Stale Bread

We have all watched as Fox “News” and other right-wing media outlets have pushed the so-called Benghazi scandal. And some of us watched, in relative horror, as CNN recently joined in with its own right-wing-infected “special investigation,” complete with ominous music and boldly titled, “The Truth About Benghazi.

Revealing the truth about Benghazi, of course, had little to do with that dubious special investigation. What it did have to do with, as David Brock pointed out, is CNN’s turn toward more right-wingishness, presumably as a way “to compete with Fox News.”

The honcho of CNN, Jeff Zucker, “has lent legitimacy to the right’s agenda, especially the never-ending complaint that the network never airs enough conservative points of view,” Brock wrote. Zucker told Variety that such a complaint “was probably a valid criticism.” Yes, the network that brought us Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs, Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch lacks conservative voices.

As Brock notes, the response to that “never-ending” conservative criticism includes producing “truth” programs that push “long-debunked myths about the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.”

Such is the state of the television news business these days. Excepting some thoughtful programs on MSNBC, it’s a race to the bottom it seems and CNN wants to be a part of it, even if it can’t really compete with the worst of the worst on Fox. But there may be something happening on the Roger Ailes-controlled conservative channel that needs a closer look.

For many years Fox “News” and right-wing media in general have been selling the stale bread of conservatism in the form of turd sandwiches. Hannity and Limbaugh may be the two biggest turds, but there are many smaller ones that serve as nourishment for American reactionaries. However, there may be a move away from selling pure turd sandwiches and instead put something more appetizing between those slices of stale conservative bread, something that would attract people who are not part of the turd-loving Tea Party tribe.

I’m talking about the rumor that the attractive Megyn Kelly, who is part of Fox’s daytime Republican propaganda lineup, may replace the unattractive Sean Hannity, who is part of Fox’s evening Republican propaganda lineup. John Whitehouse, writing for Media Matters, begins his interesting piece on the rumor this way:

Megyn Kelly’s move to primetime will mark a shift in the very essence of Fox News, away from the hate of right-wing radio and towards something more effective at shilling conservative misinformation.

Whitehouse says that Kelly,

is a much more pernicious purveyor of political propaganda. Kelly has the unique ability to pluck misinformation and imbue it with a veneer of legitimacy that Sean Hannity has long since lost, if he ever had it at all.

The point of all this, says Whitehouse, is adaptation. Fox is moving away from the Hannity-turd model of conservative propaganda, thus “allowing it to more effectively advance a political agenda.” My own view is that, fearful of a powerful Hillary Clinton-for-president campaign, there is a need to get people like Megyn Kelly out there to push, without the insanity of Hannity, the Benghazi “scandal,” which, naturally, will soon be an all-out assault on our former Secretary of State.Roger Ailes, Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity

And speaking of politics, take a look at what is happening to New Jersey governor Chris Christie. I have heard even liberal commentators rave about his appeal, about his personality, about his ability to attract even Democratic voters (and Democratic money). Christie is obviously a favorite of the mainstream press, which is why so much was made of his public spat with Rand Paul. By comparison to the nuts-turds in the Republican Party, Chris Christie looks quite sane and un-turdly, which, of course, is why he is so politically dangerous to Democrats.

Besides his willingness to raise money for the unhinged right-wing congressman from Iowa, Steve King—talk about your turds!—consider just how conservative Christie is. As Salon’s Alex Pareene notes, the governor

is anti-choice on reproductive rights (after being pro-choice);

has doubts about evolution;

has doubts about the reality and causes of climate change;

bullies “teachers and public servants”;

favors at least some privatization of public schools;

has opposed same-sex marriage in his state;

has opposed early voting in his state;

has vetoed a minimum wage increase;

has withdrawn New Jersey’s participation in a carbon cap and trade agreement;

has “killed” his state’s version of the DREAM Act;

has cut funding for women’s health services, including cancer screenings and family planning, which led to the closing of clinics.

Others have pointed out how Christie refused to renew a state tax on millionaires while cutting the Earned Income Tax Credit.  He has cut business taxes and increased the amount of subsidizes given to corporations operating in New Jersey. He has cut funding for county colleges, causing tuition to go up for students.

The bottom line is that Chris Christie is a very conservative, even ultra-conservative guy. He’s just not a turd in the same way Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are. And that’s why he may be able to serve up president-size slices of stale conservative bread to a public hungry for solutions to the dysfunction in Washington.

Especially now that CNN has made a conscious turn toward the dark side of journalism.

7 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  August 14, 2013

    Unfortunately, I have not yet watched the CNN special on Benghazi, but now with Duane’s endorsement of same, the CNN special, i feel compelled to watch it.

    I wrote a few “volumns” soon after Benghazi happened. I asked some questions, what were to me fundamental questions about that tragedy. I still, by and large have not received answers to such questions. Has anyone yet to hear anything of substance from General Hamm for example. If you don’t know who he is, or was, don’t bother responding.

    WHY in the midst of a national crisis, a tragic national crisis, was POTUS AWOL, in the living quarters and maybe in bed, as America was attacked? He delgated authority to ………? One of those in authority at the highest level of command was SEC STATE. Later she asked, “why is this now important” as she got hammered with questions from the GOP!!!

    Comparing Limbaugh and Hannity is fine with me. To use Jim’s phrase in earlier comments, they are both exteme ideologues, just like Duane on a lower level!!! I don’t listen to the first or watch the second these days. Even in olden times I only watched Hannity, on occassion because he came in between two Fox shows I generally liked, Bill and Greta.

    As for Megan, well watch out for sure. She seems to me to be one smart cookie and a good looking cookie as well if I may say so and not be called a sexist!!! She thinks like a good lawyer (like Greta if you will) and acts like a “blond bombshell announcer”. Don’t you all love to see sex and politics all mixed together!!

    You Fox haters herein may have never seen her go one on one with O’Reilly, but I have and she won some of those exchanges. He would start ranting and she would give him that “Are you kidding me look” with that little quirk on the side of her mouth and a glare from her (beautiful) eyes. She would also beat him on substance sometimes as well.

    So I say bring her on to FOX and get rid of Hannity. Megan will just overwhelm Rachel, expect for you ideologues, autodidacticly created!!! I can’t imagine someone TEACHING you some of the stuff I read herein!!

    Anson

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  2. I’m OK with Megyn Kelly moving to prime time. However, I think she should be required to wear an Obama clown mask during the entre show.

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    • That would work. I’m tempted to comment on her proposed wardrobe, but likely shouldn’t.

      Anything would be an improvement over Hannity.

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  3. OK, Duane, I’m convinced CC is more conservative than he appears. Deeds do trump rhetoric. However, to me his scatological tier has to be above many others in the GOP, say for example Mitch McConnell, simply because he isn’t afraid to be seen with and converse with the opposition. And, his sandwich might even be more digestible than, say, a Wiener. (Been waiting all week for a chance to use that. Thanks. 😀 )

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    • Some of my most “conservative” facebook friends think Christie has disqualified himself from higher office due to being seen too much Mr. Obama.

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      • Yes, Christie’s rather chummy time with O after Hurricane Sandy made a lasting impression on a lot of Tea Party members. The GOP 2016 primary battle will, I am certain, provide us with a lot of entertainment, as Christie is pretty close to getting in, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are certainly getting in, and any number of fringe candidates will join them for the fun and $$$$ of it. I am fearful though (from my liberal Democratic perspective, of course), that the establishment will get behind Christie because he is the only one with a snowball’s chance of beating Hillary Clinton. And we all know that in national politics, the establishment always gets what it wants, no matter what the Tea Party hordes desire.

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  4. To reiterate Duane’s point: average and stupid people are easier to con when the game is insidious. The typical American middle-of-the-road voter is mostly lazy, seldom diligent, fearful of doing primary research and — especially if he/she lives in the South or (worse) “by-God” Texas has been discouraged from critical thinking, anyway. Having “cute” Megan deliver the propaganda is sort of like putting bourbon in your coffee: it’ll put a smile on your face and make it go down a little easier, but it isn’t gonna wake you up. Insidious. CC is a larger, more charming version of Indiana’s Mitch Daniels: claiming to be an across-the-aisle guy while putting the screws to anything truly progressive, or compassionate, or gracious or fair. NJ voters select him at their ultimate peril. But, he shook hands with the President and has — to his “credit” tagged the Tea Baggers for the whores they are. Still, he is in his heart of hearts somewhere to the right of the late Bill Buckley. Those not calling out his actual hard core conservatism allow him to work his insidious grift. Interestingly, for those who wanted Mitch to run for VP, his multiple misdeeds as Governor of Indiana are coming home to roost. Always an insidious wolf in sheep’s clothing, Mitch will by this time next year be well-exposed for the repressive, crooked, right wing shill he truly was and is. We should take bets on how long he lasts as President of Purdue. My guess is Obama will be in office longer. Still, like Chris and Megan, he spent some “effective” years being less shrill than Scott Walker and Rick Scott. That is the danger. The serpent didn’t beguile Eve by sounding like Limbaugh or Hannity — he sounded genial, “Oh, c’mon, Eve — God didn’t really say that, did he?” God, we’re easy.

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