I am unaware of to what extent leftists listen to and engage right wing pundits. I am under the impression that conservative media outlets are mostly consumed by conservatives. The popularity of the movie Outfoxed, a film that does nothing but advances the hypothesis that Fox News is biased, seems to support this assumption. Brock’s fact checking efforts represent a new era of fighting the right. It is critical that the left engage right-wing media, but as active participants and not as passive consumers. On March 8, 2005, University of Madison, Wisconsin published a study that showed that post 9-11 TV watching tended to push liberals in a rightward direction.
The survey showed that among liberals who watched little television, about 20 percent favored more government police powers. But about 41 percent of liberals who were heavy viewers of TV news supported such measures - much closer to the 50 to 60 percent of conservatives who supported greater police powers, regardless of how much TV news they watched.
Many leftists are aware that popular and conservative television media is biased and distorted and so to preserve their sanity, refuse to engage it. I do not watch TV. I follow media through Media Matters and through blogs such as Newshounds (“We watch Fox so you don’t have to”), the Wonkette and Atrios. TV’s constant stream of biased, corporate-produced images is overwhelming to me. My fascination with punditry is as an outsider. My pieces are like tourist photos. I do not know if the locals would consider them trite or compelling. (My media-obsessed friends seem to like them, though.)
To fight the echo chamber, we must be aware of how the far right is changing discourse. I write pieces with the idea that they will help raise this awareness. I hope that awareness persuades leftists to action or at least to outrage. At the least, one hopes that all of the Alien Others constantly attacked by the right wing would begin to feel solidarity for each other. Arabs and queers are often used almost interchangeably. Imus in the Morning described an Iraqi resistance fighter as “an enemy combatant who had sworn fidelity to some bearded fatwa fairy.” (http://mediamatters.org/items/200411190009) Queers stand-in for almost any social “problem.” Bill Cunningham said while discussing classroom discipline on Hannity & Colmes, “In the good old days, back when AIDS was an appetite suppressant and when gay meant you were happy, back in those days there was discipline in public schools. But not today.” (http://mediamatters.org/items/200503040003) Ah yes, back when people knew their place and social norms could be enforced with lynching, in that mythical golden age, children were well-behaved.
This post is not Creative Commons. It is Copyright 2005 Celeste Hutchins, all Right Reserved