It’s a tragedy that two comedy programs, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, are the closest thing today that America has to a 4th estate. That being said, as much as I appreciate the great work Stewart and Colbert do, I couldn’t help but be struck that the only thing the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” really seemed to represent was the notion that if you are passionate about ANYTHING, you must be a radical.
Stewart’s penchant for pushing the FALSE left/right equivalency meme is nothing new for him, but is a distortion of American politics – and for all the joking – no laughing matter.
Stewart had earlier called the rally a “Million Moderate March,” and drew a false equivalence between right-wing propagandists, and the people on the left who rightly rail against them.
Glenn Greenwald wrote, “The purpose, he said, is to counter what he called a minority of 15 percent or 20 percent of the country that has dominated the national political discussion with extreme rhetoric.
He tarred both parties with that charge, mentioning both the attacks on the right against President Obama for being everything from a socialist to un-American and on the left against former President Bush for being a war criminal.”
But what if the inconvenient truth is that President Obama is NOT a Socialist (or un-American for that matter) whereas former President Bush IS a WAR CRIMINAL?
The truth is, no evidence exists in reality-based community to support the “Obama is a Socialist” canard but plenty of evidence in this reality that would ally him with the “New” (Corporate) DLC Democrats firmly committed to so-called “free-market” policies that, in his own words, “resist protectionism” whereas Bush and Cheney have BOTH admitted war crimes – sanctioning policies outlawed by the Geneva Conventions – as well as numerous other violations that would have those born in the unprivileged class in the dock at the Hague.
Stewart correlating a right-wing lie with something the majority of the world knows to be true makes the equivalency not just FALSE, but dangerous – and plays into the hands of the powerful entities infesting the halls of power who have a vested interest in keeping the American People wedded to these distortions so as to allow the well-connected criminals to continue to walk free.
This may be Stewart’s way of appealing to and appeasing “average Joe” right-wingers so they don’t feel as if they are entirely attacked by Stewart’s own rhetoric, but that tactic is self-serving, and not at all good for America.
The fact is, the rank and file Right don’t need appeasing, they need educating. They’ve been systematically misinformed to the point where they cry “liberals are bad” as they collect their Social Security checks, illustrating the triumph of right-wing propaganda over the 4th Estate. If this situation doesn’t call for passion, backbone and a sense of urgency from the left, I don’t know what does.
The last 30 years have been abysmal for the working people of America and right-wing policies ARE deserving of blame! Negating the voices on the left that seek to CORRECTLY inform them by making them equal to the voices that seek to MISLEAD them, is just as harmful to the People as Stewart accused the silver-spooned-bowtie-boy Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala of being in his 2004 Crossfire appearance.
Just look at the last 100 years to see the fruits of Republican labors. Right wing policies serve only to create a wide economic gap between the people and the elite whom the Republican Party represent. Even David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, that the GOP DESTROYED U.S. economy. Strong words? Yes. This situation deserves nothing less. Liberals can’t afford to sit back quietly and politely while Cons have us up against the ropes, ready to permanently put the middle class down for the count.
To report the truth about the Republican-sponsored decline of the middle class with a sense of urgency and passion is not the same as actually lying to the middle class to get them to support their own demise.
Conflating Olbermann’s or Shultz’s fiery passion with Glenn Beck’s demagoguery does a disservice to the American People.
Sorry, Stewart. Exposing the right wing class war is NOT the same as right-wingers LYING, whipping up fear and appealing to the worst aspects of the human condition. It’s JUST NOT. Keith Olbermann is NOT Glenn Beck just as Alan Grayson (another lefty who made an appearance in Stewart’s montage) IS NOT some nut who is crazy because he said, “Republicans want you to die quickly.”
If you put Grayson’s statement IN CONTEXT, you will see that Grayson was making a POINT about the lack of action and obstructionist tactics Republicans employ to ensure that Americans CONTINUE to DIE and go bankrupt when they get sick. That kind of unconscionable system CALLS FOR STRONG LANGUAGE. This is the reality facing the American People today and it’s about time people stand up with a spine against the powerful forces of the big moneyed interests turning the government “into an appendage of their own affairs”, as FDR said.
The IRONY is that Grayson is on the FRONT LINES displaying the courage Stewart constantly MOCKS Democrats for not having. Being a PASSIONATE lefty IS NOT the same as being a lying corporate shill trying to DECEIVE people into supporting the party turning the middle class into compliant serfs.
If FDR were alive today, perhaps we could ask him about the effectiveness of politely pleading with Economic Royalists to play nice with the Plebs… pretty please… with sugar on it… please be nice and let us have our middle class again.
Perhaps Stewart would have been offended at FDR when he took the Economic Royalist elite to the metaphorical woodshed and implemented the New Deal policies that CREATED the Middle Class – and stood up to their inflammatory charges of “Socialist”, “Communist”, “anti-American”, by plainly and PASSIONATLY telling the America People what they were up against.
“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I WELCOME THEIR HATRED!”
Such strong LANGUAGE! Couldn’t he have “toned it down?” Perhaps Stewart could intercut this speech with some of the Republican attacks on FDR in which they called him as Communist… you know… to be a good moderate… and by doing so, give the veneer of legitimacy to arguments that are made up of whole cloth.
I hope the rally serves it’s purpose and gets young people out to vote. Tragically, I believe that it has also done damage to the truth…. which as we all know… has a well-documented liberal bias.