Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Right Wing Noise Machine

The recent gun debate and re-election of the President has really empowered the right wing noise machine on radio and Fox News.  This new energy after the pathetic defeat of the ideals they hold dear in the last elections has sparked many posters on Facebook, Twitter and Internet message board clogging them with lies and some times with simple filth.  Attacks on anyone, even a fellow member of the right, who dares suggest that talking about gun restrictions, have polluted the airwaves pitting former friends against each other.  The stunning thing to me is the number of sheer ridiculous statements made about an incredibly important and dangerous issue facing our country.

Guns are part of the American culture and history.  Guns were important to the colonial survival and industry.  Guns helped to win the fight for independence and over power the British.  It was guns that allow explorers to have the confidence to move west.  While not all encounters driving by personally owned guns were ethical, moral and righteous, guns did help settle the west even beyond the mythology that we think happened.  Guns are not going away and no one who is serious wants all guns to go away.  But you see there is a place to discuss what guns can exist in private hands, how many rounds one should be able to shoot without reloading and how much the government and law enforcement should know about who is owning guns.

The National Rifle Association, that speaks for the gun industry (though the profess to speak for gun owners) came out a week after the shooting as Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 kids between 5-7 years old were murdered with 6 adults and concluded the guns were not the problem and we should put arm guards in schools.  Problem solved.  Thank you Mr. LaPierre.  Except we know armed guards can help and might be a good solution for part of it but it is not the only answer.  In fact a armed guard traded fire with Columbine shooter Eric Harris and weeks later then the NRA was meeting with Vice-President Joe Biden to discuss solutions, an armed student injured 2 people at a school with an armed guard.  At the very same moment.  The NRA would have you believe that we have no business talking about the weapons used and their minions both in Congress and on the radio repeated their words.

Now that the President has released his first volley in a series of executive orders and New York State has passed a series of laws there is more craziness.  The NRA has released an ad that has been universally called disgusting as it brings the President's children into the equation and of course the Tea Party members are calling for impeachment.  Ah, everything old is new again.  But there is some cracking in the Republican wall.  Many are saying that some regulations on clips and types of guns are necessary as are some high profile generals like some guy named Colin Powell and another Stanley McCrystal.  Of course the noise machine has attacked them.  Steve Doocey at Fox even seemed to forget he was Secretary of State at one time in an attack on him.

One guy however took the new energy of the right to a new level.  Alex Jones started a petition to deport Piers Morgan, a British National on CNN who is an outspoken advocate on gun control.  Jones is a special kind of crazy and the perfect foil for Morgan, who has the journalistic integrity of Rita Skeeter.  Jones, a conspiracy nut who loves to hear himself scream, has been know to hijack movements he agrees with if he isn't in the front of the line.  So he went on the show and deliciously lost his shit for the whole world to see.  We heard revolution, 9-11 was an inside job, the grassy knoll and all manner of ridiculous notions.  In the end I needed a shower and Morgan needed a Xanax.  It was funny, it was nuts and it was par for the course.

What was interesting is the next day a members of the right wing noise machine elite, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck weighed in on Jones trying to distance themselves from him.  Both suggested that the left was making Jones the story and Hannity even said on his show he had to "look him up".  But what is amazing is that for years Jones attacked Hannity regularly and was a bit of a regular on Hannity's former partner Alan Colmes' radio show often attacking Sean.  You would think that someone would have told him about it.  Also the incestuous nature of the noise machine means he would have to be so detached from his profession as to be exactly what some have thought, just a puppet of someone else.  Hannity and Beck both are trying to distance themselves from Jones and while I agree they are not cut from the same cloth they are all in the same section of JoAnn's.

Joe Scarborough, a conservative MSNBC host and a constant critic of the failures of the GOP and a lifetime A+ rated NRA guy lost it.  He came out in favor of some kind of gun reform that included restrictions on large clips and so-called assault weapons. (Yes I know that is a political term)  He was called all manner of things by others of his own party and conservative ideology.  In fact I think they had to change their handshake and not tell him.  It is amazing, here a voice of an attempt at reason and middle ground is attacked.  While Joe doesn't care, he makes money being himself and isn't running for office it is a bit crazy that his body of work, carrying right wing water and trying to help the party is ignored because he simply ask the GOP to consider restrictions.  

What is amazing is the clear lack of self-reflection on the part of the noise machine. Anyone who tears the curtain down and shows just how crazy the noise machine has become is savaged. Anyone who comes close to thinking for themselves and going off the reservation are savaged.    When outrageous statements are made by the NRA or elected officials there is constant justifying.

I believe in the right to bear arms, I believe that it is not only about hunting and target shooting, and I believe we must do more than just go after guns.  But we must have a serious discussion about certain types of weapons and clips and perhaps make them less ubiquitous.  But the bigger issue in this discussion and many discussions is that we have become a country driven by a noise machine and that I think is far more dangerous in the long run than any AR-15.

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