What's their motivation?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Liberals, and likely many normal conservatives, don’t understand the freak show that showed up at the Hundred Hypocrite Huddle in D.C. last week. The so-called “TEA” movement never made an appearance when the Bush administration, passed TARP, created the Medicare pharma benefit and otherwise spent money like a rock star, yet all of a sudden our country is in peril when Obama shows up? Heck, we aren’t even spending under an Obama budget yet and the main thing he has spent money on was a simulus bill, 42% of which was tax cuts. The teabagger hypocrisy cannot be explained by most normal folk, so I ask:

What motivates them?

In the everyday American’s mind it leaves a few options:

  • They are driven my pure partisanship. (Possible)
  • They are a coalition of single issue voters who together call themselves a movement. (Possible)
  • They are driven by religious opposition to Obama’s religion or his social polices. (Possible)
  • They are freaked out that Obama is a black guy now that he is in charge. (Possible)
  • All of the above. (Possible)

While I am not yet convinced that Jimmy Carter did anyone a favor by calling these people racist, I am not convinced that race isn’t part of what drives part of this group.

What do you think?


steves 8:19 AM  

I am sure that race is part of it some how, but we have had this discussion before and aren't any closer to finding an answer. I am sure that there a many that would like to paint this as some kind of racist movement. I can't think of a better way to discredit it, much like the right portraying the anti-war movement as a bunch of anti-American, smell hippies.

Both contained some elements of truth, but were (are) not completely fair portrayals. I am sure the TEA folk would prefer that they been seen as some grass-roots populist movement.

Throughout this all, I am sure the media will continue to do a shitty job of avoiding and real questions, focusing on the most outrageous elements, and giving a voice to the biggest idiots (pick any pundit).

The so-called “TEA” movement never made an appearance when the Bush administration , passed TARP, created the Medicare pharma benefit and otherwise spent money like a rock star, yet all of a sudden our country is in peril when Obama shows up?

Is this really that big of a surprise? Partisan politics. I am not going to say that everyone does it and it is the same everywhere, but most people seem to be pretty partisan in their outrage and are willing to let some stuff slide if their guy/gal is the one in charge.

Smitty 9:09 AM  

I think the total motivation is fear, and I think the catalyst is a lazy media.

Over the past 3 days, I have seen no less than 12 YouTube videos of the 100 Teabagger Parade, and in each of those videos somebody praises Glenn Beck. There is a certain small percentage of the population who buys into what he says. And all you need to do to see what he says is to visit his web page. That shit is racist, it is fear-mongering, and he just makes shit up to solidify his points.

And nobody calls him out except bloggers, who unfortunately still don't have the viewership or readership of the Times, the Post, or NBC Nightly News. Or fucking FOX news for that matter.

So you have a group of Americans who simple repeat his talking points. They are convinced that Obama WANTS to destroy America, because those are the very words Glenn Beck uses.

And nobody calls him out.

The media gives these people a shit-ton of airtime, because NORMAL Americans are...normal. We thiunks it's bullshit, we mutter under our breaths about what looney-bin escapees these people are, and we move on. But the Escapees get 10 fucking minutes every night on the news, and not one credible media outlet goes out of their way to call them out or to call out their Ring Leader.

Jay 11:21 AM  

And the follow-on question becomes:

Why don't they call him on it?

Is it simple laziness? Poor journalism? Corporate pressure to not rock that particular boat? Or is it primarily an outgrowth of that fact that entertainment has become more important than investigative stories for many (most?) MSM outlets and the news agencies are building stories based primarily on entertainment value?

If entertainment is the key to making money on news (or not losing as much money...I thought I read somewhere that very few news shows on TV actually make money for their networks), then isn't the public getting what they are asking/paying for and (arguably) deserve, if that is the case?

Smitty 12:43 PM  

then isn't the public getting what they are asking/paying for and (arguably) deserve, if that is the case?

When it comes to the truth, when it comes to honesty, then "getting what we deserve" should never be an option. Real, honest reporting should be something we get regardless of what we "think" about it, especially since most people have proven THEY CAN'T THINK.

Walter Cronkite used to have no bones about saying "person X said statement Z. Here's why statement Z is known to be bullshit/the absolute truth/kinda true and here's the rest of the truth." Bill Moyers recently did the same thing (I will have to dog for the link from a Balloon Juice post a few weeks ago). But that's it.

Even NPR has betrayed me. Recently, they reported from 2 locations on Obama's speech to Congress. One was a bar in Denver, where a local conservative club met to watch and critique. The usual shit: hurt America, socialism, death panels, etc. Then they went to a bar in Chicago. As expected: psychophantic love for the speech and Obama.

And that was it.

See....balanced reporting isn't Side A, then Side B, especially when Side A is absolutely FALSE and Side B is blinded by love. Love and hate is not balance. It's OPPOSITES.

Balance would have been Side A, followed by a brief factual commentary on some of the bullshit present on their side. Then off to Side B, with factual commentary on their statements. That's balance. Side A is wrong (you can say "wrong" without saying "lie" believe it or not), and Side B is not saying anything inherently harmful, though it lacks critique. Or whatever the outcome. That's balance.

I have got to find this story, but there is a book where a guy says that 60 Minutes, while a decent program, was the beginning of the end for news, because it showed you could make money off of the news. When the news was just news, you got reporting. It was a public service of sorts. But when it became a commodity, a money-maker, then you lose the public service aspect and go with the whatever-makes-money aspect.

Jay 2:26 PM  

I agree with you on the truth and what we "should" get. But the reality of what we DO get, and why we get it, is what I was asking about.

My feeling is that it's 90% or more commercial (we need to do it this way or our ratings fall and we get axed). What makes up the remainder is a combination of laziness, low standards of journalism, and corporate politics.

So I feel the discussion boils down to complaining about news organizations being in it to make money instead of as a public service. And while we can complain about that all we want, it's hard to see how to fix that.

Of course, NPR is a non-profit organization, no? So what exactly IS their excuse? Are they afraid of losing their sponsors? Or are they just lazy/bad (on occasion)?

steves 4:18 PM  

I wish I had an answer as to why people buy into what Beck is saying. I can't stand to watch even a few minutes of him. Never have. I think there just is a portion of this country on both sides of the spectrum that is just easily swayed and doesn't want to put much thought into why they believe what they do. They would rather just listen or watch _________, slap a sticker on their bumper, and call it good.

I think Jay is right. News has become entertainment. I only have vague recollections of Cronkite, so I can't give much of an opinion on him. I doubt there was ever a golden age of news, but it some ways it is better. The media manage to make all sorts of shit up back in the late 19th century and start the Spanish American War.

Bob 6:39 PM  

"The media manage to make all sorts of shit up back in the late 19th century and start the Spanish American War."

Hmmm, not much different than 2002.

Mr Furious 11:28 PM  

I definitely think that partisan politics plays a large role, and the GOP / Right Wing power brokers would be playing the opposition role pretty much the same whether the PResident was Obama, Hillary or even, say, Edwards. The lock-step, blind support for Bush/Cheney would simply flip and become lock-step, blind opposition to a Dem President.

Where race comes into play is the ability for guys like Beck to stoke peoples fears. For many of these people any person not like them is a threat. And Obama is chock-full of "other."

Would they be able to pull this Communist shit off on a white President? Doubtful. The fact that Obama is black—and as FOX would have these people believe—of dubious citizenship, origin and faith allows all sorts of paranoid fantasies to take hold.

Clinton or Edwards would surely be attacked for liberal policy and turning the country to sin while opening the borders and our flank to attack, but at the end of the day, they're clearly still white and Christian.

If the identity of the USA to you is a white, Christian nation—Obama upsets your sensibilities in a way no other President could.

steves 7:36 AM  

Mr. F, I disagree. I heard the Clinton communist and socialist accusations all throughout the 90's, though probably not as much. This would have been different if he had tried harder in the health care arena or if the economy was worse then. While I certainly wouldn't call Obama socialist, if you look at health care reform and big bailouts, that is creating an environment where you are going to hear those accusations.

I agree that Obama is going to bring out the worst in racists, but they would call him names anyway. Socialist is just the trendy insult right now.

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