Monday, September 14, 2009

Lies Make For Constant Media Attention

--- Anti-Obama folks, like Michelle Malkin - depend on making you feel angry and weak if you agree with her. One way she does that is by plain-old South Carolina style lying:

I suppose it's one of the benefits of occupying a parallel universe like the right-wing blogosphere: facts are truly irrelevant. And I'm pretty sure partisan conservatives prefer it that way. They love just making stuff up.

As we've noted, this afternoon Malkin plucked out of thin air the bogus claim that ABC News reported the 9/12 protest crowd was 2 million strong. False. Nobody at ABC News ever made that claim, and no sane observer of the D.C. event today would claim with a straight face that somehow 2 million people overtook the nation's capitol.

It's pure fantasy.

But did that stop anybody on the right from repeating the hollow claim? Please. Did Newsbusters link to Malkin's phony claim? Check? Wizbang. Check. Gay Patriot? Check. Check. Right Pundits? Check.

I think Malkin should have just claimed 12 million protesters showed up. Because every one of her willingly gullible followers would have linked to her anyway.

UPDATED: More blogging comedy. Right-wing blogger Stephen Green first claimed that CNN reported the crowd was 2 million story. (CNN did no such thing.) Then later in a "correction," Green, following Malkin's phony lead, reported it was ABC News which claimed 2 million. Of course, ABC News denies that fact, and nobody can find any evidence that ABC News ever made the claim.

Psst Stephen, Malkin made that part up"

-- Others have noted this lie too, citing the fake pictures from this weekend's rally, which is really a photo from 1997's "Promise Keepers" rally.

-- More of the fakery here at DailyKos.

-- And a jewel of a comment from TN Congressman Marsha Blackburn, whose interview shows the crowd is there to express anger at Congress' horrible spending habits (pssst Marsha, that means you.)

And a long essay by Glenn Greenwald ponders why "protesters" and the endless gridlock from Republicans is cheered by the one group of folks who will receive nearly nothing if no changes in health care policy are enacted, the group which cheers to greedy who placed us in this economic nightmare to begin with:

This is the paradox of the tea-party movement and other right-wing protests fueled by genuine citizen anger and fear. It is true that the federal government embraces redistributive policies and that middle-class income is seized in order that "someone else benefits." But so obviously, that "someone else" who is benefiting is not the poor and lower classes -- who continue to get poorer as the numbers living below the poverty line expand and the rich-poor grows in the U.S. to unprecedented proportions. The "someone else" that is benefiting from Washington policies are -- as usual -- the super-rich, the tiny number of huge corporations which literally own and control the Government. The premise of these citizen protests is not wrong: Washington politicians are in thrall to special interests and are, in essence, corruptly stealing the country's economic security in order to provide increasing benefits to a small and undeserving minority. But the "minority" here isn't what Fox News means by that term, but is the tiny sliver of corporate power which literally writes our laws and, in every case, ends up benefiting.

It wasn't the poor or illegal immigrants who were the beneficiaries of the Wall St. bailout; it was the investment banks which, not even a year later, are wallowing in record profits and bonuses thanks to massive taxpayer-funded welfare. The endlessly expanding (and secret) balance sheet of the Federal Reserve isn't going to fund midnight basketball programs or health care for Mexican immigrants but is enabling extreme profiteering by the very people who, just a year ago, almost brought the global economic system to full-scale collapse. Our endless wars and always-expanding Surveillance State -- fueled by constant fear-mongering campaigns against the Latest Scary Enemy -- keep the National Security corporations drowning in profits, paid for by middle-class taxes. And even health-care reform -- which supposedly began with anger over extreme insurance company profiteering at the expense of people's health -- will be an enormous boon to that same industry, as tens of millions of people are forced by the Government to become their customers with the central mechanism to control costs (the public option) blocked by that same industry. That's why those industries are enthusiastically in favor of reform: because, as always, they will benefit massively from it.

This is what is so strange and remarkable about these tea-party protests. The people who win when government acts aren't the poor, minorities or illegal immigrants -- the prime targets of these protesters' resentment. Their plight only worsens by the day. In Washington, members of those groups are even more powerless than "middle-income Americans." That's so obvious. The people who win whenever the federal government expands its power are the ones who, through their massive resources and lobbyists armies, control what the government does: the richest and most powerful corporations. And yet -- in an extreme paradox -- those are the people who are venerated by the Right: they simultaneously spew rage at what's happening in Washington while revering and defending the interests of the oligarchs who are most responsible.

What's really happening with these protests is that the genuine rage and not unreasonable economic insecurity of these citizens is being stoked, exploited, distorted and manipulated by movement leaders for entirely different ends. The people who are leading them -- Rush Limbaugh, the Murdoch-owned Fox News, Glenn Beck, business-dominated organizations of the type led by Dick Armey -- are cultural warriors above everything else. They're all in a far different socioeconomic position than the "middle-income Americans" whose anger they're ostensibly representing. Their principal preoccupation is their cultural contempt for various groups (illegal immigrants, the "undeserving" poor, liberals) and their desire to preserve the status quo whereby the prime beneficiaries of government policies remain themselves: the super rich and the interests that control Washington. It's certainly true that many of these protesters are driven by the standard right-wing cultural issues which have long shaped that movement -- social issues, religious fears, cultural and racial divisions, and hatred for "liberals" as Communist-Muslim-Terrorist-lovers. For many, all of that is intensified by the humiliation of being completely thrown out of power, at the hands of the first black President. But much of it is fueled by the pillaging of the corporations and Wall St. interests which own their government.

Image via TPM

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