Thursday, 28 October 2010

Blinded by Sarah Palin: Why David Brock and others shouldn't expect responsible behavior from Sarah Palin - UPDATE!

Sarah Palin & David Brock

David Brock, CEO of "Media Matters for America", is an expert as far as right wing hypocrisy and propaganda is concerned. Many of you will know his fascinating life story. He was a part of the right-wing attack machine in the 1990's, when he rose to fame with the publication of the propaganda book "The Real Anita Hill." He wrote for the "Washington Times" and the "The American Spectator", before he recognized the true nature of his actions and converted in the most convincing manner:

In July 1997, Brock published a confessional piece in Esquire magazine titled "Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man", in which he recanted much of what he said in his two best-known American Spectator articles and criticized his own reporting methods.

Brock directly addressed the right-wing "machine" in his 2004 book, The Republican Noise Machine, in which he detailed an alleged interconnected, concerted effort to raise the profile of conservative opinions in the press through false accusations of liberal media bias, dishonest and highly-partisan columnists, partisan news organizations and academic studies, and other methods.

He tells his personal story in his memoir "Blinded by the Right" and criticizes the "conservative media machine" in his book "The Republican Noise Machine." His work on the latter book led him to found Media Matters for America, a non-profit organization that describes itself as a "progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."

"Sourcewatch" reports:

In his book The Republican Noise Machine, Brock writes that in the last 30 years hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in building a right-wing media infrastructure that "has penetrated, pressured, co-opted, and subdued the mainstream media into accommodating conservatism."

He continues: "A deliberate, well-financed, and expressly acknowledged communications and deregulatory plan was pursued by the right wing for more than 30 years--in close coordination with Republican Party leaders--to subvert and subsume journalism and reshape the national consciousness through the media, with the intention of skewing American politics sharply to the right. The plan has succeeded spectacularly."

I wanted to give this short introduction, because David Brock made a personal plea - to Sarah Palin. If somebody like David Brock makes a personal plea, a person who knows the viciousness of the right-wing machine through experience, who admitted his mistakes and has since worked tirelessly to correct them (comparable for example with Frank Schaeffer) is it obvious that he is dead serious.

David Brock said on October 26, 2010 in an interview with Laurence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

"Sure, yes. I mean, the concerns that we raised in the op-ed that you cited today, one, Glenn Beck incited an attempted assassination plot against innocent employees of the Tides Foundation in San Francisco.

But that`s not all. There`s a history here as Ilyse said -- he has attempted to poison in effigy Nancy Pelosi on his set. That led to a death threat by a guy in San Francisco who threatened to burn her house down. That guy`s mother said he gets all his ideas from FOX News.

And let me give you a personal one. Dick Morris is on the air every night on FOX News raising money for his political activities. One of his consultants after "Media Matters" fact-checked one of their ads and found it false tweeted that our staff should be curb-stomped. OK?

So, there`s a whole pattern here what`s going on. And I think the question is what to do about it.

So, I think there -- this is how we get to Sarah Palin. Basically Beck, Beck`s erratic, he either won`t or can`t control himself even after he loses a hundred advertisers, so you can`t go there.

(...)So, Sarah Palin, right now, in our view, needs to step up. She needs to step up because she`s a leader of the Republican Party, of the conservative movement. She`s a Tea Party favorite. She is the one person in this country right now, today, who in the national interest, just in the moment to put partisanship aside, could pull this country back from the precipice of another Oklahoma City. And that`s what a real leader does, that`s what we`re asking.

As you know, you know, Bill Buckley, back in the `60s, divorced the conservative movement from the John Birch Society, and called it idiocy and paranoia. So, there`s precedent for this.

And Sarah Palin is a leader. We`re now going to find out what kind of leader, what she`s made of, and whether she`s going to do it. And I`m telling you, we`re going to find out.

We published this piece this morning. We heard nothing today. I hope she`s watching the show tonight.

If we hear nothing in the morning, I am personally going to call Sarah Palin. I`m going to ask Michael Keegan of PFAW to join me on that call and we`re going to make a personal plea to her to stop this insanity."

To which Laurence O'Donnell responded:

"David, what you just laid out sounds to me like an absolutely brilliant political strategy, political posture for Sarah Palin to adopt at this moment in this kind of atmosphere. She would get so much credit for a move like that without, I think, costing her anything from her right wing base."

I knew exactly what I was going to write even before I read that Sarah Palin responded:

It's obvious that even the most critical people in the media out there still have not understood the true nature of Sarah Palin.

That might sound quite harsh, and of course we cannot expect from David Brock in a public plea to expose all his deepest "inner thoughts" about Sarah Palin. In addition, it's apparent that this was also an attempt to "draw Sarah Palin out in the open."

But still: The first mistake here is that he tries to talk to Sarah Palin as if she is an intelligent and rational human being. Sarah Palin is anything but that.

Sarah Palin is a person who through an almost impossible set of coincidences was thrown in the national spotlight, when John McCain made the fateful decision to choose her as his running mate. Palin then appeared to be a "hockey mom" to many people - a folksy woman who had insufficient knowledge about political issues, but who to some people still might have seen to a certain degree "likeable", "approachable", and as her followers love to obsess about, "real."

The depiction by Tina Fey of Sarah Palin as a folksy, naive country girl might not have helped Sarah to win the election, but it certainly helped Sarah to hide her true nature - which even afterwards wasn't discovered by some people after Sarah barricaded herself behind facebook, twitter and Fox News. In reality, Sarah Palin is an enthusiastic, self-obsessed redneck who always chose the right-wing fringe as her allies, and whose viciousness and vindictiveness became legendary in Alaska.

This is not a person who will distance herself from the right-wing fringe. Sarah Palin is the EMBODIEMENT of the right-wing fringe, concealed by a "pretty face", and that's why she is so dangerous.

Her "answer" to David Brock today on the Glenn Beck radio show therefore was utterly predictable - she told Glenn Beck that she "stands by him":

Transcript via Media Matters:

BECK: We have Sarah Palin coming on in just a few minutes, just to respond to the gauntlet thrown down by Media Matters on I think a cable access program last night. And it is an amazing thing because this is somebody taking care of you and having to protect you every step of the way.

Of course you can't, you're not smart enough to figure things out on your own. So George Soros, and Media Matters, and the Tides Foundation, and all of them are here to help you. Because you're a danger. You're a danger to the country. Bring Sarah up. Is Sarah on the phone? Hi Sarah, how are you?

PALIN: Hey, good morning Glenn. How are you?

BECK: Good, where are you?

PALIN: I am at my kitchen table in Wasilla.

BECK: I don't know how you travel. I mean, it's crazy the amount of travel that you do.

PALIN: How do I travel, yes. Airplanes.

BECK: Okay, I don't think you need-- Okay, really. All of a sudden, Bill Maher, talking down to me. Okay. Sarah, I want you to hear this. This is the head of Media Matters, and I just -- I want to give you the opportunity to distance yourself. Here it is. No, here it is.


BROCK: Basically, Beck, Beck's a radical. He either can't or won't control himself, even after he loses a hundred advertisers, so you can't go there. Murdoch was asked at a shareholder's conference a couple weeks ago about Beck, shareholder concerns about Beck, he said he doesn't agree with everything that goes on the Fox News Channel, but he's standing with Beck. Ailes recruited Beck to do this. He's standing with Beck.

So that leaves you with sponsors. So People For [the American Way] has backed up a Tides Foundation call with Media Matters called Drop Fox to ask for advertisers to take responsibility for this rhetoric. I was recently told by a member of the Murdoch family that if you could effect the bottom line, you might get attention by the News Corp. board.

But the truth is, we can't wait for that, so Sarah Palin, right now, in our view, needs to step up. She needs to step up because she's a leader of the Republican Party, of the conservative movement, she's a Tea Party favorite. She is the one person in this country, right now, today, who in the national interest, just in the moment, to put partisanship aside, could pull this country back from the precipice of another Oklahoma City. And that's what a real leader does, that's what we're asking.


BECK: Sarah? As the leader now, of the GOP, as a Tea Party favorite, as somebody that they don't always agree with, but they respect, as a real leader: It's time. It's time to make choice.

PALIN: Well these silly and ironic men. This is ironic, that they're the same folks that are insisting that, you know, that I should be ignored because I am the irrelevant hockey mom--


BECK: No, no, no, no, no, you are, as an American citizen, for the national interest, you are the only one that can do this.

GRAY: That can stop him.

BECK: That can stop me.

GRAY: You've got to stop him, Sarah.

PALIN: Okay, okay, so Glenn. From my kitchen table in Wasilla, here's the deal.

BECK: Yeah.

PALIN: Now, we know, Glenn, you're up against one of the richest and self-suggested most powerful men in the world--

BECK: Spooky dude.

PALIN: George Soros, right?

BECK: Spooky dude.

PALIN: Yeah. The extreme left-wing king is, with many, many minions, that's what he is.

BECK: Yes.

PALIN: So, you know, when I speak of your love of our Founding Fathers, and how you are helping to educate Americans about respecting our nation's history so that we don't lose what makes America exceptional, and the far, far left mouthpieces, they're twisting and perverting that message. No, what I do, I go back to what Abraham Lincoln said about standing with anybody who stands right. You stand with him when he stands right, you part with him when he goes wrong. I stand with you Glenn.

BECK: No, no, you've got to stop. You're the only one. You're like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Sarah Palin, you're our only hope.

PALIN: Yeah.

BECK: Did you ever think you'd see the day, Sarah, when Media Matters would be calling you the only hope for America? I mean, that's incredible. It's sad. We were deciding-- We were trying to decide if it was laughable or kind of sad, pathetic, kind of like that smelly kid in third grade that everyone looked around and looked at and went, "That's kind of sad."

PALIN: Yeah, it's a little bit of both, I think. I see more humor it in though, and it shows, though, how pathetic their argument is that they would be that desperate as to reach out to me to say, you know, that you need to stop Glenn Beck, you know, you need to stop what they perceive as incitement to violence. Glenn, you know I abhor violence. I know you do. Hating war, hating civil war, and praying for peace, and wanting peace and freedom for our kids in a civil society. That is the mission here, is explaining to Americans what the threats are to our peace and to our opportunities and to our freedoms in America.

BECK: Yeah.

PALIN: That is what I see you doing, and that is why I support what you are doing.

BECK: Sarah, I can't tell you how disappointed I am in you. I really - I thought you were going to take this moment to lead. I really did. But now, now Sarah -- and I want you to understand this -- now Media Matters is going to come out against you and they're not going to like you anymore. They like you so much, but now they're going to have to isolate you too. Oh boy.

PALIN: Yeah because here's the [inaudible] They were on my side.

BECK: They've been on your side. It's like the -- it's like that abortion doctor said on TV the other day. Women only have abortions because they care about motherhood. They're only destroying you or trying to destroy you because they love you so much.

PALIN: There we go with the Orwellian -- up is down, twisted around

BECK: Two plus two equals six.

PALIN: There you go and I'm the idiot. Yeah.

GRAY: Sarah, if you change your mind, we have David Brock's number over at Media Matters. He's waiting for phone call -

BECK: He doesn't have a lot to do.

David, it's time to expose the REAL Sarah Palin. She is not a "leader." She is not a rational, intelligent person to talk to. It's time to end the great charade.



"On Tuesday, I asked Sarah Palin to use her influential voice to stop attempted incidents of domestic terrorism incited by right-wing extremists like Glenn Beck. By telling Beck, 'I stand with you,' Palin -- Fox News' star contributor -- now associates herself with acts of violence and the insane conspiracy theories and hate speech behind them.

Rather than seize the opportunity to act in the national interest and do her part to prevent a major tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing, Palin called into Beck's show to call me 'pathetic.' While Palin and I don't agree on much, I honestly believed we shared the view that the incitement to violence by a powerful media outlet was a national crisis that transcends the partisan divide. Sadly, I was wrong."

In addition, "People For the American Way" president Michael B. Keegan, who joined Brock in asking Palin to repudiate Beck, said:

"For someone who was so quick to smear Obama for 'palling around with terrorists,' Sarah Palin doesn't seem to take threats of violence too seriously when they're generated by her own pals and allies. Even the last few days have seen disturbing thuggery in states around the country. This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, independents and even tea party members should be able to agree that inciting listeners to violence isn't acceptable. It's profoundly disappointing that someone laying the groundwork to run for president doesn't agree with that."

These are very good and necessary statements.

It's time for people to wake up and recognize the real character of Sarah Palin. This could be the beginning.




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