At the National Conference for Media Reform I found a lot of people doing all sorts of great things to push back. It really is important because we've found that the media is part of the problem.
I think it is important to use the skills you have to push back. I was so grateful for the people who created a youtube video of the violent rhetoric on talk radio because I hadn't realized how important video was going to be. I can be long winded and I needed all the texts and complete audio clips to make my case, but the short hard hitting video was an easy way to get an idea what I was talking about.
Even folks with a 9th tier blog linking to important posts by Digby make a difference. Everyone who does a blog post boosts the story up in search rankings which is used by the media to "find news" and to "verify the zeitgeist", people who write or call an advertiser have an impact. And sometimes a few well targeted messages to the right people have a bigger impact that 20,000 mass emails.
Fighting the right wing noise machine is a huge undertaking. They have money and, well, the media. And the group that should write about our work is often in the bag themselves! They have been suckered. They used experts who were compromised.
I was talking today to someone about how nobody gives you an award for blocking or exposing the nasty people who spread rumors. I think that this is one of the biggest ways bloggers can help most this season.
WE can track down the dark dirty places that distortions and rumors start. Push polls, nasty blogs, chain email letters, local radio hosts. And then expose them. When necessary find their connections to the actual campaigns.
If any of you want to know how to record and track your local radio hosts who are spewing violent rhetoric drop me a line. Local right-wing talk radio hosts are in a position of power and they often abuse their position. I think we can alert their advertisers who might not agree to keep sponsoring people who spew violent rhetoric.
We proved it with K S F O and I think we can keep proving it with others.
Roy Edroso reads the latest ravings from Peggy Noonan, who basically paints McCain as the second coming of Reagan and Obama as, well, the opposite, and zings:
[T]he old leftist slogan "the personal is the political" has been appropriated wholesale by conservatives. And in the last ditch, where they have reason to believe they currently reside, they will lean on the personal as never before. Because, really, it's all they have left.
"McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory... After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history."
Digby points to this discovery by the Cunning Realist that John McCain wrote the foreword to an edition of The Best And the Brightest? And that in said foreword he wrote this:
It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay. No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.
As TCR notes:
McCain isn't running on the Spring Chicken platform; no one supports him for his youthful glow. His purported and self-described strengths are gravitas, wisdom, and experience. But on the single issue one might reasonably have expected his formative life experience to matter, his "wisdom" could be mistaken for that of a Washington first-termer half his age. If he couldn't even get Iraq right, what else will he get wrong, and of what value is his vaunted experience?
I ran across this post from The Economist’s Free exchange blog, originally published in January 2007. In hindsight, it is unintentionally hilarious:
THE optimism in Davos, at least among the business people, has been astonishing. Everyone seems to be doing deals, and getting excited about investment opportunities. The private-equity folk are everywhere, their wallets bursting at the seams. The venture capitalists are loving climate change. The planet may be in for a hot decade or two, but these guys expect to make a fortune helping fight it. In dull commodity industries such as chemicals, the confidence is high too. The cyclical downturn expected in late 2007 now seems destined for 2009 or even later.
Even a gathering of bank regulators struggled to muster more than the bare minimum of worry required to justify their jobs. Mood music thus: perhaps the leverage embedded in some new derivatives products is on the high side, perhaps credit conditions are too easy, but probably not. The quality and integration of financial regulation around the world is getting steadily better. Bank balance sheets are strong. Profitability is high. And if a hedge fund or two should come a cropper, the system will cope.
Yeah, so how’s that working out? Banks still doing OK? Hedge fund guys still lighting cigars with 100-Euro notes? No? Imagine that. The update at the end of the post was the punch line for me:
Not everyone is convinced. At a Citigroup dinner last night the FT's Martin Wolf played Cassandra. The Davos consensus is always wrong, he said. So current expectations for good business conditions and difficult political ones may instead foreshadow a structural recession and stable, deepening political relationships.
I beg to differ. This may be one of those moments when business understands the way the wind is blowing, far better than the politicians and pundits.
“The Davos consensus is always wrong.” The people who run our world really are clueless, aren’t they?
By the way, the very next post quoted P.J. O’Rourke and included the requisite snide remarks about Al Gore’s carbon footprint. The only thing missing was a “Michael Moore is fat” reference.
If you've been wondering why George Bush hasn't done anything about soaring gas prices, our candidate has an idea. He tells US News & World Report in its June 7th issue: "I figured out Karl Rove's political strategy–make gas so expensive, no Democrats can afford to go to the polls."
The Post's Michael Abramowitz has a good catch this morning:
Getting lost in the media furor over McClellan's memoir is the new autobiography of retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the onetime commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, who is scathing in his assessment that the Bush administration "led America into a strategic blunder of historic proportions."
Among the anecdotes in "Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story" is an arresting portrait of Bush after four contractors were killed in Fallujah in 2004, triggering a fierce U.S. response that was reportedly egged on by the president.
During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a "confused" pep talk:
"Kick ass!" he quotes the president as saying. "If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal."
"There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"