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It’s Just Normal Violence, Argues Fox

January 11, 2011

The extreme Rightwing Republican campaigners on Fox have been busy overnight (Australian time) insisting the Arizona shootings had nothing to do with politics. I have just heard these propagandists interview a compliant, Republican-leaning Arizona sheriff to argue the case. They criticized one of his colleagues for hinting the abusive local political climate might have been relevant. He was pre-judging things, they claimed – and then went on to do precisely that, putting the case that a single madman cannot be influenced by the diabolical climate of abuse, anger, hatred and paranoia whipped up by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and their colleagues day after day on Fox.

Fox commentator Sarah Palin routinely broadcasts that America faces “tyranny” and “socialism” as if blind “…to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms,” as The New York Times put it.

Gabrielle Giffords was, of course, targeted in Palin’s “cross hairs” advertisement, now earning notoriety.

As I write, the Fox blowhards are working frantically to press their case that the attempted assassination of a Congresswoman, who had been a fierce advocate of health reform, could not possibly have been related to the vitriolic campaign of abuse unloosed by the American Right.

Rupert Murdoch should call in Roger Ailes, the boss of Fox, and tell him the hysteria and outrage and hyperbole on the Channel should be curbed instantly and Ailes should make retirement plans. Perhaps to organize Palin’s exploratory committee.

Meanwhile Glenn Beck is on air right now declaring : “Your country’s burning down !” He added it’s like Joshua – the walls are burning down ! And another blowhard comes on denouncing Obama’s “radical agenda” reviving the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayres and stating baldly the president is a socialist.

There are lunatics with guns listening to this unrelenting,dishonest and cynical propaganda.

  1. Pip permalink
    January 11, 2011 12:49 am

    What happened in Arizona is a terrible tragedy. Nobody knows yet what caused the young man to commit such a terrible crime but the truth is that there has been more than enough encouragement [bile and aggression] from the likes of Fox News in particular to hate ones neighbour.
    “Rupert Murdoch should call in Roger Ailes”…. and the Labor government should call in the ABC’s Chairman Maurice Newman and MD Mark Scott and tell them there has been a change of plan, that the ABC will no longer parrot News Ltd. Less opinion from the IPA, and no more “news” reports beginning with “the Opposition says..”. Less opinion from News Ltd. has-beens.
    They’re obviously not in the same league as Limbaugh and Beck, or O’Reilly, but they are propagandists all the same. Sarah Palin on the other hand is in a league of her own! Australians deserve much better from their ABC, and the Americans would be better informed without the likes of Fox News and the vile shock-jocks on both sides of the pond.

  2. Jock Reby permalink
    January 11, 2011 1:16 am

    Would Rupert Murdoch be sympathetic to entreaties from someone of your own standing and experience? It seems that someone has to do something to mitigate the increasingly toxic miasma of US politics – and, sadly, perhaps Aus politics too. The saying is that we’re 5-10 years behind what happens over there.

  3. January 11, 2011 4:39 am

    Recent reports on the Huffington Post suggest that the shooter might have been suffering from severe delusional schizophrenia and might not have been driven by right-wing rhetoric – they’ve got a great roundup here:

    That said, there is no doubt in my mind that the right-wingers in America (especially those who appear on Fox) are doing their best to subvert democracy through a systematic campaign of misinformation. I’m almost certain that most of them don’t really believe half the things they say. They are master manipulators of public opinion; something made all the more easier by their country’s lackluster education system. Rupert will never call in Roger Aile for a reprimand because he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing.

    Let’s consider our own experience in relation to the blokes over at News Limited. I know you took part in the review of Labor’s performance at the Federal election (If I wasn’t overseas at the time, I would have made a submission). I’m sure many people wrote about Labor’s inability to cut through, it’s inability to communicate its agenda, or perhaps even its lack of one.

    I believe that Labor’s biggest problem was not the overthrow of Kevin Rudd, nor our PM’s silly talk of the “real” Julia Gillard. It wasn’t a failure to communicate its agenda. It was an inability to have its message reported in an unbiased objective fashion by the nation’s mainstream media. The TV channels have all cut back on their news studios as it’s simply not worth the money. Not when News Ltd does all the work for them. The Murdoch press sets the agenda, the rest (including Mark Scott’s ABC), follow it. Objective reality goes out the window, and we get a tabloid-tinted view of the world where short-sighted right-wing policies are praised and considered perspectives are labelled elitist. Somehow Tony Abbott – a Mosmanite who attended a wealthy private school – becomes a man of the people, while Julia, with her true working class roots, becomes a holier than though snob, too proud to stand down amongst the people at the Rooty Hill town hall meeting.

    I realise I’ve gone off-topic here, but I think it’s extremely important to recognise the power of media in shaping norms in society, and its potential to act as a corrupting influence over our democracy when it is controlled by too few. I doubt that we would see the fiery militant rhetoric in the USA that we are seeing today if it weren’t for the safe haven that Fox News has created. Glenn Beck and his ilk helped create the Tea Party movement, and while I can never see things getting that heated here, Tony Abbott has certainly done his best to emulate their lack of civility in the political sphere.

    I’d like to finish by noting an interesting parallel between our recent experience and that of America’s in terms of the mining tax and the health-care bill. Both issues have raised the ire of powerful business groups. It was with funding from the health-care industry that the Tea Party got its kick-start. It was pressure from the mining companies that finished Rudd off. In the end it looks like the left will win (or has won) on both issues, but we now see a resurgent political machine in the right which has the power of the world’s most powerful media group on its side. This is a group that has become more and more willing to show its true colours (The Australian anyone?). How the future plays out is anyone’s guess. We need is a strong progressive media otherwise the political norms in our society will inevitably continue to shift further to the right.

  4. January 11, 2011 6:48 am

    Here’s a great followup article I just found which addresses the opening post quite well:

    • Zeck180 permalink
      January 11, 2011 6:08 pm

      Normal Violence? the right wing morons at Fox can’t wait to defend their evil and hateful child the Tea Party, seriously Fox, stuff like this doesn’t happen in the US. South of the boarder yes(Mexico), but in our country no. The Tea Party is to be held accountable for the shooting also, since they only talk about: the only way to get rid of Democrats is by “shooting them out of office”. During her campaign Rep. Gifford, had her office vandalized by Tea Party supporters and the windows were shot at, Fox and the Tea Party is destroying my country (I’m American) by preaching it’s hate towards the “Evil Socialist Liberals” (democrats). Plainly the Tea Party is more like a Terrorist group anymore.

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