For much of the last eight years one specific right-wing media mouthpiece company that will remain nameless (thought it rhymes with "pox") has been crying crocodile tears over the loss of civility in the political discourse appalling. When one disagreed with the president and his plans to start an ill-planned war, the "pox" network called them un-American. When a few protestors got through the security screening process and were actually allowed into the town hall meetings that the last administration orchestrated for friend-laden crowds, the "pox" network bemoaned the death of civility, calling the protestors un-American.
"Pox" news (their word, not mine…) called every incident where a protestor shouted down a speaker or disrupted a meeting scandalous. Which would make such a better story if they weren't now backing, or at least heavily promoting the same behavior and calling it "debate." Apparently, if you act appallingly and you agree with the "pox" network you're debating… if you disagree you're anti-American and a troublemaker.
Now, I'm not saying that the people disrupting meetings with their ranting don’t have rights to be protesting what is going on. They do and I defend it. (Though I would prefer, as I have said before, a bit of decorum.)
John Stewart put together a montage the other night that is worth seeing. In the first part of the montage, the commentators from the "pox" news morning program provide an interesting and telling description of the healthcare "debate."
The anchors sit there talking about the "orderly, and respectful," average Americans who are just "showing-up" at these town hall meetings to ask questions and have their voices heard. One gores so far as to say that she has seen no ill-behaved people at these town hall meetings.
These were also interspersed with cuts of protestors frothing-at-the mouth in their frenzy to shut-down the meetings. One particularly apoplectic man yells at the speaker that he (the congressman holding the town hall meeting) is uninformed as to what is in the bill being discussed and he (again the congressman) should watch Glenn Beck. (The speaker suggests if the protestor wants to learn more, he should turn off the TV when Glenn Beck comes on.)
The piece goes on to defend the "pox" news coverage by reminding us all how they have always been pro-freedom-of-speech. This comment is then juxtaposed by cuts of the "pox" news anchors complaining about the "radical left" (by which I assume they mean the 52% of us who opposed the idea of attacking Iraq when our enemy was in Afghanistan) being vitriolic, angry, and obviously being organized. (If that isn’t the pot calling the grass "dope…")
So what do we have? We have a radical right-wing network that is (and always has been) nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Republican Party. We have a clearly manufactured protest being backed by a news outlet that dismisses their opposition as being manufactured vitriol; a "news" network that complains about the vitriol of their opposition but is not above creating and promoting vitriol against their enemies.
What did you expect? Fair and Balanced? It is no wonder that there a number of studies showing that "pox" news watchers are the worst informed on current affairs. (One study I read said that over fifty percent of the people who say this network is their primary news source believe we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.)
Wherever you are today, I hope you will think for yourself today. Take my advice: don't take my word for it… don't take anyone's word for it… go out and form your own opinion.
Don Bergquist – August 13, 2009 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA