Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hilarious "analysis" at MediaMatters

Cleverly titled How Fox News is Destroying the Republican Party, this piece by Eric Boehlert does for insightful political commentary what the Gong Show did...for insightful political commentary. Reading it, I'm having a hard time believing that the writer was serious about any of it. Some of his claims are very nearly on par with claims that the Lunar Landing was an elaborate hoax.

It opens with the idea that conservatives are becoming "despondent," that they see chances of a win in November "dwindling." Most of the conservatives I know have assumed for a while now that 2012 would be a tough nut to crack, particularly after the 2010 Republican avalanche. Such a conclusion is simply a product of history. And right away, the piece hits the "establishment" note:

Spooked at the general elections prospects facing frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (especially Gingrich), members of the so-called Republican Establishment seem to want to reboot the election season and try their nominating luck again.
The "so-called" appellation is given without explanation and really, in context, makes no sense whatsoever. But here's the thing: if you're going to ring the establishment bell, you have to admit that the establishment knows--better than the rank and file--that 2012 was an uphill battle, from the get-go. And the author, blissfully unaware of what he is saying, only gets sillier from here.

He argues that there is a Grand Conspiracy being perpetrated by--of course--Fox News and Roger Ailes, along with help from Rush Limbaugh. For anyone that has ever sampled a MediaMatters story, this is not very surprising, since almost every story on the website is an attack on Limbaugh or Fox News (or both). That's all MediaMatters does, nothing more. But I digress; back to the silliness.

Look at this bit:
The truth is, the Republican Establishment all but ceded control of the party, or at least the public face of the party, to Fox News (and Rush Limbaugh) in January, 2009. Party leaders, demoralized by John McCain's electoral landslide defeat, faded into the background and obediently followed Fox News' often-hysterical lead as Rupert Murdoch's cable channel unveiled an unprecedented effort to demonize and delegitimize the newly elected president. (In the Fox-led world, it's conventional wisdom that Obama's a foreign, race-baiting Marxist who undermines Israel and is determined to destroy the American way of life.)
"The truth" is no such thing. Of course, like any good conspiracy theory, no proof is needed here. And anything offered in rebuttal will be dismissed as a fabrication. It's a stunning example of the Nietzschean proverb:
Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
MediaMatters writers--so desperate to prove that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are driven by a single-minded agenda--have themselves become exactly what they see in these others. Boehlert goes on to complain about "unprofessional rhetoric" at Fox, arguing that this has caused conservative leaders to follow suit, completely ignorant of how similar "unprofessional rhetoric" comes from liberals and progressives, from MSNBC, and fills almost every inch of the piece he has just written. Truly, it's high comedy.

Cheers, all.


  1. Rob, I can't take it anymore. Could you, please, tell J. Adams that he can't read a chart to save his life :) Combining GDP growth, Unemployment and Revenue on the same chart clearly shows that GDP growth is the driving force with unemployment and revenue having a lag. Also, please, tell him that his own charts of revenue don't support his contention. Since the bulk of Bush's cuts came into play in 2003, and with a slight lag the revenue started climbing till the 2007/8 bust.

  2. Lol, Dm! You're gonna blow a gasket, take it easy. I was just killin' time. I've been through it too many times before, as you know.

  3. :)
    I know, I know. I was mostly joking. It is something when someone is coming out of the gate with the statements this dude made, especially when despite his claims to knowledge and superiority, he can't apparently do a basic analysis. Though I have to say that this corresponds well to what I was told by some of the grad students who taught undegrads with regards to expectations, grades etc. And we are talking engineering here, which means that the situation in other disciplines is even worse.