tmccarthy0's picture

    The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery

    While the exceedingly cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let's review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night, Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: "F**k it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing." And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State.  His speech was stirring. I predict he will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don't let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to.

    So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, "The President is against what happened today" (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between  a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, "The President is against what happened today", what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds. Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories.  She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle "wandering eye" Bachmann, "my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis, outrage is the one and only agenda.  Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the media.

    When 1999 rolled around, scandal was everywhere, the country was eating up the Lewinsky scandal, it was on the News every evening still, we were being enveloped in scandal, the nations news were quickly becoming overblown National Enquirer Fluff.  I am convinced that the most conducted searches on Altavista, Lycos and Infoseek were all about blow jobs, casual khaki suits, Al Gore creating the internet, and Love Story! Al Gore was soon to be biggest feather in the cap of cable shock-jockery, he was a Beta Male, whatever that meant, I didn't know, and he was certainly too wimpy to be President. While GWBush was quickly becoming the newest shiny object of these people, he was so upstanding they droned on and on about, his morals were exemplary! He was the epitome of what Al Gore was not, he even flew a plane during Vietnam in Alabamstan! He was a man! Al Gore, umm not so much. Rachel Maddow is just one more cable shock jock to pick up the reins of misinformation and run with them! If you don't think I am right, type in Al Gore i and automatically you see, Al Gore invents the internet as a continuing top internet meme! Wow! It's still a lie to this day, he never said that, and yet, it survives as one of the biggest lies of the 1990's.  There has been a rather loud drumbeat by the press as of late to throw another election to yet another nutcase.It's been happening a good deal lately,to this President too, and just as the wishy-washy lefties of that decade  failed to stand up for Al Gore, the same is happening today with our current President. In part we have to blame the shock-jocks of cable TV whose lives depend on the next manufactured outrage, and they are no better today than yesterday. Rating soar when there is a tinge of scandal or intra-party fight in the air. It is much more fun to discuss so called "moral failings than there were back then and their ratings soar when they can manufacture their next scandal. Name recognition is everything people,  Al Gore most certainly did not say the President has failed on Global Warming, he saves his most poignant criticism for media, notice how each and every one of them left that out! I'll get back to the HuffPo's take on Al Gore's 7000 word essay after some background.

    Things were great in 1999, the economy was still on fire, and it literally had nothing to do with deregulation, which as we now know would lead us down a path of returning our country to pre-Depression era nation! But that is another story for that others have covered far better than I.  We all know Republicans are trying to create their Libertopia! Well in the 1990's the Clinton administration implemented smart policies, that stimulated the economy in a micro way, it was designed to broaden the number of minority businesses that could compete for government contracts, although it was a mere 5% mandated, it did work and stimulated a community minority owned businesses which of course effect their communities in the form of job growth, greater tax base it was part of the reason the economy of the latter 90's was good, the Clinton administration implemented little policies that assisted job growth using a micro-economic model.  This policy was known as the The 1994 Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act.  Upon entering office, one of the first things the GWB administration did was roll this particular mandate back, using the power of executive order.  But I digress, certainly as so many people analyzed at the time, Al Gore=George Bush. Jokes on you folks! Al Gore was nothing like George Bush.   Al Gore as VP had his own successes to fall primarily his pet project, the Reinventing Government Initiative, which was a huge success, as it introduced modernization of the federal government, with the notable exception of  FBI director, Louis Freeh. These were just some of the specific policies that Gore tried to run on, but guess what, it didn't matter, because TV shock-jockery was going to have its way, and its way was to create a situation that allowed trivia to overtake a Presidential election, and that gave us the Presidency of George W. Bush. Let's remember this, the Bush administration was seeking to eliminate all those good programs implemented by the Clinton Administration that benefited our economy, and the media failed utterly to cover the important pieces of the Gore campaign that sought to discuss and explain just these issue, while instead they obsessed over Gore as Beta male and his khaki casual coat???? I still bristle at just the memory of this tomfoolery taking place right before our eyes.

    Cable TV shock-jockery pushed the third-party run of Ralph Nader. To this day we often blame him and him alone for Gore's loss, but I do remember how the cable TV shock-jocks could not get enough of Ralph Nader, they gave him a platform to sew the seeds of discontent among the electorate. They certainly never challenged his assertions that Gore=Bush, and that same meme goes around today among the many people who believe the world is black and white, that Obama=Bush, it isn't any more creative or any more truthful than it was in 2000. Nor is it a creative analysis of our current political condition, however, the cable TV shock-jocks need more outrage,  for better ratings, and Nader being no different that the current line of go-to guests that parade daily on cable TV, who are most often known for their combative, bombastic personalities, in fact none of these people are any different from the Real Housewives that parade on BravoTV 7 days a week, as they've traded nuance for outrage and outrageous behavior. If this weren't true, would Pat Buchanan still be a TV talking head? I think not! It is time we paid attention to these venues that seem go to for many people on both sides who are politically active, because they continue to sew the seeds of discontent and their intended targets are almost always Democrats. If things were equal, David Vitter would have been drummed out of Office for soliciting prostitutes, it is an illegal activity, yet, there he sits, in Office. My point is, Nader didn't do anything that the cable TV shock-jocks didn't continually push, the meme that America needed some drastic change, because things were going much too terribly in terms of our morals, and with that America elected a man, not terribly well suited for the Office of the Presidency.  Our cable TV heroes saved us, or did they?

    So now Rachel is the latest to  dip her toe into the very crowded "Outrage" pool, and you know she did it with some bombast of her own, claiming that the President "Doesn't like what happened in NY". This is a lie, an absolute complet lie, but she did it anyway. Why? That is the question. Why do they do it, they do it because it works and attracts a certain kind of angry viewer, one that thinks in terms of black and white, one that refuses to see the gray shades that direct our days and nights. Partly it is because of money, in order to remain on the air, one must stay relevant, and the way to stay relevant is to manufacture outrage to attract the angry believer. There is gobs of money in sharpening ones ability to manufacture Outrage for the sake of ones viewers, ask Rush Limbaugh, who I understand is a very nice dude IRL.  He lives a very comfortable life  because he is a master at manufacturing outrage. The rise and fall of Glenn Beck is the latest example of a dude who is a master at manufacturing outrage and literally selling it to his viewers via faux education programs, but his loyal listeners, viewers and readers have no doubt enriched him even more, by buying into his manufactured outrage, I don't know what he is like IRL, but you know, no one is that bad, he just knows what works on his audience, well Rachel's audience is no different are they, they thrive on outrage.

    So let's turn to the 7,000 word essay that Al Gore wrote in the Rolling Stone. My goodness, those on the left that manufacture outrage for a living were on a roll, they made assertions that Al Gore wrote that the President had "Failed", he failed to lead on climate change, but you know who Al Gore took to task for the failure to educate people about the importance of doing something about climate change, our media, and these are the same people who are making claims that Al  Gore called the President a failure. A Time Magazine blog made claims that Gore "attacked the President for  his failure to lead". HuffingtonPost never a place to be left behind in leveling attacks against the President made the claim that Gore blasted the President over failing to take the lead on the issue of climate change. Each of these organizations hid the fact that Al Gore saved his criticism for media organizations, like theirs for failing to educate people on the truth of climate change. Al Gore specifically indicts the media, corporate leaders, both political parties and by extension voters. To Gore their cumulative inaction on the serious challenges that lie ahead, which are exacerbated by climate change in some ways exonerates the President, because there is little one man can do talter the trajectory of our nation, where climate science deniers are granted equal status with the overwhelming evidence that climate change is occurring.

    The fact is, Gore did single our the media, not the President, in his excellent piece.  Reading the piece, one realizes he takes the media to task for indulging in "debate" about whether the research indicates that climate change is real and human-made.  Gore goes on to make the point that the science is unanimous. But the serious subject has been changed into nothing more than entertainment. And the media has turned to manufacturing outrage about the subject rather than  devoting themselves to serious reporting on global threats, in search of bigger audiences. He specifically calls out Fox News as a 24/7 purveyor of disinformation and propaganda.  Instead of presenting the facts of Gore's critique of their  methods,  the media prefers to say Al Gore is fighting with the President. It is just one more piece of evidence that as a whole our modern media's goal is to manufacture Outrage, as it keeps them relevant. And is seems no cable TV shock jock is exempt from the need to drive viewership through Outrage. Rachel, and her media colleagues seem unable to help themselves, and are more than willing to engage in the same tactics of the righties. They are leading us down the same path they did in 2000, they are trying to obfuscate their role in driving politics, rather than reporting on politics. If we continue to not call them out on this, we will end up like we did in 2000, with a politician of their choice, because it drives their ratings. We must keep our eye and them and force them to return to reporting facts.  Because at this point, they are merely a part of the problem.

    Crossposted at The Angriest Liberal


    Good blog as always. This is way the newspapers behaved in the early 20th century. They thought they were king makers also. Thriving on made up scandel was their bread and butter.

    I stopped watching C. Mathew during the last election. He has an attitude toward women that rubs me the wrong way. I would see were M. Bachman would appeal to him as someone to give air time chatter too.

    I listen to a NPR show that talked about refusing to give air time to people who were hawking the idea that there was no global warming. The scientific evidence was against that meme. NPR editors saw that as not a issue to discuss and give credit to that meme by airing it. They also thought that was why they were being singled out for cuts in financial support from Washington.

    There must be someone in MSNBC chain of command that leans heavy to the right. It may have been why Keith O. left. Maddow might be doing what she must to please MSNBC. Look how they are picking at Ed S. These are strong liberal personallities that they are trying to reel in and still keep their ratings.

    Thanks momoe. I don't watch msnbc much and I find myself often turning it off, simply because they thrive on manufactured outrage and controversy. I find that msnbc is very similar to fox, in that it errs on the side of outrage and controversy instead of presenting facts. There is much to argue about over facts, but they would have to invite educated experts, people who are reluctant to engage in demagoguery and outright yelling. That is anathema to all things Cable TV related. In that, they are not much different than the Real Housewives franchise on BravoTV.

     You don't watch it much but tune in to it often enough to quit watching it many times. Is it some sort of obsessive compulsive addiction that you are trying to cure?
     Do you see a difference in manufacturing outrage on Maddow's show to sell to a niche audience by staying mostly within the bounds of verifiable truth while emphasizing and spinning the perceived or demonstrated goals and methods of the two political sides, and that of manufacturing outrage by Fox when they do the same thing but go much further by telling deliberate lies? Or do you think the number of deliberate lies told on Fox is anywhere near the number you believe are told on Maddow's program? The one you call a lie and emphasized so strongly in this blog has already been refuted and at best, or worst, can more properly be considered a  left leaning advocate's spin on a political position by our president.

    "There is much to argue about over facts, but..."

    No, a fact cannot be argued once it is accepted as fact. Whether or not a belief is factual can and will be argued as long as the implications of the fact is more ideologically loaded than whether two plus two equals whatever two pus two equals. Do you know or do you just have an arguable opinion on whether the answer is four? If I watch both MSNBC and Fox to conclude what the answer to that question is I would bet that it is more likely that Maddow would say that the answer is four and that Fox would say that Obama is a Muslim who hates America. 

    It is interesting what that you've chosen to take issue with my tv habits as opposed to the content of the blog, which is about Outrage and how the media uses outrage to gather a certain audience.

     I took interest in what you said. Then, after thinking with interest about what you said, I gave my opinion that while I agree with you that both networks were selling outrage, one was selling outrage which was much more justifiable  because it was based closer to reality than the other. My point was at least partly that I did not see an equivalence between the two networks which made them equally vile.


    Rachel has a gay following and I would speculate that this following is on her case every day.

    Matthews has just taken a left turn the last few years because, as I have written, he really felt lied to by george w. And he knows there are lies upon lies upon lies being perpetrated on the right.

    You know, the universe is not 6000 years old, there is global warming, President Obama is being attacked at times because he is not a whitey, you cannot come close to budget balancing without working on the tax code....

    Anyway, good rant. i enjoyed this. hahaha

    Thank you Dick. It is true Matthews has taken a leftward turn over the past few years, however, he seems to be one who loves to manufacture controversy on his own! I realize it is what brings him the big bucks, and in that he is no different than those on Fox, who are simply attempting to enrich themselves while they can.

    I remember how he played and played and replayed Dean's famous yell for what seemed like weeks. Ken Auletta wrote a good article about how the media did a terrible disservice to Dean.

    I forgot about this incident.

    To this day they still attack one of the greatest political minds in America today!

    Unfair for sure.

    You would have thought he had been caught having sex with an animal!

    con respetto, when he spoke at the pride dinner, he acknowledged that while his position on marriage equality is "evolving" he supports civil union and not same sex marriage.

    Thus, he is "against what happened".

    Now maybe he is lying about his position.  It would not be the first time...

    Well she certainly needs people to buy into her black and white Outrage of the President being against what happened in NY, however, he has never said that. Evolving isn't black and white is it, the term itself is an indication of a more nuance position. Of course he has never indicated he is against any state legislating in favor of marriage equality, the justice dept is no longer defending DOMA as they believe it to be a violation of the Constitution, DADT, etc. These are facts. Cable TV shock jocks thrive on a black and white presentation of issues. It is easier than using a platform to present facts, actual facts. Outrage drives cable TV shock jocks, and that is all they are, shock jocks, no different than the folks on the right who do this every day. It is how they make their living.

    Disclaimer:  I have a serious crush on Rachel (ed note: Heart broke yet again by another beautiful dyke...).

    That said, I cannot see her lumped in with "shock jocks", certainly not with that simpering, snide, shallow Mathews.

    As for "he opposes marriage equality", it seems to me that this is a zero sum game.  Civil unions are seriously deficient, particularly vis-a-vis federal benefits, ie the kind that he "presides" over.

    If you are for  civil unions but not marriage equality, you oppose the NY state law.  You cannot very well be against marriage equality but in favor of the law--whether you would argue that your personal opposition to marriage equality should operate to prevent/pre-empt individual states from choosing an option that you oppose is a different question.

    One could be for civil unions and for marriage equality, ie we do the best we can, but that is not Prez, is it?


    There is a distinction between how a person feels personally and what he does.

    If he doesn't oppose the law, and his administration doesn't fight the law, then he is not against the law in any meaningful way.

    I guess it depends on the meaning of "oppose".

    As you frame it, arguably Rachel was reaching when she said "Obama opposes what happened tonight in the Senate".

    It is not, after all, like he paraded up and down in front of the building with a sign that said "Gay marriage-the Devil's invention'; vote "yes" and you'll burn in hell."

    So, fair enough.  She may be accused of sensationalizing his position..

    A better formulation would have been "Obama has not come down on the side of marriage equality".

    I think Rachel skips over another important point.

    At least as I remember it, the repeal of DADT was seen as a big step forward for gays on ALL fronts, including marriage equality.

    In other words, once that barrier was down, people were saying--maybe even Rachel--that it was going to be much easier to win other battles.

    So it feels niggardly and small minded not to credit Obama with a big "assist" in this regard. And to say he actually opposed the law feels, I don't know, hate to use the word ungrateful, but it's weird.

    I don't know why it feels "niggardly and small minded". When a judge declared DADT unconstitutional in October, Obama made sure to fight for delay in implementation and took care to point out why he couldn't overturn DADT like Truman overturned black segregation in the military earlier. His argument is questionable, and more importantly, he's passed the buck on this issue time and again - to Congress, to Log Cabin Republicans, to the generals.

    [I am sympathetic that a lower court ruling of "unconstitutional" is not a mandate to demand sweeping military change from the executive branch, but Obama also didn't seem inclined to take a lucky break and work with it at all.]

    Much as I dislike Lieberman, he deserves the bulk of the credit for shoving through DADT in a lame duck session where everyone thought it was doomed. Pelosi rose to the occasion and took a standalone bill and ran it through before she lost her majority. But even now, 6 months later, with Gates leaving, DADT isn't actually repealed yet.

    I guess I should be grateful that Obama didn't veto the bill, but somehow I'm reluctant to count this as one of his accomplishments.

    Rachel's comment was that he opposed the NY decision. Remember? He also signed the law.

    From your article:

    "But is it true that Obama has to wait for Congress to act? Most legal experts agree that a president cannot simply change a law by fiat. “Obama is correct in the most general terms,” says Diane Mazur, a former Air Force officer who teaches law at the University of Florida. “Federal law can go away in one of two ways: Congress can repeal it or a court can find it unconstitutional.” And it would seem hypocritical for liberals, who complained during the Bush administration that the executive branch was arrogating too much power to itself, to decide suddenly that they like the unitary executive when their side controls it. “I would be unhappy to hear Obama reading his commander-in-chief power to ignore Congress,” says Robert Burt, a professor at Yale Law School."


    From your article:

    "It now falls upon Leon Panetta to put an end to discrimination in the military. While the formal end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will probably come sometime soon, it will not come before Defense Secretary Robert Gates retires. Gates did say that “a formal end to that ban on gays serving openly in the US military will likely come by late July or early August.”

    This has to do with the IMPLEMENTATION of the new law, the repeal.

    As for passing bills, Congress does that...remember?

    Someone should remind Ms. Maddow since she has a dog in the show, she shouldn't be judging. In other words, she should avoid any and all news concerning gays and lesbians because she is a member of said class and any comments made by her in her capacity as a news reporter/analyst would be biased ... something someone like her should avoid if she wishes to be taken serious. It is an issue that needs to be addressed, however, there are more pressing needs being left unanswered and the gay and lesbian issue is nothing more than a bone being tossed out to keep the noise level down and distract the public from more serious issues needing their attention.

    I have downgraded her newsworthiness simply because she gravitates towards gay and lesbian issues more often as if they are the most important issue facing all Americans ... they're not - there's more important issues being left on the side of the road to die that should be front and center in the public forum. Go read section 4 of the 14th Amendment to see what I mean.

    And for those gay and lesbian members here, I understand your situation, however, I believe more could be done to bring your lifestyle up to par with the rest of the nation once we take back our country from the corporate elite ... your issue is the ammunition they need to keep the public off-centered and confused.

    I believe more could be done to bring your lifestyle up to par with the rest of the nation once we take back our country from the corporate elite...

    Up to par, eh? Whatcha offering Beetle? Straight eye for the gay guy...?

    Seriously, i don't think this argument will wash. Gay households make on average 50% more than the national average. They ARE the corporate elite, dude...


    Not only that but New York state now has gay marriage partly due to monetary support by 3 of those evil super-rich Republican Wall Street types, used directly to pressure NY GOP legislators. (Despite the wishes of the working-class-&-immigrant-supportin' Roman Catholic church.)


    Interesting links. thanks.

    @lamont, Those links,are great, reading the story of how NY was able to finally pass the legislation. Thanks for dopping those in here. Of course we see why the republicans did fall out of line with the zealots, the tide has changed and even they understand it was time to change, might as well be able to take some credit for something good.

    Good comment, one which, of course, also makes the claim that DADT Repeal was due to the efforts of "progressives" pretty suspect.  The success of gay rights in recent years has, IMO, more to do with the socio-economic profile of its proponents than their general political outlook.  

    Brew, you really need to stop agreeing with me in public like this. People will start talking...


    p.s I don't think gay rights activists are any less entitled to the 'progressive' label as your scare quotes suggest. I'd just differentiate between social progressives and economic progressives, the former being highly successful in getting the democratic coalition behind its priorities, and the latter largely unsuccessful.

    Well, Brew loves "scare quotes" for "progressives", and pretends that "progressives" never do any "work", that it's all "somebody else". (He/she also assumes "blacks" can't be "progressives" for some reason, despite for example "Van Jones" and numerous others). Why you're agreeing with him/her, I don't know. In this case the NY Times says that "progressives" were "disorganized" last time and it "hurt", but "this time" Cuomo got them to "work together" as part of the overall scene. Yes, that scene included Republicans with money, so Brew assumes that "only" the Republicans with "money" counted so he/she can "marginalize" "progressives".

    Are you sure you want to play this continual snippety game of his/hers? You could end up just another "scare quote".


    My point here and elsewhere is that the alliance between social progressives and economic progressives is totally artificial, and over the last thirty years or so all the benefits have accrued to the former to the detriment of the latter. If Brew feels like agreeing with that view, then wonderful. I think it's an important distinction, obscured by the fact that the current activist base of the Democratic party tends to be constituted of people both socially and economically progressive. But that is an accident of history, a trend that has probably outlived its usefulness.

    Well I didn't see where you actually discussed social vs. economic progressives, aside from the dubious assertion (and more questionable conclusions) that gay households make 50% more than straight households.

    No gays in the ghettoes? Most gay US households are sitting around Dupont Circle drinking lattes?

    I liked to point out that in the 1990's there was quite a bit of economic progressivism, meaning upscale jobs and visible representation, home ownership, increased minority investment, and some related decrease in crime. By 2008, the message "Gore=Bush" had morphed to "Clinton=Bush".

    You would think that Clinton had gotten us stuck in a land war in Asia.

    But if we put all our backing behind the current not-very-economically-progressive president to send more money Wall Street's way as he helps to cut Social Security and Medicare, you're probably right, we'll end up with a few token social progressive "accomplishments" with negative progress on the economic front.

    On the dubious assertion - a quick google on 'gay household average income' got me those figures. Now you forced me to research the question further (a full five minutes), and you're right. It turns out to be a bit dubious. I liked this link. But its dubiousness comes from the fact that the research is survey-based, and coming out of the closet is affluence-based, thus suppressing the numbers on self-avowed gays among the poor. Interesting to me, anyhow.

    Nevertheless, this doesn't really shake my more general conviction that the real money among progressives lies in pushing social progressive causes. The basis for that belief is partly subjective, in my experience Wall Street dems pay lip service to the idea of economic equality but care alot about gay rights, abortion, 'science', the environment, and the police state. Hence my point to Beetle where I think his economic-solidarity argument, if put to the rather affluent gay rights activists, will fall flat.

    Okay, helps to have more details on what you were thinking.

    A woman was attacked by a cougar hiking in California, and they killed the cougar. Great outpouring of money came in to raise the cougar cubs, nothing to raise the woman's kids. (From a news clipping a long time ago, and might be counter-factual, but they asserted this at the time)

    People are contradictory about their issues.

    More butthirt from the Desider.  Awesome. 

    Well it seems to be okay for you to dismiss any positive influence by progressives, whereas it's "butthirt" to point it out or question whether community activism alone drives up black turnout.

    And when continually asking for examples of what real progress under Obama, we're left with a rather bland "he's doing the best he can considering the GOP opposition", which kind of ignores that the first 2 years had a Dem majority in House and Senate even if not completely liberal.

    Just educate those folks in how tough it's been, and they'll come running out to support.

    While brew and cho have what appears to be a rational discussion, that does not elevate to anger and fighting with each other, you've dropped the rhetorical bomb to do just that, and I think we can all refrain from such things. We accomplish nothing when we attack each other.  And I just don't believe every controversy must be turned into a personal attack on one poster.

    Brew and Cho are agreeing - no wonder it doesn't elevate to anger.

    Brew turns half of his comments into attacks on the efforts of Progressives.

    Since Progressives are typically the ones organizing out the vote, including huge street and monetary support for Obama in 2008 along with their votes themselves, continually attacking them seems to be a rather self-defeating attitude for a Democrat to have.

    Do you have a specific response to that important issue, or are we back to having more meta about manners?

    "Since Progressives are typically the ones organizing out the vote, including huge street and monetary support for Obama in 2008 along with their votes themselves..."

    Funny.  Most "progressives" argue that Obama has been captured by the big-money contributions from Wall Street.  Is Goldman Sachs now "progressive?"  Did I not get the memo?

    No, you didn't get the date.

    2008 ≠ 2011

    Obama didn't so obviously suck up to Goldman Sachs in 2008.

    So if Obama wants Progressives' support like in 2008, maybe he'll show some love.

    But if he has enough Goldman Sachs money to buy the election, he won't need to.

    Nope, the Hillarybots were bitching about Obama's "corruption" in the 2008 primaries (this is a quick search, but I remember this meme very well - besides, there's a hilariously pathetic quality to the linked post that might give some a laugh):

    What does this blog about a campaign flip-flop have to do with Obama transparently selling out to Goldman Sachs later?

    Does this June 2008 post in some way address the reality that Progressives worked hard en masse to get Obama elected in November 2008?

    Does it even address that Hillary herself campaigned hard for Obama starting at the August primary onward, and brought along most of her fans?

    How exactly did Obama "sell out" to Goldman Sachs again?

    Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs:

    Goldman Sachs was also the end recipient of much of the bailout to companies like Lehman Brothers and Citibank

    Campaign contributions:

    Barack Obama (D)

    Top Contributors

    This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2008 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

    Because of contribution limits, organizations that bundle together many individual contributions are often among the top donors to presidential candidates. These contributions can come from the organization's members or employees (and their families). The organization may support one candidate, or hedge its bets by supporting multiple candidates. Groups with national networks of donors - like EMILY's List and Club for Growth - make for particularly big bundlers.

    University of California$1,591,395
    Goldman Sachs $994,795
    Harvard University$854,747
    Microsoft Corp $833,617
    Google Inc$803,436
    Citigroup Inc $701,290
    JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
    Time Warner $590,084
    Sidley Austin LLP$588,598
    Stanford University$586,557
    National Amusements Inc$551,683
    UBS AG $543,219
    Wilmerhale Llp$542,618
    Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
    IBM Corp$528,822
    Columbia University$528,302
    Morgan Stanley $514,881
    General Electric $499,130

    Description of close ties between White House & Goldman Sachs:

    “At a time when Congressional hearings are set to call testimony from some Goldman Sachs employees, it is vital to understand how widespread that institution’s ties are to the Obama administration. This diary shows the pervasive influence of Goldman Sachs and Goldman created institutions (like the Hamilton Project embedded in the Brookings Institution), employees and influence peddlers in the Obama administration,” FDL wrote on April 27.

    It is not simply Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Gary Gensler and Mark Patterson who are Goldies, but a long list of others. “But that’s just the tip of the Goldman Sachs iceberg. Here you will find, I believe, the most comprehensive list of people-groups yet available to show how Obama’s administration has really become the Goldman Sachs administration.”

    Elena Kagan is merely the latest addition, although her ties to Goldman are downplayed if not completely ignored by the corporate media.




    This is a bunch of lefty agitprop that, of course, doesn't remotely prove what you're asserting, that there was a quid pro quo in which Obama agreed to take or not to take specific actions regarding Goldman Sachs in exchange for campaign contributions.  Goldman's sweet deal under TARP was cut when George Bush was still president, and was supported by a vast majority of the Democrats in office at the time.

    Now, if you're trying to argue that Wall Street has far too much influence in Washington,with that of course I agree.  We can talk about Bill Clinton and Citigroup if you'd like:

    I'd prefer to talk about the current President of the United States and issues that affect us most today, but yes, Citibank's Robert Rubin was still around under the Obama Administration as a rather ill-advised advisor.

    Actually Desider, it didn't mean you needed to come to the thread to merely attack, and you did, and I take issue with that. If brew wants to use "" around progressive, who cares.

    And as someone who has volunteered for numerous GOTV activities first and foremost getting people registered and talking about policies, those works were organized by and conducted by the Democratic Party and the League of Conservation Voters and League of Women Voters, the majority of us there, were women and probably wouldn't be included in what you believe to be progressive, although we are in fact liberal, but we most often work through established organizations. Current progressives seem to shun organization, which relegates them to not having a large impact on the government. And when there are booths at fairs and weekends to work, I don't see the folks you mention. The women's league of voters includes liberals and conservatives too, let's not forget that, but we do agree on many things and a citizens responsibility to vote it one of them.

    2008 is a great example of a rise in minority voting, I have never seen so many African Americans engaged in the process,. Our booth (Democratic Party) at the Blackberry festival was so crowded at every hour we had to have extra volunteers which the many unions were more than happy to step up to the plate to help. The Republican booth did not have the same activity ours did. We are mainstream democrats and liberals. We plan on doing the same thing this year, and we plan on seeing a greater rise in minority registration. We believe in organization.

    Anyway, I am saying you can take issue with brew, without starting the inevitable battle of wits which inevitably turns into a vicious flame war.

    First, "battle of wits" can start from someone condensing your views down to a statement you didn't make, for example "don't support Obama just yet, pressure him" becomes "oh, you just want everyone to sit it out". I.e. bunch of Naderites who ruined Al Gore's chances. (rather than Maureen Dowd and Franch Rich and Josh Marshall and other Kool Kidz with microphones)

    2nd, I'd always thought that many minorities including blacks are "progressive", such as Van Jones, Dissenting Justice Darren Hutchinsen, a black lesbian I knew active heavy into LBGT rights even 25 years ago, the pronouncements of Chuck D, and so on.

    Third, I don't know what the difference between a "liberal" and a "progressive" is aside from marketing, except from your pejorative that "current progressives seem to shun organization". Really? I thought Howard Dean was a Progressive who instigated modern social media organizing. Act Blue and Net Roots and Move On and Blue America and ProgressiveCongress are not organizations by Progressives? When Scooter Libby went on trial, Marcie Wheeler at Firedog organized net fans to go through the massive volumes of court notes to be able to summarize for the public what was happening. Chris Bowers left OpenLeft blog to go work for Alan Grayson and help him push some of the hardest hitting pronouncements against the GOP, corruption on Wall Street, and other Progressive issues. I think a lot of non-Progressives would be happy if Jane Hamsher weren't organizing, continually turning FDL from an opinion blog further into a funded activist site.

    Care to explain?



    Whatever, you simply move the bar to take issue with everything, to fight all the time.I can't do it, okay, we get nowhere. I don't like that you came here to begin a flame war with Brew when you can simply defend your progressive values without engaging in personal attacks.

    Let's leave it at that.

    If I called you a "woman" in quotations - or "scare quotes" as Cho put it - do you sit all right with that?

    Is telling someone they simply can't fathom black people not a "personal attack"? (okay, it's probably a racist attack, but whatever)

    You're welcome to frame it as you want and ignore the sub-texts from one side. But it does make it hard to defend anything that way - a lesson I wish Democrats had learned long ago.

    Note that Cho actually read my comment and Googled a bit to agree in part with my objection to the "rich gays" myth. Not everyone objects to objection.


    • Des criticizes Brew for offensive use of scare quotes
    • Tmac criticizes Des for offensive criticism of Brew for offensive use of scare quotes
    • Extended debate ensues over whose offense is most deserving of spankage.

    This is why we hate the meta. If you find someone's comment to be extremely offensive, be it flaming or inappropriate punctuation, please alert the moderators. If not, please just let it go.

    Not really:

    - Brew dismisses Progressives work fighting for DADT/gay rights using, as Cho describes, "scare quotes". [Really - it was all just wealthy GOP gays who did it]

    - Des notes that the myth of the "rich gay household" is overblown (Cho looks up and sees Des has something of a point) and that Progressives were still fighting for DADT and gay marriage (uses scarequote humor)

    - Brew complains about "butthirt"

    - Tmac ignores social/political issues and instead asks why Des is attacking Brew

    - Des notes to Tmac that Brew is simply attacking Progressives yet again, and that Tmac's column is actually a thinly layered attack on a Progressive (Maddow), ascribing Al Gore's problem (a lying media) to Obama (who never embraced gay marriage).

    - Genghis makes a meta-meta post, ignoring the social/political issues or the level of attacks on progressives

    Yes, my summary left out the "butthirt" comment as well as any explicit acknowledgment of itself. The first was an oversight. The second was to avert a dangerous paradox.

    In any case, I think that progressives are strong enough survive Brew's ferocious grammatical onslaught and "snippety" games.

    Let's move on, eh?

    Look, what are we moving on from? Cho referenced "scare quotes" either here or elsewhere. I just doubled down for humorous effect.

    I don't care what words or diacritics are used in general.

    Continual attacks on Progressives however is something I object to, and on a diary that's a glorified "leave Obama alone, you insufferable Progressive" it doesn't seem off topic. Then followed with the canard "Progressives can't work with an organization". As if "Move On" wasn't an original very successful progressive organization.

    Maybe you're fine with all the "leave Obama alone/let's diss Progressives" meta. Maybe I should move on, as we seem to be entering the pre-election Do Not Disturb zone, and this does seem to be getting repetitive.



    We are moving on (or rather attempting to move on) from publicly complaining about what our co-bloggers are writing or the way they are writing, from accusing them of acting in bad faith or being dismissive or offensive or big pimply jerkfaces.

    The blog post is about Rachel Maddow, who as far as I know does not blog here. Therefore, she is as permissible a target as Barack Obama, who doesn't blog here either. You don't have to like this post any more than Tmac has to like the anti-Obama posts that label his supporters Republicans and corporate toadies. And you are welcome defend Maddow and progressives vaunted organizational capabilities.

    Heh. Worth a shot, I guess.

    (if excessive use of scare-quotes becomes bannable, I'm toast).

    PS - many came here from TPM, presumed to be a Progressive blog.

    Do you find it curious that attacking Progressives for being Progressive is now a predominant meme?

    So you equate Maddow with being a Chris Matthews type. But unlike Gore and the internet, did Obama do anything serious for gay marriage? I have my problems with Maddow, but did she really misrepresent Obama's safe and painless position?

    Here's a NY Times piece:

    As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama’s position hardened. In 2008, he visited the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., where the pastor Rick Warren asked him to define marriage. “I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Mr. Obama said. “For me, as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.”

    Three years later, Mr. Obama has said his views are evolving, in part because he has “very close friends who are married gay and lesbian couples.”

    Evolving. And even of late pushing "equality" while refusing to endorse the term or ceremony of "marriage" - way to ride that wave, Mr. President. Should we really equate Maddow's statement with "Al Gore said he created the internet"?

    I am unsure how the TPM reference counts for anything at all, what does that matter? Brew was at TPM. I was there too Desider. So what?

    I don't see how your personal beef with brew is relevant to any discussion.  Look desider, all I am saying to you is to refrain from starting the personal flame war here. No need to change the subject, brew said something about progressives in general, you personally attacked brew. That gets us no where.

    I think Rachel engaged in the very same thing Matthews does daily, and I personally believe this gets us nowhere, she did what you did, a personal attack on the President, why? Where does that get us? It certainly doesn't move us forward. I don't like that, and I don't have to like it when the media employs those methods to drive further wedges in society, because it leaves us unable to solve problems. Period.

    "she [Rachel] did what you did, a personal attack on the President, why?"

    Not that I read/heard/saw Maddow's comment, but I think she made a *professional* attack on the President. The President is supposed to be a publicly representative and a leader. Presumably you know the phrase, "lead or get out of the way". Having the President stay at the back of the issue and step up now and then for polite applause does not help the LBTG community much, and I see nothing "personal" or untoward in objecting to it.

    My problem with Brew in this case is once again he attacks Progressives. As do you - presumably "liberals who don't organize". Even while you're lamenting in a diary the unfair attacks on Al Gore, who I consider a Progressive (who knows how to organize).

    And the sub-text of your diary is, "attacks on Obama are equal to attacks on Gore", with Progressives, or Dirty F***ing Hippies as commonly described, being the culprits again, ever since Rahm became the voice of the White House (and criticized unions and progressives for organizing - or "flushing your money down the toilet" as he put it).

    Who else would you include as "social progressives"?

    In thinking about your thesis a bit, I think sps and eps have flip-flopped a bit in their successes. Back in the day of strong unions and a strong middle class, eps, you could say, were very successful, and gps were way in the closet. Now things have flipped.

    Taking this in a slightly different direction, you could say that social conservatives have really been the lifeblood of movement conservatism for some decades now. A poli-sci professor explained this once to me: Viguerie et al figured out back in the early 80s that Republicans would be a permanent minority party if they simply relied on traditional economic conservatives and one other subgroup that escapes me right now. They could only lay claim to something like 40% of the electorate.

    But if they added the "values voters," they could get to a majority. Plus, the values voters were and are MUCH more energetic as you'd expect from people who think they are doing God's work. Nothing gets these folks worked up the way abortion, gays, guns, and God do. Moreover, these issues are couched in absolutist terms which don't allow for compromise...

    • abortion is murder

    • homosexuality is sinning against God's word

    • the second amendment is, well, the second most prominent and therefore important element in our founding document.

    • God...well, what could possibly be more important than Him?

    The "values" approach also allowed conservatives to steal a big chunk of the traditional progressive base (Reagan Democrats) who shared these values and came to feel that progressives did not.

    I don't know about the flip-flopping. At least over the last 40 years. Median wages peaked in '73 never to recover again (though they came close to the '73 level during the nineties bubble years). So economic progressives have been losing for all that time. Social progressives on the other hand have been winning hands down,as far as I know, over the same period. In relative terms minorities and women have gained. And, along with gays, are closer to equal in terms of rights. Did they ever falter during that time? I can't see it. There was some negative rhetoric during the Reagan and Bush years, but in substantive terms hardly a step back.

    Maybe I'm missing something. And if you mean there were flip-flops before the sixties - I'll happily cede the floor to anyone with a better knowledge of the history regarding the political coalitions back then.

    Interesting analysis Beetle. And although I do not agree that there is such a think as a gay and lesbian lifestyle, since my gay and lesbian friends live like I do, our lifestyles are equivalent, I do believe Ms. Maddow has taken the Outrage bait to boost her ratings rather than to view what happened in NY as something to celebrate, which has little to do with the President.

    I watch her pretty often and I'd say she's pretty balanced in the issues she covers.

    She did HUGE coverage of the Gulf oil spill, for example.  Weeks and weeks of it. Traveled down there quite a few times.

    She's running a series of ads where she poses in front of iconic infrastructure projects like dams and asks why America is giving up on doing big things like "this."

    Yes, she cover g&l issues, but hardly to the exclusion of other issues.

    For what it's worth, I include immigration along with the gay and lesbian issue as well ... distraction issues used to divert the public's attention - or should I say the media's attention. Both are issues in need of being resolved, however, they're not as pressing as the economy and job issues ... issues which melds both into the public duress as a whole - we're all in it together. Put those issues back on the front burner first, then tackle the secondary issues.

    Maddow and the rest of the MSM types are guilty of pleasure seeking news that gratifies their positions rather than news that informs their public audiences of the specifics in issues articulated in such a manner a tea-bagger would be able to comprehend without going off on a tangent.

    I'm of the opinion that the failure of the MSM today is that pleasure seeking news mentality ... discussing commentary attuned to the expectation of a specific mindset and insinuating those who are of a different mindset are way off-base and clueless. How else can one describe the political presence a tea-bagger with a totally different perception of the history of the US, it's government and the lack of depth in understanding the actions taken by players in the past that created the issues we're facing today??

    It does boil down to ratings which in turn creates a revenue flow which in turn moves the bottom line up so as to meet Wall Street expectations. Remember back in the days of Walter Cronkite when a TV news show was only expected to generate a cash flow of no more than 1%? That news wasn't a commodity one should expect to generate a cash flow to maintain the profitability of the organization? Could it be that the profit motive behind meeting Wall Street expectations be the reason why our news coverage is lacking in the depth necessary to create the public debates necessary for the public to be informed on the issues? Could explain why when one starts a dicussion on a news topic, it opens the hostility factor of others and the discussion turns into a fight over ideology rather than a civil discussion of the issue itself. we think people were better informed in the days of Walter?

    We trusted more (most of us, I think), but I'm not sure we were better informed.

    The default position for most people is ignorance, because becoming informed takes a lot of work. Arguably, it takes less work now because of the Internet.

    But I agree that people seek out the news they want. This is often hailed as a technological and service advance: myNYTimes; myNewsweek. Instead of having to plough through all that stuff you're not interested in and don't need, you get to tune out all the stuff you think you're not interested in or don't want to know about.

    And then there's cable.

    I guess "pleasure seeking" is a pretty good label for it. I watch MSNBC, but I don't watch FOX. Watching FOX would make me angry all the time and I don't want to be angry all the time.

    I think the big difference between the days of Cronkite and now is that back in Walter's day we had one overarching narrative aligning current events.  The rise of the talk-radio Right has made any information coming from the establishment suspect.  We are now a nation of two competing narratives. 

    Although I disagree somewhat that people should put their causes on the back burner, because the respective states can work on more than one issue at a time. They can work on jobs and the economy and pass civil rights legislation. NY State has proved Republicans and Democrats can work together to solve the states problems as well, which means they are more likely to be able to solve some of their bigger issues, like the economy. Success can breed success.

    But I do agree, of course that wedge issues are used by the media, most especially cable news shock-jocks to excite their more extreme viewers, who are susceptible to constant outrage. I think we give them far too much power to direct the  conversation about what is important and what needs to be accomplished as a nation. And we can accomplish things if we work hard together, but the media itself fights that, because there is little controversy in working together to accomplish good for the entire nation.

    I always enjoy reading your blogs because of your passion, and I admit, I too felt a bit weird watching Rachel Maddow trying to spin something substantive out of such thin material, but I don't think it's indicative of anything more than her strong personal feelings about the issue and her frustrations with the President's position.  I think she's usually so well-prepped and makes such strong arguments, that it was a bit jarring when she made that rather weak extrapolation.  I just don't think she's drinking out of the well of Hannity and Beck any more than I think Chris Matthews is morphing into a left-wing Limbaugh.  Matthews' worked for Muskie, Carter and Tip O'Neill, back in the day, so it's not like he's a new convert to Liberal Democratic thinking.  I think he's been much more Conservative in the past, but I see what he's doing now as the act of someone who's flirted with a more conservative outlook and has realized it was a misstep and has now swung back to what were always his core beliefs.  I think too he's reached that age in Life when people don't give a sh*t about what people think and start telling the truth as they see it.   I think there is a difference between a concerted effort at dispensing propaganda and the fallibilty of humans that sometimes make less than smart choices due to their personal feelings about issues.  I think Maddow's 'attack' was more misguided, than a calculatedly evil turn of events.

    Thank you Mr. Smith.

    I do not see inherent evil in what Maddow did and I do admit, I believe she is not the worst purveyor of Shock-jockery, she fell into the trap of playing the manufactured outrage card. What happened in NY has little to do with the President. But overall I am not just talking about Maddow, I am talking about manufactured outrage that seems to sway the electorate in so many ways. So of course I see 2000 where the attacks on Gore were sustained attacks by people on all sides, both liberal and conservative. They do it to drive ratings and viewership, and this is what I  take issue with, because in the end it makes their programming no better than watching Real Housewives on Bravo, as they manufacture outrage all the time, to drive viewership.

    I would hate for us to allow it to go on and on and drive our Presidential politics as it did in 2000 and in 2004, when on more than one occasions, on msnbc they questioned John Kerry's manliness and derided him for wake-boarding or what ever he was doing, effete you know instead of hunting. At times they seemed to buy into the notion he didn't deserve his medals from Vietnam.

    But I do agree that mostly, Maddow is the least offensive, which is why I didn't expect it from her. I saw the headlines on tpm or huffpo as to what she said, and I wondered why on earth she would say the President doesn't like what happened in NY, that is crazy when the evidence tells us this is not the case.

    Oh I totally agree about TV and Radio, in general.  But, like the scorpion crossing the river on the back of the frog, (  They can't help doing what they do, it's their nature.  They are interested in horse races, not cakewalks, so, in the next year and a half, they will play up the Republican positions, not matter how idiotic and offer endless criticism of Obama as they try to make the campaign "interesting", which for them means, a neck and neck slugfest, with lots of missteps, faux-pas and embarrassing retractions and, false statements that become 'truth'.  Sadly, in the age of corporate-owned media, it's the way of things.  By the way, it happened in 2008 too, but, in that situation, we liked the outcome better.  Obama, the longshot newcomer was too compelling a story and TV just had to have it go all the way. 

    Nice analogy, and I agree with you.

    It's no secret that I'm a huge Rachel Maddow fan, but I was surprised at first at what she said about Obama not wanting what happened in NY. She is testy about anything having to do with discrimination against gays, and with good reason, but she did give him credit for his stance on DADT when he made it. I wouldn't be too hard on her for what she said, and I wouldn't assume she's doing it for any other reason than that she's gay and she understands the problems associated with that.

    To my mind, she's the furthest thing from a shock jock and doesn't deserve to be included in that category. She tries very hard to be fair and she works tirelessly at getting her stories right. If she misses something or misrepresents something, she's right there the next night admitting to it and setting it straight. So please do not line her up with Glenn Beck. That's a terrible thought, and not in the least accurate.

    But you are right about the media, for the most part. They are the problem way too often, and have been since the Reagan days. They made him the Teflon president and turned a tinhorn into a hero. They helped to create an atmosphere so toxic a modern, successful president was impeached for dalliances with a willing intern. They stuck their heads in the ground when GWB moved an entire war from Afghanistan to Iraq for no earthly reason. And now they've given so much credence to the Astroturf Tea Party that motley bunch is actually able to influence elections.

    I'll have to read the Gore article. I haven't followed it closely but until I read it here I was under the impression that he was dissing the president. Boy, we have to be ever vigilant, don't we? There aren't enough hours in the day...

    But I admit I have always considered Rachel to be better than they are, so when I read the article about what she'd said I was kind of taken aback. It just got me thinking of the 2000 election and the power of the media. 

    As I understand it, it was one line and she sort of muttered it--not quite saying it out loud. I was watching that night but missed that particular moment.

    Just wanted to add, in case you didn't get it that I'm a HUGE Rachel Maddow fan Wink, it was her persistence, her pressuring, and her dogged repeating of a story about the threatened closing of Catherine Ferguson Academy, a school for unwed mothers in Detroit, that forced the POB to find a way to keep it open.  When she latches onto a story, she's a bulldog!  She never lets go.

    I have to say I was STUNNED when I heard the headline about Gore.

    I thought, "Of all people to go after Obama at this point--good grief! Can't you remember back to 2000 and what happened to YOU?"

    You're right. We'll have to read the article, and it's depressing to feel one has to read the article just to settle this question--"ever vigilant" as you say.

    For what it is worth, I agree that Rachel was way out of line with her, "THIS IS HOW OBAMA FAILED US ONCE AGAIN" diatribe. Considering the incomparable grief that this President gets from every tiny possible light from every end of the spectrum, I wish she had just let it go.

    As someone who has has my own evolution as to gay marriage ...I was brought up by republicans and evolved...why is it horrible to state that the process is ongoing but not complete????

    Regardless of my personal situation, it is relevant except that as more people recognize the wrongness of excluding people whose biggest fault is loving someone that others find objectionable; this is something to be glad about, rather than to degrade those who arrived a little late, but nonetheless, arrived.

    Yes, I think most people move to your position CVille, and everyone arrives at a different time, arriving is the goal.

    I occasionally watch Rachel Maddow and Cenk Uygur, but the signal-to-noise is not good on TV. I like Rachel, but she seems to have become more like Olbermann since he left.

    Yes, I think the trend of Cable Talking Head TV demands that hosts move towards the bombastic, it is hard to sell reasonable, reasonable isn't nearly as much fun.

    fun is another way of saying entertainment. which pretty much sums up the problem liberal activists face in this country,

    TMC...I agree with most of what's been said here.

    • Rachel was off base.

    • Rachel isn't even close to being like the others, even on MSNBC. She works hard to get her facts straight and she gives interesting, trenchant analyses of the facts.

    • I think some of the shock-jockery is an attempt to say something that isn't mealy-mouthed, that helps readers or listeners think differently about a topic. Wake people up.

    • Corporate ownership and the need for ratings may be the root of this evil, but mostly I feel that journalists are just lazy. They either fall into a bland and balanced overview of the waterfront or stake a purposely unbalanced position just to gain attention. But it's rare that you learn anything or that the real questions are asked and answered.

    • I used to watch The News Hour religiously. But after a while, it just felt as though they got one person on one side of the issue and another person on the other side. Everyone said his piece, but there was no movement toward what the truth of the matter was. Margaret Warner would end with, "We'll have to leave it there. Thank you..." I think the problem was a lack of probing follow up questions. The reporters almost seemed to lack a curiosity about the topic and just wanted to make sure they'd provided a "balanced" presentation.

    Gore doesn't even mention Obama until something like page 5. Here are the first few paragraphs. He THEN goes on to fault the president for not using the bully pulpit to educate people about the issue. Calling this a trashing of Obama is utterly ridiculous:

    "Barack Obama's approach to the climate crisis represents a special case that requires careful analysis. His election was accompanied by intense hope that many things in need of change would change. Some things have, but others have not. Climate policy, unfortunately, is in the second category. Why?

    "First of all, anyone who honestly examines the incredible challenges confronting President Obama when he took office has to feel enormous empathy for him: the Great Recession, with the high unemployment and the enormous public and private indebtedness it produced; two seemingly interminable wars; an intractable political opposition whose true leaders — entertainers masquerading as pundits — openly declared that their objective was to ensure that the new president failed; a badly broken Senate that is almost completely paralyzed by the threat of filibuster and is controlled lock, stock and barrel by the oil and coal industries; a contingent of nominal supporters in Congress who are indentured servants of the same special interests that control most of the Republican Party; and a ferocious, well-financed and dishonest campaign poised to vilify anyone who dares offer leadership for the reduction of global-warming pollution.

    "In spite of these obstacles, President Obama included significant climate-friendly initiatives in the economic stimulus package he presented to Congress during his first month in office. With the skillful leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee chairmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey, he helped secure passage of a cap-and-trade measure in the House a few months later. He implemented historic improvements in fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles, and instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward on the regulation of global-warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. He appointed many excellent men and women to key positions, and they, in turn, have made hundreds of changes in environmental and energy policy that have helped move the country forward slightly on the climate issue. During his first six months, he clearly articulated the link between environmental security, economic security and national security — making the case that a national commitment to renewable energy could simultaneously reduce unemployment, dependence on foreign oil and vulnerability to the disruption of oil markets dominated by the Persian Gulf reserves. And more recently, as the issue of long-term debt has forced discussion of new revenue, he proposed the elimination of unnecessary and expensive subsidies for oil and gas."


    I will respond to both of your comments right here, and of course I agree with everything you've written.  I think some of those people on TV, who I would not necessarily consider journalists are lazy, but they also know they have the power to drive the cycle. And they use that cycle to their advantage, it is always advantageous to manufacture outrage to get more viewers.

    Gore's article does not single out the President like he targets the media, and he is correct when he writes they have failed, completely. Gore is more than fair to the President, it seems that the media once again, needs to invent an issue where there is none, he knows what they do to people, just like you've written, and we all watched it happen. I hope we don't allow that to happen again.

    @Decider, here is what I think about all those things you've mentioned before I went to work out. So I wanted to come back to you with as complete as answer as I possibly can.

    I believe that some of the movements you mentioned are not in the truest sense organizations, which is why say, progressives lack organization.

    As a member of the League of Women Voters (founded 1920), this organization has been around for very long time, it survives personality. The League of Conservation Voters is no different and in some sense nor is the Democratic Party, which on the whole has the same goals, but those goals encompass a wider area simply because of the size and scope of the party, which has many different interests. 

    The League of Women voters has lobbyists in Washington DC, they have organization at all levels, from the county to the state to regional to national. They are well established as an institution that fights for certain progressive issues. They have impact on the system. The organization itself is made up of liberals, conservatives and moderates. Each level of organization meets, they have policy discussions, ideas are introduced, consensus is built and principles and policies are adapted to the demands of our ever changing political goals. In short, people have taken their time to build an organization that has some positive impact on our politics. The internet is definitely used as a method of building outreach and consensus, but it is not the only method used. Regular old time mailing, telephone calls, dinners, etc are used to build the organization, which is nothing without a membership, and of course it has a long and well established membership, showing up to community events, passing out pamphlets, all of that and more.

    I do believe the media has a motive too, not just evil politicians and corporate entities, they get away with as much as we let them. The media has great power to sway people, I think that is a simple fact.

    The media is owned by huge corporate entities, so they get away with much more than we let them.

    Organizations have different behavior, and it can certainly be argued that a team built around Facebook/MySpace/Twitter/Email/SMS can be just as organized and perhaps faster and more flexible than traditional political groups that hold galas and mailings.

    Fundraising is one aspect of this, and internet-based donations were huge last presidential cycle, as were traditional high-dollar-per-plate dinners with lots of bundling going on.

    Of course there's been some fury with the rather conservative DNC in both how it operates and how it supports not very progressive candidates to the exlusion of those who push the status quo much harder. (Versus say Howard Dean's work with the DCCC promoting a 50-state policy that promoted grassroots participation and more local control).

    But in any case, it seems the argument here is that progressives work with more fleeting non-traditional organizations. In one way this is misleading, as many of these organizations were co-opted by the Obama nationwide effort in 2008, and discouraged from doing individual fund raising and such, rather were encouraged to push their donors to the Obama campaign. Post-election, the Obama campaign then folded up the local grassroots organizations with a faint promise to recreate it some time later, which never really happened.

    But in any case, they're organizations, just not everybody's organizations.Since they're often built around particular campaigns, their longevity is typically limited, except where recycled say from Dean a bit to Kerry and then to Obama.

    @Desider you wrote

    Organizations have different behavior, and it can certainly be argued that a team built around Facebook/MySpace/Twitter/Email/SMS can be just as organized and perhaps faster and more flexible than traditional political groups that hold galas and mailings.

    Traditional Organizations use these tools to built their organizations, I wrote that above in my response to you. But you discount the effectiveness of established organizations. All I am saying is that these methods are tried and true because they participate in the system and are therefore heard and able to push for change. If you want to change the system, you have to be able to participate in the system.

    Howard Dean worked within the system, and he was able to do this by participating in the system, he didn't do what he did by moving out of the system and trying to create all that on his own, he did it from within the party, within the structure of the organization.

    "But you discount the effectiveness of established organizations."

    Please provide a quote or a reference. Even in the part you do quote there are words like "can be argued", "can be just as organized", "perhaps faster..."...

    Nor do I say traditional orgs can't "use these tools" - I noted "built around" - i.e. social media comes first, it's not an add-on.

    I'm not sure what progressives you think are working outside the system vs. Howard Dean working withing the system. They're all working with similar resources - some a bit more centralized, some a bit less. But Net Roots works closely with people like Bernie Saunders, Al Franken, Alan Grayson, and a number of other less controversial politicians. Jane Hamsher worked with Gordon Nyquist to get some accountability. Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon, a pretty mainstream publication where Joan Walsh is editor. Act Blue copied Dean's 50 State strategy at a time when Rahm was walking it back. OpenLeft and MyDD spent a lot of time trying to get polling to line up for accurate campaign predictions and use of resources. Howie Klein and Darcie Burner have spent their time trying to find more attractive progressive candidates to run for vulnerable congressional seats, typically on a shoestring of support but combining guerrilla and establishment sources where possible. Marcie Wheeler is friends with a lot of judges and other legal professionals by which she gets lots of good information on Gitmo, mortgage fraud, Wall Street malfeasance and other court cases. Even Michael Moore works a lot with unions, which once upon a time were considered within the structure of an organization, but now are being looked at with scorn and ridicule. (Though recent anti-union events in Wisconsin have brought this back a bit)

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