The Latest Right Wing Meme to Make it Big

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Michelle Togut

Michelle Togut resides in North Carolina with her husband and pets. She has worked as an adjunct professor of history, contributor and writer, and small-firm attorney, among other things. These days, she's trying to sell real estate. For fun, she reads political blogs of all persuasions, practices yoga, drinks wine, hikes, reads, and volunteers for a local animal rescue.

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96 Responses

  1. This is ridiculous. There’s no need for monitors in the newsroom because all journalists are leftist shills.

    (Am I doing this right?)Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    I thought one of the conservative bugaboos was sampling, because everyone should be counted, but now they’re saying that a sample of newsrooms is every newsroom. Does this mean that they like sampling now?Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Well, when I watched Right Wingers froth about this, it was about the section that talked about:

    Among other things, this project would include interviews with a few news directors, general managers, and so forth, asking them probing questions like “What is the news philosophy of the station?” and “Who decides which stories are covered?” They also proposed to ask HR managers about the demographic makeup of each station’s staff.

    Their point was that these questions were designed to demonstrate that Fox was biased and nobody else was.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, you have to already believe it’s biased and nobody else is to think the questions were so designed from that description.

      I mean, it says, “Hey, what’s your philosophy,” which doesn’t mean, “What are your politics,” but “How do you approach journalism/television,” and who decides what stories are covered seems like a pretty good question. The demographics of the stations would tell us if, over all, there are underrepresented groups (not just in a particular station, but overall). That seems like a good thing to know, right?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t pretend to know what the intent is, but that’s pretty sinister. I can’t see any legitimate reason for the government to be collecting this information, or any constitutionally legitimate actions they might take based on it. Even if it’s just a legacy of the command-and-control phase the country went through in the mid 20th century, it ought to be repealed.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Well, the original writer on the subject thought it was an excuse to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, which has been dead for more then 30 years now.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The major networks broadcast over the airwaves, which are defined as the property of the public. This puts them–to whatever extent does not conflict with the First Amendment*–under government authority.

        ___________________
        * But I’m not going to engage in debate about those boundaries!Report

  4. Avatar NewDealer says:

    The Right Wing is always on the search of something to be outraged about.

    It is the how the Long Con feeds itself.

    Keep in mind, I have no idea what Sarah Palin and other right-wingers mean when they talk about freedom.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to NewDealer says:

      As far as I can tell, getting outraged about stuff is pretty much what the partisan blogosphere is for these days. It may just be that conservative politicians are more likely to join in than liberal ones, though I’m not even sure that’s true.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        It may just be that conservative politicians are more likely to join in than liberal ones, though I’m not even sure that’s true.

        That seems to depend in part on who holds the presidency. Which is to say that I think it actually goes beyond being outraged by the president’s actions, which you would expect members of the opposite coalition to have with greater frequency and intensity, but the cohorts of the party that’s out of power seem to have a greater baseline level of outrage even to those things that don’t effect the presidency.

        I’m not going to say that it’s in equal amounts – when Democrats are out of power they are just as outraged as Republicans when they are – but I do think that in this area Republicans out of power look a lot more like Democrats out of power than they do Republicans in power.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Eh, I’ve definitely seen that in the case of liberals from Bush to Obama, but given the way many conservatives, particularly in the blogosphere and on talk radio, latched onto anything that seemed like it didn’t toe the party line on terrorism or Iraq, I’m not sure it’s universally true. I mean, they took Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us” very seriously, and took it to mean you either went along with what the administration was doing or you were against the United States. It was not a pleasant time to be for peace.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        That’s a fair point. At the least, I’d definitely agree to put an Exception stamp on the subject of war.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        How dare you write such an outlandish yet reasonable statement!Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

        I dunno Will, I was here through the whole Bush Minor presidency and I don’t recall seeing the kind of institutional maleficence that the GOP is suffering. Who were the huge cadre of liberal ideologues who were driving their party into a ditch and alienating their ideology from the electorate while in the process making a fortune for themselves from credulous left wingers? I’m not seeing quite the parallel.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think the right’s got no lock on the outrage machine; they’ve just got a different perception about how to engage it; and I say this because of the never-ending stream of outrage emails flooding my inbox from the left’s outrage machine.

      Rare is the missive that lays out plans and goals of the left; but common as grains of sand at the beach the missives talking up the right’s latest outrage, combined with a plea for $.

      I’m not saying the right doesn’t get outraged and doesn’t search for outrage, but you’ll find a good dose of it on the left if you look in the right places. My inbox is certainly one of them.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

      The Right Wing isBoth wings are always on the search of something to be outraged about.

      You’re making a lot of typos today.

      Seriously, if you think that this is entirely or even mostly confined to the right, you’re not paying attention.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’m surprised it took this long to get to a solid “Both sides do it.”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yeah, I’d have gone with the under at 10 comments on that one.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        It’s exactly like when liberals make a big fuss about teenages getting shot.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Note that the “Both sides do it” comment was prompted by a comment implying otherwise. If you guys are going to pretend your side’s shit doesn’t stink, I’m calling you on it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        To take one example of outrage that breaks the linkage to “both sides do it”:

        When the ACA was first proposed in a form close to what was enacted, conservatives were OUTRAGED because it was a government takeover of yadayadablahdada, even tho the ACA is very similar in outline to the policy enacted by Mr Mitt (Rep) and endorsed by Heritage (conservative).

        Liberals, on the other hand, were OUTRAGED because the bill didn’t include a public option, or didn’t include medicare advantage, or (and this is the big one) wasn’t a single payer system even tho it was proposed by Democrats.

        So let’s just say both sides do it. What exactly is the “it” that both sides are doing given that the outrage clearly wasn’t motivated by partisanship?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        If you guys are going to pretend your side’s shit doesn’t stink, I’m calling you on it.

        That’s different than saying using the phrase “both sides do it” to establish a shitty smelling false equivalence between liberals and conservatives, tho.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @stillwater

        How about “both sides do it and it’s always reprehensible”?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Anecdote time:
        I was at a benefit concert in early 2001. While the woman in charge was talking about the great charity we were supporting, she suddenly broke off to start ranting about Bush, concluding with, “he’s not my president,” to which the crowd responded with wild cheers and applause. I also remember my sister ranting about Bush–I think his plan to privatize social security–in which she exclaimed, “how can that be American?”

        Yeah, the right wing is more effective at this because of their well-structured media apparatus, and I think they might actually be somewhat more prone to rage than liberals because conservatives are simply more resistant to change. But the instinct for outrage appears to be a human one, not specifically linked to a particular ideology.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        kos always seems to be looking for rightwing folks to laugh at.
        Outrage all the time is hard, man.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @James Hanley
        Oh yeah prof, I agree that both sides have angry wingers who loathe the other side. I’d submit, however, that the angry left doesn’t have the institutional structures, the organized power and the cowering subservience of their moderates that the angry right does. This is something that the angry left occasionally fulminates about.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @damon

        How about “both sides do it and it’s always reprehensible”?

        What does “it” refer to? I mean, I know what you’re getting at here and I agree in rough outline, but the imprecision of the phrase allows folks who think they’re “clear eyed dispassionate non-partisans” who are “above the fray” to criticize just about everyone who participates in bi-partisan electoral politics of being equally irrational, fact-resistant, slavering, blood-thirsty My-Team-Right-Or-Wrong ideological warriors.

        That someone could adopt this view without having a blood-thirty ideological agenda of their own strikes me as questionable given that the presupposition strikes me as descriptively inaccurate and the resulting judgment clearly establishes and expresses (in other words signals!, to use some language you’re comfortable with) an ideological team membership – that of the “non-partisan”.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @stillwater : “What does “it” refer to?”

        Precisely! For some reason Stillwater’s point keeps getting overlooked but it’s the whole problem with Broderism; looking for flaws in both parties is well and good, as long as they’re being compared on the same scale.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @Stillwater
        I’d generally define “it” as:

        1) stirring up questionable news for the “outrage of the day”
        2) siding with one side even after that side “switches policy” on an issue.

        It all boils down to logical consistency and lack of hypocrisy, neither of which both sides have in abundance. And while I don’t think that the majority of the electorate is “irrational, fact-resistant, slavering, blood-thirsty My-Team-Right-Or-Wrong ideological warriors.”, there certainly are a lot in the press, in think tanks, and in office.

        I’ve been around long enough to have been told too many lies by politicians, seen too many broken promises, and seen “the process” corrupt everyone it touches. The fact that the majority of the electorate continues to support “their” side/candidate/whatever in the face of all this history that the electorate has been rudely used, and continues to be so, amazes me. You’d think people would wake up. That to me, is the most disappointing thing of all: watching people continue to support candidates who then turn around and hose those same voters.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        In this case, the “it” has been clearly defined as promoting news stories with more attention to how bad they make the other side look than to how accurate they are. And given the way Michelle set this thread up, I think that “both sides do it” is a fair rebuttal. It isn’t always, but it is in this case, because Michelle was clearly identifying this as a right-wing problem.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        My take on this, getting fixated on a meta-analysis of the “outrage machine” is to fail to see the things themselves, many of which are quite outrageous. Furthermore, saying “they both do it” is perhaps true, but so what? We are “doing it” with regards to very different things. Those things matter.

        To me the structure of politics seems less important than the work itself, the things themselves, what MLK called “the fierce urgency of now.”

        Yeah, strategy matters, but not so much it distracts.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        My take on this, getting fixated on a meta-analysis of the “outrage machine” is to fail to see the things themselves, many of which are quite outrageous.

        Exactly. Both Sides Do It is either an intentional distraction from the actual issues at hand, or a rhetorical device to signal some sort of clear eyed, non-partisan, above-the-fray view of politics (and those irrational in-the-fray it-doers) thereby equating all it-doing as well as negating the legitimacy of any it-ness.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        We all have reflexes, and for all of us, those reflexes are occasionally triggered by false positives. The main difference I see is not that Republicans are less likely to be triggered by stuff that they would find genuinely offensive (this seems to be the implication of Veronica’s comment), but that their own people are more likely to have made up the offensive material in the first place. As in this case, where “monitors in every news room” comes from a study of a sample of news rooms.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The main difference I see …

        Yeahh, there’s that. There’s also stuff that cuts right below all the meta-epicycles of analytical nonsense to actual substance. Stuff like this:

        A conservative Virginia state senator [said] “However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.”

        Martin said that his words were taken out of context and that he was trying to describe how abortion advocates see women.

        That’s how abortion advocates see women, as “hosts”? The guy should be mocked for demonstrable idiocy if nothing else.

        Fact is, Republicans say stuff like this all the time, as a matter of course. Now, people may disagree as to whether this comments satisfies the basic BSDI criteria for being justifiably mock- or outrageworthy, but I don’t think a person who found this comment outrageous was merely trolling the tubes out of a desire to do “it”.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Eh, you know, that was an incredibly sexist thing to say, but I see what he was doing. He was treating the woman the way he sees pro-choicers treating the fetus. It’s a losing rhetorical move, but at least I can see how he got there. I can see it well enough to not be outraged, just amused at a stupid rhetorical move.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Another example is that GA congress-entity who described evolutions as “Lies straight from the pits of hell.” (Remember him?) Okay, I’m nearly certain that far more folks on the left have linked to that absurd video than on the right.

        Sure. So what? We on the left did not elect him, nor did we place him on something called (perhaps inaccurately) the “science committee.”

        Anyway, on it goes. Notable person says something problematic. Shitstorm.

        But sometimes it really was problematic. When that happens, the shitstorm is fine with me.

        The latest is this: http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/02/25/tim-gunn-conflicted-about-trans-models

        Hardly the most pressing issue of the day, but important to me and mine. I hope Gunn hears us and thinks.

        I hope he handles it better than Piers-fucking-Morgan (who I notice has been shown the door).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I see what he was doing. He was treating the woman the way he sees pro-choicers treating the fetus. It’s a losing rhetorical move, but at least I can see how he got there. I can see it well enough to not be outraged, just amused at a stupid rhetorical move.

        I’m glad you don’t find it outrageous, Chris – it’s a drain on useful energy and bad for digestion.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @pinky

        And given the way Michelle set this thread up, I think that “both sides do it” is a fair rebuttal. It isn’t always, but it is in this case, because Michelle was clearly identifying this as a right-wing problem.

        The problem with both sides do it is that the argument assumes a false equivalence. Both sides may do it but the effort is far more concentrated and effective on the right. I’ve watched my fair share of MSNBC and, while they certainly gin up the outrage, they don’t distribute the same kind of purposeful misinformation as Fox and outlets like Brietbart.com or drudge. I gave up on MSNBC (and all cable news for that matter) because no longer wanted my news shouted at me, but they never came off as semi-official spokespods for the Democratic Party as Fox does for the Republicans. There’s also not the same kind of message coordination between Democrats and liberal-leaning media outlets as there is between the Republicans and right wing media.Report

  5. Avatar Pinky says:

    Very weird to see a Mother Jones article saying “don’t worry about the boring government regulation”.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

      Actually it goes further:

      If I’d been feeling really energetic, I might have been annoyed that my tax dollars were being spent on a pro forma project that, frankly, even the SSI folks seemed to be phoning in.

      He’s annoyed by bureaucratic waste too.Report

  6. Avatar j r says:

    Serious question: what percentage of right wing meme spreading is actually done by progressives looking for things to mock?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

      “Serious question: what percentage of right wing meme spreading is actually done by progressives looking for things to mock?”

      Good question, @j-r

      My guess? The answer is a sweet spot somewhere in-between “certainly some of them,” and “the number of conservative candidates, office holders, and media folk that hire people like Ted Nugent, Frank Gaffney, and the guy from Duck Dynasty to stump for them, be regular paid show guests, and/or release soundbites about how they are great Americans.”Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

      And now, having just read the Drum piece, I confess I am confused by your comment.

      How is something that was started by a GOPer WSJ op-ed, got picked up by GOP congress-critters, and is now being reported on FOX and Rush (and I assume many/most/all of the other right media) showing up on your radar as liberal meme spreading? Or am I missing something?Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

      Julian Sanchez had a very good blog post about something he termed the Voldemort effect (it’s here: http://www.juliansanchez.com/2011/01/13/the-voldemort-effect/) that explained how each side plays a big role in determining who the other side’s biggest political figures by how much time and energy they spend going after that political figure.

      Something similar happens with these political memes. To anyone interested in the policy and ideas aspect of politics, these sorts of stories have to be the least interesting. And yet, these are the stories that get the most clicks and the most comments and that drive the fundraising efforts.

      There’s a big outrage cycle in which someone on team blue does something, ranging from inane to ridiculous. and someone on team red gets outraged by it. Then someone else on team blue defends the original action and uses it to mock team red. And so on and so forth and team red has always been at war with team blue.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to j r says:

        I’ve commented in the past that there is an interesting team of liberals and hard-right folks to grant as much attention and prominence as possible to conservatives who say outrageous things.

        (Having said that, this storymeme in particular isn’t very emblematic of that.)Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

        I think in some sense I agree with this, though not quite. For example, it’s true that liberal media figures focus in conservatives that have done little except talk like a crazy person. (Hello, Ms. Bachmann!) But it’s equally true that the right’s media focuses on them as well — more so, probably, and usually before the left does.

        Still, I think there is something true there — especially moving from left to right. It’s what I have termed the “frat guy mentality” that the GOP uses to keep shooting itself in the foot. And it looks like this:

        1. A conservative politician/pundit/celebrity says something embarrassingly racist/sexist/homophobic.

        2. Lefty pundits do the “outrage” thing.

        3. Conservatives are just starting to condemn the misstep, but then they see liberals are outraged, loose their good judgement, and decide they are going to defend that misstep — nay, try to repackage that misstep as “speaking the truth to power” — just because it will piss liberals off.

        4. Later, when the public perceives conservatives as being racist/sexist/homophobic for defending such statements, conservatives look truly flummoxed as to why anyone could think that, because all they were trying to do was irritate the libs.

        Now, I guess that’s kind of the fault of the left? But it’s mostly the fault of the right.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        Right now on the first page of Kevin Drum’s blog there are a few different stories. I don’t know about page hits or number of shares, but take a look at the number of comments. This story has by far the most comments, at over 600. A post about Putin has over 200 and there are a couple of posts related to net neutrality in the 100s and one about chained CPI that has over 100.

        For whatever reason, getting outraged at or snarking about the other team seems to get much more interest from political partisans than do discussions about political philosophy or economics or policy. This is not a bug. It’s a feature. It is how the whole corrupt system sustains itself.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        oh, good lord.
        How many people got beaten in the streets this week, JR?
        How fucking corrupt is America, anyhow?
        Lay down the fucking outrage, until you’re prepared to tell me how many bribes you’ve paid this week.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        Pro-tip @kim:

        When you start a comment with the phrase “oh, good lord” and then accuse someone of being outraged, you are doing something wrong.

        In general, I don’t find that engaging with you is a particularly useful endeavor, so I will just leave it at that.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        I’d hesitate to take “number of blog comments” as indicative of anything real. Unless of course it supported something I already believed.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

        @j-r “For whatever reason, getting outraged at or snarking about the other team seems to get much more interest from political partisans than do discussions about political philosophy or economics or policy. “

        I very much agree with this, and its a timely comment to make. I’m working on a longer post at the moment that talks about how, thanks to the ratings needs of talk radio, the internet and the 24-hour news channels, conservatism has largely come to stand for little more than being against what liberals are for at any given moment.

        And I see the left following suit. When I read a lot of leftie blogs these days, for example, I don’t have a sense that rights for gays, women, or minorities are nearly as important as is attacking the right for not being supportive enough. It’s probably not fair, but I have a sense that given the choice, most of the left right now would rather have inequalities rather than fix them, so that they can continue to bash the enemy with them.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to j r says:

      what percentage of right wing meme spreading is actually done by progressives looking for things to mock?

      Like Tod upstairs, I wonder what you mean by this, especially in this context. Well, to be honest, I think I know exactly what you mean. I’m just wondering what facts of the matter you think might settle the issue.

      I mean, I look at the rhetoric surrounding the usual suspects – the war on women, racism, AGW denials, anti-gay rights, how insurance + the pill = tyranny, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Kenyan commie UnAmerican socialist usurper, immigration policy, etc – and I see the GOP stepping right up to the mockery plate in full clown dress then acting like the progressive response proves their initial views were right. Since they piss off liberals.

      Of course, you think progressives are different than liberals, which is a distinction I’m unclear on no matter how many times it’s pointed out to me, so maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re getting at.

      That’s not to say there aren’t hyperbolic reactions to conservative rhetoric, logic, policy proposals, and practices. Just that I think the hyperboly is usually justified in part by an awareness of the basic absurdity of the those things.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to j r says:

      I could only dream that progressives/the left had this kind of organizational control and discipline.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to North says:

        They do. It’s called the government.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

        jr,
        Carters reelection proves your point.
        oh,wait.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Hah! That’s hysterical. Frankly the overlap between the governments policies and the desires of the political left is so slim that you have to turn it front on to see it.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to North says:

        Right, the political left really hates a vast and unaccountable government bureaucracy. And the political right really hates the military and police.

        Someone should have told me that it is backwards day.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to North says:

        jr,
        I should introduce you to some members of the political left sometime…
        Shall I include the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy? (last seen donating to Democrats, I might add). [discl: I do not actually know the guy. I do admire his chutzpah though.]Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

        @j-r Do you mind if I shoot you an email?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        Yes JR the political left has pretty much no vested interest in a “vast and unaccountable government bureaucracy”. None at all. They have goals they’d like to achieve but creating unaccountable administrative sprawl? Why on earth would you ever think that was a left wing desire*? It’s too dumb to even be a caricature.

        *Excepting, I suppose, the occasional desperate “at least it creates good jobs” nonsense which generally gets laughed out of the discussion.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to North says:

        @north, stop for a moment and contemplate the difference between intention and consequence.

        @tod-kelly, sure.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        JR, which brings us back to the original assertion: Frankly the overlap between the governments policies and the desires of the political left is so slim that you have to turn it front on to see it.

        If a sprawling unaccountable bureaucracy is an unintentional side effect of what the left prefers to go for then we’re back to you having provided no examples of how the government’s current policy is a tight fit to the political/policy desires of the American left. Your examples of how the sprawling government fits the right wings policy desires seems spot on though.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

      depends on whether you consider /b/ to be leftwing or rightwing.
      trollz will be trollzReport

  7. Avatar zic says:

    Wait for it 3, 2, 1. . .Fairness Doctrine.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    It gets worse. There are already monitors in every newsroom in America, and most of them come from mainland China!Report

  9. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The number of Americans that are aware of these outrages is not really that big. Most of Americans manage to live their lives without political outrage.Report

  10. Avatar trizzlor says:

    I think this has to be seen through the prism of the IRS scandal, and particularly what the IRS scandal has come to mean for conservatives: a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama administration to bankrupt it’s critics and steal the election (see: President Asterisk). In that context, the idea that the FCC would use a media-survey to target conservative channels for extra scrutiny isn’t all that crazy. Moreover, the general spirit that if something can be abused then government shouldn’t be doing it is pretty consistent with the drown-it-in-a-bathtub ideology that even conservative presidential candidates now espouse. Basically, this is one of the things that pushes completely opposite buttons for conservatives and liberals.

    The one thing I don’t get is that we already know who the media enemies are – FOX, WSJ, WaPo – the FCC can already target them, so this media survey seems superfluous even in the context of the conspiracy.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to trizzlor says:

      Actually, in the context of a conspiracy, you would actually need to do something like this before stripping broadcast licenses. You’d want to be able to set parameters by which you’d be able to deny that it’s ideologically motivated, it just so happens that the scurrilous broadcasters tend to be conservative because liberals are merely reflecting reality’s right-wing bias and any suggestion to the contrary is false equivalence.

      (No, I don’t think that was the plan. But if I did have a plan, it would probably include something like this in the early stages.)Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Will Truman says:

        Ah, that makes sense. FOX just happens to come out on bottom of the bias survey so let’s send a bunch of FCC green eyeshades to pester their journalists, and maybe delay their paperwork a bit too. I was gonna say that one would have to get rid of the FCC entirely to ensure that sort of thing can’t happen, but then…Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to trizzlor says:

      Except that the IRS scandal turned out to be pretty much outrage over nothing since the IRS also targeted left-wing groups.

      And apparently, at least according to my folks, the Obama administration is trying to shut Fox down. They’re also persecuting Dinesh D’Souza by prosecuting him on trumped up charges. Sigh.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Michelle says:

        As far as I understand, the “balance” of those IRS targets is still unclear since the investigation is ongoing and the one bureaucrat that could tell us has plead the fifth. It is a well-established fact that certain political groups had their forms purposefully lost and delayed because they met certain keywords, which is reason enough to be outraged. A world in which the FCC gums up the works for both Limbaugh and Occupy Radio is still a net loss.

        D’Souza is a whole other story, and I haven’t a clue why wingers were so eager to turn him into a martyr, but I will say that movement conservatives have been mocking the guy even before any scandals broke. Out of curiosity, are your folks mostly getting their news from FOX or more fringy stuff like Breitbart/Daily Caller (or do they not make a distinction?) Have you ever sent them any Ordinary Times posts, or is it a lost cause?Report

      • Avatar uglykidmoe in reply to Michelle says:

        “Except that the IRS scandal turned out to be pretty much outrage over nothing since the IRS also targeted left-wing groups.

        yea, i suppose if you’re a progressive.

        you ought to read something other than huff po on occasion. 104 conservative groups targeted, progressive, 7. average number of questions asked conservative applicants, 14.9, leftist, 4.7.approval rate, liberals 100%, conservative 46%.

        math is hard.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Michelle says:

        @uglykidmoe: Learn some manners, this isn’t a garbage dump.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Michelle says:

        @uglykidmoe “approval rate, liberals 100%, conservative 46%.

        The IRS approved 7/7 liberal groups and 48/104 conservative groups with the remainder pending or withdrawn. The huge difference in sample size means these numbers don’t really tell us anything about per-unit approvals, especially since we don’t know what order the reports were being processed in. And, as usual, all the numbers are selective leaks by the same Ways & Means Republicans that originally omitted the fact that progressive groups were targeted at all.

        Physician, heal thyself.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michelle says:

        UKM is correct that indications are that between the “both sides were targeted” lines, progressive groups were not targeted in the same manner that conservative groups were. I agree with Trizzlor regarding manners, however.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Michelle says:

        I have to chuckle at all this sided hacking and slashing…

        You’re all being played for fools. “MY team doesn’t do it”. Right…

        They do. And they can. When they can’t, they would if they could.Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to Michelle says:

        @trizzlor: They get much of their news from Fox, which they watch for at least a couple hours a day. They also subscribe to The National Review and Limbaugh’s rag, as well as the local newspaper. My father refuses to get a computer so they don’t do the Internet, but he subscribes to a number of financial advice newsletters of the gold bug, end of the world as we know it genre.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michelle says:

        Damon,
        Do you really think that just because the right breaks windows, the left does so as well?
        [props to you if you can cite your sources on this…]

        Have you noticed any reporters disappearing lately?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Michelle says:

        @kim

        I think EVERYONE does it. Everyone sets up straw men, everyone has an “outrage” factory. Everyone has a lunatic fringe. Everyone has tried to use the IRS to lean on folks. It’s not “the other side does it BECAUSE their opposition already did it”, it’s because not using a weapon in your arsenal is foolish.

        Specific citations? I suggest a program of diverse reading, both local, domestic, and international.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michelle says:

        Damon,
        you are assuming that people must pick republican or democrat. Provincial thought, that.

        And I meant breaking windows more literally than you took it. Perhaps my provincial thoughts are showing?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Michelle says:

        @kim
        I think the majority of folks fall into the Dem/Repub camps, in the US. The stragglers (the libertarians, the greens, etc.) really don’t mean a whole lot, least not as it impacts the mass media/social media/electorate. Both parties work hard to keep the majority of the populace in these camps, the better to manipulate them and keep “the game” going.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michelle says:

        Damon,
        a truly wise faction understands how to press buttons on both the Democrat and Republican bandwagons. And is connected enough to pull it off.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to trizzlor says:

      Re: the IRS and Prez Asterick. There is a giant heap of cluelessness mixed in there. Repub’s say O stole the election by limiting, through the IRS, various conservative groups use of tax exempt status. But one of the things you need to do to get the tax exempt status all those groups want is to not be directly political and engaging in election activities. So the argument is ” we couldn’t get tax exempt status, which means we can’t do election work, so we couldn’t so election work to win the election. How dare them not letting us be tax exempt even though we admit what we wanted to do means we shouldn’t be tax exempt.”

      Just to be clear the IRS scandal was wrong although i haven’t seen any evidence it went beyond that one office. This isn’t meant as a justification of the improper focus on many different groups. If anything we have to many tax exempt statuses.Report

  11. Avatar Citizen says:

    So we are good with armed statist monitors showing up at news rooms asking “Who decides which stories are covered?”.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Citizen says:

      “So we are good with armed statist monitors showing up at news rooms asking “Who decides which stories are covered?””

      Good lord, we’re arming the news monitors? Have the Matrix and Terminator movies taught us nothing about giving the machines weapons??!!Report

  12. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Is anyone else reading the report? I’m finding it oppressively jargon-laden. I think I get what they see as “CINs” (Critical Information Needs) based on the few questions they have at the end, but not sure how they determine if those needs are being met and why they ask the station management what the managers see as CINs if they’re not offering suggestions. It’s a weird report because it’s very, very specific about how the sampling is done to find if these needs are being met for different communities, but fairly vague about those needs as such- eight very broad categories are offered and one example each is about all I can find to define them.

    It’s also really unclear about what constitutes bias, relying instead on asking viewers and managers if they think the news is biased.

    So, as far as I can tell, the report is asking for all the media they can find in Tuscon and Syracuse:
    1. What news sources do different populations use?
    2. Do those sources cover what the FCC thinks the overall population needs to know?
    3. Are those sources “biased”?

    I can see how they can find the answer to the first, but not how they can find a good answer to the second and third. Kevin Drum says it sounds like the group was phoning it in and I would agree- it doesn’t read like they cared frankly.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F. says:

      So, you can say that people are reading a lot into the report and I would agree, but it’s so vague and badly written that there is plenty of room for misinterpretation.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @rufus-f

      I read it, and even the analysis part seemed pretty vague. We are going to do some chi-squared, and some t-tests, and we might even use some regression or factor analysis, because we have people who know how to do that. It basically sounded like they had no idea what their data would be, and therefore had no idea what they were going to need, so they just said we know how to do everything.

      It does sound like the sorts of things I see university departments writing when they get contracted by government agencies, though. The goal, it seems, is to sound like you know what you’re doing while being as vague as possible in case you have to change things once the rubber meets the road.Report