Sunday, January 09, 2011

This has to end now...

I'm partly responsible. I'm no Glenn Beck nor am I Bill O'Reilly but I have made some comments recently that suggest giving right wingers some of what they've been giving us. I have suggested, even if only as metaphor or as conditional of something else, that we strike back at these purveyors of hate and ignorance in ways that could be seen as violent. That is wrong. I know this, the belief that violence is wrong is part of me and yet, I let the toxin of hate and anger seep in to take control of who I am and what I say. I could never act on an angry comment or do violence to someone who just has an opposing view but I have allowed such thoughts to enter my mind. That too is wrong. But I'm not going to remove or sanitize my site of all references to such things or make believe that I am not the person who made those comments. I am the same person, I wrote them and I take any blame and/or credit for them. No need to Google cache anything I said.

Where do we go from here? The climate is calm because the shock is still reverberating across the country. A well liked, Democratic congresswoman, her aide and many others were shot in Tucson yesterday. Six people, as of this entry, have died from their wounds, among them a nine year old girl. A child who just stopped by because she had never met a congressperson before and her dad thought it would be cool. The gunman may have had an accomplice but they're not sure. They are looking for a 'person of interest'. That too is problematic because until the facts are out, we don't know who this guy is or what he was doing. He could just be an innocent bystander that happened to be in the wrong place and the wrong time. Sucks to be him. His life is over. If he is innocent, the media will hound him until he gives one of them an exclusive interview that will totally wreck his life. That's the way it works now in this country. To hell with your rights. To hell with your motives. If you are news, you are toast.

I would like to place all the blame on the media for this but I can't do that. The media is the drug dealer, we are the addicts. They deliver the goods that we crave and keep it coming night and day. We can't say no because we don't want to. We are hooked as bad as any junkie. If it's not Beck's ranting or O'Reilly's sanctimonious screeches, it's the whole of Fox News. But it is also MSNBC and CNN. It's also NPR and the New York Times. It's Time Magazine and Newsweek, the National Enquirer and Weekly World News. And it is also Channel 5 in Seattle or Channel 6 in Spokane. It's the Fox affiliates and others. And I haven't even gotten to Rush Limbaugh and his radio ilk. It's frustrating to see our media rally around those who 'shoot' off their mouths but never condemn nor allow others to condemn those remarks. They consider it quaint or harmless or something small and easily dismissed. Apparently, it's not.

Let the false equivalencies begin.

The talking heads are already out denouncing the attack with calls for 'both the right and the left' to give up their vitriol of hate and fearmongering. Bullshit! The amount of hatred and vitriol aimed squarely at the President and Democrats has been off the charts since the election of 2008. The Tea Party was created by Fox News corporate interests to deliver that hatred to town halls, gun shows and the ballot box. They bring on every right wing mouth breather to condemn Obama's latest adventure but never seem to have time to hear from the other side. But when tragedy strikes they're quick to bring liberals into the same vile sewer as the wingers in their condemnation.

Bring it. Show me where a liberal or a progressive has made comments as incendiary as Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. So you point at Keith Olbermann? He's loud and obnoxious but hardly vitriolic. He's come out against the hate and the ignorance and has allowed his own anger to shape his words but he is hardly in the same league as Limbaugh and Beck. Olbermann has a special comment today citing some of his own rhetoric as harmful and apologized. Where is Glenn Beck's apology and when is the media going to ask for it? The reality is that any apology from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh will be coming just two weeks short of never. They're too busy scrubbing their sites of anything that could be used to incriminate them.

I hesitate to suggest this so soon after the attack. It reeks of taking advantage of a tragedy that should be solemn and treated with the utmost respect and consolation. But in light of the rash of attacks that have happened in the past few years, we no longer have that time. It is in memory of those who died and were injured in Tucson that I call for every Democrat or Progressive that appears on any media to repudiate violence and those who foster it... by calling out Fox News by name.

Condemn the attacks and bring the focus back to Fox. Remind viewers of past attacks then bring it back to Fox. Mention the Tea Party and their 'Second Amendment Solutions' then tell folks where all that started - Fox News. This isn't an attempt to destroy Fox. They would surely survive this but it might turn the tide back to real reporting. Fox News drives the tone of broadcast journalism today. They have no right to. They tap into the ignorance and fear of the populace and exploit it for profit. Other news outlets have noticed this and emulate the narrative so they can enjoy some of that profit too.

True journalism dies as Fox News dances on its grave. If the Democrats and liberal pundits brought the fight directly to Fox News, the other stations would see an opening and take advantage. Fox News will become the national symbol of violent rhetoric and hate speech which, in turn, could drive some of the more reasonable of their audience to seek alternate places to get their news. Other news outlets will see the shifting sands and offer something different to bring that audience to them. We could conceivably bring an end to the climate of fear by shaming those who profit from it. But do we have the courage? Do our pundits and leaders have the intestinal fortitude to take on the Goliath Fox News. Do we have a David among the sheep?

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost loved ones yesterday. To the parents of the young lady, Christina-Taylor Green, who showed so much promise and energy in her too short life and to the family of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was recently reelected by her district because of her dedication to her constituents and her country. May she and the other injured people recover completely and may the Goddess guide and protect the souls of those who died as they journey to that which lies ahead.

If we don't stop this now, we will be back here again saying the same things about other good people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I've said in the past that my heart weeps for my country and what hatred has done to her. Now my tears have names.

So Mote It Be,
David A.