Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Giuliani Conspiracy

There's this conspiracy believed by many progressives that the media intentionally pushes a Republican agenda, which is why we keep losing to them all the time.  And forget about the fact that we beat them far more often than we lose, or how completely impossible it is that such a thing could happen all these years without any journalist ever mentioning that they're forced to convey Republican talking points, or that Fox News' intentional bias is clearly different from the bias we get from any other news org.  The part that interests me most is how, if this conspiracy were true, how truly lousy these people are at it.

Because let's get one thing out there: Even Fox News sucks at propaganda.  They are a Republican network, through and through, yet they peruade absolutely no one of anything.  You watch Fox News because you're a believer looking for the latest talking points, and if you weren't already a believer, there's nothing they will say that will get you to believe.  A traumatic event like 9/11 or a disaster like the oil gusher in the Gulf might get you to rethink your political positions.  But there's nothing Bill O'Reilly can say that will get you to start hating big government if you weren't there already.

And that's why conservatives can even oppose policies that help them, because none of it really means anything to them.  It's empty rhetoric and feelgood talking points.  Required rationalizations to sooth the cognative dissonance they feel when reality keeps butting up against their beliefs.  But it doesn't actually mean anything.  And so Fox Newsies can demand taxcuts they'd never get, oppose taxcuts they WILL get, and attack healthcare reforms that will save them money and protect their lives. 

Nobody's actually persuaded by this crap.  You only believe if you want to believe, and even then, the rhetoric is only skin-deep and doesn't alter anyone's core beliefs.  As far as propaganda goes, this stuff is pretty weak tea.

And as for the rest of the media, it's obvious that pushing Republican goals isn't their intent.  They don't do it because they're ideologues.  They do it because they're stupid and shallow.  That's why they bring shallow guests on their shows, because they're even more shallow than their guests and wrongly believe the guest's own hype about their supposed expertise.

Rudy The Terror Clown

If the MSM were partisan, they'd bring out heavyweight conservative thinkers who spend all their time justifying conservative positions, and who know this stuff better than you know your mother.  They'd bring out a modern-day Kissinger, who might bore the host and viewers with his depth, but who really knows how to provide effective arguments supporting rightwing positions.  But instead, they give us Rudy Giuliani.

Now, Giuliani isn't a dumb man.  He was a lawyer, an effective prosecutor, and a famous Mayor; none of which requires a Mensa-like IQ, but clearly puts him above the intellect of a Palin.  And if the topic of discussion were New York, fighting crime, or winning an election in New York, I'd certainly bow to Giuliani's wisdom; if only because I'm too ignorant to know how to dispute his claims.  But as for national security and fighting terrorists, the man has the same credentials I do: None. 

Giuliani's not an expert on terrorism.  His only claim to fame on the subject was that he talked tough when Bush was still hiding with his tail between his legs.  And while that was certainly an improvement, that makes him about as much an expert on terrorism as a hospital clown is an expert on cancer.  Sure, he's met lots of sick people and made you feel better, but you're still not going to turn to him for medical advice.

And it's not just that Rudy isn't knowledgeable about terrorism.  It's that he doesn't even have anything decent to say on the subject.  I'm no expert, but I know enough about it that I could sound persuasive if I was asked about it on TV.  But Giuliani doesn't even do that.  No, it's just the same bunch of huff you could hear from any moron who agreed with him, and he doesn't even begin to support his position with anything that would persuade anyone of anything. 

In fact, whenever he's presented with the opportunity to give a persuasive argument and present his case, he ducks away and heads back to his talking points; keeping the conversation as meaningless as possible.  And while I'm sure that does well to prevent him from looking like the unknowledgeable lightweight he is, it doesn't do anything to push the Republican agenda down the field in any way. 

If this is someone's idea of pushing a Republican agenda, they don't seem to like Republicans very much.

The Right to Remain Stupid

In this case, Rudy is obsessed with Miranda, as if it's some huge blunder to read someone their rights.  But let's remember: Miranda doesn't give anyone rights.  They already have those rights, and Miranda is a reminder of those rights. 

And first off, who doesn't know they have these rights?  As someone at WaMonthly pointed out, a Richard Reid might not have known his rights because he's a foreigner, but a college-educated citizen like Faisal Shahzad probably knows better.  And if a reminder of those rights isn't currently part of the terrorist training these guys get, I'm sure it will be now.  Seriously, are we to imagine that Al Qaeda hasn't thought to tell their minions to keep their mouths shut?  Please.

And secondly, what exactly would we do if the guy refuses to talk before we Mirandize him?  Beat him up?  Again, this guy has the right to remain silent, whether we inform him of this or not.  Miranda isn't going to change that.  And the idea that we can arbitrarily strip people of these rights because they do something bad is absurd, as it negates the very idea of them being rights.  Unless we're going to rewrite the Constitution to say "The Bill of Privileges," these people aren't making any sense.  I can hear it now "You have the privilege to remain silent.  If you choose to evoke this privilege, it will be denied to you."

And yet, that's the only way that Giulian's position makes any sense: If he imagines that we get to torture people until we read them their rights, which means we need to do away with this right.  But again, there's nothing magical about Miranda and rights can't be stripped away just because they're inconvenient.  But I suppose, if we want to convince rightwingers of this, we just need to capture a Tea Partier Terrorist, evoke the "public safety exception" of Miranda, and wait for the howls of protests from wingnuts across the country. 

For whatever reason, these people can't comprehend hypothetical situations, and need to see their policies used against them before they begin to see the problems we're talking about.  That'd also be a good way to get them to oppose the Arizona Immigration Law.  Ask them for their immigration papers a few times and wait for the protests.

The Unpersuasive Clown

And the bigger point is that nobody is going to be persuaded by anything Giuliani said.  When Tapper asked Giuliani if we've ever stripped someone of their citizenship and labeled them an enemy combatant, Giuliani said that it's happened, but then changed the subject and didn't answer it.  And that's just dumb. 

You ignore questions you don't like, but this one went right to the heart of the point.  And if you can't knock a question like that out of the ballpark, you shouldn't even be on the show.  It'd be like if you asked the clown doctor how leeches will get rid of your tumor, and he answered by making a balloon animal and pulling a coin out of your ear.  Yes, he got away with not answering the question; but no, he didn't convince you to put leeches on your pancreas.

If this is the sort of bozo a partisan media will give us to sell their corporate point of view, I'd hate to see what would happen if they were any good at it.  Instead, it just makes more sense to think that the media keeps giving us shallow dopes like Giuliani and Liz Cheney because they, themselves, are extremely shallow, and actually imagine them to be experts. 

Giuliani stood on rubble and talked tough after a terrorist attack, while Liz Cheney was related to someone who talked tough about terrorism.  To a shallow twit, this is enough to make these people experts on terrorism.  But the rest of America will continue to treat Giuliani as a tough former mayor, while getting puzzled as to why the word "Liz" was put before the name Cheney. 

Dopes like Giuliani are who you turn to when you want to find out what the offical Republican talking points are.  You don't turn to them for anything original or insightful.

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