Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Best the Right Can Do

Looking at Memeorandum today, it looks like Conservatives got everything they wanted. Most of the day's blog discussion seems to be about the serial felon James O'Keefe's (probably doctored) attack of already-outgoing NPR executive Ron Schiller. The focus is on a traditional Right Wing enemy (non-corporate media), not the unbelievably unpopular Republican agenda in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Ohio of stripping workers of their bargaining rights. Nor is the discussion focused the possible economic plunge that the proposed Republican cuts to jobs would cause.

It seems clear looking at the broader media picture that the rest of the media are not biting on this story. CBS News and ABC News has the story on the front pages of their websites, but buried with other links. On MSNBC, the link doesn't even show up in the splash window; you have to scroll down to find it. The story won't be out front on the broadcasts. NYTimes is dutifully covering the story, as are other traditional media outlet blogs. The Washington Times presents a very odd anti-NPR angle on the whole affair.

My editorial judgment is that the story simply has no pull with a normal viewer/reader/voter. If anything, it puts "Tea Party" and "racist" back in the same headlines, possibly with supporting pictures of racist tea party members hoisting racist tea signs at racist tea party rallies organized by racist tea party leaders. The Washington Times piece manages goes further into the disaster arena: it estranges any reader who doesn't automatically jump to the defense of climate change deniers, while estranging birthers and people who believe the world is flat (hint: these groups might overlap).

There's a lesson in here somewhere about how to give right-wing blogagandists enough rope. The amount of resources that the Right devoted to this extraordinarily inside-baseball manufactured controversy is astounding. But there is a strength on display here. The circling of the wagons around the single issue is usually considered a strength in political discourse. There is, however, a difference between the normal 'message discipline' context and the 'totally crazy and who cares anyway' territory in which we find the GOP blogagandists today. I just wish I could pinpoint exactly what the difference is.

No comments:

Post a Comment