Thursday, August 19, 2010


Eric Boehlert asks:

When does Fox News' ugly Muslim bashing become the story?

One month after launching a jaw-dropping campaign of racial discord and warning of a looming, Obama-led "race war," Fox News and the far-right media have turned the page of the hate hymnal and embraced a new enemy: Muslims....

When is the press going to acknowledge that the rules have changed, and these naked smear campaigns being launched by Fox News and the far-right press have no precedent in our politics and, more importantly, they're changing the way our news agenda is being set? ...

Atrios thinks it's because other journalists are "generally pretty clueless about issues that any marginal group faces, due to race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or anything else."

That may be true, but I don't think that's the problem. I think the problem is that the rest of the press just can't see the Foxsters for what they are. Other journalists look at the folks from Fox and think, "Hey, we're in the same business! We have the same work habits! We have the same insider lingo! We put up with the same crap covering the same stories!" Plus -- especially now -- no one wants to antagonize someone who might be useful in a future job search. So the rest of the press is never going to go after Fox. There's too much of a sense of tribal solidarity.

And then there's this:

There [was] a very depressing story [yesterday] in The Washington Post about the lunatic racist Pamela Geller, who has been leading the crusade against the so-called Ground Zero mosque.... it was my impression that Geller was a marginal nutbag, but it seems as if she's setting the national agenda now on matters related to Islam and religious freedom....

The explanation for her newfound media success (even outside the confines of Fox) isn't exactly the same, but it's similar. You see, Geller's not just an insane blogger who posts 12,000-word rants questioning Barack Obama's parentage -- she's a go-getter who's managed to chat up and befriend influential people, people like John Bolton and the well-connected Robert Spencer. Her publisher is Mary Matalin. She's represented by the same speakers' bureau as Donna Brazile and Steve Wozniak and John Yoo. She used to be the associate publisher of The New York Observer, which covers Gotham media, finance, and real estate swells.

See, to the mainstream press, it doesn't matter all that much what she says. What matters is that she's worked it. She's hustled to try to become a media star. To them, she isn't a hatemonger freak -- she's a hell of a self-promoter. They respect that. She's doing what a lot of journalists are trying to do. They all have a novel in the desk dream, or dreams of being a bestselling nonfiction writer like Jon Meacham or Walter Isaacson. So they probably get her.

And now she has a president and an entire political party on the ropes. So she'll probably get more respect. She could be on the covers of Time and Newsweek soon.

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