Posts Tagged ‘TownHall’

The Victimhood Complex of the Right-Wing

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Andrew Breitbart, while claiming to be some sort of serious journalist, more closely resembles the papparazzi that hound celebrities. (And as he apparently regularly checks any blog references to himself: Hello Andrew, and welcome.)

The stories he has broken seem to place as much emphasis on the “reporter” as on the subject — most notably the pimp at ACORN — but today’s newest right-wing talking point (in video form) is similar:

More bothersome to me than this shallow and callow approach to news is what it reveals about the story of victimhood that seems to so excite the right-wing these days.

I remember a time when the right-wing thundered in righteous indignation over the subversive and un-American nature of claiming moral authority and material advantage by victimhood — the core of the conservative critiques of affirmative action, political correctness, hate crimes, the value of diversity, and welfare. They highlighted with glee any case where race-baiters, scammers, or any other purported victim claimed race, gender, or some other prejudicial factor without good cause. But that was the 1990s. By the 2000s, right-wingers had begun to adopt the tactics of those few authentic race-baiters as their own.

In 2008, Sarah Palin mastered this flip — flinging charges of sexism and misogyny against all of her critics as she winked and engaged in name-calling and gutter politics. She was a post-modern demagogue — and excited all the passions for and against her that demagogues rely on to gain power — but she explained away all criticisms of her as part of her victimhood, as a right-winger and a powerful woman. It was a brilliant move.

Marked by Sarah Palin’s rise, the right wing has constantly claimed victimhood: Michelle Bachman warned of concentration camps for conservatives; Rush Limbaugh claimed he was on the president’s enemies list; Glenn Beck declared that his words were so powerful, powerful people were attempting to silence him; Matt Drudge warned that the FCC was considering enacting a tax that he called, “a Drudge tax;” TownHall sent out emails claiming conservatives would be denied medical treatment under ObamaCare;  and of course, Sarah Palin herself has posited giant conspiracies against her, and positioned herself as the victim of her neighbors, bloggers in Alaska, her daughter’s one-time boyfriend, David Letterman, Katie Couric, Rahm Emanuel, and of course, the “lamestream media.”

Andrew Breitbart himself doesn’t seem to claim to be a victim. He happily engages in political war. But the news his sites promote are consistent with this culture of victimhood that has come to dominate the right-wing. There are few better examples than this video as discussions of policy or of politics are left behind in favor of a short video in which a right winger is shown as the victim of the left. Congressman Bod Etheridge’s reaction was no doubt inappropriate. But calling this an “assault” is such a glaringly obvious attempt to play the victim. It’s unclear how much the video was edited — but the facial blurring of the anonymous college student further adds to the obviousness of this attempt — but in typical Breitbart fashion, it has the potential to extend the story as the identity of the student is released in the coming days.

This culture of victimhood is pernicious because it is self-reinforcing — and helps insulate the right-wing from adapting to political circumstances — and may even, in the worst of all worlds, lead to the Republican nomination of Sarah Palin for president.

TownHall.com Promotes Google Takeover of Bloggerwave Fantasy

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I’ve made a habit out of going after TownHall.com email alerts – usually because of the political implications of their get-rich-quick schemes.

But today, TownHall.com is promoting “Frank’s Penny Stocks” which is claiming that the site Bloggerwave is going to be worth a lot of money:

I’ve said it many times now, Don’t Wait – BLGW is a Takeover Target for Google…Yahoo and Microsoft could be watching and waiting too.

Had you followed my advice you could have already secured huge gains…

Now, I’ve never been so certain. BLGW is lighting up like a firecracker…and that could make you a bundle of profits.

Now, I have no special inside information here – but the Google takeover bit is a load of bullshit. Frank’s Penny Stocks analysis of why BLGW is a good pick is jaw-droppingly naive about social media:

All the buzz today is about social media—and it’s more than just a craze. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, blogs…

Yahoo made a $1 BILLION offer to buy Facebook. Subsequently, the offer was turned down by the 22-year old founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and his partners. Foolish maybe, but it just goes to show that the big boys are willing to pay big bucks for these sites.

And then of course is the street vendor sales language:

[BLGW] has a client list worth its weight in gold

My BUY NOW alarms went off all over the place.

I LOVE a good $tock $tampede!

But the basic point is this: Google won’t be buying Bloggerwave. Bloggerwave may make money – but it will only do so if Google allows it to – and its modus operandi is contrary to Google’s. It’s about companies buying positive social media coverage rather than advertisements. It doesn’t seem transparent or open in how it makes money the way other Google businesses are. It just isn’t a good fit.

For more TownHall idiocy covered, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.