From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 12:43:02 PDT
Perhaps it would be useful here to distinguish tactical and strategic
analysis and plans.
In a strategic (more global, long range) sense, there are a wide
range of institutions that perpetuate a system that produces "public
opinion" (in liberal terms) or "ideology" (in Marxist terms).
In tactical (short range, immediate, specifically targeted) terms,
Fox News is a significant right wing institution promoting certain
extreme right agendas.
From a traditional left view it is important to have the strategic
view in mind so you make sure your goals and overall analysis is
comprehensive, but it is only possible to effectively organize around
tactical matters. Thus, sometimes "politics makes strange
bedfellows" on the tactical front. Or another saying from practical
political organizing: the organizer should be one step ahead of the
folks she is organizing, but only one step.
Therefore, yes, Fox News is one enemy, but only one enemy (in the US
right wing radio would be another, similar one). But it is well
worth the effort to fight back against Fox for numerous reasons.
If you watch The Daily Show you can often see them mocking a standard
Fox behavior. All the Fox commentators utter exactly the same
talking points in the same catch phrases every news cycle. (During
the GW Bush admin these seemed to come directly from Karl Rove inside
the WHite House.) The story of Bill Clinton bringing back the two
journalists from N. Korea was an example. The Daily Show did a quick
montage of various Fox figures saying exactly the same thing (all
indicating this was a terrible thing to have taken place). Of course
it was humorous (mechanical repetition by humans is easily comic) but
it also amplified the point that Fox is more concerned with trying to
score political points than actually facing human reality (and
managing to try to change a good thing into a menacing, corrupt,
dangerous thing). But, it also taught a further lesson: that the Fox
on air folks really are little puppets and don't think for themselves
but just parrot a talking point generated elsewhere.
It's also worth pointing out that there is a considerable difference
between the left and right in terms of these news commentaries. (I
speak from recent research done while driving from Chicago to Oregon
with my old buddy John Hess who I forced to listen to Limbaugh et
al). The right is really simplistic, dogmatic, and unimaginative.
Most of the time they just say the same thing over and over again.
For Limbaugh (radio) he just chews on the same talking point of the
day all during the hours he is on air. For Fox News, different faces
succeed each other, but to the same end in one news cycle.
In contrast, the MSNBC (cable TV) or Pacifica (radio) folks try to
offer some kind of larger analysis and thus appeal to reason, not
just passion or sloganeering, to make their points. This is probably
built into liberals: they really think that they can teach people,
persuade them with appeals to reason, provide information so people
can learn and grow. I think that old-fashioned conservatives (I'm
thinking of Goldwater) also thought they could lay things out clearly
and reasonably and win people to their views. Today, the right is
much more cynical (think Rove) and opportunistic than principled.
How this works out strategically is clear: the Republican Party is
now ever shrinking, and beholden to its fringe right elements: tea
baggers and birthers at the moment.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.