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FOX News, P.R. Channel for the Plutocracy

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed” —Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Tahrir Square

This is an essay that will explore and reveal the roles played by the public relations industry and the corporate media, focusing on FOX News, in supporting the plutocracy that are the de facto rulers of America. We pretend that we live in a democracy and proclaim its virtues to the world. In fact, we regularly invade other nations and force our brand of democracy on them as well. I hope that someday America will wake up and see what a corrupt & despotic country we have allowed ourselves to become because there is little hope of overthrowing our tyrants if we are in the dark as to their crimes and hidden agenda.

     As I reflect on the events of the past year, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My spirit is low when I ponder what has happened here in America and in the Middle Eastern countries where people have bravely risen up in protest against brutal tyrants. Yes, on the one hand it has been very uplifting to see the flame of liberty burning so bright in so many young people’s hearts as in Egypt. And while those coorageous souls in Egypt won in the sense of getting rid of Mubarek, they are now ruled by a military council that won’t give up its power. It’s the same sad story again & again i.e. once an individual or an organization/group, gain power, they fight dirty & hard to keep their newly gained power for themselves.

Hitler at Nuremberg

 

     The Occupy Wall St. movement which began in New York City was likewise, very inspiring and my guess is that the powers that be said, okay, we’ll let them have their little protests & demonstrations for awhile to let them think they had accomplished something but after a few months of the protests & their spread across the country, the power elite said, enough is enough and now it’s time to start cracking heads and show these young punks whose really in charge. And this brings me to the thesis of this essay i.e. like Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, the mainstream media in this country uses similiar tactics to condition American citizens into accepting a fascist ideology used as a cover for the wholesale plundering of our economy.

We shouldn’t really be all that surprised at the vicious and well-orchestrated assault on the Occupy Wall St. encampments around the country. The plutocrats or corporate elite will stop at nothing when it comes to protecting their power and wealth. This was clearly shown in their attempted coup against F.D.R. Of course they claim the crackdown is necessary to ensure “law & order” but only the ignoramuses who believe FOX News is “fair & balanced” and a good section of middle America who haven’t lost their homes, pensions, health insurance, & last vestige of self-respect, still fall for this myth. I am going to insert an essay here that will hopefully help you to begin to connect some of the dots about what I’m saying. By the way, note that J.P. Morgan participated in this attempted coup of an American president and just recently, as the Occupy Wall St. movement was taking off, Morgan/Chase “donated” something like $4.2 million dollars to the NYPD out of the goodness of their hearts. Yeah, right.

“Time for a trip in the way-back machine to recall a bit of history of which most of us have never heard. Last year, Phillip Roth had a bestseller with his novel, The Plot Against America, a fictionalized alternative history involving a fascist plot to take over the government of the USA and turn it into a fascist state under President Charles Lindbergh. But how many of you know of the real plot to overthrow FDR during the early years of his administration, a plot conceived by rich industrialists and bankers concerned that Roosevelt was about to conduct a massive redistribution of wealth?

More after the fold . . .

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It’s a sordid tale of fascist intrigue by some of America’s most famous corporate and political families (including members of FDR’s own party) which was deliberately covered up by both the only Congressional Committee to investigate the plot, and also by the leading media outlets of the day including the New York Times. And the truly scary part is that the plot might very well have succeeded if not for the bravery of a single, progressive leader: Marine General, Smedley Butler.
The life of Smedley Butler is an uniquely American story. A decorated soldier (he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice) and warrior who ascended through the ranks to become one of the most admired soldiers of his era, he also grew to deeply despise war, and to distrust the reasons he had been sent to fight in distant places. As he stated himself in a speech he gave on August 21, 1931 to an American Legion convention in New Britain, Connecticut:

“I spent 33 years…being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism….
“I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street….

“In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested….I had…a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions….I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents…”

Fortunately for those of us living today, the people he condemned in that speech must not have been aware of his beliefs, or if they were they must have told themselves he didn’t mean what he said, because they selected him to be the leader of a military coup attempt by which they meant to supplant Roosevelt as President in all but name. These plotters represented

some of America’s richest and most famous names of the time:
* Irenee Du Pont – Right-wing chemical industrialist and founder of the American Liberty League, the organization assigned to execute the plot.
* Grayson Murphy – Director of Goodyear, Bethlehem Steel and a group of J.P. Morgan banks.
* William Doyle – Former state commander of the American Legion and a central plotter of the coup.
* John Davis – Former Democratic presidential candidate and a senior attorney for J.P. Morgan.
* Al Smith – Roosevelt’s bitter political foe from New York. Smith was a former governor of New York and a co-director of the American Liberty League.
* John J. Raskob – A high-ranking Du Pont officer and a former chairman of the Democratic Party. In later decades, Raskob would become a “Knight of Malta,” a Roman Catholic Religious Order with a high percentage of CIA spies, including CIA Directors William Casey, William Colby and John McCone.
* Robert Clark – One of Wall Street’s richest bankers and stockbrokers.
* Gerald MacGuire – Bond salesman for Clark, and a former commander of the Connecticut American Legion. MacGuire was the key recruiter to General Butler.

They chose MacGuire as the point man to approach Butler with their proposal. The plot would be funded by Dupont and Morgan money funneled through an organization they had recently created to oppose Roosevelt, the American Liberty League. (The League was funded by donations from US Steel, General Motors, Chase Manhattan Bank, Standard Oil, Goodyear and the Dupont family, among others. Not surprisingly, the League would later actively oppose almost every major piece of New Deal legislation, including, but not limited too Social Security).

Butler was supposed to be the “famous name” who would recruit an army of out of work war veterans to march on Washington. It was thought that his popularity with the troops would make it easy for him to rally them to the cause of supplanting Roosevelt as the effective head of government. As proposed,

[T]hey wanted General Butler to deliver an ultimatum to Roosevelt. Roosevelt would pretend to become sick and incapacitated from his polio, and allow a newly created cabinet officer, a “Secretary of General Affairs,” to run things in his stead. The secretary, of course, would be carrying out the orders of Wall Street. If Roosevelt refused, then General Butler would force him out with an army of 500,000 war veterans from the American Legion. But MacGuire assured Butler the cover story would work:
“You know the American people will swallow that. We have got the newspapers. We will start a campaign that the President’s health is failing. Everyone can tell that by looking at him, and the dumb American people will fall for it in a second…”

The businessmen also promised that money was no object: Clark told Butler that he would spend half his $60 million fortune to save the other half.

And what type of government would replace Roosevelt’s New Deal? MacGuire was perfectly candid to Paul French, a reporter friend of General Butler’s:

“We need a fascist government in this country… to save the nation from the communists who want to tear it down and wreck all that we have built in America. The only men who have the patriotism to do it are the soldiers, and Smedley Butler is the ideal leader. He could organize a million men overnight.”

Indeed, it turns out that MacGuire travelled to Italy to study Mussolini’s fascist state, and came away mightily impressed. He wrote glowing reports back to his boss, Robert Clark, suggesting that they implement the same thing.

The plot collapsed when Butler went public in late 1934 and exposed the conspiracy. The General revealed the details of the coup attempt in sworn testimony before the “McCormack-Dickstein” Committee (the predecessor of the soon to be infamous “House Un-American Affairs Committee”:

This House committee was named after its chairman and vice chairman, John W. McCormack and Samuel Dickstein. It was called the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate Nazi Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities. In 1934, it held public and private hearings in six cities, questioned hundreds of witnesses and collected testimony filling 4,300 pages. Its mandate was to get “information on how foreign subversive propaganda entered the U.S. and the organizations that were spreading it.”

The committee did investigate Butler’s claims, and subpoenaed witnesses, including MacGuire, Butler’s main contact with the plotters. Initially,

MacGuire, not surprisingly, denied that such a plot existed. Instead, he claimed his activities had been political lobbying to preserve the gold standard, but he quickly destroyed his credibility as a witness by giving contradictory testimony. While the final report agreed with Butler that there was evidence of a coup d’état plot against Roosevelt, no further action was taken on it. The Committee’s authority to subpoena witnesses expired at the end of 1934, and the Justice Department started no criminal investigation.
So why, after concluding that the plot did indeed exist was no one prosecuted? Why were principals of the plot never even required to testify? It’s hard to say at this far remove. Certainly it wasn’t because the individuals behind the coup attempt abandoned all hope of future success, as this letter, dated 1936, from William Dodd, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, to President Roosevelt makes clear:

“A clique of U.S. industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime…. A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies. Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions.”
Perhaps the naming of prominent Democrats, such as Al Smith and former Democratic Party Chairman Raskob, as members of the plot convinced the Roosevelt administration, not anxious to reveal dissent within its own ranks, to suppress the Committee report. Perhaps MacGuire’s untimely death from pneumonia shortly after he testified led the Department of Justice to back away from any investigation. Or perhaps the wealth and influence of the plotters themselves was simply too great. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the Committee report was suppressed.

Suppression by the [Committee] took the form of deleting extensive excerpts relating to Wall Street financiers including Guaranty Trust director Grayson Murphy, J.P. Morgan, the Du Pont interests, Remington Arms, and others allegedly involved in the plot attempt. Even today, in 1975, a full transcript of the hearings cannot be traced.
* * *

John L. Spivak, the reporter who unearthed the suppression in the Congressional transcripts, challenged Committee Co-chairman Samuel Dickstein of New York with his evidence. Dickstein admitted that:

the Committee had deleted certain parts of the testimony because they were hearsay.”
“But your published reports are full of hearsay testimony.”
“They are?” he said.
“Why wasn’t Grayson Murphy called? Your Committee knew that Murphy’s men are in the anti-Semitic espionage organization Order of ’76?”
“We didn’t have the time. We’d have taken care of the Wall Street groups if we had the time. I would have no hesitation in going after the Morgans.”
“You had Belgrano, Commander of the American Legion, listed to testify. Why wasn’t he examined?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you can get Mr. McCormack to explain that. I had nothing to do with it.”

The fact remains that the committee did not call Grayson Murphy, Jackson Martindell, or John W. Davis, all directly accused in sworn testimony. Further, the committee deleted all portions of the testimony involving other prominent persons: J.P. Morgan, the Du Ponts, the Rockefeller interests, Hugh Johnson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Congressman Dickstein pleaded his innocence to John Spivak, it was inconsistent with his own letter to President Roosevelt, in which he claims to have placed restrictions even upon public distribution of the committee hearings, as printed, “in order that they might not get into other than responsible hands.”

The final report issued by the committee in February 15, 1935 buried the story even further. John L. Spivak sums up the burial succinctly: “I… studied the Committee’s report. It gave six pages to the threat by Nazi agents operating in this country and eleven pages to the threat by communists. It gave one page to the plot to seize the Government and destroy our democratic system.”

What was even more distressing (and eerily familiar to the our present situation) was not just the failure of the press of that era to cover the story, but the active role they played in covering it up, even to the extent of scrubbing internal archives:

The role of leading newspapers and journals of opinion in reporting the Butler affair is equally suspect. In fact, their handling of the event has the appearance of outright distortion and censorship. The veracity of some major newspapers has been widely questioned in the last 50 years, and in some quarters the media have even been accused of a conspiracy to suppress “everything in opposition to the wishes of the interest served.”
Does such suppression extend to major news journals? We can take two prime examples; The New York Times and Time magazine. If such a combination as Callaway charges did exist, then these two journals would certainly be among “25 of the greatest papers involved in the 1930s.” The New York Times reporting of the “plot” opens up with a front-page headline article on November 21, 1934: “Gen. Butler Bares ‘Fascist Plot’ to Seize Government by Force,” with the lead paragraph quoted above (p. 143). This Times article is a reasonably good job of reporting and includes a forthright statement by Congressman Dickstein: “From present indications Butler has the evidence. He’s not going to make any serious charges unless he has something to back them up. We’ll have men here with bigger names than his.” Then the Times article records that “Mr. Dickstein said that about sixteen persons mentioned by General Butler to the Committee would be subpoenaed, and that a public hearing might be held next Monday.” The Times also includes outright and sometimes enraged denials from Hugh Johnson, Thomas W. Lamont, and Grayson M-P. Murphy of Guaranty Trust.

The following morning, November 22, the Times made a major switch in reporting the plot. The disclosures were removed to an inside page, although the testimony now concerned Gerald MacGuire, one of the accused plotters. Further, a decided change in the attitude of the committee can be discerned. Congressman McCormack is now reported as saying that “the committee has not decided whether to call any additional witnesses. He said that the most important witness, aside from Mr. MacGuire, was Robert Sterling Clark, a wealthy New Yorker with offices in the Stock Exchange Building.”

While the Times reporting was consigned to an inside single column, the editorial page, its most influential section, carried a lead editorial that set the tone for subsequent reporting. Under the head “Credulity Unlimited,” it contended that the Butler charge was a “bald and unconvincing narrative. … The whole story sounds like a gigantic hoax … it does not merit serious discussion,” and so on. In brief, before the 16 important witnesses were called, before the evidence was on the record, before the charge was investigated, the New York Times decided that it wanted to hear nothing about this story because it was a hoax, not fit to print.

The next day, November 23, the Times changed its reporting still further. The headlines were now about Reds and Red Union Strife and concerned alleged activities by communists in American trade unions, while the Butler testimony and the developing evidence were secreted deep within the reporting of Red activities. The resulting story was, of course, vague and confused, but it effectively buried the Butler evidence.

On November 26, the hearings continued, but the committee itself now had cold feet and issued a statement: “This Committee has had no evidence before it that would in the slightest degree warrant calling before it such men as John W. Davis, General Hugh Johnson, General James G. Harbord, Thomas W. Lamont, Admiral William S. Sims, or Hanford MacNider.”

It should be noted that these names had come up in sworn testimony, later to be deleted from the official record. The Times pursued its reporting of this development in abbreviated form on an inside page under the head, “Committee Calm over Butler ‘Plot’, Has No Evidence to Warrant Calling Johnson and Others.” On November 27 the Times reporting declined to five column inches on an inside page under the ominous head “Butler Plot Inquiry Not To Be Dropped.” The December hearings were reported by the Times on a front page (December 28 1934), but the plot was now twisted to “Reds Plot to Kidnap the President, Witness Charges at House Inquiry.”

Reviewing the story of the Butler Affair in the Times 40 years after the event and comparing its story to the printed official testimony, itself heavily censored, it is obvious that the newspaper, either under its own initiative or under outside pressure, decided that the story was not to be made public. Consistent with this interpretation, we find that The New York Times, the “newspaper of record,” omits the Butler testimony from entries in its annual index, depended upon by researchers and scholars. The Times Index for 1934 has an entry “BUTLER (Maj Gen), Smedley D,” but lists only a few of his speeches and a biographic portrait. The Butler testimony is not listed. There is an entry, “See also: Fascism-U.S.,” but under that cross-reference there is listed only: “Maj Gen S.D. Butler charges plot to overthrow present govt; Wall Street interests and G.P. MacGuire implicated at Cong com hearing.” The only significant Wall Street name mentioned in the index is that of R.S. Clark, who is reported as “puzzled” by the charges. None of the key Morgan and Du Pont associates cited by General Butler is listed in the Index. In other words, there appears to have been a deliberate attempt by this newspaper to mislead historians.

Now it’s true that this story hasn’t been completely forgotten. There are websites that discuss the conspiracy (some to which I’ve already linked, and others which I’ll list at the conclusion of this diary), and a few people wrote books which at least mention the subject. However, the only book that focuses exclusively on the fascist plot to oust President F.D. Roosevelt is now out of print: The Plot to Seize The White House (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1973) by Julius Archer. Soon after publishing this, Hawthorne Books went out of business. Second-hand copies are now available for as much as $250.

What’s to be learned from all this? The simple truth that those of us who see a corporatist conspiracy to manipulate and even “steal” our state and national elections, to influence at the highest levels the policies of our government, and to suppress or distort the news that the media reports are not as crazy as our opponents make us out to be. Because IT HAS ALL HAPPENED BEFORE, and we were JUST DAMN LUCKY THE BASTARDS DIDN’T SUCCEED!

Eternal vigilance, my friends.

So endeth the lesson.

Some other links on the plot, its participants and those who told the tale:

Jules Archer

The putsch that wasn’t

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee

The role of Smedley Butler

The American Liberty League

Gerald MacGuire” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/02/27/95580/-The-Real-Plot-to-Overthrow-FDRs-America

84 yr. old woman pepper-sprayed

 

     All the corporate-owned media in this country are guilty of going along with the status quo & basically put on a show of divisiveness or antagonism towards one another akin to the dog & pony show that the Democrats & Republicans put on. FOX News is simply the most egregious example & therefore the most culpable in my book. FOX News, which is such a joke that it’s becoming an oxymoron, literally are stenographers to power i.e. those who are the wealthiest amongst us. A few examples of the dog & pony show are the fact that Keith Olbermann, the so-called champion of the progressives, along with Al Franken, another hated, liberal, and Bill Maher, darling of the liberal satirists, all supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I live in “hippie-land” and a so-called “hotbed” of liberals & progressives comparable to San Francisco, and our supposedly “progressive radio” station here, KPOJ, runs ads for military recruitment, Wal Mart, BP, etc. Chris Hedges wrote a book last year called “The Death of the Liberal Class.” I read it and made many notes in the blank pages. And I have to say that I agree pretty much 100% with what he points out i.e. liberals, progressives, etc. have pretty much sold-out and no longer champion those they claim to represent.  Yet if you watch FOX News, you’re told daily there’s a vast, liberal conspiracy undermining everything America stands for and you should get your gun and shoot every liberal you can find.

Congresswoman Giffords, victim of Compassionate Conservative, Sarah Palin

 

     This again highlights the power of the natonal media to influence & manipulate public opinion. Do you recall that darling of the far right-wing extremists, Sarah Palin, who had a website with pictures of people she considers enemies of America e.g. Congresswoman Giffords for example, with the crosshairs of a rifle target on her face and then that nutcase who attempted to assassinate the congresswoman and failed but did manage to kill several innocent bystanders? If we were truly a nation that respected the law and didn’t just mouth the words, Sarah Palin would be charged with inciting violence against others and tried in a public court of law. Or what about that billionaire Christian, Pat Robertson who called for the assassination of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez? How have we come to this point? How can a nation that prides itself on being the bastion of freedom, democracy, equality, etc. say and commit such clear violations of internatonal law as kidnapping people, sending them to secret prisons to be tortured, occupy foreign nations, terrify the citizens of other countries, and now, even lock-up American citizens with no recourse to habeas corpus, no right to an attorney, and not even the right to know what they are being detained for? This is not the America I was taught about in public school. No, America is resembling Stalin’s Russia more and more as each day passes. How, you may wonder, has this sorry state of affairs come to be? Well, a good part of the blame can again be laid at the feet of the corporate media whores who have sold-us out and have no integrity or courage because they crave wealth & fame. Hitler was obviously a demagogue and I thought it would be very constructive to insert this checklist on how to spot demagogues for the sake of argument/proof in this essay. 

two of FOX News' idea of true Christian patriots

 

The Demagogy Checklist

Craig Chalquist, MS PhD

 

Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness a little bit smaller. — George Orwell, 1984

What you have to understand is that these are bad people. — Dick Cheney on why inmates are imprisoned indefinitely, invisibly, and without legal representation at the Guantanamo concentration camp

 

Demagogy is the attempt to persuade through the arousal of primitive emotions and unquestioned prejudices.

The following checklist is designed to help detect the deliberately propagandistic elements in any speech, sermon, or other public proclamation or communication. What differentiates demagogic propaganda from straight talk is the attempt to fog and manipulate the audience’s awareness instead of appealing to its rationality and realism, those qualities upon which every democracy depends. Therefore the more of the following that are present, the more underhanded the communique. All forms of demagogy seek to unify one group at the expense of another while convincing the audience of the necessity for doing so. Psychologically, all when deliberate are expressions of pathological immaturity laced with aggressive, paranoid impulses.

  1. Hypnotic rhythms (“We will be strong, we will unite, we willnot fail….”) intended to lull the attention into trancelike suggestibility.
  2. Scapegoating: the attempt to “otherize” a given population (e.g. the Mexicans, the Arabs, those who don’t share our views). Psychotherapists call this dynamic projection, an evacuation of our darker motives onto handy opponents.
  3. Sweeping generalizations and oversimplifications. Free trade will erase poverty, more weapons will win the war on terror, banning assault rifles is an attack on personal freedom, etc.
  4. Black-and-white categorization (we are good, they are evil; we’re right, you’re wrong).
  5. A tone of sanctimonious moralizing.
  6. Noble-sounding justifications for rigidity, oppression, intolerance, incompetence, indifference, or violence.
  7. The replacement of concrete details with vague appeals to traditional values (patriotism, family, God, church).
  8. Intolerance of disagreement (“you’re either with us or against us”).
  9. The branding of the adult capacity for critical self-examination as misguided, unpatriotic, or disloyal.
  10. Group narcissism disguised as loyalty (our truth is the only Truth; we are Number One; etc.).
  11. No room given to healthy self-doubt or the recognition of ambiguous realities in a given situation.
  12. Recurrent appeals to the “self-defense” argument as a justification for domination.
  13. A childlike assumption of entitlement.
  14. A childlike sense of omnipotence.
  15. Euphemisms (e.g., “targeted defense” rather than “assassination”; “spiritual guidance” and not “intimidation”).
  16. Imposition of group norms described in terms of unity and solidarity (we do this for the good of all).
  17. Minimization of the potential dangers of one’s actions; whitewashing of unjust consequences.
  18. Peer pressure, subtle or outright.
  19. Threats, implied or overt.
  20. Blaming the opponent for one’s own aggressive actions.It takes tremendous courage to resist the lure of appearances. The power of being which is manifest in such courage is so great that the gods tremble in fear of it. — Paul Tillich  http://www.terrapsych.com/demagogy.html 

Joseph Goebbels

          Now I believe that even the right-wingnut extremists on the FOX News Network will agree that Hitler was clearly a demagogue but I seriously doubt that they would be willing to look in that mirror of history and see their parallels to demagoguery? So, for the sake of brevity, I will simply highlight a few of the more obvious examples of demagoguery that the pundits posing as journalists and/or unbiased commentators commit on a daily basis on what I refer to as the propaganda channel or America’s version of Pravda. The sad note is that the Russians knew it was propaganda and most of the FOX News viewers have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the demagogue camp ideology. But before I begin, let me share with you a couple of powerful quotes by Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels:

 

        “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” 

  “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

     To be honest with you, I can only handle a few minutes of “FOX News” and its blowhards & bullies, every now and then because it makes me nauseous. Bill O’Reilly is a clear exemplar of this with his shouting at guests whom he disagrees with & demanding that they “Shut Up!” and he uses his physical presence to intimidate guests as well. I am told he is 6′ 7″? Yeah, that’s just one of FOX News “fair & balanced reporters.” Okay, on with the show. Here’s a brief overview of how Rush Limbaugh operates:

Rush Limbaugh

 

Unchallenged Demagoguery

This kind of sloppiness, ignorance and/or fabrication is run of the mill in Limbaugh’s commentary, both broadcast and print. From dioxin to Whitewater, from Rodney King to Reaganomics, Rush Limbaugh has a finely honed ability to twist and distort reality.

Limbaugh’s facts are almost never challenged on his programs. A hostile caller hardly ever gets through the screeners on his radio show, and his TV show is just him doing a monologue in front of his cheering audience. No one in the history of national television has had such a political platform. He has almost never corrected anything he’s said–although he did apologize once to the aerosol industry for implying that spray cans still had CFCs in them. (CFCs were removed in 1978.)

Limbaugh’s chronic inaccuracy, and his lack of accountability, wouldn’t be such a problem if Limbaugh were just a cranky entertainer, like Howard Stern. But Limbaugh is taken seriously by “serious” media–in addition to Nightline, he’s been an “expert” on such chat shows as Charlie Rose and Meet the Press. The New York Times (10/15/92) and Newsweek (1/24/94) have published his writings. A U.S. News & World Report piece (8/16/93) by Steven Roberts declared, “The information Mr. Limbaugh provides is generally accurate.”

He’s also taken seriously as a political figure. A National Review cover story (9/6/93) declared him the “Leader of the Opposition.” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who recently officiated at Limbaugh’s wedding, says he tapes Limbaugh’s radio show and listens to it as he works out (USA Today, 5/13/94).

FAIR is publishing a compilation of some of Limbaugh’s more obvious whoppers in order to convince journalists and political leaders alike that when Limbaugh says, “I’m not making this up, folks,” it’s time to duck and cover.

Journalists, in particular, have an obligation to challenge Limbaugh’s brand of hysteria. Someone who has amassed a powerful political following through the regular use of half-truth and distortion is begging for tough media scrutiny. In 1954, Edward R. Murrow confronted another demagogue who had a similar allergy to facts and documentation. Today’s TV networks don’t ask themselves how they can challenge Limbaugh’s reign of error–but how they can profit from him. CBS News, the platform from which Murrow denounced Joe McCarthy, has been seeking to hire Limbaugh as a political commentator.

Real democracy is built on debate. But Limbaugh has little use for debates; he has forged a media empire largely on unchallenged monologues. The following confrontation–Limbaugh vs. Reality–is an attempt at stimulating (or at least simulating) a debate.

The list of fallacies compiled here is not exhaustive. It was assembled from easily available sources–Limbaugh’s books, The Way Things Ought to Be and See, I Told You So; transcripts of several weeks’ worth of his TV show; gleanings from as much of his radio show as we could take; and other published evaluations of Limbaugh’s accuracy. (There’s a publication, the Flush Rush Quarterly (FRQ), largely devoted to chronicling Limbaugh’s falsehoods, and a book, The Bum’s Rush, by Don Trent Jacobs, that debunks his environmental rhetoric.) As Josh Shenk showed in the New Republic (“Limbaugh’s Lies”, 5/23/94), scrutinizing the TV show for a month results in errors too numerous to count.

“There’s a pathology here, folks,” is a phrase Limbaugh likes to use when discussing President Clinton’s alleged inability to tell the truth. A psychiatrist might agree–and label it projection.

Rush Limbaugh: Champion of the Overdog
Who says Rush Limbaugh is abusive to minorities? He champions various minority interests: multi-millionaires, bankers, owners of private planes and yachts, drug companies. It’s only those other “minorities”–women, workers, the poor, racial minorities, gays–that he has no use for. Here’s a sampling:

“One of the things I want to do before I die is conduct the Homeless Olympics… [Events would include] the 10-meter Shopping Cart Relay, the Dumpster Dig, and the Hop, Skip and Trip.” (L.A. Times, 1/20/91)

On NAFTA: “If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people–I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do–let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.” (Radio show quoted in FRQ, Fall/93)

Speculating on why a Mexican national won the New York marathon: “An immigration agent chased him for the last 10 miles.” (USA Weekend, 1/26/92)

This is asinine! A Caesar Chavez Day in California? Wasn’t he convicted of a crime?” (Quoted in FRQ, Winter/94)

“Kurt Cobain was, ladies and gentleman, I just–he was a worthless shred of human debris…” (TV show, 4/11/94)

“When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult ; it’s an invitation.” (Quoted in FRQ, Summer/94)

“Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” (Quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)

“Militant feminists are pro-choice because it’s their ultimate avenue of power over men…. It is their attempt to impose their will on the rest of society, particularly on men.” (Ought to Be, p.53)

“Why is it that whenever a corporation fires workers it is never speculated that the workers might have deserved it?” (Ought to Be, p.275)
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1895

 


Glenn Beck

     Oh yes indeed Rush, when a corporation fires 10,000 people overnight it was because they deserved it and those starving people in other countries who will work for $2 a day, deserve the jobs more. And never mind the fact that these corporations are subsidized by those undeserving workers they fired through government tax breaks, incentives, and etc. And who pays you the millions you “earn” and protected you from prosecution for your drug abuse and criminal activity while all the undeserving workers of America would be sent to prison for buying & using oxycontin illegally? And speaking of drugs or escape from reality, perhaps this would be a good point at which to share a little humor from the class clown with a chalkboard, Glenn Beck, or rather, a great impersonation of him by The Daily Show’s own Jon Stewart.

 

 
 

      Time to get serious again. Glenn Beck, like Rush Limbaugh, is a dangerous demagogue. And Beck is even more dangerous than Limbaugh because he is skilled at manipulating people’s emotions i.e. note his frequent emotional releases proclaiming he just loves America? Here are some details regarding Beck’s influence and hence, dangerousness:

 

What About Beck’s Ardent Followers?

Like members of any movement, Glenn Beck’s followers are somewhat diverse. They are not all stupid people, but they are willing to believe the nonsense that Beck spews. In other words, because they are against the government being involved in the economy, they willingly embrace Beck’s propaganda. They are willingly ignorant and convinced (by Beck) that they are correct, that they are in on a secret that exposes the “truth.” They are, like Beck, reactionaries, not conservatives.  A large portion of the Tea Party used to watch Beck’s show on Fox, and the damage done will take decades to get beyond if not longer.

Some of Beck’s followers are racists and malevolent people. He inspires such profound trust and unquestioning support that criticizing Beck is interpreted by his gullible flock as sacrilegious. They do not begin to grasp the extent to which he manipulates them. The blind, ardent, unquestioning support for Mr. Beck and willingness to smear and otherwise attack his critics have made Beck a cult of personality. Beckerheads (the name critics have given his followers) have become an army of “psychotics” willing to push the corporate agenda. That are, in a word, tools, as is Mr. Beck himself. Beck is a tool and a tool maker in this respect. Facts that contradict Beck, that prove that he is deceiving only cause these ideologues to dig their heels in ever so much more deeply. It’s virtually impossible to get through their programming.

Is Beck a Propagandist?

Those readers who have seen Beck while he was on Fox and who are familiar with the elements of propaganda already know the answer to this question. Beck is not just a propagandist, the argument here is that he is a genius of yellow, reactionary propaganda. The only people who would take issue with this answer are those who Beck manipulated to believe otherwise. Beck’s manipulation of his followers is one of his most defining traits. What he nor his followers realize is that Beck is taking them down the road to socialism. As a pundit, Beck is an unqualified charlatan. As a reactionary propagandist, he is a brilliant con man. It is for this reason that Beck is not “for entertainment purposes only” and needs to be monitored, even though he is no longer reaching the audience he was at Fox. He still has millions of misinformed Americans listening to his Morning Zoo version of talk radio.

Why critical analysis?
 
Glenn Beck is a supremely gifted and talented individual. His personal story, antics and foibles make him appealing to those in his audience, who want to believe what he says, and more to the point, Beck is extremely convincing. Using quotations taken out of context, video editing, far-right spinning of facts, innuendo, smears, deceptions and anti-intellectualism along with many elements of propaganda, Beck is believed by millions of people and has a passionate following of people who would very possibly kill if Glenn Beck decided to give the order to start a war with his political opponents (progressives). As it is, there have been three, thwarted assassination attempts by followers of this convincing media star. If someone like this does not warrant critical thinking and analysis, then there is no one in the media who does.
http://www.sharethisurlaboutglennbeck.com/
 
     In “surfing the web” in search of evidence for this essay, I came across this somewhat lighthearted overview and thought it worthy of sharing:
 

Who Will Be This Depression’s Populist Demagogue?

 

Father Coughlin

Every economic apocalypse needs a good crypto-fascist representative of the working man to drum up popular outrage. Last time around, it was Father Charles Coughlin. Who’s going to answer the call now? 

Coughlin was a Catholic priest whose CBS radio show reached an estimated third of the country during the Great Depression. He initially supported the New Deal, but his admiration for Roosevelt quickly curdled into rank anti-Semitism and kill-all-the-bankers rage. He was among the first to use the emerging mass media to build up his audience into his own political constituency, a power that he used to talk up Hitler and Mussolini, uncover various Jewish conspiracies, and inveigh against Wall Street.

The current climate cries out for a similar media figure to focus and control our Bailout Rage. He or she could come from any medium—radio, television, the web—and any political stripe. From the left, an anti-capitalist ranter could rise to greatness by relentlessly attack the privileged elites who got us into this mess; from the right, a bilious Real American could stand athwart Obama and shout “lynch!”

So who will it be? Here are the candidates, and their odds of reaching Coughlin’s heights :

Bill O'Reilly, one of FOX News' greatest liars!

Bill O’Reilly 
He’s basically been angling for the Coughlin gig for the past 15 years, but real fire-and-brimstone demagoguery is hard to pull off absent a genuine political or economic catastrophe. And prior to 2006, he was hobbled by the fact that his own party was in power, depriving him of a convenient foil to rail against. He seemed to be making a play for Coughlin-esque heights last year when he launched a campaign against price-gouging oil company executives. So it’s curious that now, at the very moment when his dream is so close, he seems to be calming down a bit. When O’Reilly decides that the time is ripe to start calling for “the folks” to march on Washington, we’ll know, but for now he seems content to give Steve Doocy pop quizzes. Odds: 3-4  http://gawker.com/5172287/who-will-be-this-depressions-populist-demagogue

 

     The twin pillars of demagoguery are fear & hatred and again in my search for supporting evidence, I came across this video clip from Mike Malloy, a radio host on progressive radio. I listen to Mike Malloy when I can but I often miss his program because his program is on late and I have to get up early. He can be quite passionate in his anger and I sent him an e-mail once when I was a bit concerned because he sounded very down. I can definitely understand being depressed when thinking about these issues because the right-wing extremists have so many rich & powerful backers like the Koch brothers for example and it sometimes seems like we’re just spitting in the wind. Here is the clip of Mike Malloy so relevant at this point:

   I was inspired to write this essay after watching the last few episodes of “Band of Brothers” the other night. I am definitely not a fan of war films but this series did a fantastic job of showing what war does to men and how it crushes some men psychologically but also how war creates a bond between men that can never be broken. For my entire life, America has been at war. We’ve either been officially at war or involved in police actions or what not ever since the end of WWII. Gore Vidal wrote a great little book called “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace,” which I recommend for anyone interested in this tragic phenomenon of non-stop wars, death, & destruction of people’s lives.

 

     In conclusion, we have to be ever vigilant against demagogues like Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Coulter, etc. because they are not just ignorant buffoons as I used to think. No, these are dangerous individuals because they have national audiences of millions and sadly, thanks to our crumbling public education system & the collusion of our corporate media and corrupt government. Hitler and Goebbels knew the power of passionate rhetoric and had the oratorical skills to mesmerize a nation. And even more worrisome is the fact that as many as a third of America don’t believe that the Holocaust ever happened thanks to propagandists and fear & hate mongers. Just as today, many, if not most Americans don’t believe in global warming or climate change thanks to the demagogues on FOX News and elsewhere. As the famous quote by George Santayana goes, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I fear that with our “War on Terrorism,” and the erosion of our civil liberties along with the steady stream of racism, hate, fear, intolerance, etc. from FOX News & the participation of other television & radio stations as well, we could be headed towards another murderous assault on people labeled as subversive, different & therefore dangerous e.g. American Muslims.

 

     You say, but it can’t happen here? Oh yeah, what about the genocide we waged on the indigenous people who inhabited this land before we arrived? What about slavery? What about the taking of Japanese Americans’ homes & land and locking them up in concentration camps? It’s vitally important that we become aware of the history of propaganda in America and how Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, used his knowledge about crowd psychology to become the father of advertising or public relations in America. And Bernays’ psychological insights were used to manipulate the American public into attacking other nations under pretexts of a communist threat to America. In a nutshell, these propaganda techniques are used on us to disguise the true motives behind our leaders e.g. the raping, pillaging, & plundering of other nations’ resources to enrich our corporate robber barons. Do your own research and discover for yourself just how extensively we have been deceived. I was very close to being sent to Vietnam but fortunately, I trusted my gut instinct and started going AWOL. Tell me, what have we accomplished in Iraq? And how long are we going to be in Afghanistan before we simply declare victory and pull out of there as well? If the Iraq War is over, why did we build the world’s largest embassy there and establish something like 14 military bases there? Why do we have something like 16,000 mercenaries in Iraq making outrageous salaries? The liars at FOX News and in government and in the megalithic, transnational corporations hope we don’t have much of a memory and don’t connect the dots. This is what it all boils down to, the powers that be know how powerful the weapons of fear & hatred are in manipulating public opinion and whipping-up support for wars. So, before every new invasion and occupation of another nation, the demagogues on television, radio, & in Congress, start ramping-up the fear & hate speech. George Orwell was so right and FOX News Channel should have instead of “fair & balanced” as their motto, “Ignorance is Strength.” This last video clip that I have included is from the “Band of Brothers” episode where they first see the results of Hitler’s fear & hatred campaign that he waged against the Jews, gypsies, liberals, gays, artists, intellectuals, etc.  It’s important to remember that pre-Nazi Germany was one of the most highly developed nations of Western civilization. So, intelligence alone won’t guarantee protection from the bile that spews from demagogues mouths. No, compassion, common sense, & eternal vigilance are required if we don’t want to repeat this horrific “mistake” of history here in America!

 

I was tempted to add several more videos to further substantiate my argument that the corporate cockroaches lie, distort, & manipulate us into one war after another with the assistance of the P.R. (Public Relations) industry, corporate media, and corrupt politicians but I may be going overboard in terms of overwhelming you with too much information. If you’d care to do further research, check out some of these You Tube videos: 1. faked, 15 year old Kuwaiti girl testimony before Congress (was revealed she was daughter of Kuwaiti ambassador & no babies were torn from incubators; 2. Gulf of Tonkin: McNamara admits it didn’t happen; 3. What Really Happened at Tonkin Gulf? 60 Minutes opening; 4. Bush admits that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; and check out the Jessica Lynch story i.e. the government tried to claim she was rescued from hospital by U.S. military and was being tortured, etc. What did we accomplish in Vietnam? Wasn’t it suppose to be about stopping Chinese aggression/invasion? Then why was it that as soon as the war was over, i.e. we packed up and went home, we celebrated Nixon & Kissinger’s “detente” with China? How many more times are we going to be suckered by the plutocrats into sacrificing our loved ones? How long are we going to sit by as they rob us blind and drive us all to living in the gutter?

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