erik lundegaard

Friday November 19, 2010

FOX News: Accusing Others of Its Own Crimes

What must it be like to be Roger Ailes? To conduct the national discussion as if it were a symphony? To get people to talk about what you want them to talk about. To get them to question what you want them to question (Pres. Obama, NPR, ACORN, “the ground-zero mosque,” Woodrow Wilson) and get them to accept what you want them to accept (Pres. Bush, WMD, Sarah Palin, the Bush tax cuts).

That’s a lot of power.

But apparently the FOX-News channel isn't enough of a bully pulpit for him. So he spouted off yesterday to The Daily Beast about NPR, saying the following:

“They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view.”

He’s since apologized. “Apologized.” He apologized to the Anti-Defamation League, with whom he now has a bit of a relationship, ever since one of his more popular stars, Glenn Beck, earlier this month, spun George Soros' attempts to pass as a gentile in Nazi-occupied Europe as if they were Nazi war crimes. But he didn't apologize to NPR. In fact, he continued to attack NPR in his apology:

“I’m writing this just to let you know some background but also to apologize for using ‘Nazi’ when in my now considered opinion, ‘nasty, inflexible bigot’ would have worked better.“

Ailes is a fascinating man. If he weren't upending democracy and ruining this country, he might be amusing.

Look again at what he says about NPR:

These guys don’t want any other point of view.

Or in the apology:

Nasty, inflexibile bigot.

Who does this remind you of?

There’s a documentary out now called “A Film Unfinished,” which is one of the best movies of the year. Is it playing somewhere near you? Can you stream it? PPV it? Do so.

The background: At the end of World War II, a 60-minute, silent documentary was found in the German archives on Jewish life in the Warsaw ghetto in the months before the ghetto was liquidated and its inhabitants shipped off to the extermination camps of Treblinka. The question arise: Why document what you‘re about to destroy? And why stage scenes of better-off Jews going about their day? A woman puts on lipstick in her vanity mirror, another buys goods at the butcher, couples dine out. Initially one thinks the Nazis are showcasing comfortable people to refute claims of horrible conditions. Except they also showcase the horrible conditions. We see emaciated people with shaved heads. We see children in rags. We see a corpse every 100 meters. The Nazis filmed it all. Why?

The answer is juxtaposition. Here’s take 1, take 2, take 3 of a well-off woman buying meat at the butcher while children in rags starve outside. Here’s take 1, take 2, take 3 of sated couples leaving a restaurant and ignoring the emaciated woman in rags begging for a handout. This juxtaposition is justification. The Nazis are attempting to showcase a race of people so indifferent to the suffering of others that they didn’t deserve to live. They are documenting an excuse for extermination.

Once one realizes this one finally understands the true meaning of propaganda. It is the powerful blaming the powerless for the crimes of the powerful. The Nazis herded 600,000 Jews into a single zone of Warsaw. They gave them no way to live. They let them starve. They let them die by the hundreds of thousands. Then they staged scenes of Jewish indifference to the suffering of others.

There is, of course, no modern equivalent of the Nazis. But there is modern propaganda. There is even modern propaganda is this most virulent form: the powerful blaming the powerless for the crimes of the powerful.

Example: class warfare.

You hear that phrase all the time on FOX. It may be the only place you hear it. And you hear it lately for the following reason: the Bush tax cuts are set to expire on Jan. 1, 2011. Pres. Obama wants to preserve the middle-class portion of the tax cut and allow the tax cut for the wealthiest one percent to expire. The tax rate for the wealthiest Americans will zoom from 35% all the way up to 39%. On FOX-News, this is considered class warfare. Here’s an example of that language. Here's another. OK, here's a bunch of them.

But who's really conducting class warfare? I would argue it's the rich, the powerful, who are accusing the poor and middle class, or the powerless, of what the rich are in fact doing. Because the rich can't deal with a 39-percent tax rate.

Question: What was the top tax rate during most of the Reagan years? 50 percent.

Question: What was the top tax rate during the Eisenhower years? 91 percent.

It's all here.

So the question shouldn't be: ”Should we roll back the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans to a 39-percent rate?“ The question should be: ”Should we tax the richest Americans at a 50 percent rate?"

The right, and FOX-News, keep doing this. It's not always powerful/powerless—Pres. Obama isn't powerless, for example, and the Democratic party shouldn't be powerless—but FOX's attacks almost always have that vibe. It's FOX-News accusing others of its own crimes.

Here's Ailes:

These guys don’t want any other point of view.

Here he is on Jon Stewart:

“He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It’d be a bomb.”  

He's describing himself and his own network. Again and again and again.

Pay attention. That's all. Just pay fucking attention.

Posted at 08:03 AM on Friday November 19, 2010 in category Politics  
« The Joy of Mere Words   |   Home   |   Jordy's Review: “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1” »