What dependence on the media machine buys you…

Two interesting news tidbits got emailed to me today (thanks to Mike and to Reba, btw) which, put together, show how dangerous it is to run a political party through a corporate propaganda machine — and which sperately are frickin’ hilarious.

ITEM ONE: James O’Keefe finally nails someone without dishonest editing.

It’s true!

After having been exposed as a charlatan mere prankster with such “scandals” as the ACORN pimp extravaganza, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe finally brought down a public figure — legitimately.  Funny thing is, it’s not a Democrat.

Wisconsin Senate President, long-time Forward State GOP leader, and Donald-Trump-hairpiece thief Mike Ellis is dropping out of his reelection bid, effectively retiring from a power-broker position he’s held for over thirty years.  The reason?  O’Keefe caught him on tape (and probably, I have to assume, set him up) plotting to commit felony election fraud.  On the tape, Ellis brags about his preparations to set up his own super-PAC with hundreds of thousands of dollars he has lying around in banks.

In an interview with local press, Ellis blames his sudden need to retire (and, presumably, hire some $700-an-hour attorneys) on just being too much of an reach-across-the-aisles, mavericky, independent thinker for troubled times like these.  No, really.

ITEM TWO: It appears the Fox News has taken to creating fictional Democratic congressional candidates to make the GOP look better.

It’s true!

If you’re a Fox News viewer, you might have been outraged this week after seeing Mike Dickinson being interviewed on multiple Fox News shows.  After all, the Democrat Virginia District 7 candidate promised to declare war on both Fox and the Tea Party.  Worse, although he claims to be a “professional consultant,” it turns out he really runs strips clubs for a living, and — who knows? — might well be a pimp!

As you can see his interview with Greta Van Susteren here and his interview with Sean Hannity here, Dickinson is clearly and laughably unprincipled — in fact, when he talks to Fox he looks and sounds a lot like Jon Lovitz’s Pathological Liar character.

This guy is clearly an embarrassment to the Dems: He’s unprepared with is facts, seems to ooze shady-time-share-saleman, and is willing to step into simple debating traps set for him by Fox anchors in a way that makes it look like everything Fox says about liberals is spot-on.  If he weren’t a real House candidate, you’d have thought Fox made him up.

Yeah… so, funny story:

Turns out he’s not actually a Democratic House candidate.  As Josh Marshall’s wonderful staff reports,

But Mediaite reported on Friday that the Virginia 7th Congressional District Democratic Committee announced it had cancelled this year’s nominating convention because no candidate had filed to run for the seat before the 5 p.m. deadline Thursday…

Dickinson appeared on Van Susteren’s show the same night the deadline passed, apparently without having filed any paperwork for his candidacy. He did not mention the deadline when he appeared on the show. Dickinson had also appeared on “Hannity” in February as a Democratic candidate for Congress, and got into a heated argument with the host.

Dickinson does not list a phone number or email address for his campaign on his website. TPM sent him a message seeking comment via a form on the site.

A short time later, Dickinson emailed back: “Happy to answer any questions over phone or email.” He did not provide a phone number, and a subsequent email did not get a response.

My first thought when reading this was to wonder which of the three different possibilities were true: If Fox hired an actor to play a guy running for Congress, if they didn’t hire him but still knew that he was just some nutjob who wasn’t a candidate for anything when they booked him, or if they simply and purposefully refused to do the minimum fact checking in order to prevent killing the interview they really, really wanted to air — on multiple shows.

My second thought was, “does it really matter?”

**  **  **

I’m putting these stories together here in Off the Cuff because, from where I sit, they’re two components of the same story.

If you build everything in your party around an edifice built on the foundation of shock-talk radio, this is what happens.  Boost your ratings while boosting the career of someone with as little integrity as James O’Keefe if you want, but don’t be surprised when the scorpion stings you mid-way across the river.  Train your party operatives to think that their constituents will only see them bravely defeating fake enemies via your propaganda machine if you must, but don’t be surprised when they grow so morally bankrupt and intellectually complacent that they confess to felonies for anyone who uses the same Limbaugh-approved buzzwords in a freaking bar.

That is all.


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18 thoughts on “What dependence on the media machine buys you…

  1. I’m kind of amused by the first one in a schadenfreude kind of way of course.

    I am absolutely stunned and shocked by the second one. This one matters much more.

    I suspect that Fox News is going to be able to escape this radically unscathed because Demycrats like me are the enemy and their audience will wash it away with confirmation bias somehow. This is real Wag the Dog stuff. Though I am not sure what the just but non-existent world punishment would be for something like this. Bankruptcy? Going off the air? This is simply the logical conclusion of the Long Con and keeping it up for a while can be a disaster for the country. Now Roger Ailes will wonder about putting up fake Democratic candidates instead of the actual ones.

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      • They get publicly mocked, of course, but by people who aren’t their audience. Their real audience doesn’t care, because when ideology is your major motivation, you don’t care how your news source makes the enemy look bad, as long as they look bad.

        Think WWII propaganda. The question of how “they” got away with that doesn’t arise. The case of Fox is not as different from that as we’d like it to be.

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    • The second story is basically pure tabloid. I suspect that most Democratic voters or even most non-registered voters will fall for it, mainly because most non-registered voters aren’t paying attention. Its going to get Fox viewer’s blood boiling and motivate them to get out to vote. I suppose nearly everything is fair in love, war, and electioneering.

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  2. Just warning folks, I’m like totally dreaming of taking my marching orders from Max at ObamaGayAgendaCentral™, and if anybody speaks out on the internets in favor of stuff I don’t like, I’m gonna raise a WorldWildWebRumpus™ and get you fired.

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  3. I have to think that FNC didn’t actively participate in this nonsense because if they did, they did such a piss poor job of it. Yes, the guy was a fool, but he wasn’t a particularly useful fool. If they were going to invent him, they should have invented a better bogey man.

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      • I mean, Hannity did what he always does: ask a highly specific question, demand a hard yes-or-no answer, and then hold that up as wholly indicative of a broader principle the person holds.

        “Did you support the ACA? Did Obama lie? Why do you advocate lying?!?!”

        If it was a stunt, I’d like to think they could have done better. Then again, this is FNC; expecting more/better is a fool’s errand no matter the task.

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