2007/05/14

The Right-Wing Noise Machine falls on some hard times

I was talking with a buddy of mine from the anti-war movement and he was telling somebody else about "The Mighty Wurlitzer" which was going to bowl over every Democrat who tried to contradict the Republican message (See a good example of what he means). Seems to me progress has been pretty gradual, but I think the "Noise Machine" of the right wing has been losing steam lately. Exhibit #1 is Speaker Pelosi's trip to Syria taken during the first week in April. The mainstream media tried really, really hard to make her trip seem controversial, as though she had done great damage to US foreign policy. The polls are now in and her approval rating is virtually unchanged. She's fallen a whole point, going from 46% approval to 45% approval. At the same time, President Bush scored only a 35% approval.
Keep in mind that the WaPo, two major pundits from NBC, a CNN anchor and the usual right-wingers, the Weekly Standard and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), all criticized her Syria trip. Secretary of State Rice also had some very negative comments to make about Pelosi's trip: "She claimed Pelosi had only gone to Damascus 'to have those pictures' and to suggest a relationship 'that doesn’t exist with Syria.' ” CNN ran a caption "Talking with the Enemy" as though Americans regarded Syria as on a par with the former Nazi Germany or the now-collapsed Soviet Union. (They don't. According to World Public Opinion, 75% of Americans think talking with Syria is a good idea.)
Why is the RWNM so impotent at this point? I'd guess they've just hit the panic button too many times, for one. People get tired of being fearful all of the time, they get jaded and cynical after being told "Wolf" over and over and over again, they realize after awhile that people that we're supposed to trust are inveterate liars who can't be trusted, lots of reasons having to do with simple burn-out. If the old adage is true, that "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on," then Truth is now fully dressed and ready to kick butt and take names.
Also, seems to me that with a critical mass of people getting their information from the blogs (The blog Firedoglake says that its readers are "discerning, highly informed, roughly forty years old (on average) and often hold advanced degrees. Ads here will reach 2 million unique visitors per month."), that means that people are getting more and more used to the idea that, by going online and by intelligently weighing the different accounts, they can get a reasonable approximation of the truth. And trustworthiness in the regular media is taking some really hard hits recently. The Bill Moyers documentary on the lead-up to the Iraq War is causing all sorts of heartburn and distress among major media figures. The very highly cynical and disrespectful Jon Stewart is enjoying a huge success with the under-30 crowd and the blog DailyKos is getting almost a half-million hits a day. The retired General Batiste of VoteVets is also a prime example (In this example, VoteVets slams the Bush Administration's dishonest use of the word "fascist.")
The number of people who believe that any particular source of information is automatically trustworthy is steadily shrinking. The Noise Machine has certainly seen better days. Let's hope the days get far worse for them.

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