Friday, January 13, 2006

What do Kate O'Beirne and Kate McMillan have in common?

Besides the obvious, smartass.

Over here, Jane Hamsher posts a delightful piece on gibbering, American right-wing mouthpiece and hack Kate O'Beirne that enlightened Canadians will find more and more disturbing as they work their way through it, thinking, "Hang on ... this sounds vaguely familiar ..."

Jane writes (and I emphasize, for the Canadians, the disturbing parts):

ralphbon said something good in the comments yesterday:

Hate-list books like O'Beirne's, Bernard Goldberg's, and especially Ann Coulter's are the leading edge of something ugly and scary and are softening up the public discourse for increasingly eliminationist rhetoric.

Nazi antisemitism was a ludicrous distraction too, at the start, barely worth the energy to ridicule, much less refute.

The principal target needs to [be] the media who give these scapegoaters the time of day -- from Time putting Coulter on its cover to the endless cable interviews with O'Beirne and Goldberg. The utter lack of shame and judgment by major media scares me far more than the pipsqueak wingers to whom they give a platform.

People of common sense and good will need to be able to do two things at once: smack down the scapegoaters and their media enablers while keeping our eye on the real ball of the Bush administration's fascist power grab.

These people are given air time far in excess of anything their extreme views justify. And ordinary people who don't think too hard tune in and watch them and are lulled into thinking that these positions are reasonable and that these people are reasonable, because they see them all the time and they are continually granted a legitimacy they do not deserve.

And if you're a Canadian, doesn't all that give you a powerful sense of deja vu, as Canadian right-wing hack and crazy-ass racist redneck Kate McMillan takes her act from the wilds of Saskatchewan to the CBC's election roundtable?

Now, I'm sure there will be howls of protest that it's only fair to have both left and right points of view expressed on that roundtable. But that's not what's happening anymore, either at the CBC or elsewhere.

Would it really have been that difficult for the CBC to find a right-wing voice that wasn't a hate-filled bigot? How much of a challenge could that have been, really? These days, when you turn on the traditional media, what you find is not a balance between left and right, or liberal and conservative, but between thoughtful, sane people on the one hand, and demented, sputtering hate mongers on the other.

Turn on CNN and watch any program that deals with, say, some religious issue. From the left, you might get someone from perhaps the ACLU, or Americans United. From the right ... most likely the shrieking bigotry and intolerance of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. How on earth does this constitute balance? "Yes, in the interests of equal time, we want to balance the air time of normal people with clinically insane wingnuts. What's your problem?"

I just found it entertaining that you could read Jane's piece and, with virtually no effort, replace a name or two and -- voila -- she might just as well have been writing about the CBC.

And that's a scary thought.

AFTERSNARK: Note the title of Jane's piece: "Why Kate O'Beirne is a Dangerous Bitch." Apparently, Jane is a raving misogynist. Who knew? :-)


Anonymous said...

What's worse, to me, is how often on the Cable "News" shows, you get a shrill, neo-con water-carrying pundit for the right, and then, from "the left", you get what?

A journalist.

Right. Let's perpetuate that myth that the media is "the left".

CC said...

I think it's more disturbing that the same wingnuts are brought forth time and again, when it's clear what their position is going to be.

Say the topic is (what else?) same-sex marriage. Does anyone really believe you're going to learn anything new by asking for the opinion of, say, Jerry Falwell? Or Pat Robertson? Or James Dobson? Or Bishop Fred Henry?

Seriously, you all know what they're going to say, and it's always going to start with "Scripture says ..." So what's the point?

Why not give all that airtime to a couple people who have some thoughtful points to make? And at the end, you can add a tagline like, "Not surprisingly, religious lunatics condemned same-sex marriage as un-Scriptural. And in sports ..."