexuality and birth control/abortion - no Jews, Muslims, Mormons or (usually) Catholics need apply; to attempt to refute (that is, lie about) established scientific principles like evolution, bio-diversity and pollution control; to support corporate power over the rights of ordinary citizens, redistributing the wealth from the bottom upwards; and generally to aggregate power toward the most militant, constitutional-freedom-hating, sexual bigots their own ilk have ever spawned. (Someone recently complained that I write run-on sentences ...)

And what does Bill Kristol, founder and editor of the ultraconservative Weekly Standard, claim that these fascists will do after the election is over?

"Barack Obama will probably win the 2008 presidential election," Kristol wrote . "If he does, we conservatives will greet the news with our usual resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism. Being conservative means never being too surprised by disappointment."

"Resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism"? You'd have had to have been marooned on a tropical island for the last decade (or two) to believe that load of crap - and oddly enough, most of those who left comments about the article on the Times' blog didn't believe that crock of shit either.

Indeed, during his radio show today, Hannity talked about creating the "Conservative Underground" the day after the election - and those of us who lived through the tail end of McCarthyism in the late '50s (or who've seen Emile DeAntonio's brilliant documentary Point of Order), or who belonged to racial equality or anti-war organizations in the late '60s that were infiltrated by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI agents (NAACP , CORE , SDS , SNCC , etc.), know very well what fascists like Hannity and his buds are planning: Nothing less than Karl Rove's "permanent Republican majority" - and they'll be spending every minute that Barack Obama is in office ramping up public distrust of and opposition to his more progressive programs and telling outright lies and half-truths about them, him and anyone even remotely connected with him or them.

Indeed: Just check out the titles of this week's slew of right-wing hatemail to give you an idea what these assholes will be doing for the next four years  - or eight if Obama's reelected:

"Retribution: 3rd World Political Violence in America!"; "Another Communist in Obama's Orb"; "Democrats Sink to New Low in Ohio Legislative Race"; "Let's tell the TRUTH about Obama"; "ACORN Halloween: Grave-Robbing for Voters"; "Obama, Your Pastor, Same-Sex Marriage and Child Sacrifice" (I shit you not!); "Obama's Sex Policies: Your Congregation's Right to Know"; "Obama Blacklists U.S. Media Wants Pravda Instead" (??); "Last Chance to Stop ACORN... Time About to Run Out"; "Network News's High-Tech Lynching of Sarah Palin"; "Mr. Obama Would Have Voted For Genocide"; and the most recent: "Mr. Obama Rejects Bill of Rights-Says Just A Guideline."

"Resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism," MY ASS!

I know you've seen me link to my article on "The Factness Doctrine " several times before, but the concept is important - especially as the 'wingers continue to harp on the idea that as soon as Obama and the rest of the newly-elected-Democratic-majority take office, they'll vote in some version of the "Fairness Doctrine ."

Now, while I wouldn't oppose a new Fairness Doctrine, I think it's unnecessary. People are entitled to their own opinions, but as The Man said, they aren't entitled to their own facts.

And in any discourse, "the facts" are of paramount importance. Opinions hold sway depending on the eloquence of the speaker, but facts have no master; they speak for themselves (if one is sufficiently intelligent to understand what they have to say), and when facts are deliberately distorted to bolster an opinion, they are open to challenge - and in a rational world, the person quoting the alleged "fact" would then have to "put up" (identify the source of the fact and its scientific or historical provenance) or "shut up" (be corrected by someone with better, more correct knowledge of the subject). So these assholes can blather all they want about how horrible, for instance, Obama's new "socialistic" healthcare plan is going to be, but at some point, some astute news commentator is going to ask the blatherer what facts he/she has to back up his/her opinions on the healthcare plan, and those "facts" will be subject to verification or falsifiability.

What a "factness doctrine" would do is to force those who broadcast incorrect facts - "lies" - on public airwaves to correct those misstatements in some reasonable time period after their utterance, and during a similar time slot to when the lies were originally broadcast. It's unclear how far this plan would go to torpedoing the reactionaries' march toward total dominance - let's face it, there are plenty of arenas within which to spout lies that don't involve the public airwaves, like cable TV, newspapers and the Internet - but a "factness doctrine" seems like a reasonable first step toward exposing the agenda of the roughly 90% of the mainstream news media that make up the Republican Noise Machine - and that's got to be a good idea.
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Mark Kernes

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