Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Featured Blog Post: Have You Read 'The Beyond Shameful & Brilliantly Successful Republican Lie Machine'?

Earlier today, I highlighted a "featured reader's comment". I would like to follow that up by highlighting a post from another site.

[I will doing more of the latter every week or so here on WARN. Please send along links to work that you think would be of interest to the nice (and smart) community of commenters and readers we have been building here over the years.]

I am really pushing myself to work on developing a better sense of timing, tone, and clarity in my online writing. I have what I hope and believe is a distinct and marketable "voice". Now, I am working on better managing those different "voices" to fit the media outlet and audience.

Returning to my politics is professional wrestling analogy, you have to be yourself with the volume turned up, but your "face" and "heel" versions of the same character have to be close enough to one another while also being different. Managing that tension is how one gets the bigger run and better bookings.
We all have strengths and weaknesses in how we translate our own intellectual curiosities and work into a final tangible product. For me, the easiest pieces to write are longer essays; the most difficult type of writing are either short news analysis items, or personal, "dropping the mask", reflective pieces.

Shaun Mullen's piece about the Right-wing propaganda machine on his blog Kiko's House is just good, sharp writing. I really like the tone...this is hard to explain, but good writing, with a definite style, and clarity of purpose and intent (sometimes) just coheres well.

The following paragraphs are spot on and devastating. If I tried to make the same claims, I would have needed many more paragraphs:
Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Republican Party has forsworn governance for something it believes to be far more effective -- lying.

The party has lied consistently and unapologetically about matters large and small, whether in grossly mischaracterizing the president and his policy initiatives or in committing to work with Democrats on a variety of issues, including the congressional supercommittee to fashion a deficit-reduction package, and then pulling the rug out from under the table. While the strategy of lying is shameful when considered in the perspective of the long arc of American political history and its many honorable practitioners, it has been brilliantly successful, so successful that the GOP's cavalcade of lies could conceivably put it within hailing distance of recapturing the Senate in the November elections.

The Republican playbook has been simple:

* Avoid abstract ideas and appeal to the emotions.

* Constantly repeat just a few ideas by using stereotyped phrases.
* Always give only one side of the argument.

* Continuously criticize your opponents.
* Pick out one "enemy" in particular for special vilification.
This playbook would be immediately recognizable to students of the Third Reich. It was employed, almost word for word, with insidious effectiveness by Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler's minister of propaganda.

This is not to compare Republicans with Nazis. I do not. But like Hitler and Goebbels, Republicans have seized on lying as an effective tool for getting the attention of a restive electorate not unlike that in Germany in the early 1930s.
In my recent post-Twitchy expeditions on Twitter, I have encountered a good number of fully propagandized members of the White Right. The talking points for the Tea Party GOP are very effective because they leverage the schema detailed by Mullen, and its ability to reach authoritarian anti-intellectual Republicans under the guise of "populism" and "real America" rhetoric.

Contemporary conservatives are so fully propagandized by the Right-wing echo chamber that empirical reality has been fully altered/distorted in the service of their ideological fantasies. The contemporary Republican Party is a cult. The Right's dream masters and message makers can then mate conservative political dogma to fit the Christian religious fundamentalism and out-group bigotry of the mass Republican public.

Shaun Mullen drives to his conclusion with this body blow:
But the truth (pardon the term) is that when a lightweight like Ryan -- himself a Pinocchio of staggering dimensions -- is viewed by the GOP as its leading intellectual, it simply is easier to try to scam voters than educate them.
Great stuff.

Whose work, online or elsewhere, have you been reading and would like recommend? Are there any under appreciated gems online--blogs, websites, etc.--that you think would be of interest to the readers and followers of We Are Respectable Negroes?


Louis Dixon said...

I was impressed by FREE ME FROM DJANGO UNCHAINED by Eileen Jones, a great critique of Tarantino's shuck-and-jive.

Shaun Mullen said...

Thank you for the kind words. I put up a post with my own tips about writing well a few years back:



CR Cornell said...

Nyle Fort is an up and coming talent:


The Sanity Inspector said...

The Godwin/notGodwin shuffle at the end of the excerpt is unconvincing. Some political writing is intended to give insight, other political writing is intended to make an impact. Wreathing the word "Republicans" with references to Nazis is an example of the latter.

Louis Dixon said...

I put this up yesterday and it disappeared:


chauncey devega said...

I think you should consider the whole piece. I would agree--as you know I do--that the propaganda techniques used by the Right-wing and its media are damn close. Got to get out of the right-wing crack meth house Mr. Sanity. You have been propagandized a bit too much it seems.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Black Girl Dangerous is a great blog. They give a lot of different people a good platform in addition to tours around the US about racial oppression and liberation.

I have followed some of the links provided on your blog, Brotha Wolf is great, Field Negro is great. I had no idea blogging like this was as widespread as it is, and very talented.

skilletblonde said...

I agree with Mullen, but the Republican Party is successful with lying, because the Mainstream Media is complicit. The billion dollar media conglomerates that dominate the people's airwaves are Republican owned, and is loyal to corporations, and the Republican agenda. They were complicit in the theft of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The website " Make Them Accountable," did a four part series in 2000 on the media coverup.

Here is is an excerpt:

"Shortly after George W. Bush declared his candidacy for president in June of 1999, General Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch was contacted by Bush political advisor Karl Rove. Welch later informed associates that Rove told him a Bush administration would initiate comprehensive deregulation of the broadcast industry. Rove guaranteed that deregulation would be implemented in a way that would create phenomenal profits for conglomerates with significant media holdings, like GE. Rove forcefully argued that General Electric and the other media giants had a compelling financial interest to see
Bush become president."

Another excerpt:

"Welch’s successful behind-the-scenes campaign to influence media coverage in a way that would get Bush into the White House has not been visible to the public, with one exception. On election night, according to an eyewitness, Welch was so angry that his own NBC News team would not call the race for Bush that he personally went to the studio from which Tom Brokaw was anchoring the coverage. Welch quietly watched the broadcast for a few minutes. Two people who were present claim that, when Brokaw and Tim Russert did not take the hint that their boss had come into the newsroom because he wanted something from them, he explicitly announced that he wanted them to call the election for Bush. They did. As a result, Bush entered the Florida recount phase with the tremendous advantage of having already been declared the winner. Congressman Henry Waxman questioned NBC News president Andrew Lack about the
incident. Waxman requested that Lack turn over to Congress the in-studio tapes that were recorded that night, so that what Welch had allegedly done could be verified. Lack, testifying under oath, agreed to do so.

RPM said...

The S.H.A.M.E. (Shame the hacks who abuse media ethics) is always good. Well researched and spot on. There is one on Charles Murray who we were discussing on this blog a week ago. When I was much younger I quite liked Steven D. Levitt's 1st Freakonomics when it came out. It was very persuasive propaganda. By the time his second one came out years later I was on to his bullshit. When he started talking about prostitution as a good alternative for women in a desperate marketplace I knew that everything he said was full of shit. So their takedown of him was particularly gratifying.


chauncey devega said...


OldPolarBear said...

I read that one; her film essays are really good. Unfortunately she doesn't seem to have posted a new one for some time. The Exiled site in general has gotten kind of inactive, but there's lots of good stuff still there to read.

OldPolarBear said...

Not a blog actually, but one essay I like to spread and share with people and I don't think I've done it here yet so if it is OK I will bend the rules a little and share it now. It is an essay titled What is Conservatism and What is Wrong With It? by Philip Agre. It is kind of long, but very well-written and accessible. He touches on race, class and a lot of other things and he does not pull punches regarding the real motives and tactics (yes, among them a lot of LYING) of the right wing.

RPM said...

Great comment. I like the rant, nothing excessive about it. Keep em coming.

Rage&Whiskey said...

Excellent post!