A lot of Tea Party anger is driven by real local issues — where I live in central Jersey, for instance, there are a lot of pissed-off white people crowing over a nutty state supreme court case in which a Central American drunk driver got off because cops didn’t explain the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer in his native Spanish. But without the constant reinforcement of national 24-hour media, which has taken these isolated cases and presented them as a coast-to-coast massive conspiracy, the rage over stories like this would never reach the levels we’re seeing.
In fact if you follow Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity afternoon radio crew, this summer’s blowout has almost seemed like an intentional echo of the notorious Radio Rwanda broadcasts “warning” Hutus that they were about to be attacked and killed by conspiring Tutsis, broadcasts that led to massacres of Tutsis by Hutus acting in “self-defense.” A sample of some of the stuff we’ve seen and heard on the air this year:
On July 12, Glenn Beck implied that the Obama government was going to aid the New Black Panther Party in starting a race war, with the ultimate aim of killing white babies. “They want a race war. We must be peaceful people. They are going to poke, and poke, and poke, and our government is going to stand by and let them do it.” He also said that “we must take the role of Martin Luther King, because I do not believe that Martin Luther King believed in, ‘Kill all white babies.'”
CNN contributor and Redstate.com writer Erick Erickson, on the Panther mess: “Republican candidates nationwide should seize on this issue. The Democrats are giving a pass to radicals who advocate killing white kids in the name of racial justice and who try to block voters from the polls.”
[…] There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.
The Fox/Rush/Savage crowd in the last 18 months has taken the anti-Muslim fervor that launched a phony war in Iraq, carried George Bush to re-election, and pushed through the Patriot Act, and re-directed that anger at a domestic nonwhite enemy. In doing so they’ve achieved a perfect storm of political cross-purposes: they’ve almost completely succeeded in distracting the public from the real causes of their economic misfortune (i.e. Wall Street corruption), they’ve re-energized a Republican party that was devastated by eight years of Bush-era corruption and incompetence, and, as usual, they’ve made Rupert Murdoch a sh*tload of money.
I’m convinced that none of the key actors here – the Wall Street banks shrieking about government takeovers and advertising on Rick Santelli’s CNBC, the Republican Party’s career hacks who have been scheming for a new horse to ride ever since Bush imploded, and the right-wing TV and radio networks – none of these actors is pushing this crazy movement out of any real desire to stoke a race war. For these institutional leaders and patrons of the Tea Party movement, this is all about material expediency: overcoming the real threat of new financial regulations after the crash, winning elections, and making TV profits. It’s just our bad luck that driving frustrated/broke white suburbanites into a race-hatred frenzy happens to be good business for these folks. And all of this is race-baiting-for-cash is borne out of the same short-term, indifferent-to-consequence thinking that we saw from the Wall Street guys in recent years — who created mountains of deadly leverage capable of destroying the global financial system for the sake of a few one-year bonuses.
The fact that Fox and co. are doing what they do for these dreary commercial reasons makes it even worse, of course; at least Hitler really hated Jewish people. But that also means there’s a bright side. One of the few positives in this Tea Party phenomenon is that it’s shown how quickly masses of Americans can be convinced to completely change their minds about sh*t. The same Americans who six or seven years ago were looking skyward in search of poison-distributing Saddam-drones and buying duct tape and bottled water to protect themselves against imminent Muslim attack are now probably not spending five minutes a week worrying about Muslim terrorists — and instead arming themselves against the coming black-Mexican-leftist-communist state. To me that indicates that if Fox and Glenn Beck can be induced to jerk off to some perhaps similarly profitable but less toxic hate-fantasy (midgets from New Zealand are taking our jobs!), all of this – well, it maybe won’t go away, but it won’t have us steaming toward widespread racial violence like we are now.
I’m beginning to wonder why effective boycotts against these hate-media channels, and particularly Fox, haven’t been organized yet. Why not just pick out one Fox advertiser at random and make an example out of it? How about Subaru and their unintentionally comic “Love” slogan? I actually like their cars, but what the f**k? How about Pep Boys and that annoying logo of theirs? Just to prove that it can be done, I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Isn’t that at least the first move here? It’s beginning to strike me that sitting by and doing nothing about this madness is not a terribly responsible way to behave.