Archive for the ‘media’ Category

Do You Really Think Rush Limbaugh Does Conservatives Good?

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

This post is not a dead New Jersey blog post resurrected. It was written today, 3/07/09, in response to a conservative who’s been rattled by comments at BlogHer on a post about whether Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the GOP. It ran pretty long, and I accidentally hit the publish button when I’d meant to hit the preview button after deciding I would probably not publish the full comment at BlogHer, but still needed to get a response off my chest. It’s posted here in case anyone wanted to see what I had to say. Otherwise, I’m moving on to critical life chores.

From BlogHer Comments

What I’m about to say has nothing to do with whether Rush Limbaugh uses hate speech, whether he’s a racist or a homophobe. What I’m talking about now is motivation, and while you may have more to say about economics, I have more to say about people, perceptions, and the end goal of a communications strategy:

In my opinion, Rush is doing a service by pounding on this theme. He is an entertainer…and he is an educator. Whether or not he’s “taken the bait” offered by the administration is immaterial in my mind. If by taking the bait, he is expanding his audience base…then I say good.

I don’t know if you recall when Bill Bennett made the highly inflammatory statement that the crime rates would go down if we’d abort black babies, but if you don’t recall it, you can google it. Anyway, I wrote a post back then that is now offline but in it I asserted that Bennett, who claimed he was trying to bring pro-life issues to the forefront, was no friend of the pro-life movement if he kept talking like that.

Why? Because his statement did not cause anyone to focus on pro-life issues. It boosted attention on him his radio show for a while, and offered the opportunity for well-known hate groups to have a field day about killing off black babies, but that was that.

And I wasn’t the only one who thought Bennett had done a disservice to the pro-life movement. Many people in the pro-life movement were dismayed that he’d derailed the conversation for a while. Whatever reasoning Bennett gave for making the statement got lost and as a result there are some moderate people on the fence who may have listened to Bennett despite his being conservative who now think he lacks credibility.

When Louis Farrakhan made his comment about Hitler being wickedly great, do you think that helped his cause? I could tell you what he really meant, but does it matter? Furthermore, a narrow focus on that one statement, no matter how brilliantly someone explained what he really meant by it, can be quickly expanded to broader vision by his many other statements that sound hateful because they are.

Ironically, if you remove some of Farakhan’s bigoted, inflammatory rhetoric, he’d sound like a fiscal conservative and one that Rush Limbaugh would agree with when it comes to a view that black people should stop relying on the Federal Government for financial help:

Farrakhan preaches the virtues of personal responsibility, especially for black men, and advocates black self-sufficiency. Farrakhan’s message has appealed primarily to urban blacks and draws on a long history of black nationalists who have called for black self-reliance in the face of economic injustice and white racism. (Encarta)

Despite white fears that most black people follow Farrakhan, they don’t. If they did, the crime rate would be lower, black business would probably be thriving, and black people would probably ignore white people until there was a war over land or water right or something.

Farrakan’ s not a “black” leader. He’s a Nation of Islam leader, a religious leader who makes social commentary, but since most black people are not members of the Nation of Islam, he doesn’t have the kind of influence white people think he does. BTW, Nation of Islam and traditional Islam are not the same.

One major difference between Farrakhan and Limbaugh is motivation, however. When Farrakhan makes inflammatory statements, generally he’s not trying to boost ratings on a radio show nor is he trying to influence government policy, however, like many religious leaders he sometimes comments about government.

So, you have Farrakan, a man preaching that black people should separate themselves from white people economically and be self-reliant, and yet you don’t see a bunch of whites, not even conservatives, applauding his work. I doubt you’ll see Jewish people applauding his work. And you have many black people who used to find him credible who have stepped away. While they agree with him about self-reliance and even on some of the points he makes about the sins of America against black people, they’ve stepped away from the Farrakhan. Why do you think that is?

In addition, you’ll rarely hear other people who’ve been identified as black leaders quote Farrakhan or give him props on national radio or TV. They aren’t as hard on him as whites and so don’t shun him completely, but they’re doing nothing to promote him. And certainly, if one of them said something about him similar to what Michael Steele said about Rush Limbaugh, the one who said it wouldn’t have to go apologize. Why do you think that is?

I’ll tell you why. One, Farrakhan doesn’t have that kind of power. Two, people who want genuine dialogue about race, the economy, how we can work things through, know that they sabotage that dialogue by clinging to people who make divisive statements repeatedly. In addition, unlike what I see in Rush Limbaugh discussions, people who genuinely want to work things through will allow historical facts on the table that give leeway for people to express pain and anger regarding oppression, bu that’s another topic.

It’s been my experience that people tend to lose respect when they see anyone sabotaging a worthwhile goal for personal gain. Rush Limbaugh consistently sabotages genuine discussion because he’s found that inflammatory language rather than productive discourse earns him more money. So, we see his true allegiance. And yet conservative whites jump up and defend him constantly. I’m not talking about a few fringe people who also read KKK websites or some of the angriest people who lack education and resources defending him; I’m talking about powerful mainstream people who hold public office and ordinary, otherwise sensible, white people.

So, my point on Rush Limbaugh is that by taking the bait, actively participating in what he knew was a strawman tactic that would throw the GOP into further disarray and a tactic that is also clearly a disctraction, Limbaugh is not doing the conservative movement a favor. It’s not about keeping eyes on what’s going on in D.C. It’s about him. You think he’s pounding issues that will move you forward, but actually he’s quite crafty, keeping all eyes on Rush.

Case in point, what has this blog post forum become but a discusion about Rush Limbaugh?

It’s theater, smoke and mirrors, and he is complicit:

People keep saying let’s get back on topic. Oooh, look what they’re really doing in Washington and Obama’s administration set Rush up. If the Obama administration had a gun at Rush Limbaugh’s feet, shooting bullets to make him dance, that would indeed be a case of power slamming Rush. The truth is Rush likes the spotlight and Rush wants to dance even if his dancing and his showmanship hurts the Republican Party.

We can argue for the next four years about whether Rush Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement or the GOP and Republicans can keep up the talking points that he’s not because he’s not technically been elected to anything. The reality is Rush is leader because millions of conservatives follow him, defend him, and apologize to him.

They don’t want to give him up. Limbaugh to the Republicans is like the hot, seductive mistress that appeals to a man’s baser instincts and is helping to wreck his family but the man keeps going back because he likes the sex.

If anyone has a complaint that Rahm Emanuel and Obama set up Limbaugh and that they did it to take the public eye off what they’re really doing in Washington, then they should also have a complaint that Limbaugh’s played along.

Consider how differently the Steele-Limbaugh exchange would have gone if Rush had never said “I want Obama to fail,” a statement he made after knowing the Whitehouse was setting him up as the strawman, and if he had never blasted Steele for the “ugly entertainment” comment by telling Steele bascially to go back to the kitchen.

We know Emanuel’s and the Dems’ motivation for targeting Rush, and their communications strategy was easy to implement. Rush’s ego is huge and so it’s all been like shooting fish in the barrel.

The plan keeps eyes off how things are going in D.C. and has conservatives jumping up and down like specks on the sideline of the Rush parade saying “But we want to talk issues, we want to talk money.”

Limbaugh is an exceptional communicator and strategist. He knows that’s what’s going on. Why is he playing along and why do you think that’s okay?

Score: Obama administration=1, Rush Limbaugh=1, Conservative Movement=0

Jersey Guys vs. State Troopers: Bad karma, dudes, bad karma

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Originally published at the dead blog, Confessions of a Jersey Goddess, Friday, May 04, 2007. So, some of the links may not be zombified, just dead.

I sort of don’t know what to say about The Jersey Guys feud with New Jersey State Troopers and the troopers union official who publicly released one of the Jersey Guys’ personal address and contact information. I’m unsure of what to say because it’s The Jersey Guys we’re talking about of New Jersey 101.5 FM. These fellas aren’t known for being responsible when it comes to handling information or considering how the words that come out of their mouths will affect others’ lives and sometimes safety. So, maybe the release of Craig Carton’s home address is a case of karma or what goes around comes around. For you Sunday School alumni, that’s you reap what you sow.

It seems The Jersey Guys decided to inform the public that our “wonderful” state troopers were about to go on “a ticket-writing blitz,” according to a story at The Bridgewater Courier. Divulging this information, that the story says The Jersey Guys picked off trooper message boards, pissed off the troopers’ union.

Angered that a popular radio show drew attention to police message board posts calling for a ticket-writing blitz, the head of the state troopers’ union Thursday said the show had endangered police and showed television cameras the home address and license plate number of New Jersey 101.5 FM personality Craig Carton.

In a blistering news conference, state police union leader David Jones said more motorists have been confrontational during traffic stops since Carton, and then Gannett New Jersey newspapers, publicized the chatter about stepped-up ticket writing, which anonymous posters discussed on a password-protected message board for union members.

Jones opened his news conference by holding up a paper with Carton’s home information, which he held in front of him for the duration of his remarks.

“I’m going to release the names and addresses of these people and then their sponsors, and all of the car dealerships and everybody else that sponsors that show is going to have to deal with the reality that they’re putting public servants and the public in general in harm’s way, and I’m going to make sure that everybody knows, until they get their act together, who these people are, where they live, what they do and how it is that they’re misleading the public and creating this furor,” Jones said.

He later said he wanted to show that a host of the “Jersey Guys” lives in Pennsylvania. (From The Courier story)

How unJersey of one of The Jersey Guys to live in Pennsylvania. But yikes! Would you want your personal address released to the public if you spent part of your day insulting people publicly?

Before I go much farther, let me say that the state troopers deny that there’s a ticketing blitz. Jones, the guy from the union, says The Jersey Guys are exaggerating.

Furthermore, The Star Ledger reports that state police are investigating Jones’ alleged threat against The Jersey Guys. A state police spokesman also said that Jones was speaking on behalf of the union not on behalf of New Jersey State Troopers.

Per The Courier, Carton responded with the following:

My safety and more importantly the safety of my family is paramount to me, and I can not and will not allow them to be put in harm’s way because of the misguided rantings of a powerful police figure.

His safety and his family’s safety are important to him as they should be. I get that, but I wonder how much Carton considers the safety of others when he and his colleague Ray Rossi do their shock jock routine.

I bet if a few of the people of New Jersey who are of Latino and Mexican descent could’ve handed out one or both of The Jersey Guys’ personal information a few weeks back, someone would’ve done so. After all, didn’t The Jersey Guys in essence encourage ordinary citizens to harass private citizens of Latino and Mexican descent with their “La Cucha Gotcha” game? It was their version of “find the illegal alien” game, and they encouraged their faithful listeners to play. The game’s name alone suggests which group The Jersey Guys felt should be targeted.

The masses playing the game didn’t need to know your personal address to harass you. They just needed to notice you at work and find your skin coloring or your last name to be “unAmerican” and therefore suspect. It was okay with The Jersey Guys for people to be harassed and possibly endangered based on appearance and last name just a few weeks back.

The Art of Reckoning and The Jersey Guys

So, now the state troopers have a game for The Jersey Guys. We know it as “tit for tat; you kill my dog, I kill your cat.” In this case I guess we could say, “You put the troopers in danger, they put you in range of obsessed fans and psychopaths.” Ouch!

According to a recent episode of Numb3rs on CBS called “The Art of Reckoning,” using a Tit for Tat strategy when you want to get information from a prisoner can be very effective. In game theory it’s called equivocation and has to do with rational self-interest, “the prisoner’s dilemma.” Some folks say tit for tat is what we used in the Cold War to break Russia, but it can backfire if one party is extremely stubborn or possibly nuts.

Note for NonGeeks: “Game theory is a branch of mathematics that has many more important and far-reaching applications than the name may imply, such as in warfare and business.” (PDF source)

The state troopers aren’t trying to get information from The Jersey Guys in this case, but apparently they do think they’re at war. They also skipped the first step of the game, which is both parties, selfish agents, mimic cooperation. (Uh, maybe the troopers feel they were cooperating by not releasing Carton’s personal data sooner.) It seems the troopers want to teach those Jersey Guys a lesson now about putting troopers’ lives in danger by putting one of The Jersey Guys in danger. I guess the troopers hope The Jersey Guys will learn that it would be in their rational self-interest to not do that again! Or maybe Jones tends to over-react. What do we know about this guy?

Can you say lawsuit?

I don’t know if The Jersey Guys have grounds to sue, but this is pretty hairy, scary stuff here. Again, according to The Courier story, the chief operating officer of Millennium Radio New Jersey, Andrew Santoro, called for an investigation. The article also reports that Carton and Rossi walked off their radio show after Jones’ news conference revealing Carton’s personal data.

I agree that Jones, the union guy, is using intimidation tactics. I don’t condone what Jones did, and certainly knowing the reputation of Jersey State Troopers, that they’ve abused their power in the past, I’m not going to cheer one of their union reps on in what seems to be another example of power mania.

What if something happens to Carton’s family? Did his family do anything to deserve having their lives in danger if some obsessed fan decides to pay them a visit or more likely some angry listener?

Still, for The Jersey Guys this entire situation may be a case of what I already suggested, karma. As the old folks used to say, “You’ve made your bed; now lie in it!”

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