Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Amazing Power of the Repugnican Talking Point

Dithering: a word that had probably never been uttered in the history of television news was suddenly on the lips of every talking head this week.

It is a testament to the awesome power of the Repugnican Smear Machine that they always seem to find the perfect new damning term to use against the Obama Administration to recharge their wild-eyed attacks at the very point where it seems they have exhausted the lexicon of slurs on any particular topic. Their rolling out of their exciting new term for their same old shit is blithely picked up and repeated so often it becomes "conventional wisdom" in the world of "reporting." Had Dick Cheney's speech writers used any regular term like "waver, hesitate, falter" or even "vacillate" there would be little news value in his latest criticism of Obama's mishandling of the Afghanistan occupation.

There is definitely much to criticize in Obama's distressing Afghanistan policy, of course, and he has been getting it hard and heavy from the left since he took office. But the strength of the left's objections and protests is generally only reported as data collected in polls designed to rate the President's popularity on a positive/negative percentage scale. The Left's opposition to Obama's Afghanistan folly is not considered "news" because it is apparently too hard a task for the simple minds who report the news - and the simpler minds who listen to them - to grasp the non-black & white, non-bipolar complexities of the real world.

What is too deep for them to fathom is the nature of that tension which exists uncomfortably between Obama and the political left - who want to support him despite his flaws. It's so much easier to "get it" when a Dick Cheney, Sara Palin or Joe Wilson exposes the high-strung, knee-jerk tension between Obama and the right - which just wants to see him fail at all costs. Because of the way the news industry has been reshaped by Fox News in recent years any criticism of this president and his administration is only considered newsworthy if it totally demonizes them. And they've found that this need not be done only by screeching "You Lie!" on the floor of Congress or making brazenly truth-less statements about death panels in the health care reform bill. Now it only takes the dropping of a single term into a speech, pricking up reporters' ears with a nebulosity of meaning to the average American. The underlying Repugnican strategy for foiling the Democrats has not changed. We're just seeing the phase where they resort to semantic vagaries after the insane things they've tried to assert outright have been thoroughly debunked as boldfaced malicious lies.

So Dick Cheney utters a familiar sounding Smear Machine-manufacture word, "dithering," with its built-in wink-wink connotations of Democratic light-weight feathery flaccidity on issues where Repugnicans have long been portrayed as stronger: warmongering. And though it's a term that has never been used before - and one that has plenty of synonyms in any cheap thesaurus, the Right Wing mouthpieces on Fox "News" and Limbaugh's Daily Spew obligingly repeat it like some nerdy kid who has just add another new word to his vocabulary and strains to use it every time he opens his mouth, often inappropriately.

As pathetic as all this is, of course, it is all the worse that the word is picked up intact, reported and repeated without question, by every news organization that still considers itself legit, even though they take their cues and news straight-up from the mouths of the Repugnican propaganda machine that is Fox.

They're all just a bunch of dithering fools.

Fortunately, we can still count on the calm, measured and reasonable voice of most trusted name in journalism to expose the hypocrisy and lies on all those Fox-ass-kissing news shows: Jon Stewart.

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