I’ll get to the Rachel Maddow clip in a bit.
Here is how you make America dumber, one Sunday at a time. First you show a clip of some politician making a speech. You then have a CNN (or ABC, CBS, NBC) panelist critique a segment of the speech, but do it in a
misleading “balanced” way to avoid appearing to take sides between the politician that just lied and the other party. Someone says, “tsk tsk,” and then you move on.
On Candy Crowley’s CNN show this a.m., the politician was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio is shown complaining that the Obama Administration was trying to divide Americans, rich against poor, men against women. It’s a standard GOP attack line. But the facile Senator gets excited, adding this may be the most divisive Administration in history.
Heavens! Enter Dana Bash, who calmly explained that while politicians may indeed try to divide the electorate, it was an exaggeration to claim this was the most divisive in history, because sometime in our history, left undefined, someone must have been worse. Tsk, tsk. End of discussion. They move on as Candy Crowley nods approvingly at the balanced wisdom displayed.
So what did we just learn? First, while Marco Rubio may have stretched the point a bit, because there must have been some pretty awful dividers, unnamed, it’s still true that the Democrats and Obama Administration are trying to divide the rich from the poor and men from women.
Now let’s bring in the facts that did not penetrate this morning’s discussion.
First, the main reason Republican politicians, especially Romney VP wannabes, are making the men versus women argument is because the polls tell them that Barack Obama has a significant edge over Mitt Romney among women voters. It seems women may believe the Republican Party is conducting a war on women’s reproductive (and employment) rights. So the counter-strategy is both to deny the GOP is waging such a war and to insist the whole issue is a fabrication meant to divide America.
Second, the likely reason many women are coming to this conclusion about the GOP is because it’s true. As Maddow has shown us night after night, in state after state, GOP legislators and Governors have proposed and often enacted restrictions on women’s reproductive rights. There have been hundreds of such bills, with new ones almost every week. Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops, who are actively working to suppress the moral views and actions of women Catholics, are claiming that any efforts to advance women’s reproductive rights are an attack on religious freedom. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum et ilk fully endorsed the Bishop’s male-domination views. In other words, women aren’t stupid, and they know when their rights, lives, and dignity are under attack.
What about dividing rich from poor? Again, the GOP worries that so-called “populist” views might work, but all the President has said is that everyone should pay their fair share of taxes as we cut Medicare and Social Security, and that it’s not fair if very wealthy people pay less than their secretaries. He hasn’t said the rich are evil or immoral nor encouraged Americans to burn down Mitt Romney’s mansions. If anything, he’s been oversolicitous to the rich — it’s okay to be rich, we don’t begrudge them, etc. — and depressingly timid in efforts to protect the unemployed or address inequality.
In the meantime, study after study shows that a hugely disproportionate share of America’s increased income and wealth over the last two decades has gone to the top 1% or 0.1%, while the middle class stagnated or fell behind. Inequality is now as bad as before the Great Depression and ranks the US embarrassingly low world wide. And yet the GOP position is adamantly opposed to any efforts to ask more of the rich and address the poverty and suffering on the other side.
Senator Rubio’s point is that pointing out these facts is meant to divide Americans, pitting the rich against the poor. In other words, telling the truth about things that are hurting the country is divisive per se. Uh, no, denying these realities on all sides by the media is what’s hurting the country.
And remember, Marco Rubio is the guy who is so embarrassed by his own Party’s attacks on immigrants that he tried, unsuccessfully, to convince his colleagues to pass a watered down version of the DREAM Act, hoping to get the GOP to stop alienating the fastest growing minority in the US.
There are clear efforts to divide Americans and to do so by lies and evasions, but to see who’s doing that, Mr. Rubio needs to borrow the GOP mirror. The fact is, Marco Rubio just told several outrageous lies in that short segment about who is dividing the country and why.
But all of that completely escaped Candy Crowley and her top analyst Dana Bash, who told us that Mr. Rubio was just exaggerating a bit, tsk, tsk, but his fundamental claim that Obama/Dems are trying to divide Americans is true.
That section was follow by a commercial from America’s coal industry, in which the sponsors tell us, amidst pretty pictures, that “clean coal” could supply America for hundreds of years. Of course, they don’t point out that “clean” and “coal” do not belong in the same sentence — preposterous lie #1 — and the only way coal can regain its status in America’s electric power industry is if the coal boys convince the EPA to impose on the gas boys the same types of emission restrictions for public health and safety that the coal industry has managed to escape while insisting regulations, and not the unregulated gas boys, are cleaning their clocks.
It’s possible there are more lies told on Sunday’s Talking Head shows than any day of the week, but I’ve lost count.