I hope to make this my last word on the Shirley Sherrod debacle for a while. (But I’m not holding my breath.)
Before I retire to bed I just want to note that the headline “Sherrod Case Shows Power of Conservative Media” for this Associated Press piece really fucking rankles me.
Whether the AP supplied that headline or Yahoo! News did, it’s woefully inaccurate.
First, there is the word “conservative.” No, these are lying lunatics we’re talking about, not just “conservatives.” Conservatives suck ass, yes, indeed, but those screaming “black racists! black racists! black racists!” aren’t just your old Goldwater-variety “conservatives.”
They are, as Ted Rall calls them, “protofascists.”*
They are dangerous. They don’t just hold an opinion. They’re talking about the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government. When their stupid white guy is made president even though he lost the vote, they call it “democracy,” and they call their detractors “Sore Losermen,” but when the black guy beats their white guy by seven percentage points, they call it “tyranny” and they actually liken it to the actual tyranny that led up to the Revolutionary War.
One of these wingnuts, Byron Williams of California, whom I wrote about yesterday, very apparently got it into his head to shoot up an obscure progressive organization in San Francisco because he’d heard Grand Dragon Glenn Beck repeatedly denounce the organization on Faux “News.” (Luckily, the California Highway Patrol got to Williams first and he ended up getting shot up himself but killing no one.)
So to call these people — and I agree wholeheartedly with Rall’s term for them, “protofascists” — “conservatives” is to give them a legitimacy that they don’t fucking have. And worse, the word “conservative” makes them sound a lot more harmless than they actually are.
Then, there is the word “media.”
The word “media” gives an air of legitimacy to such illegitimate purveyors of truth as wingnutty blogs and Faux “News.”
I have a bachelor of science in journalism, so I know how “fair and balanced” mainstream journalists are trained to be. So far do they bend over backwards to be “fair and balanced” that they treat even the most insane right-wing bullshit and the most extremist right-wing enterprises as legitimate, lest they be accused of — gasp! — “liberal bias”!
But, as Sen. Al Franken says (and I believe he is quoting the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan), you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.
Since the wingnutty “media” blatantly lie, routinely, to call them “media” is to suggest that they are legitimate purveyors of truth, just like the newspapers and television news broadcasts of yore.
A right-wing racist blogger blatantly recutting a video of a black woman’s speech to “prove” that the black woman (whose speech actually was about racial reconciliation) is “racist” — and then this video lie just parroted on Faux “News” and other wingnutty outlets because they so very badly want to show the “video” of the “racist” black woman: that is legitimate media?
“Sherrod Case Shows Power of Conservative Media.”
The word “power” too suggests legitimacy that just doesn’t fucking exist here.
The only words of that headline that are accurate are “Sherrod Case Shows.”
The correct headline should be: “Sharrod Case Shows That When the President of the United States of America Actually Takes Action Based Upon Bold-Faced Lies Bouncing Around the Wingnut Echo Chamber, This Nation Is Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition! Head for Canada!”
“[People] being afraid of the machine that the right has put out there – that’s what’s driving this,” Shirley Sherrod said of her lynching.
Shirley Sherrod is courageous and she’s wise.
She should be president.
*Rall writes, in part:
Is the Tea Party racist? Democrats who play liberals on TV say it isn’t. Vice President Joe Biden says the Tea Party “is not a racist organization” per se, but allows that “at least elements that were involved in some of the Tea Party folks expressed racist views.”
Right-wing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has received permission to form an official Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s official. The Tea Party matters.
So: is it racist? Certainly a sizeable minority of Tea Partiers’ “take America back” rhetoric is motivated by thinly disguised resentment that a black guy is president. As for the remainder, their tacit tolerance of the intolerant speaks for itself. “Take America back” from whom? You know whom. It ain’t white CEOs.
Yes. The Tea Party is racist. Obviously.
But racism is only one facet of a far more sinister political strain. It’s more accurate to categorize the Tea Party as something the United States has never seen before, certainly not in such large numbers or as widespread.
The Tea Party is a protofascist movement.
Robert O. Paxton defined fascism as “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”
Typical Tea Party rants fit the classic fascist mold in several respects. America, Tea Partiers complain, is falling behind. Like Hitler, they blame leftists and liberals for a “stab in the back,” treason on the homefront. The trappings of hypernationalism — flags, bunting, etc. —are notably pervasive at Tea Party rallies, even by American standards. We see “collaboration with traditional elites” — Rush Limbaugh, Congressmen, Republican Party bigwigs (including the most recent vice presidential nominee) — to an extent that is unprecedented in recent history….
[Umberto] Eco [in his 1995 essay “Eternal Fascism”] also discusses fascism’s “appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.” Guard the borders! Deport the immigrants! Mexicans are stealing our jobs!
So much anger. It’s too bad that the (justifiable) rage of the white male middle-class is directed against their fellow victims. It’s worse that they’re playing into the blood-soaked hands of their own oppressors.