How the Media Blew the Big Story About GOP Extremism

great piece via Moyers.com

Donald Trump reflects the “extremist” values Republicans have been cultivating for decades, while the mainstream media intentionally looked away. Readers weigh in with their perspectives below.

BY KARIN KAMP | MARCH 22, 2016

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California governor Ronald Reagan speaks to journalist John Chancellor (L) on the floor of the Republican National Convention, Miami Beach, Florida, August 1968. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

While the media and establishment Republicans like to paint Donald Trump as a colorful outlier, he is actually the fulfillment of everything the GOP has been saying and doing for decades, writes Neal Gabler in his recent media column, “Blowing the Biggest Political Story of the Last Fifty Years.”

To take on extremism, Gabler writes, would reveal not only the Republicans’ deficiencies, both of its elected officials and its rank and file, but the deficiencies of the entire American political system. Gabler sees Trump’s popularity as the unmasking of how the Grand Old Party devolved from a “business-centered, small town, white Protestant set of beliefs” into a party associated with “bigotry, intellectual dishonesty, ignorance, warmongering, intractability and cruelty against the vulnerable and powerless.”

The mainstream media “chose not to tell” the story over the past 50 years, as the party lurched “not just rightward, but extremist-ward,” particularly after Ronald Reagan became president. If the news media had done its job, Gabler contends, we would have seen headlines that accurately reflected what was happening, such as these: “Republicans Oppose Civil Rights”; “Republicans Demonize Homosexuals and Deny Them Rights”; or “Republicans Work to Defeat Expansion of Health Insurance.”

The mainstream news media would probably defend themselves by saying they don’t take sides, Gabler says, and that partisanship is for outlets like Fox News and MSNBC. But accurate reporting, of course, requires taking sides when one side is “spouting falsehoods” or speaking in dog whistles. So why didn’t the media take on the the story happening before our eyes? “To take on extremism,” Gabler writes, “would reveal not only the Republicans’ deficiencies, both of its elected officials and its rank and file, but the deficiencies of the entire American political system.”

The end of the FCC Fairness Doctrine led to a ‘tolerance of extremism, whitewashing of falsehoods, promotion of propaganda and lies.’
— LUCIUS ON BILLMOYERS.COM

A number of people wrote in agreement with Gabler but added that the “extremist-ward” shift began well before Reagan. Facebook follower, Timothy Brinduse, says: “McCarthyism, the John Birch Society, brought to you by the Koch Brothers’ father, Fred [whose son Charles was an active member of the controversial right-wing group during its campaigns against the civil rights movement in the 1960s], as well as Nixon’s Southern Strategy [in which GOP candidates gained political support in the South by appealing to racism against blacks] — the roots of this bitter fruit run deep.”

To which Daniel Smith responded: “AND the brainwashing influence of right-wing propaganda radio and TV in all of this loony mindset taking over Republicans minds.‬” That was the most popular comment on the BillMoyers.com Facebook page.

The lack of coverage, many wrote in to say, is all about the corporatization and consolidation of the media and the end of the FCC Fairness Doctrine under Ronald Reagan in 1987. That, according to Lucius, has led to the “tolerance of extremism, whitewashing of falsehoods, promotion of propaganda and lies.” Corporate elites are not interested in educating the public “so news has become infotainment.”

And the Democrats?

Christie Bowdle suggests that Gabler write this same article from the perspective of the Democratic Party. “There is no way it still holds the same values and integrity that was around when FDR was president. The bottom line is America itself has changed. Not necessarily for the good.”

There is no way [the Democratic Party] still holds the same values and integrity that was around when FDR was president. The bottom line is America itself has changed. Not necessarily for the good.
— CHRISTIE ON BILLMOYERS.COM

Someone identifying as SecularHumanist199 replied to Bowdle, writing that it is “a false equivalency” to say that the Democratic Party has devolved to the extent that the Republicans Party has.

“Yes, they did try to block things done by Bush, but based on real policy differences and not just because of who he was, unlike Republicans who have tried to block everything President Obama has proposed even if it was something with which they agreed in the past.” [Editor’s note: According to recent academic research, both parties have moved away from the center in recent decades, but Republicans in the Senate and especially the House have drifted away from the center far more rapidly than Democrats.]

Ponta Vedra agrees that the GOP has moved further rightward. She writes that the GOP establishment has been “carefully cultivating an atmosphere of fear, paranoia, and outright loathing so they could use that atmosphere to manipulate the public. Enter Donald Trump, who simply walks right up — excuse me, he just coasted down an escalator — grabbed it, and walked off with it.”

But Vedra also thinks Gabler misses the point that Trump is “not really even an outlier, he’s an outsider” and she believes that the real reason the GOP establishment is distancing itself from Trump is not because of his outrageousness, but because he owes them nothing. “He has no reason to do what they want or put their players into positions of power. That’s why they oppose him: because he’s not under their control.”

Sam disagrees, he says, the Republican establishment really does “hate Trump.” He is “exactly the ridiculous caricature of Republicans that Democrats have been pretending Republicans are for years.” One of the reason the left is giving him “tons of free press” is because “they love having someone like him with an R next to his name.”

As for our citizenry, Sylvie Walker asks that we all recognize the forces that have conspired to make both sides feel abandoned. “Fear, debt and insecurity will make everyone go into overdrive attempting to right an unbalanced boat. The left must reach out and protect the folks suffering on the right. The right must reign in the vitriol and recognize the suffering on the left.”

Indeed there were a lot of comments against the “lies,” “propaganda” and “bias” of reporting on both the right and left, and few, if any, mainstream news outlets came away unscathed.

But no matter what your position, Ruth Riegelhaupt-Herzig ‪makes an interesting point, when she writes: “I have never understood why false advertising is illegal but false news is legal. It has been so dangerous. The fear-mongering, hateful, false news combined with the obstructionist Congress has created a hate-filled population ripe for someone like Trump to take over.”

Referring presumably to the late-night satirical news programs, ‪Catherine Thiem‪ writes “our comedians are the only truth tellers out there these days.”

The trouble is, when it comes to real news, we’re not laughing — and we suspect no one else is either.

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Raising Boys that Feminists Will Know to be Grotesque, Obtuse, Misogynistic Assholes and Total Losers

41oe5oynqml-_sx248_bo1204203200_This a steaming pile of crap from 2012, actually called Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate, by someone name Doug Giles. I took a peek because I had recently had a run-in with a tween who had all the answers and one of them was that women are lesser than and feminism is a scourge.

Doug Giles says that feminists want nothing more than to:

“take your son and eradicate his masculine uniqueness.”

I don’t think I need to explain much beyond the first two sentences of the Introduction:

“Feminists would love nothing more than to take your son and eradicate his masculine uniqueness. They hate men, and therefore, they will hate your son.”

I’m not sure if Doug Giles means to imply that all those feminists with kids actually hate their own male offspring, or that feminists don’t actually have children. Draw your own conclusion I guess.

51tp0yt3tsl-_sx331_bo1204203200_But don’t worry. The author is totes not a misogynist. AT ALL. In fact, Doug Giles loves girls. He loves girls so much he has even written a book for girls!  It is entitled, get thisL “Raising Righteous and Rowdy Girls,” the cover of which includes a 50-inch stiletto heel, a tube of red lipstick and a gun. Because we all know that THAT is what being a woman is all about, for every person born with two X chromosomes.

51lbj7uhull-_ac_ul320_sr214320_ This is another “book” crapped out by Doug Giles and it is called: “Rise, Kill and Eat”. Because, yeah.

 

 

 

 

So there you go. If this guy wants to assume that we “man-hating feminists” want to neuter little boys, then I’m going to assume, based on the cover of one of his books and two sentences of the other that a) he wants his daughters to be gun-toting sexpots, because the only value they have in society is related to how sexy they are, and b) he is raising his sons to be hard-muscled walking penises, because the only value they have in society is spreading their seed and learning to kill stuff. I’m going to assume that the author lacks the IQ points to realize that there is more than one way to be a man, to be a woman. Because blanket statements and ill-informed presumptions are totes helpful, right?

The weirdest thing about this tome, is that the one hand, they’re constantly banging on about how men are natural born leaders. Then they go and ruin the whole warrior thing by whining about how they’re the victims of a vast cultural conspiracy run by women.

I share a life with a manly/dandified dude with a poodle, 2 cats and a great job. God, how I wish his parents had raised him right! Due to their humanistic, observant, supportive parenting, attentiveness to his life and daily examples of respect, inclusion and kindness, he never had a chance to be an abusive rapist like he was meant to be! I mean, he never even once groped me without permission, he doesn’t talk over me or correct me mindlessly to get the last word in. He never even spewed a “make me a sandwich, woman!” comment to me, or on an online forum! He never forwards me offensive memes and cartoons with beleaguered men threatening suicide because their wives are nagging them! And all this time, he was caught in a net of self-loathing, seeing the women in his life having it so much easier than him, what with our superior pay, lack of sexual harassment on a daily basis, and numerous other advantages. Well, all that nonsense stops with him! While he may be a lost cause, you can raise your son right, and use Doug’s book as a guide! By Gum, your son will be in prison for rape by the time he’s 20 years old! Your son will be feared and loathed by daughters and wives! In short, your son will be a MAN, something my guy has never been! Thanks, Doug!

Look, as a grateful non-parent, I can only assume that negotiating your son’s adolescence can be harrowing, and often in ways you least expect. Despite all the fears about drugs, drunk-driving and traffic accidents, the thing your son is statistically most likely to die from is suicide, a baffling fact. And I suppose to raise an enlightened, feminist son when misogyny is still such a potent, inescapable force in our culture is no picnic. To teach those sons about what it means to be someone who not only supports equality, but who helps to move the cause forward.  As Gloria Steinem famously said:

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons … but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”

Hopefully, sons learn about gender and the relationship between the sexes within their own families, not from the Internets. How a mother and father treat each other informs your son’s personal philosophies, hopefully  instilling values that include respecting the humanity, dignity, intelligence, and capacity of women. Feminism declares that women are human beings worthy of equal access to resources and opportunities and it is important for my son to grow up not only knowing it, but embodying it. If you aren’t talking to your son about the amazing things women have done historically and pointing out things we are doing now, you are #ParentingFAIL.  When your son says things that uphold oppressive social norms re: women, and you don’t immediately correct him that is #ParentingFAIL. It’s not that complicated, people. Commit to egalitarian gender politics while raising a child, as well as the effort to create an environment where a child is able to make choices and exercise agency.

Remember, I want your kids to be kind, empathetic, brave, loving, respectful, tolerant, creative, and good at critical thinking (including questioning authority). I don’t want the world littered with more obtuse, intolerant little shits.

It is 2016, and a series of catchphrases have come to dominate the chaotic state of gender politics – “male privilege”, “rape culture”, “men’s rights” – but confusion reigns. And in the middle of this confusion, a group of anonymous men retreated to The Red Pill, an online community hosted on Reddit, to revel in their loathing. If you have a son of Internet gaming age or propensity, I would advise you to read this:

508Swallowing the Red Pill: A journey to the heart of modern misogyny 

“….feral boys wandering the digital ruins of exploded masculinity, howling their misery, concocting vast nonsense about women, and craving the tiniest crumb of self-confidence and fellow-feeling. The discussion threads are a mixed bag of rage and curiosity: screeds against feminists, advice on how to masturbate less, theories on why women fantasize about rape, descriptions of arguments with girlfriends, guides to going up to strangers on the street, and, most of all, workout schedules and diet regimes.”

If there is one thing Republicans and a large swath of everyday men really hate, it is political correctness. “Why,” they ask, “must I care about other people’s feelings? How is that fair? If this were truly a free country, everyone would think it was perfectly terrific when I use racial slurs, call women bitches and cunts and be legally required to laugh very hard at all of my super terrific rape jokes!”

These men are sick and tired of people creating “safe spaces” where they are less likely to get their feelings hurt or experience racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia instead of being cool and just dealing with that shit. Oh, how they pine for the days when you could just go around insulting and brutalizing people, and those people would thank you for being so good at expressing your freedom of speech! How they cry that said free speech is being taken away by people being offended by the things they say, and insisting it is terribly unfair for them to ever have to think about or consider anyone’s feelings.

However, this all changes when their feelings are the feelings that are being hurt, and nothing hurts Men’s feelings like being called a SEXIST. In fact, the traditional wisdom among many men is that being called a sexist is approximately 6.12 billion times worse than actually saying or doing a sexist thing to begin with. Why? Because the sort of people who say sexist things are generally incapable of empathy, and thus cannot possibly fathom that anything they could say could hurt someone as much as being called a sexist hurts them. They know in their hearts that they are not misoginists. So stop calling them on the stupid sexist things they say or write. Look into their hearts…

Not to get all Jean-Paul Sartre on you guys, but I kind of feel as though with things like sexism, existence precedes essence, no? Like, if you keep doing and saying sexist things, as men do, what, exactly, is the difference between you and someone who is “sexist in their hearts,” as they are wont to say? And how can we tell? Because for some reason, every time someone gets caught doing or saying something sexist, they somehow reason it out by saying “SURE, that thing I said and/or did could maybe be interpreted by pretty much anyone as being incredibly sexist! But I am not sexist in my heart, so it totally does not count!” Apparently, you can get away with saying and doing some pretty terrible things if you are only sexist with your mouth and not your heart or other organs. It is very convenient, considering the fact that there is literally no way to prove what is in someone’s heart other than through their actions, and if their actions don’t count, then we could all be perfect in our own hearts. Heck, in my own heart, as far as anyone knows, I could be Teddy Roosevelt!

computer-game-addictions

This is not Parenting. This is Neglect.

The problem with video game/technology culture is that women continue to be a big problem. HUGE problem. Insisting that somehow the fact that they are women was even noteworthy, AS IF. Let’s start with the genuinely horrible and end with the slightly less horrible, shall we? From the seemingly endless morass of misogyny and stupid (plus very legitimate concerns about gaming journalism) that is “gamergate” comes the news that, for a time Amazon carried a self-published e-book detailing a violent rape fantasy about Zoe Quinn, one of the game developers who has been the target of online harassment by a raving pack of assholes who somehow have convinced themselves that threatening her and other women game designers will somehow bring justice to the world.

(If you’re lost and confused about what the hell Gamergate is, Gawker did an explainer)

Zoe Quinn is hated because she developed a game, and then an ex-boyfriend accused her of having sex with game reviewers. Never mind that the only true parts of the story are that she created a game, she had a boyfriend, and they broke up. On the internet, things don’t have to be true — besides, she complained about misogyny after the death and rape threats, so she’s the sexist.) Some witty fellow — we’ll assume, sexists that we are — wrote a 3000-word e-text and published it for Kindle with this charming description:

Zada Quinby is a controversial video game designer who may have crossed the line … ,” When her latest game offends the nation, five upset players decide to teach her a lesson. This gang of gamers decides to give Zada of [sic] piece of their mind, and much more!

Minutes after RawStory covered the existence of the thing, it was pulled by Amazon; an Amazon rep told RawStory’s Scott Kaufman that the book

appears to violate Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing’s Content Guidelines, which indicate both that “[w]e don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts” or other “offensive content,” which they define as, “[w]hat we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.”

The book was up long enough for Ms. Quinn to find out about; on Twitter, she noted its existence in a couple of tweets:Quinn tweetsAnd of course, with the incredible logic of the internet, when Kaufman tweeted an update to his story , noting that the book had been pulled by Amazon, someone complained that he hadn’t given credit to the true heroes of the story:

gamertweetAfter all, how could it have been removed if some gamergate stalker hadn’t created it in the first place? (Yes, we know — maybe it was written by someone who just wanted to make gamergate look bad.)

On a somewhat less loathsome note — which we must emphasize is a very relative judgment — comes a story from Wired by three computer scientists at MIT who did an “Ask Me Anything” post at Reddit. Elena Glassman, NehaNarula, and Jean Yang started off the event by writing,

“We’re 3 female computer scientists at MIT, here to answer questions about programming and academia. Ask us anything!”

Well Jesus, what were they thinking, being such rank sexists? The questions came in pretty quickly, mostly getting to the most important word in their post:

“Why does it matter that you’re female?”
“Why did you put gender in the title?”
“Why should your gender matter if you’re talking about research?”

Silly women, why did they have to go and rub their boobies all over the computer screen like that? In a truly equal world, no one would ever mention gender, and then there’d be no sexism! They also got some questions about their bra sizes, and multiple orders to make a sandwich (hahaha, that joke NEVER gets old). There were also some more clueful commenters, like the person who said that the whole AMA became “a parody of what it’s actually like to be a woman working in a STEM field.” So as you can see, they’re just raving feminists. Of course, if they hadn’t included the word “female” in their description, gender wouldn’t have come up at all, right? Not that women face any barriers or discouraging messages about participating in science and tech.

The writers do explain why they included that red-flag word in their Reddit description:

As computer science PhD students, we were interested in fielding questions about programming, academia, MIT CSAIL, and how we got interested in the subject in the first place. As three of the few women in our department and as supporters of women pursuing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], we also wanted to let people know that we were interested in answering questions about what it is like to be women in a male-dominated field. We decided to actively highlight the fact that we were three female computer scientists doing an AMA, to serve as role models in a field that’s less than 20 percent female.

So as you can see, they’re just raving feminists, as demonstrated by the fact that they even knew that percentage. It shouldn’t even be noticed. Of course, if they hadn’t included the word “female” in their description, gender wouldn’t have come up at all, right? Not that women face any barriers or discouraging messages about participating in science and tech.

Ultimately, though, they believe that despite all the idiots, it was a worthwhile effort:

We were able to raise awareness about technical privilege, implicit bias, and imposter syndrome. The questions and responses in the AMA also gave both male and female Redditors a platform to share their own experiences in and suggestions for environments unfriendly to women. Many women supported our answers by telling stories of their own experiences. Numerous men asked how they could help be allies–and many people jumped in to offer helpful responses.

And if you are looking for a silver lining, it is that even on the interwebs, sometimes people can learn things … that you rather wish they didn’t need to be taught at all.

If you conceive of yourself as the sun in a morally Copernican universe, then your subjective assessment of your own conduct is all that really matters. The one teensy problem with that model is that there are, you know, other people.

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Reading

9780062300546Hillbilly Elegy
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

By J. D. Vance
Harper, Hardcover, 9780062300546, 272pp.

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

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RIP Darwyn Cooke, 53.

Via Kotaku

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The Koch Brothers’ Vision for America will Destroy Everything you Love Including your Public Library

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Libraries. A place where people too poor to afford Internet access at home can access information and communities that will help them participate in the political process. Or as conservatives call them: Lie-berries: a direct danger to the our dystopian hopes.

The Poor. The filthy, disgusting, craven, hideous, troublesome, rabble-rousing, undeserving, unwashed, ragged, disrespectful, clamorous, disease-ridden, mostly foreign, foul-mouthed, ignorant, rapacious, uncouth masses of dirty, greedy, tubercular, grimy, mentally and morally deficient heathens who have free crab legs and Obamaphones.

The Koch Brothers. Gross brothers/criminal political lapdogs born into $300 million fortunes who have exploited hundreds of thousands of laborers and the natural resources of America to make that $300 million into billions, and they don’t want to pay any taxes on that, because they are evil.

tumblr_n0w8hvm1MI1rh1omao1_1280The Carnegie Robber Barons of yore, when they weren’t pillaging non-rich Americans, worked with locals in designing, building and providing Carnegie funding over the long term for over 1600 libraries across America and around the world. But current Robber Barons the Kochs brothers believe libraries are for non-believers of the liberal bent. They do not like it that poor kids get free opportunities to spend their days surrounded by books and readers instead of home alone with a TV (preferably tuned into FOX NEWS), or hanging out in alleys, while their parents work to pay for their food and shelter. They do not like it that libraries are for many the final safety net afforded to them before they hit rock bottom – where they can search for jobs, send in resumes’, take computer classes, etc. And take action to get back on their feet that they would not otherwise be able to do.

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While the Kochs, having shoveled out dump trucks of money on losing candidates this election cycle, have decided to sit out the presidential nomination process, they have not slowed down their progress in their design to destroy what is left of America. The squillionaireres continue to shaped the legislative and regulatory landscape a bit more to their liking. Because their motto is: “We can’t drown government in a bathtub. nut we can smother it with a big ol’ money pile”.

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Reading

9780062116154Savage Harvest
A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art

By Carl Hoffman
William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062116154, 322pp.

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Ramona Quimby, C’est Moi.

 

Larson-BeverlyClearyAge100-690
Beverly Cleary, who turned 100 last week, has written more than three dozen children’s books over the course of her life, starting with her first book, “Henry Huggins”, in 1950. Cleary was working as a librarian when a group of little boys complained to her that he couldn’t find any books about “kids like us.” hence, Cleary, a hater of didactic literature, birthed Henry Huggins, of Klickitat Street in Portland, Ore.

Henry had a best friend named Beezus and a mischievous but lovable little sister Ramona Quimby. The earlier books in the series tend to be written from Henry’s point of view, and the later ones from Ramona’s; there is also one where the protagonist is Ramona’s sister and one told from the POV of Henry’s dog. I’ve read them all, most multiple times.

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Nancy smiling in front of a Hill Street book exchange in Eagle Rock2015-07-13 15.40.15

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bookwormbookworm

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Reading

9780385539258A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara
Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385539258, 736pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2015

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