April 5, 2010

(h/t Heather for the vid)

Being part of the Village sure makes villagers say dumb things. On Reliable Sources, the topic was, "Are media fanning the flames of extremism?" Or, are some people blowing the vile behavior of many in the tea party movement out of proportion selectively because we hate liberals?

Ana Marie Cox, who got her start in the blogosphere, said that anger really doesn't influence people to vote one way or the other.

KURTZ: Wait. He's unpopular, but he has a huge and passionate following on the radio.

COX: Because people like anger as entertainment. They tend not to like anger as a motivation in actual real elections.

Really? Joe Lieberman was voted out of the Democratic party in 2006 and almost lost his Senate seat because of his total support for the Iraq war and the anger the base had towards him over it. And the Republicans lost control of the Presidency, House and Senate because of the anger Americans felt towards them. Maybe I'm wrong, but anger does have an impact and it will certainly carry over to the 2010 midterms.

Now I agree with Howard Kurtz that it would be best if authors aren't egged when they go to speak at their book events, but figures like Karl Rove are polarizing, especially after he helped lie us into a war with another country, and Code Pink has always been outspoken when it comes to the Iraq war.

KURTZ: That signing was disrupted by Code Pink. And Fox played that up every other hour because obviously it fit the Fox narrative and obviously is an infringement of free speech.

COX: Right. Of whose free speech?

KURTZ: Well, shouldn't an author be able to go and have a book signing without being shouted down?

Saying his "First Amendment" rights are being violated because they tried to have him arrested is off the wall. After all, the First Amendment is about protecting our speech from government censorship, not from the free speech of our fellow citizens. Howard was fanning the flames there a bit.

And this one made me laugh because Howard makes a good point and Ana only looks at it through the prism of the DC Beltway power structure.

Ana Marie Cox, don't the media reward politicians and others who say inflammatory things, as opposed to mild-mannered moderates?

ANA MARIE COX, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "GQ": Well, it depends what you mean by reward. I mean, is covering that a reward? Is giving someone air time a reward? What I think is really interesting --

KURTZ: Well, I would say it is a reward. There are 535 members of Congress. When you shout "You lie!" or "Baby killer!" or Alan Grayson said Republicans want old people to die, you get booked on shows.

COX: You do.

KURTZ: You get your profile raised.

COX: But I don't know if that necessarily translates into power, especially power when it comes to this White House.

As you know, I've been doing some research for this long-term project at "GQ" on the D.C. power list. And the interesting thing about talking to the White House about who the powerful journalists are, they don't mention anyone at Fox, they don't mention anyone at MSNBC. They mention a few people at CNN.

But it really is focused mainly on sort of the big traditional print outlets, as well as some Internet outlets. They don't think of the stuff that goes on at Fox as something that's really harming them. I mean, it may harm them in sort of -- it excites a certain amount of base that's never going to vote for them anyway, but it's not something that they're like, you know --

Of course, the power elite inside the Beltway keeps getting their agenda blocked by that "certain amount of the base" because they underestimate and minimize them -- and especially the ability of Fox News and the right-wing media to whip up a hysterical frenzy among the Tea Party folks.

After all, Erik Erickson got hired by CNN because he writes whacked out things on his blog and that raised his profile in the minds of CNN. See any liberal provocateurs being hired at CNN?

At least Craig Crawford got it right:

CRAWFORD: The mainstream media falls prey to this false equivalency stuff. I mean, comparing the Code Pink, you know, speech interrupter at Rove's book signing to a bunch of militia who planned to kill police officers and blow up their funerals, you know, the media is prone to those false equivalents.

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