Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sigh . . .

Fascinating report . . .
Health reform opponents resort to digital dirty tricks Dec 16: Rachel Maddow talks to Chris Hayes, Washington editor for The Nation, about the latest online astroturfing strategies to build the illusion of greater opposition to health care reform.

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Daily Dish: Fomenting Fear And Loathing

by Chris Bodenner

Above is an appalling act of exploitation. Sean Hannity assembles a group of 9/11 victims - understandably roiled by grief and frustration - and frames the segment around the "betrayal" of Obama putting terrorist suspects on trial in New York. The exploitation is not so much of the family members themselves, who would harbor the same feelings and opinions regardless of Hannity's forum. Rather, Hannity is exploiting the empathy that millions of viewers hold for those victims. By stoking their sadness, and providing no counterbalance from grieving victims with alternate views, Hannity creates pure propaganda. And he channels that raw, seething emotion not just toward a particular policy decision, but a personalized individual - Barack Obama - who also happens to be the nation's leader in a time of war.

Here's an excerpt from the clip if you don't want to watch it all:

“It may be pushing the envelope a little bit,” Gadiel added, “but I, I wonder, you know, The Constitution has provisions for people who provide aid and comfort for the enemy and I just – there’s no exemption for high officials, including the president and the attorney general. I just wonder when, when it will be that people would, will decide or will there be people around who will be willing to point fingers if he crosses the line and when does he cross the line?”

So how did “patriotic” Hannity react to his guest calling, essentially, for our president to be arrested for treason? By encouraging the rest of his audience to agree. “Let me ask for a show of hands once again. How many of you – show of hands (Hannity raised his own hand as a blatant cue for others to do so, too) – high, if you can. How many of you agree with what Peter just said?”

Almost the entire studio audience raised their hands.

Daily Dish: Fomenting Fear And Loathing, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Your post fairly admonished Hannity for exploiting grief to create propaganda, but fails to recognize why his piece is propaganda. It is so not because Hannity fails "provide counterbalance from grieving victims with alternate views," but because his argument is intellectually dishonest: rationally, he is wrong (in saying that justice is "providing aid and comfort to an enemy"), but he avoids rationality by exploiting his viewer's empathy & guilt. Doing such is the creation of propaganda; his piece would still be malicious dishonesty even if he rustled up an opposing viewpoint. Indeed, strategy often employed by him and others of his mold (and increasingly by real journalists) is the use of differing opinions to legitimize drivel. Fox seems to be built on that 'Fair & Balanced' idea.

Another writes:

Has the public already forgotten how Sean Hannity marched at the head of the parade to destroy the career of the Dixie Chicks for daring to criticize a president during a time of war? What Natalie Maines said about Bush was mild compared to Hannity's disgraceful exploitation of 9/11 victims to foment hatred against Obama.

Marshall (TPM): FRC "Prayercast"

The Family Research Council held a "prayercast" tonight to pray for God's intercession to stop the health care reform bill in the senate. We made Eric Kleefeld watch.

We'll have a full review tomorrow.

Rachel profiles the prayercast crowd . . .

GOP unrestrained in health reform opposition Dec 16: Rachel Maddow is joined by Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist, to talk about whether the GOP's jihad against health reform will ultimately accelerate their political dissolution.

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Marshall (TPM): No Fight

TPM Reader SD on why he thinks so many people are pissed ...

I think people are pissed right now less at the fact that they didn't get what they wanted, and more at the fact that they feel like their people didn't really fight for it. Leaders don't always get what they want. But people recognize when true leaders at least give it a shot. And people judge that leadership by what they say in public and how hard they see them publicly pushing for it. Closed door negotiations don't count.
They wanted to see Obama push the public option and say that it was crucial, important part. His broad outlines of "cuts the deficit, improves coverage" is too bland and not something people can rally around, and he gives the impression that he's ceding power and leadership to a less capable bunch in the legislative branch.

They wanted to see news stories about how "staffers close to the majority leader" say that chaimanships and other perks were on the line for any Democrat who talked about filibustering this crucial bill.

They wanted to see congressional leadership and the president campaign hard for an "up or down vote on healthcare" the way the Republicans did so effectively for the judge appointments.

But none of that happened, and the things that people care about died with a whimper.

I know there's been a lot of game theory from people about how that would never work, etc. But the fact is that you can show leadership for big ideas and there's always still room to compromise at the end. At least then it would be clear that there was no other way, that you put up the good fight, better luck next time.

Instead they feel like the people they voted for and trusted to lead them failed. And it's hard to imagine making that same emotional commitment again in the future. Self defeating, yes. Temporary, maybe. But we're talking primal stuff here - people don't like wimps, not matter what party.

Sargent: Rockefeller Rips Dean: “Nonsense … Irresponsible … Stunning … Wrong”

Wow, this is really something. Senator Jay Rockefeller, who recently emerged as something of a public option hero on the left, just tore into Howard Dean on MSNBC, ripping Dean’s call on Dems to kill the Senate bill as “nonsense,” and demanding that the left stop “sulking” and start acting like “grownups.”

Asked by Andrea Mitchell about Dean’s opposition, Rockefeller said: “It’s nonsense. And it’s irrepsonsible. And coming from him as a physician, it’s stunning. And he’s wrong. Does that answer your question?”

Pressed by Mitchell to defend the bill despite the jetissoning of core liberal priorities, Rockefeller cited the 85% of insurance company revenues to be spent be spent on health care, the closing of much of the Medicare “donut hole,” and the mandate coverage for 31 million people, among other things.

Then Rockefeller really got started.

“Am I angry that the public option appears to have been dropped? Of course I’m angry about that,” he said. “Was I for the Medicare buy-in? Of course I was…So what do I do? Do I take my football and run home and sulk?”

Rockefeller still wasn’t finished. “I’m a grownup, you’re a grownup,” he said. “We’ve been around this business for a long time. And you never get everything you want. You don’t sulk about it. You try to keep improving the bill.”

Strong stuff! The substance of his dispute with Dean aside, it’s interesting to note that Rockefeller would be far less likely to offer such a stern dressing down to, say, Joe Lieberman, whose views on health care likely rankle Rockefeller far more than Dean’s do.

But then again, Lieberman has been allowed to effectively hijack this process, which means he’s holding a gun to the head of reform. Dean, meanwhile, is just some silly lefty ranting on the sidelines, so there’s no downside to venting in his direction.

C&L: Howard Dean to Mary Landrieu: You Forced Us Into the Insurance Industry

At the end of separate interviews on Hardball, Chris Matthews gives Howard Dean a chance to respond to Mary Landrieu's statements and he comes at her hard for forcing everyone into private insurance by not allowing other choices in the bill. I'd call that a smack down for sure.

John Amato:

Sen. Landrieu drones on and on about her blind love and devotion to the insurance industry that has been a nightmare for many Americans. Why does she hate the idea that Americans deserve to have a choice about who they buy their health care from?

Dean: Mary, I'd like to know why you deny my people of the choice to sign up for an alternative? You are forcing us in to insurance companies. You took away our choice.

You would not let us choose another program. You forced us into the insurance industry and we don't want to be forced into the insurance industry and you took away our choice. That is wrong.

Landrieu: That is not true. You never had that choice to begin with.

Dean: The president campaigned on it, Mary...

Landrieu: No, he didn't. He did not campaign for a public option.

Dean: ...He most certainly did. He absolutely did, you are not accurate. He campaigned for a federal employee benefit with a public option. That's what he campaigned for.

Landrieu obviously never bothered to read the health care bill that President Obama ran on in the general election.

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