Saturday, February 12, 2011


Eric Boehlert of Media Matters actually thinks this is a problem for the right:

The GOP Cannot Control Its Own Noise Machine (The Egypt Edition)

Tune into
Glenn Beck tonight to watch the Fox News host explain how the pro-democracy uprising in Egypt, which culminated in the peaceful overthrow of the country's authoritarian rule, is a demonstrably bad thing. Marvel at how Beck details the deadly worldwide danger that lurks in the wake of the people's revolution in Cairo, as the coming leftist insurrection gathers stream.

... imagine how painful Beck's performance tonight will be for pundits and leaders associated with the conservative movement in this country, and specifically the right-wing media. Imagine the humiliation knowing that in many respects Beck, thanks to his TV platform, has become the face of the conservative movement in America and here Beck has spent the last two weeks attacking the brave protesters in Egypt.

But this is what happens when Republicans build an irresponsible Noise Machine that's designed to offend and designed to attack. What happens is that, in case of emergency, there is no 'off' switch that Bill Kristol and other suddenly concerned Beck critics can reach for. Same goes for Rush Limbaugh who, like Beck, has been mocking Egypt's freedom fighters and who also represents the voice of today's right-wing America....

So, how concerned about this is a typical mainstream -- oh, to pick one example, presidential aspirant Tim Pawlenty? Well, he's so concerned that, at CPAC yesterday, he sounds like Beck Lite:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an all-but-declared candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, accused the Obama administration Friday of "appeasing" the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as the country navigates a path forward in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak's resignation....

"We undermine Israel, the U.K., Poland, Czech Republic, Colombia, amongst other of our friends," Pawlenty said. "Meanwhile, we appease Iran, Russia, and adversaries in the Middle East, including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Mr. President, with bullies, might makes right. Strength makes them submit. We need to get tough on our enemies, not on our friends. And, Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country," Pawlenty said in one of his speech's biggest applause lines....

Golly, how is this possible? We knew Sarah Palin was on board with the "Egypt uprising = giant step forward for the Muslim Brotherhood and the quest for a global caliphate" line, but, heck, she's just a clown. Pawlenty is someone who's serious, right? Doesn't the Beltway establishment agree on that?

Look, here's how it's going to work: Obviously, even with the best outcome imaginable, there are going to be quite a few disturbing moments in the future of Egypt. The right-wing media is going to make a huge effort to highlight every tiny hint of Islamicism, every suggestion of curtailing women's rights, every negative word about America or Israel, every angry word or deed directed at Egypt's Christians. It simply won't matter what the general trends are -- even if a future Egypt is utterly secular and tolerant, these moments will be highlighted to reinforce the Fox storyline, the way snowstorms are highlighted to "prove" that global warming doesn't exist.

Why shouldn't we expect the vast majority of the right to just get with the Fox program and declare what's going on in Egypt evil? Because of facts? It's an established scientific fact that humans are causing global warming, and yet, once Christine O'Donnell beat Mike Castle, the GOP had a slate of Senate candidates in 2010 that was unanimously in the denialist camp. What difference did facts make?

In American politics, we believe all kinds of things in willful denial of facts, especially things that fit the right-wing belief system: that lowering taxes on the wealthy increases middle-class prosperity and doesn't lead to deficits; that more guns lead to less crime; that the death penalty reduces the murder rate. How is this different?

Well, it's different because it's foreign policy. I really do worry that the next Republican president is actually going to conduct the foreign policy of the United States based on Fox News/talk radio soundbites. I think that could be cataclysmic. But that woud just be a short leap from the way the messages of right-wing demagogues become are transformed into policy.


By the way, while we're on the subject of climate change, let me remind you of the New York Times story from a few weeks again that offered an explanation of why the severe winter weather we've been having recently actually is compatable with the global warming narrative -- because there seems to have long been an Arctic "fence" that helps confine brutal winter weather to northern latitudes, but that fence is breaking down as the Arctic warms (though it's not certain what the causes are). In any case, the result is colder weather in America -- but warmer weather in the Arctic.

And, well, guess what? Sea ice in the Arctic is at its lowest January level since record-keeping began in 1979. So, yeah, it's been colder down here and warmer up there.

No comments: