Monday, December 03, 2012

Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd.

Extra Stupid Edition
A reader pushes back against my comparison of the two networks:
Can we please stop with the false equivalency that MSNBC is a less-competent Fox? MSNBC is slanted, but here are the things that keep them distinct from Fox:
1) They acknowledge their bias.
2) They don't ignore major news stories.
3) They don't invent news from fiction.
4) They don't fund/promote/create 'grass roots' movements and then cover them as spontaneous.
5) They don't attack and undermine non-partisan fact-checking sources
6) They (particularly Maddow) attempt to get actual important figures from the right to come on, though those figures usually decline
7) They don't employ politicians who are currently running for office while covering those same politicians
These aren't distinctions of competence; they are distinctions of kind. I know you don't care for their treatment of Pat "You-Can't-Say-That-on-Television" Buchanan, but ejecting a single figure for persistent offensive speech is not the same as ejecting an entire class of commentators simply because their arguments may undermine your core propaganda message.

MSNBC is partisan. Fox is false.
I don't think my reader is wrong. But because I'm not a partisan Democrat, all I can say is that Fox is completely shameless in its propaganda and paranoia while MSNBC is just smug with its partisanship and liberalism. So Fox is worse. But forgive me for not watching either - unless for hathetic purposes.
And here you see the beating heart of Fake Centrism baring its mortified Conservative pedigree.  

From Pravda-mendacity-canneries like Fox and Hate Radio to the GOP's bigotry-injected electoral machine, Conservatism's Grand Strategic Plan has always come down to telling comforting lies to a mob of bigots and imbeciles, all day, every day, year after year after year.  It is a plan which has worked so well that their army of brainwashed orcs has all but wrecked American democracy on behalf of the Conservative oligarchs and theocrats who bankroll the enterprise 

This has been going on a very long time, and for most of that time Professional Conservative Public Intellectuals like Andrew Sullivan completely failed this country by refusing to even acknowledge the monster the Right was building until it was far, far too late to stop it.  At the same time, while flying under a separate-but-equally-scurrilous banner, the American mainstream media also completely failed this country by refusing to report honestly on the monster even after it had kicked the doors of lab of their hinges and was running amok in full view, choosing instead to turn every Conservative atrocity into one more bullshit "Both Sides Do It" circle jerk.

MSNBC (and the late, lamented Air America) stepped into the deafening moral vacuum created by the Right's paranoia and fascism and the Center's smothering, willfully-blind cowardice with a business plan that basically came down to exposing the comforting lies that Fox News' tells its mob of bigots and imbeciles. 

It really is that painfully simple, and the fact that Mr. Sullivan finds this smug and partisan is funny enough, but it is JATOed into the upper orbits of high comedy when you realize that this horror of icky, smug, partisan Liberalism is coming from an Andrew Sullivan who has built his entire post-Dubya  career out of odds and ends purloined from the Liberal parts department.

...if Mr. Sullivan simply outed himself as a Liberal, he would instantly lose his place in the food-chain, wouldn’t he? Because like that microscopic number of self-loathing black Conservatives who make their daily bread by serving the interests of the Southern Bigot Party, more than any other single factor, it was always the sheer gawking, oddballness of the brazen self-delusion inherent in being the gay champion of the Christopath Homophobe Party that put Mr. Sullivan in the spotlight.

That was what gave him his unique and lucrative cache.

After all, Liberal gay political writers are a dime a dozen, and so in a strange way we find Andrew Sullivan locked in the same kind of mortal combat over labels -- and for exactly the same reasons -- as Roy Cohn's character in "Angels In America" as he adamantly insisted -- even as he was dying of AIDS -- that he was not a "ho-mo-sex-shall".

(Not Safe For Work)

Because, Cohn reasoned, homosexuals were nobodies; losers who had zero clout and “in 15 years cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill from City Council.” And since Roy Cohn could get the President of the United States (or his wife) on the phone -- could take the man he was fucking to the White House and make Ronald Reagan smile at him and shakes his hand -- it therefore followed that Roy Cohn could not possibly be a homosexual.

That unlike every other person in his position on Earth, Roy Cohn was a heterosexual man, who fucked around with guys.

Likewise, even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.

Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.

Mr. Sullivan regularly receives such largess, therefore he must not be a Liberal.

He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.

Because if he is not something spontaneously-generated and utterly sui generis, then he is just another Lefty-Come-Very-Lately, showing up at our door at 3:00 A.M., 20 years late and trailing toxic baggage behind him like Halley's Comet.

And who in the world would pay him to do his little dance then?


Anonymous said...

Two things, Driftglass:

(1) I have probably mentioned this before about the character Cohn, but before there was a visible gay community, it was fairly common for gay men to be so closeted and in denial that they really *did* believe that the were straight men who fucked around with other men. I remember about five years ago a problem with this in the black community, with married men being "on the down-low", and their wives suffering the consequences. (It doesn't help that the conservatives and christopaths have pushed for so long that HIV is a gay disease that men think they can't get it if they're "straight", even if "straight" and having sex with men.) About ten years ago several states had a mass of vice stings in public parks. What was striking was that, as I recall, about 80% of the men identified as straight, and about 60% were married. (There was also a series of blatantly wrongful arrests due to law enforcement's eagerness, but that's another story.)

Cohn's character is something well known to older gay men. It's a result of the closet

(2) "telling comforting lies to a mob of bigots and imbeciles"

I actually have to disagree with the word "comforting". Fox doesn't want the base "comforted". They want the base shrieking with rage and set to run howling through the streets. If not howling with rage, they want their base trembling with terror, huddled around their TV (turned to FOX) for comfort. The only time they want their base calm is when they're mailing a check or cash.

"Pandering" may be a better word. "Prodding" would be more accurate. But "comforting? No.

(3)Given the growing interweaving of the Tea Party and Evangelical wings of the base (the stupid and the crazy), I wonder if there is any truth to the fact that Fox will not say positive things about a gay man? Such a thing would enrage the crazies, and the stupid tend to be bigots. The crazies were drawn in because they are self motivating, and I think they are discovering that they can control the Tea Party wing directly. The only thing really holding that in check is that because the evangelicals are blind authoritarians, they are "self starting" when given approval to move in a direction. If they know their work will be "blessed", the base will be self motivate. If it is a gray area, that stifles the self motivation a bit because it may "make Baby Jesus cry" or some such. The stupid base will usually not rail and rage outside a comfortable and familiar environment unless they have a authority figure leading them. The crazies will follow any "blessed" authority figure, while the stupid will follow any white authority figure using the right fear and hate words, including an angry mob of white people.

So... I wonder of FOX is afraid of any positive portrayal of a gay conservative will rile up the crazy base, and the stupid base will take queue from their anger and turn on FOX. FOX may know the crazies could accidentally trigger the stupid golem against them. Giving the crazies some authority over the stupid, even if they are just commanders among the foot soldiers, means they have to be extra nice to the crazies.


Fiddlin' Bill said...

Re the firing of Buchannan, it seems in hindsight that MSNBC was mostly prescient. Buchannan now writes for VDare, and I'm sure you and readers here have seen his openly racist comments on the election results. Even in the quote, Sullivan twists his logic in knots to try to "make" his point--and clearly fails. He's left with a weak justification for not listening to MSNBC--he sounds like an old maid objecting to the language on "Deadwood."

Omnipotent Poobah said...

One small factual correction, Maddow did attack Politifacts once a few months ago, though I can't remember why. Having said that, that's not much of a thing to ding them over and I agree with you overall. Good always.

Bisham said...

Mike K.,

You make some good points about the evolution of the gay condition in America.

But you may want to consider the situation we just had in the San Diego mayoral race....a gay republican man vs. straight democrat. The democrat won, but the vote was 52-48%. It was so fun to watch the R's suck it up and vote for a gay candidate who didn't even have support from the gay community. It was a big step forward in the aforementioned evolution.....combine that with the republican ex-mayor publicaly supporting his lesbian daughter and marriage equality, and it felt like real progress was made.

So Faux may be closer to standing up for a homer-sexshall than you think?

marindenver said...

"So Faux may be closer to standing up for a homer-sexshall than you think?"

Umm, probably not, in all honesty. "Teh Base" is where all their moniez comes from after all.

Michiamano said...

'"Pandering" may be a better word. "Prodding" would be more accurate. But "comforting? No.'

Or, even better, "directly stimulating the reptile brain"?