LOTS OF STUFF flows by under our personal radar on this planet, and on any given day, the unprecedented proliferation around the globe of cheap wine barely makes anyone’s short list of things you could be wasting time on.
But not this week. This week, Sarah Palin resigned again— this time from her million dollar gig at Fux Noise. And I found this at Safeway:
This is a vintage (haha) example of one of Palin’s very first attempts at putin’
“Old wine into new wineskins” so-to-speak.
I don’t drink much wine, but when I do, I drink cheap Pinot Noir. And I always search the Pinot section first before resorting to a less sexy grape. But I nearly lost control of important excretory functions when I saw the last remaining bottle of “Penot [sic!] Palin* White Wine” in a local grocer’s alcohol isle.
Laburp! Because you’ll drink anything. I mean, come on— it had to be a collector’s item the day it hit the shelf, if only for the fact that it was apparently bottled nearly half empty— the twist-off cap is still in pristine condition. The irony— it toys with me.
And the freakin’ label! “Armed With NRA Pride.” ”Tea Party Value Whine [sic]! “I’m A Shining Star.” Seriously? And The Christian Fish, studded with diamonds? Okay, maybe cubic zirconia. But still.
A signature label! And it looks like “Sarah” is misspelled. And a “quote” from Fux Noise president and mobile food locker, Roger Ailes— surrounding a surreal portrait of the snowbilly grifter doin’ the rubber face! I woulda paid the $81.89 sticker for this; but 40% off $11.89— I woulda bought a case.
And yeah of course I had already thought a half dozen times that hell no, some dickweed snark-shark was hiding nearby with a video camera, just to see who bought this bottled urine sample.
No proof reader? I can only believe a bonafide tea-billy did the copy work here, maybe Palin herself— what with the half a dozen brutally ugly typos on the back label alone.
Because after reading every word on both labels, I think I’m gonna havta side with Roger Ailes, who reportedly said Palin is a “stupid idiot.”
What wine goes with Captain Crunch?
“‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.
Got to celebrate it!” —Sarah Palin
* Penot [sic] Palin— no doubt pronounced, “Pee not Palin”
Bruce Lee demonstrates how to shatter an illusory House of Mirrors
Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth…The shadow of a hair’s turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle—these constitute falseness. -The Urantia Book
In arguably the greatest martial arts flick of all time, Enter the Dragon (1973), Bruce Lee infiltrates the island fortress of his arch enemy, Master Han. Han is a renegade monk from Lee’s own Shaolin temple, a traitor who matter-of-factly admits that he has chosen to invest in corruption (which includes addicting young women to heroin and selling them on the sexual slave market).
The film’s climatic fight scene takes place inside Han’s living quarters. Lee’s speed, skill, and agility is clearly too much for Han, and he flees into a dressing room full of mirrors. Chasing after him, Lee is confounded by the many images of himself and of Han, who has the advantage of knowing how and where the mirrors are placed. Han alternately hides and stalks him, wielding a nasty multi-bladed weapon, waiting for just the right moment to deliver a killing blow.
Lee, already on the edge of exhaustion after a number of fights, strikes out at one false image after another. His hands bleeding, an image of his sister’s past suicide suddenly enters his mind. Trapped in a cluttered warehouse by Han’s goons who are intent on raping her (motivated all the more by the fact that up to that point she had thoroughly kicked their sorry asses), she picks up a glass shard and takes her own life. Lee draws strength and inspiration from her honorable death, and one by one, begins breaking the remaining mirrors, shattering the illusory Hans until the real one is revealed. In short order, Lee avenges his sister’s death and restores the honor of his disgraced monastery.
I was reminded of the film today as I watched GOP wunderkind and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan making the rounds of the major network morning shows, desperately trying to restore the illusion of his former persona. Like waking up in bed next to a dubious stranger picked up in a bar after a night of heavy drinking, the establishment press is finally waking up to the fact that their infatuation with a politician they had considered a wonky, glamorous, straight shooting nice guy is just another sleazy huckster intent on fucking over whoever he needs to achieve his political ambitions.
To take just once instance of Ryan’s mendacity, consider his nomination speech at the RNC convention last week in which he decried the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. He implied that the closing was Obama’s fault, notwithstanding that it formerly closed its doors a month before he took office.
“Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in [June]2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.“
After weathering a shit storm of media backlash for that and a number of other lies, Ryan hit the network television morning circuit today to explain his fabrications. As for the plant closing matter, he protested that he didn’t really lie, arguing that the media just didn’t parse his words finely enough. As he explained on NBC‘s Today Show :
“What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant shutdown in Janesville. That is not what I was saying; read the speech. What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for his broken promises. After our plant was shut down, he said that he would lead an effort to retool plants like the Janesville plant to get people back to work. It’s still idle.”
Of course that’s what they were suggesting, because that is what YOU were suggesting, you lyin’ sack of shit. Even if you didn’t accuse Obama directly of being responsible for closing the plant, you impLIED it. As a matter of fact, after taking office, Obama did take steps to reopen plants “like” Janesville, the operative word here being “like.” Unfortunately for Janesville workers and affiliated businesses, the bailout money didn’t include their particular plant. But that was due to a decision made by GM itself, not the White House, who from the get go eschewed any hands-on micromanaging.
Read again the definition of falsehood and falseness given in The Urantia Book quote above, and then compare it, first, to the definition of falsehood given in Merriam Webster:
1 an untrue statement : lie 2 absence of truth or accuracy 3 the practice of lying : mendacity;
The state of being false; contrariety to the fact; inaccuracy; want of integrity or uprightness; double dealing; unfaithfulness; treachery; perfidy; as, the falseness of a report, a drawing, or a singer’s notes; the falseness of a man, or of his word.
So, as synonyms for the art of lying we have words like: lie, perfidy, mendacity, treachery, double dealing, want of integrity, etc.– all perfect descriptions of The Lyin Ryan Express.
What drives The Urantia Book description home is not its use of the comparatively tame words, “falsehood” and “falsenesss” Rather the power of its metaphor– the shadow of a hair’s turning, which suggests a fine line between truthhood and falsity. The kind of fine line that funambulating liars like Ryan and his ilk think they can walk because they believe they can get away with it, especially in the wake of recent US Supreme Court decisions that equates money with speech, enabling a maximum level of what practitioners of military psy ops call perception management.
The fact that the MSM is finally pushing back on the GOP propaganda machine is a good sign. Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was the statement by Romney campaign adviser and pollster, Neil Newhouse, who declared:
“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Of course not. As the sainted Ronnie Reagan once proclaimed: “Facts are stubborn things“, certainly nothing that the Rovians should feel constrained by. Recall what Karl Rove said to author Ron Suskind:
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
As a consequence, the Rovians have lived in an elaborate house of mirrors for so long now that they are mistaking their own distorted reflections for reality. The growing presence of “fact checker” sites, the progressive blogosphere, and and increasingly aggressive push by MSNBC to counter Roger Ailes‘ Fux NewsPropaganda Network, could actually make a difference in the coming election, one shattered mirror at a time.
Another study has concluded that people who only watch Fox News are less informed than all other news consumers.
Researchers at Farleigh Dickinson University updated a study they had conducted in late 2011….
The pollsters found that people were usually able to answer 1.8 out of 4 questions on foreign news, and 1.6 of 5 questions on domestic news, and that people who don’t watch any news were able to get 1.22 of the questions on domestic policy right.
As the study explained, though, people who watched only Fox News fared worse:
The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly.
Wait just a fukkin minute. While it comes as no surprise that people who watch Fux News are less informed than those who derive their news from other sources, how to explain that those who do rely on the mighty Ailes-Murdoch Propaganda Wurtlitzer for their understanding of the world, score “significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all“?
That’s freaky Twilight Zone stuff, like reversing the arrow of time and causality itself.
Hearing into women’s reproductive issues: What’s wrong with this picture?
Last summer when the economy was still sputtering and deficit reduction was all the rage, the Rethugs believed they had the perfect campaign theme to run on—restoring the economy.
That they were mainly responsible for its demise was hardly an insurmountable problem in their eyes. Counting on low information voters with short memory spans and a growing impatience with the status quo, aided and abetted by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes’ 24/7 media propaganda machine, right wing hate talk radio and its counterparts in the blogosphere, and a Teabagger dominated House dedicated to absolute legislative obstructionism, GOPers were confident that they could shift the blame for a rotten economy to President Obama and the Dems.
And they had the perfect man for the White House, a former CEO and ¼ billionaire named Willard Mitt Romney. Willard was pitched as a Washington outsider who had spent 25 years in the private sector, a successful turn around artist who knew how to run a company, and who could do the same for the country. A master of “creative destruction”, the former CEO of Bain Capital could be expected to apply his tough love formula to the federal government. Good times were just an inauguration (and a painful period of austerity) away.
But as early as last September, the worm began to turn. The economy had started to improve. The White House changed election strategies from a Pete Peterson inspired deficit and austerity regime for a progressive agenda focusing on jobs and wealth inequality. (Thank the OWS!)
Then in December, the Rethugs shot themselves in both feet. Their attempts to hold the economy hostage by refusing to extend the debt ceiling, unemployment insurance, and payroll tax exemptions for the middle class precipitated a huge drop in the polls. By the start of 2012, they found themselves twisting slowly, slowly in the political wind, searching for a new theme to run on.
One of the GOP’s traditional go-to issues, national security, has been effectively neutralized. In contrast to his Rethug predecessor, who at first made a big show of bringing Usama Bin Laden to justice only to state a few months later that he was no longer concerned about him, Obama delivered. He also succeed in eliminating other high level Al Qaeda leaders like Anwar al-Awlaki, and Badar Mansoorusing low cost special op forces and pilotless drones, without a single American casualty.
Obama kept his campaign promise to remove all US troops from Iraq, and despite a failed surge of 30,000 troops, instituted an exit strategy from Afghanistan (as we predicted in a 13 post diary titled “Afutilestan.”) Re Libya, the prez took a lot of flack for co-operating with allies and ”leading from behind.” The end result was the successful overthrow of one of the world’s most entrenched and despotic dictators, again without a single American casualty.
Obama also expanded Bush’s draconian domestic national security state, much to the dismay of his progressive base. In fact, Obama has moved so far to the right on issues like privacy (wire taps, warrantless searches) and rule of law (habeus corpus, extradiction, extra-judicial executions) that the Rethugs have nowhere else to go but right over the cliff.
The Culture Wars Revisited
With the economy and national defense losing their front burner sizzle (an attack on Iran, a steep rise in oil and gas prices, or a Eurozone crisis could, however, bring them roaring back), the Rethugs needed another hot button theme to keep their brain stem base fired up.
What other issues have the Rethugs successfully exploited in the past? Taking their special edition Delorean out of storage, they crammed its flux capacitor full of high grade garbage and found themselves transported 50 years into the past, to the good old days when the Culture Wars were just getting started.
Recreational drug use, gun control, affirmative action, separation of church and state, environmentalism, privacy, sexual liberation, feminism, homosexuality, abortion, contraception—all had their day in the sun. Of course these issues never really went away (if for no other reason than they have been good fund raising fodder for right wingers intent on enforcing their personal morality on the rest of the world). The trick today is to choose an issue closely related to others. Not only does a constellation of issues separated by a single degree facilitate the creation and maintenance of an overarching narrative, but it has certain tactical advantages as well.
Winger Debating Tactics
Take the truncated world of cable television. (Please!) A favorite Rethug trick,when they find themselves losing a debate, is to rapidly pivot from one issue to another. You can tell when such segues are being triggered: they begin talking loudly over their opponents before the latter can finish making their point. The new issue is then framed in such a way as to put the opponent on the defensive, often accusing them of the very thing that the Rethugs themselves are guilty (aka “political projection”; see e.g., deficit spending, judicial activism, class warfare, etc.) . Before an opponent can set the record straight, let alone return to a previous argument, it’s off to another issue, or better yet, a debate killing commercial.
The optics leave the Rethug looking confident and in control, the opponent a defensive, sputtering fool. (Don’t even get me started on the woeful performance of most so-called ”moderators .”) I used to chalk up these aggressive displays to simple rudeness. But I suspect that a staple of right wing think tank seminars is training in such disingenuous media manipulation tactics. There are people supremely dedicated to the ethos that the end justifies the means, and they take no prisoners. (For related observations along this line, see our Evolution of Wingnut Deception Routines.)
The Rethugs’ Political Gamble
It is in the context of cross-fertilization (excuse the pun) that injecting contraception into the presidential campaign today makes any kind of sense. Politically, it risks alienating women voters, who provided a 10 million vote advantage for Obama over John McCain in 2008, with unmarried women voting 70% in favor of Obama. (The Dems loss of the House in the 2010 “wave election” has been attributed to a drop-off in women voters.)
The calculation seems to be that re-framing women’s health issues as a matter of “religious freedom” is worth the risk. Making religious freedom the new Rethug theme provides the greatest number of potential connections to other issues, religion being the emotional, open subjective book that it is.
Not that issues like birth control and abortion have ever been off the table. As Marge Baker of People For the American Waypointed out Friday in the HuffPo:
We all heard about the War on Women’s Health last year, when Tea Party-empowered state legislatures passed a record slew of anti-choice laws – including deluded bills such as Arizona’s ban on “race-based abortions” and dangerous ones like Virginia’s attempt to shut down most abortion clinics in the state. These unhinged state legislatures were joined by an enthusiastic right-wing Congress that attempted to defund the entire $317 million federal family program, tried to redefine ”rape,” and ate up lies about their favorite bogeyman, Planned Parenthood.
Occupying the News Cycle: Religious Freedom Edition
Given the Rethugs current political predicament, putting social issues front and center is necessary if they want to continue to occupy current news cycles (at least until the economy again begins to deteriorate and they can return to firmer ground). Example: On the Hill last week, we witnessed Darrel Issa’s sausage fest committee hearing regarding insurance coverage for women’s reproductive services. That women were noticeably absent from the opening panel’s testimony was explained away as irrelevant because, as Issa explained, the issue was not about birth control, but “religious freedom.”Continue reading »
The Teabagger’ search for the anti-Romney has been a long and frustrating one.
First came Michelle Bachmann. After winning the way overrated Ames Iowa Straw Poll in the same week she was featured on the cover of Newseek as “The Queen of Rage”, staring into the camera like the batshit crazy religious zealot she is. In near record time she plummeted to single digits in the polls.
Joining her at the bottom have been other Teabagger presidential candidate wanna-be’s, former Pennsylvania senator Rick “Google Me” Santorum; and former Minnesota governor, Tim “T-Paw” Palenty, now out of the race and vying for a VP slot with Mitt “Flipper” Romney.
Then came the Great Pretenders, former half-baked Alaskan governor Sarah “Quitter” Palin and Donald “Play ‘Em For A Chump” Trump. Together these sideshow hucksters raised the bar on self-promoting narcissism to new highs, pumping their (dis)respective reality tv shows, books, and paid appearances.
Another non-candidate, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has been championed by the likes of Roger Ailes and the Coultergiest who all but begged him to run. (Though a “running” Chris Christie sets up an immediate cognitive dissonance in the visual circuits of the brain. I mean, has this guy even seen his dick in the last few decades without a strategically placed mirror?)
Then Texas governor Rick Perry soared to the top of the charts, beginning his campaign hosting a religious conference called The Response. Obviously a political play to ingratiate himself with The Religious Right, the featured speakers turned out to be a group of whacko fundamentalists that in retrospect makes the Rev. Jerimiah Wright, then candidate Barack Obama’s controversial pastor, look like a Boy Scout. But after embracing the substance of The Dream Act, a program designed to provide financial assistance to the US-born children of undocumented immigrants; performing poorly in two GOPer debates; and revelations of self-dealing with various business interests seeking Texas government contracts, Perry lost some 20 points in a single week, falling from Numero Uno to Numero Tres.
But like the shape-shifting alien in the movie The Thing, even as one Teabagger host body is put down another is found to take its place. The latest to be indwelt is former Godfather Pizza magnate, Herman Cain.
No, what has rapidly become Cain’s signature issue is his so-called 9-9-9 Plan, essentially a revision of the tax codes that is supposed to simultaneously revitalize the entire economy by transferring even more wealth from the poor and the middle class to the top 1%. As The NY Times‘Timothy Eganput it:
In essence, Cain is proposing the largest shift in tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and middle class in the nation’s history. Oh, and he apparently would scrap the two great government programs that keep millions clinging to fragile middle-class status — Social Security and Medicare — because he wants to eliminate the payroll taxes that now pay for those insurers of dignity.
We are forced to seriously consider this bizarro-world, reverse-Robin-Hood scheme, one that would junk the entire federal tax code for a 9 percent flat rate on corporate earnings, personal income and retail sales, because of the astonishing news that Republicans have elevated Cain to the top of their field in three polls released over the last 48 hours.
In my state, Cali-forn-i-a, we already have a state sales tax of 9%, food exempted. But Robbin’ The Hood Cain would effectively double that, and would include food. That should make his fellow but overwhelmingly poor black brothers and sisters in rural and inner-urban America especially supportive. Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for the National Retail Federationcomments:
An additional tax on consumer spending will negatively impact…already weak demand.
That the Cain wealth re-distribution plan is a bit sketchy at this point would be a gross understatement, generating far more questions than answers, evidenced by his response to a reporter about a specific tax deduction:
I have no idea. But it’s a good question.
Indeed. To the extent that his plan can be analyzed at all at this point is explored by Bruce Bartlett, former senior economic policy analyst for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush:
Mr. Cain says these three proposals, which he would put into effect immediately without offsetting the lost revenue, will jump-start economic growth. He offers no evidence for this assertion; it is simply put forward as self-evident. But the experience of the George W. Bush administration was that cuts in tax rates on the wealthy and on capital gains had no effect whatsoever on growth, according to the Congressional Research Service.
And this is only Phase 1 of the Cain plan. In Phase 2, the payroll tax would be eliminated, causing more than $800 billion in revenue to evaporate. The estate and gift tax would be abolished, further reducing taxes on the wealthy. And the 9-9-9 plan would be implemented….
This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.
Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.
At a minimum, the Cain plan is a distributional monstrosity. The poor would pay more while the rich would have their taxes cut, with no guarantee that economic growth will increase and good reason to believe that the budget deficit will increase.
Even allowing for the poorly thought through promises routinely made on the campaign trail, Mr. Cain’s tax plan stands out as exceptionally ill conceived.
My, my, my. What a surprise–Not! Turns out that Robbin’ Hood has been a Koch Brothers front man for some 5 years.
AP via The Washington Post explains it thus:
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.
Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans…
AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.
Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts…
Last Sunday, Jon Stewart was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the Fox News Sunday Show. In the show’s intro (not shown in the clip above), Wallace promised to “grill the bad boy of political comedy about liberal media bias.” You know, that old canard. But it was Wallace that ended up on the BBQ spit, burnt to a crisp.
My previous impression of Chris, son of Mike of 60 Minutes fame, was that he was the least ideological of the Fuxers. Stewart even offered that Chris was a rational counterpart of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. But it was obvious from the beginning that this Chris Wallace was on a mission from his media god, Roger Ailes (the guy who signs his paychecks) to discredit Stewart while holding up his own network as a paragon of fairness and accuracy.
Despite Stewart’s early attempts at self-deprecating humor in response to Wallace seemingly good-natured ribbing, Stewart early on sussed out Wallace’s main line of attack– the false equivalency of comparing their respective networks, Comedy Central and Fox News. Which amounts to comparing a show that takes pride in advertising itself as fake news channel with one that actively embodies it, without the required disclosures.
A minute and a half into the interview, Wallace gets down to business, insisting that Stewart read what was on the inside of his planted coffee cup– Fux News’ “Fair and Balanced” trademarked slogan. Furthermore, he insisted that Stewart actually drink from the cup, twice, the Fux logo prominently displayed for all the world to see.
Ironically, it was this cheesy little stunt that proved to be Wallace’s undoing. More on that in a moment.
Wallace proceeded to quote some of Stewart’s past criticisms of Fux News, which Stewart has called:
…a biased organization, relentlessly promoting an ideological agenda under the rubric of being a news organization…A relentless agenda-driven, 24-hour news opinion propaganda delivery system.”
Wallace, feigning amazement, asks:
WALLACE: Where do you come up with this stuff?
STEWART: It’s actually quite easy…
Of course it is, to anyone not living in the carefully constructed artificial reality of the Fux News Matrix in which every other network that doesn’t mirror their Bizzaro World narratives are, by definition, liberally biased.
WALLACE: Well, here’s the deal. Are you willing to say the same thing about the mainstream media, about ABC, CBS, NBC, “Washington Post,” “New York Times”?
Brave little Fux News, the only truth teller in the vast mainstream media universe.
At this point in the interview, it becomes evident that the transcript provided by Fox itself has been edited, despite its disclaimer that as of 6:06 PM PST Tuesday June 21, 2011 it is a “rush transcript” and “may not be in its final form and may be updated.”
For instance, at the 3:10 mark is Stewart’s characterization of Fox as “reactive” is missing. Another omission occurs at the 4 minute mark where Stewart has just pointed out that despite Wallace’s characterizations to the contrary, The New York Times is not “relentlessly activist” the way that Fox is.
This in turn paves the way for the most critical omission of all. Stewart first comments that MSNBC has adopted Fox’s successful business model, allowing that it by presents an alternative, liberal, and even activist viewpoint. Then he turns the tables completely on Wallace, asking:
STEWART: … So, you believe that Fox News is exactly the ideological equivalent of MSNBC News?
WALLACE: I believe that we are the counterweight. I think they have a liberal agenda and I think we tell the other side of the story.
“The OTHER side of the story”? What happened to its claim of presenting a neutral, fair and balanced reporting of the news? What’s happened to the famous firewall that Fux insists exists between its news and commentary divisions, an illusion shattered by Media Matters‘ publication of the infamous emails by the then Deputy Director of the Fox News division, Bill Sammon, reference to which is also omitted from the transcript, discussed in more detail below.
(Stewart would note on his own show Monday night that the overall editing job made him look a bit unhinged by mismatching his emotional reactions to the particular questions and accusations that Wallace was throwing at him.)
The interview then shifts to The New York Times’ and the Washington Post‘s treatment of the Sarah Palin emails. Wallace cited that as evidence of their supposed liberal bias because they had asked their readers to help them sort through its 24,000 pages, while not asking them to likewise with the 2,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act. Stewart dismissed the false equivalency, saying the emails were “light fluff” (compared to the much wonkier, legalistic nature of The ACA).
Stewart then goes back on the offensive, disrupting Wallace’s overarching narrative of a mythical liberal mainstream media bias, asking a rhetorical question:
STEWART:…If your suggestion is that they are relentlessly partisan, then why haven’t they gone and backed away from Weiner?
(During his day job was at the time, Anthony Weiner was actively questioning the propriety of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas‘ many conflicts of interest, including at least a million dollars worth of “donations” and other gifts to him and his wife by parties with matters before the Court. Which begs the question: Did Weiner get the same treatment as Elliot Spitzer, who in his capacity as the New York’s Attorney General, was about to blow the whistle on the criminal conduct of the Wall Street Banksters immediately prior to the September ’08 crash?)
In contrast to Wallace’s assertion that the mainstream media is a bastion of liberal bias pushing a liberal agenda, Stewart offers his own analysis:
STEWART: The bias of the mainstream media is towards sensationalism, conflict and laziness. I wouldn’t say it was towards the liberal agenda…
Wallace then shows a clip produced by the Sarah Palin campaign featuring her recent One Woman clown show bus tour. Stewart had noted that the promo used a really cool technique where reporters complete each others sentences, wondering where he had seen it used before. Turns out it was in a herpes commercial.
WALLACE: Sarah Palin and the herpes drug, really?
STEWART: Yes, as a technique for the commercial? You know, so, you’re saying that by comparing the technique that she used in her video –
WALLACE: You are not making a political comment?
STEWART: You really think that’s a political comment?
STEWART: You’re insane.
STEWART: Yes. Here is the difference between you and I — I’m a comedian first. My comedy is informed by an ideological background. There’s no question about that. The thing that will never understand and the thing that in some respect conservative activists will never understand is that Hollywood, yes, they’re liberal. But that’s not their primary motivating force. I’m not an activist. I’m a comedian.