Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Night of the Long Knaves

Remember once upon a time a million years ago when indignation over Bill O'Reilly was a thing? Mother Jones wrote about it.  Rachel Maddow got up on her orange crate and shouted about it.

Well here we are, one million years later, and if you don't remember any of this, well, join the club, because nobody talks about suspending Billo-The-Clown for lying anymore.  Nobody....except your 'umble scrivener on this blog and on The Professional Left podcast, where I mention it to the point of irritating some of my regulars.

But believe it or not, there was a purpose to it: a long and patient setup for what I firmly believed would be a the inevitable loud and public object lesson.

And so now class is back in session.

For those of you who missed the story, this all came about when Fox News when full wingnut jihad after Trusted Media Person Brian Williams was caught making shit up.  Not on the air or anything, but he definitely made shit up.

And the Fox News bombardment just Never.  Fucking.  Stopped.

The only potential hiccup with the Fox News jihad was the aforementioned fact that their own, biggest on-air star and moneymaker was a notorious liar and douchebag.   And I said, for awhile it was a thing:

But eventually Bill O'Reilly being a notorious liar and douchebag stopped being a thing.  And the sad part was, lots of us disreputable Liberals knew this fight was over before it had begun because Fox News has a very clearly established protocol for dealing with people who attack their on-air celebrities:
  1. Double down and insist that you are 100% blameless.
  2. Mercilessly attack the reporter(s) who raise the issue.
  3. I was joking!  Can't you pussies take a fucking joke?
  4. Double down again and demand that they owe you an apology.
  5. Brag about your ratings, because on teevee those are the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong.
And it worked, because of course it worked.  Because time and again Fox News has shown it will hunker down forever and never give an inch in defense of its on-air thugs and trollops (from CNN Money, February 2015) -- 
Bill O'Reilly has 'full support' from Fox News chief

With its biggest star facing damaging allegations, Fox News is putting up a united front.

A spokeswoman said network executives are in Bill O'Reilly's corner, in a statement to several media outlets.

"Fox News Chairman and C.E.O. Roger Ailes and all senior management are in full support of Bill O'Reilly," the spokeswoman said.

Fox News did not respond to CNNMoney's requests for comment.

O'Reilly, the top rated host in cable news, has been forced to defend himself since Thursday, when a report from Mother Jones cast doubt on claims he has made about his time covering the Falklands War for CBS News in 1982. At the time, O'Reilly and his CBS News colleagues were based in Buenos Aires -- far from the Falkland Islands, where most of the fighting took place.
-- while MSNBC has shown time and again is lacks both the guts and the strategic interest necessary to engage in siege warfare with the orcs.  Hell, MSNBC prexy Phil Griffin already cedes three hours a day, every day, to a Fox News Lite punk named Joe Scarborough, so why should anyone who works there believe for one second that Griffin will have their back if they go after the Ailes Borg Collective itself?

And so, right on schedule, the Billo-The-Liar story crawled under the porch and died.  leaving Mr. O'Reilly free to go on the Letterman show and declare himself fully vindicated and then get back to the important work of pandering to racists, slandering Planned Parenthood and encouraging the mentally unstable to murder abortion providers.  

Forgotten by all...except for a few pedants -- 
Also (and apropos of nothing) this marks the 13th week of "Has anyone else noticed that no one is talking about The Many Lies of Bill O'Reilly anymore?"
-- living on the outskirts --
 It's why Bill O'Reilly will never be fired no matter what he says or does, and why Joe Scarborough can lie with impunityfor three hours a day, every day, on your Liberal teevee. 
-- of the Liberal Blogosphere -- 
Also I did wanted to take the opportunity to note that this is Week 18 of "Has anyone else noticed that no one is talking about The Many Lies of Bill O'Reilly anymore?" 
-- who would not let it go,

And then came the first Fox News-sponsored Republican candidate teevee show, in which the performer with the highest ratings and who was personally responsible for drawing the biggest cable numbers for this kind of freakshow in history, took exception to how some reporter was treating him.

And because Donald Trump is not only a Fox News veteran but the living embodiment of the average Fox News viewer's id, he knows that there is a very clearly established protocol for dealing with people who attack highly-rated on-air celebrities:
  1. Double down and insist that you are 100% blameless.
  2. Mercilessly attack the reporter(s) who raise the issue.
  3. I was joking!  Can't you pussies take a fucking joke?
  4. Double down again and demand that they owe you an apology.
  5. Brag about your ratings, because on teevee those are the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong.
And it's working, because of course it's working.  Because Fox News has spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars training the Pig People to automatically rally to the defense of any bombastic Fox News asshole with high ratings who says he being unfairly attacked and invokes this protocol. 

But what about the fact that The Donald isn't attacking Mother Jones or MSNBC, but Beloved Fox News Animatronic Talking Point Delivery Module, Megyn Kelly?

Dude, the fact that Trump has swung the guns around and is now blasting away at the deck of his own carrier isn't an accident -- it's part of the plan.

As I have mentioned before on the Professional Left Podcast and on the Hal Sparks Radio Show (Mega-Worldwide) this is essentially a real estate deal in which Donald Trump has swooped in and laid claim to a choice piece of property -- the Republican Base -- which Roger Ailes absolutely must have if he is going to have any hope of putting his nominee into the White House in 2016.    Ailes has spent a fortune turning the Conservative Base into a cohort of infinitely reprogrammable idiots, and another fortune taking over the Republican political process, but to make it all work he has to have clear title to the Pig People, and Donald Trump is fucking with that.

Trump is too rich to be scared off by Fox or drowned out by the lapdog Beltway media, and he knows how to play the wingnut mob like a two-dollar fiddle, so there can be no fake "grassroots" counterattack mounted from that direction.  Also Ailes knows damn well that if push comes to shove, Trump can splash enough RINO mud on the Fox brand to monkey-wrench Ailes' dreams of returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue indefinitely.  

So since Ailes can't bulldoze Trump out of the way like he does with MSNBC, and (unlike his ideological godfathers in the German National Socialist Party) he can't simply make his antagonists  and his dog-loyal-but-now-inconvenient shoutycrackers goon squad disappear, instead, like a mature crime boss, he calls a truce, and meets with the his peers to work out a deal:
Don Corleone: How did things ever get so far? I don't know. It was so unfortunate, so unnecessary. Tattaglia lost a son and I lost a son. We're quits. And if Tattaglia agrees, then I'm willing to let things go on the way they were before.

Don Barzini: We're all grateful to Don Corleone for calling this meeting. We all know him as a man of his word. A modest man who will always listen to reason.

Tattaglia: Yes, Barzini, he is too modest. He had all the judges and politicians in his pocket and refused to share them.

Don Corleone: When, when did I ever refuse an accommodation?...
Which is exactly what happened (from New York Magazine):
Donald Trump and Roger Ailes Make Up — for Now
Now, it appears both sides want peace. This morning, Trump tweeted that Ailes called to assure him that Fox will cover him “fairly” going forward. According to two high-level Fox sources, Ailes's diplomacy was the result of increasing concern inside Fox News that Trump could damage the network. Immediately following Thursday's debate, Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails. The chatter on Twitter was equally in Trump’s favor. “In the beginning, virtually 100 percent of the emails were against Megyn Kelly,” one Fox source, who was briefed on the situation, told me. “Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.”

Things got worse for Ailes over the weekend. In a phone conversation, Trump told Sean Hannity that “he was never doing Fox again,” according to one person with knowledge of the call. The anti-Kelly emails, and threat of a boycott by Trump, seem to have pushed Ailes to defuse the war.
In other words the traffic in toxic bullshit will be permitted, but controlled, and Megyn Kelly will shaddap already and treat the Don with the respect he deserves.

And there will be the peace.


John Taylor said...

We have such low expectations of Fox News, we are flabbergasted at any crumb of truth that falls off Bullshit Mountain.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

*dons freshly folded, outrageously stylish chapeau de Reynolds Wrap*

The crime family analogy may be even more apt than Drifty realizes.

If I were The Donald, I would hire extra security and wear a Kevlar vest under my business suit, in case a "lone nut" or "Moozlim terrist" comes along. I would also stay out of light airplanes.

Don't forget what happened to George Wallace, the GOP's chief competitor for the Dixiecrat vote in 1972.

Also, don't forget what agency the father of Jeb! used to head. They know how to pull off stunts like that.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't necessarily mean all of your enemies are imaginary... ;)

Kent Anderson said...

And then there's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDFzLm8I-HY

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

1. "Pig people." Heard you use this expression a million times. Is it a specific reference to something?

2. Let's see. Donald Trump as Doctor Doom...

Arrogant as Hell...check.
Can’t be removed due to both social status and misplaced fan loyalty...check.
Doesn't admit to mistakes...check.
Refers to himself in the third person...check.
Wants more power than he deserves...check.

Doombots...look, I never said it was a PERFECT analogy.

Be seeing you.