When right-wing hacks confess the damage that they do

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, March 26th, 2017 - 20 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, making shit up, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: , , , ,

One thing I often wonder about right-wing demagogues and hacks (and bloggers) is whether or not it’s all an act. Are they broken enough to believe what they say, or they deliberately posturing (with a full understanding of the damage that they’re doing)?

Whatever, a couple of them in America have recanted recently. Here’s one:

Conservative radio host: ‘We’ve created this monster’ of fact-hating right-wing voters

In an interview with Business Insider’s Oliver Darcy, a conservative radio host lamented the fact that conservative media has conditioned its followers to distrust the mainstream media so much that they have become fact-free “monsters.”

In a tweet promoting an upcoming piece on rightwing media, Darcy posted an excerpt from an interview with conservative radio host Charlie Sykes who claims candidates like Donald Trump can say anything on the stump without fear of being fact-checked by the likes of Fox News or conservative websites.

“We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say that Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood,” he explained. “The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that. ‘By the way, you know it’s false.’ And they’ll say, ‘Why? I saw it on Allen B. West.’ Or they’ll say, ‘I saw it on a Facebook page.’ And I’ll say, ‘The New York Times did a fact check.’ And they’ll say, Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.’”

“We’ve created this monster,” he warned. “Look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk show hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted with the mainstream media. So we have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there.”“And I feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that,”…

Here’s another one. Glenn Beck. Yes that Glenn Beck (interviewer in italics):

Glenn Beck Is Sorry About All That

Now we’re here in crazy town. What we need now is for reasonable people to sit down with each other and say: O.K., your guy [Obama] wasn’t the end of the world. My guy [Trump] wasn’t the end of the world. How can we talk to each other?

But this guy might actually be the end of the world. It’s why I didn’t vote for him. Because if it’s going to get bad, he could bring out the worst in us. I think he could be one of the most dangerous presidents to ever come into the Oval Office. We have to watch him carefully, but also focus on each other and make this work.

You’ve admitted that you were part of the problem that paved the way to Trump — you’ve expressed regret, for example, for calling President Obama a racist — but I see your role in all of this as a bit more than just “a guy who insulted the president.” I could excuse it, to some degree — I won’t — but I could excuse some of it by saying that I was trying to, in some ways, accomplish what Jon Stewart can accomplish: draw huge crowds, make points and then encourage you to do your own homework. I know I wouldn’t believe me if I heard myself apologizing, so I’m telling you now: Don’t take my word for it. Watch my actions. I don’t care what you think about me. All I care about is saying, Please, don’t make the mistake I made.

You’ve certainly been directly complicit in the mainstreaming of a conspiratorial way of thinking about our politics. I see the conservative media sphere, in general, as having created a hothouse atmosphere, where there’s this idea that everyone is out to get us. I don’t think that’s fair. The first time I ever really heard that kind of serious talk from anybody was about there being a vast right-wing conspiracy out to get us. We both play that game; we’ve done, on the right, the same thing that we accuse the left of doing. You have to know what’s true and what’s not, and quite honestly that’s where the media is supposed to come in and fill the gap. …


I mean – what – do you even?

The most constructive thing I can think of to say is that I reckon there’s a whole lot more who should follow their brave lead.

Bonus content: GLenn Beck interviewed on this by the incomparable Samantha Bee. Worth it for the sweaters alone…

20 comments on “When right-wing hacks confess the damage that they do”

    • Malconz 1.1

      You have to suspect he’s about to be sued off the planet by the Pizza place owner.

    • Guerilla Surgeon 1.2

      Yes, but only under threat of lawsuit. Though how anyone could make sense of his raves enough to construct a decent lawsuit I just don’t know.

  1. One Two 2

    How many corporations own and control the major mainsteam outlets in the USA…

    Which POTUS enabled that the occur

    Hint – WJC

    • Sapani 2.1

      About half a dozen now. There were more than 4000 outlets about twenty years ago.

      What changed?

      Ask Clinton, the wise guy who got rid of Glass Steagall legislation.

      In the media area, Clinton very helpfully put through the Telecommunications Act 1996 that was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies”.

      What a pity that his wife didn’t get in to deliver some really wonderful law reform for the greatest democracy in the world.

  2. Keith 3

    But at the same time right wing media like The Herald and Newstalk ZB and the utter right wing propoganda they spout has caused a turn off from our so called main stream media.

    When have either of those questioned the flimsy basis of our growth or even something as obvious and ridiculous as Nationals mid 21st century promises? They don’t, they just faithfully run their media releases!

  3. Adrian 4

    Maybe Beck and Joness ” road to Damascus ” moments are at the insistence of their corporate employers who have just realised that the ramifications of Trump et al are actually going to cost them a shitload of money.

  4. Skeptic 5

    I find it very interesting that US right-wing talk show hosts label the MSM as liberal left-wing. Why? Because for the last twenty or so years the majority of the MSM worldwide has been owned or controlled by Rupert Murdoch. As we all know now, Murdoch appointed editors who shared his world view, so he didn’t even have to set editorial standards that reflected his own world view – they did it for him. And what exactly was his world view? It certainly wasn’t liberal left-wing by any stretch of the imagination – in fact one would be very hard put to describe his stance as centrist. The kindest critique of Murdoch’s editorial stance was it was centre-right – but most would label his papers as reflecting a conservative – or hard right – viewpoint in just about every media outlet he owned or controlled. For every story that had a centre-left or left slant, he made sure there were at least four – usually more – stories that showed the opposite viewpoint. These facts certainly don’t sit well with the talk-show hosts confession about MSM as they view it. This only goes to show how close they are to extreme right. No wonder the Republican Party is in disarray. There are elements within it that are so far right they make Adolf Hitler look centrist. The myriad of Tory, conservative, neo-lib, neo-con, monetarist, Tea Party, factions combined with the oil lobbyists, coal lobbyists, anti-tort lobbyists, gun nut lobbyists etc make for the most dysfunctional political party ever. Yet this is the Party that thinks Trump is extreme. Now what does that really say about Trump? His own party that is so far right-wing that it makes Hitler look like a kindergarten teacher, thinks Trump is a step too far. What exactly does that make Trump, if not the most dangerous man in the world at the moment – and he has his finger on the nuclear trigger. Would the US military actually launch if he said so? I have my doubts!! I tend to think they’d treat him like they treated Nixon when he had his mental breakdown and get any orders cross-checked with someone sane.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      Even bricks in a wall are separated by mortar. Paragraphs please.

    • Wensleydale 5.2

      Yeah, I don’t think America is so far gone that they’d launch nukes on the whim of an unhinged narcissist. At least… I hope not.

      • One Two 5.2.1

        The ‘war machine’ will do whatever it wants, whenever and wherever the war machine and its controllers want to impose itself…

        POTUS is irrelevant, as is congress…for those who are not aware…

  5. reason 6

    Appropriate you mentioned Nixon ….

    When he teamed up with Kissenger they were like ‘blood’ brothers

    But it’s not really a right versus left thing when it comes to death squads and murder from the yanks ….

  6. greywarshark 7

    Thanks for that link to Bee and Beck. Sounds like a good entertainment duo doesn’t it. And it was very good tv and even better I think that it was a good precedent for many more individuals getting clued-up and glued-up to a sort of agreed togetherness. They have shown us that facing up to unattractive facts can be funny, and yet still tell us things that we need to think about. Who’d have thunk it.

  7. greywarshark 8

    Right wing hacks finding that they are actually hacking at the fabric of human society? It is well to read about what Rod Oram said was a dangerous direction of that kind last year in his column in the Sunday Star Times. (I’ll leave the quote in normal type so it is easier to read, and put my comment in italics. I have copied it from his Facebook page as it is barred from casual public viewing by Fairfax)

    Techno-futures must have ethical foundations – Rod Oram’s Sunday Star-Times column for November 20th, 2016

    Speakers and audience alike exuded boundless optimism at the Singularity University New Zealand Summit in Christchurch this week. Infectious enthusiasm about the power of technology to solve all the world’s problems coursed through the three-day event.
    The message was humankind’s technological prowess is growing at an exponential rate. Even better, we’re combining breakthroughs to deliver limitless benefits to people.

    These technologies are deeply disrupting all our existing knowledge and practices. We are transforming computing, energy, medicine, food, farming, transport, education, work, space colonisation and almost any other area of life we can imagine, even democracy itself.
    Ray Kurzweil, a distinguished American inventor and futurist, devised this concept of exponential change and its impact in his 2005 book The Singularity is Near. Very rapidly a community of fervent technologists locked on to the ideas and established Singularity University to spread them.

    – Amy Fletcher, a political scientist at the University of Canterbury, described what 21st century public policy would have to look like here if we want to become a future-thinking, rapidly adapting society.
    It would have to be a continuous, participatory process to bring people and government together on policy and politics. One example she gave is the way the Swedes are focusing on deep sustainability, the future of work, and global co-operation.
    These and many other summit presentations will be available soon on http://www.singularityunz.com

    For all the abundant optimism and ambition at the summit, however, one element was almost entirely missing: what does it mean to be human?
    Viewed simplistically, technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and gene editing only enhance some of our human capabilities. But in doing so, they will transform life as we know it.
    That’s good if there’s genuine benefit for all. But the whole history of human progress, let alone technology, is gains for many but little or none for others; and with dire, unintended consequences all round….

    We’re already seeing in the US, UK and elsewhere how imperfect progress is causing facts to vanish, realities to distort, co-operation to evaporate, common sense to disappear, politics to polarise and society to fracture.

    • Jan Rivers 8.1

      +1 excellent thinking on this greywarshark and thanks for the tip about Amy Fletcher. Frequent and meaningful public engagement needs to be part of future policy and yet how far we are from that now.

      I’m involved in planning some lectures at St Andrews on the Terrace as part of the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society – a series of seminars to look at Human Flourishing but the technology issue is not woven in yet and I can see it should be. “Here” is what is confirmed so far. All the events are koha except the weekend and we’ll have a registration option for that available soon.

  8. I really have so little sympathy for the supporters of the idiotdump who now realise they were sucked in and even less for the mindless rwnj media who promoted and sanctioned the bigotedrump – shame on you and if you are really sorry – do SOMETHING about it – not just sorry words but actual ACTIONS.

    • garibaldi 9.1

      I have no sympathy for the supporters of Trump or Clinton . America is fucked.
      The question is are they going to kill us all for their stupid Empire?

  9. North 10

    Sense your frustration Marty. The thing I’m finding hard is that we have a genuine bloody fruitcake in the Oval Office. The craziness of that fact made more bitter by frequent colonic misfortune and the call and shrill of narcissism which requires/bullies that there’s perfume in the air.

    It’s like a loudly hailed yet bogus level of reality. And Sean and Kellyanne step in somewhat aggressively to conduct this ‘protect a child’ vaudeville. Themselves to become caracitures. It’s extraordinary to watch !

    Wow ! What will history say ?

  10. NZJester 11

    At the moment one of the rightwing fact hatters is currently the most powerful man in the US.
    He tweeted that Obama had spied on him because a rightwing conspiracy nut told the Breitbart (Socalled) News that Obama had done so and he considers Breitbart a reliable source.
    Apparently, there are teenagers running news website full of news they just made up or copied and modified from elsewhere using lots of keywords in the stories they know people in the US will search for. They get money from the visits to their news stories via adverts plastered all over their pages and some are making good money from them even though most of the news stories they post haven’t any basis in fact. The rightwingers though are picking up these stories and running with them as if they are true.

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