Thursday, July 22, 2010


If you're wondering what to make of the race-baiting train wreck surrounding Fox News and serial distorter Andrew Breitbart - and their current pawn, Shirley Sherrod - you can start by reading Bob Cesca's piece here. I think he's correct when he says that Fox News and their fraud machine will do this again because:

... the traditional news media and, to a certain extent, the Democrats including the president, are too easily cowed by right-wing freakouts.

But it's actually worse. As Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks points out, the Obama administration has increasingly become a team of political cowards -- desparate not to be called names by the unethical media clowns at Fox News. When it comes to staring down Fox News, Cenk Uygur points to a disturbing trend:

Van Jones, ACORN, Dawn Johnsen, Shirley Sherrod. First sign of trouble, throw someone overboard ... Do you think the bully won't take your lunch money tomorrow if you give it to him today?

I don't want to dwell on the race issue here because it's really a distraction. And besides, doing so buys into the small-minded tactics used by Fox News and the far right (though Breitbart's still trying to keep the race issue alive). We should be concerned about how they are achieving their much larger big picture strategy: Fox News and the far right don't want President Obama to govern, let alone govern effectively. They want him to fail.

Keeping President Obama off balance by muddying the policy waters, and forcing him to concentrate on obnoxious media distractions, helps them achieve this goal. And they have plenty of help.

The Party of No - who provide useful political props for Fox News programming - has forced President Obama into meekly accepting a 60-vote, filibuster proof, environment in the Senate. This is a travesty of our democracy. But Team Obama accepts it in an effort to convince Independents to vote for and work with them. Then we have the Tea Party idiots. As I've pointed out before, they're not grass-root patriots. They're disgruntled Republicans who are pissed off that their team lost in 2008. They're recycled John Birchers ... old wine in a new bottle.

Worse, Fox News has a seemingly endless Mini Me team of Andrew Breitbarts, who are ready to follow Glen Beck's lead, doing what's necessary to bring the Republican Party - and their failed ideology - back into power in 2010. To date, this is what this mafia of mediocrity has achieved:

* President Obama caved in to fears of being called a socialist when he should have nationalized our failed financial institutions, and then fired the executives who ran their companies into the ground.

* President Obama caved in to fears of being called a communist when he allowed the banksters to walk away with billions in taxpayer funded bonus payouts, without even a threat of a retroactive (clawback) tax.

* President Obama caved in to fears of being called a Nazi when he failed to push for a genuine public option in the health care bill.

* President Obama caved in to being called weak when he sent thousands of more troops into President Bush's failed war in Afghanistan.

And what did President Obama get in return for doing the status quo "centrist" thing? The far right promptly started calling him a socialist, a communist, a Nazi, and a weakling. Oh, and for good measure, he's not their president because he's not a U.S. citizen. Way to go Team Obama. You just got your ass handed to you trying to appease a media clown show headed by Fox News (Shepard Smith excluded).

There's more, but the point is this. If there's no blowback from the real media or the White House against Fox News and Andrew Breitbart we can expect more of this in the future. The lies and innuendo will continue. And we all know what happens if you repeat a lie often enough ...

If there is a silver lining in any of this it's that the Supreme Court has held that you can't yell fire in a crowded theater. We saw how this legal principle could be applied (creatively) in a larger political setting with the backlash against Father Coughlin in the 1940s. Team Obama could learn much by reviewing this history.

I hope they do. Fox News and the far right have moved beyond yelling fire in our crowded political theater. They're now starting them.

- Mark

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