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ObamaCare Script

In genuine patriotic spirit, I tuned into four AM talk shows today, but in banal conservative rhetoric, I heard the same Obamacare paranoia script from each show.  The order of memorization by repetition was:
  • Glenn Beck
  • Rush Limbaugh
  • Mark Levin
  • Janet Parshall
By the time Mark's show aired, there were odd 'deja vu' phrases coming out of the radio.  Now there's only so many news items in any given day, but this isn't CNN Headline news so I'd expect some variety.  Instead, each show spent an hour repeating the previous show's sound bites.  The most repeated stereotype was:
  1. Obamacare kills with death panels
  2. Obamacare penalizes providers
  3. Obamacare drives out private insurers
The problem with hearing the same thing for four hours by four different sources is it a) gets boring and b) becomes conspicuous.  I started wondering if News Corp owned every radio station that broadcasts talk radio on AM channels from WV to IL.  That seemed unlikely but the conspicuous repitition made the shows sound like the very kind of State Media that Limbaugh claims NPR spouts out. 

By the fourth hour, I had gotten tired of being treated like a listener with amnesia, switched to music, and hoped on a plane.  I decided to finally read last Friday's copy of the Wall Street Journal that the Hyatt had slipped under my door, and in the Opinion section I started reading the very sound bites that all these shows had airedle.  That article was quoting the same sound bites that all four shows had aired today and the same talking points about single-payer but it was doing it via a paper that had been printed three days before the shows aired.  It was like reading a script for each of these shows.

The article was Obama and Permanent Campaign, by Karl Rove.  Please, Republicans; be more original.  Originality is memorable too.  And Rove's political strategies lost your majority.


Aug. 24th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
See, this is what I'm talking about. It always takes me about two drafts to respond to paragraphs like that. Your summaries of what I've said contain some of the strangest presumptions. I have to repeat how this or that was not the connection I made. So, that biking is a left-wing darling is not my fault. And I said Michael Moore is a left wing propagandist, not spouter, the connective issue between O'Reilly and Moore is propaganda, not left-wingedness. The connection between Moore and bikes was not even implied. I was, in fact, dismissive of Moore in my original, therefore I am saying that I do not see Moore as representing a "true" left message. I thought you knew Theory Of Logic.
Frankly, bike-riding shouldn't be a left wing thing, it should be universally acknowledged that a bike has no intrinsic political agenda. But somehow the fact that I don't burn 2 gallons a mile with a giant flag plastered on the side of my vehicle has become some sort of beacon of the hippie movement.
And I didn't give bike-riding as the antithesis of vehicular transport. I give it as the antithesis of owning a Hummer, the somehow defacto vehicle of the right. Thus returning us to where I said this whole thing is going a bit beyond reading between my lines. I said I bike rather than driving, not that I bike because all cars are evil and should be destroyed. As I said, that *makes* me a leftie not that it's some sort of manifesto for me. For exactly the reasons I gave in the preceding paragraph in fact. Due, in part, to people like O'Reilly and Beck.
Thus, the important points so far: Moore, Limbaugh, Coulter are propagandists, regardless of their avowed political affiliation. Bikes have been made into a left-wing issue and I proudly bike so I hold it up as an example of how NOT in the Limbaugh camp I am. You didn't say anything about my tarot analogy, which still fits in nicely with your assertion that you're "understanding who listens to them", so why aren't you visiting psychics regularly then?
And addressing your thoughts on originality. I am a firm believer that there is a big difference between an open mind and one that is merely vacant. If I occasionally agree with Moore, or Beck or whoever that does not question my originality, it means we achieved the consensus that you seem to think is a good thing. Automatically assuming that because some line I gave sounds like something you heard on Hannity it therefore makes me a mindless left-wing zombie is just plain absurd. Way back, I said that I was surprised that you didn't know that Beck and Limbaugh share a script. Somehow this has been turned into how I scorn all things that aren't Al Franken. I never said anything of the kind. "Coulter is a media whore" is not the same as "Coulter is always wrong about all things ever because she's a right-wing crazy". I said the former, you have seemed to *assume* that I also said the latter. And as I stated originally, you said "they're starting to sound like Big Media" to which I replied "that's because they ARE Big Media". Now, somehow, what I said was turned into casting aspersions, and placed in a vaguely heretical light. Which would tend to indicate that I'm not the one who's operating strictly on faith and self supporting rhetoric. Beck says he's not Big Media and much like the Bible, we have only his word to support his assertion. If you're taking his word for it that's not my fault.
Aug. 25th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
I"m at a loss to how this was spun into an attack on whatever grounds you've made for your political beliefs, because the OP and my replies have attempted to be about about people who believe the media -- Jon included -- not undermining the protagonists.

And we know the language cannot be reduced to logic (Carnap, Quine) so saying that you could convey something purely logical that had been illogically misunderstood by me is impossible. There are lines to read inbetween; hence it's language. "bike and not drive" in the context of a sentence that just asserted "i'm politically liberal" must be implied as evidence. That's typical of a very brief essay form (assertion, evidence correspondence). Why else justify your political views with examples in reality? If this wasn't justification, then the queer bit doesn't make sense. Sure you could argue that Log Cabin Republicans exist and that the list wasn't meant as something to be implied but I think your reply was meant to say queer theory meshes better with liberal politics, therefore you are far left. The points about these statements having no political agenda begs the question, "well why use them in the context of a political thread?" So I mostly compelled to draw conclusions from what is said, otherwise why was it said. This goes for the radio shows and books as well, except I've no interest debating what Limbaugh says but was only interested in where his sources came from and why people believe him.

One thing I don't get is your psychic/tarot card reading reference. That one might be a lack of culture, as you astutely recalled. :)
Aug. 25th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
Well, I disagree with your idea that illogic is intrinsic to language. I think what I've said is quite straightforward, illogical analysis is unnecessary. But since that discussion could go on for several volumes (and has), I'll skip it for now. However, the grouping I chose was as a collection of things that I am and how those things are generally placed in the leftist camp. I suppose, the closest I could get to explanation, was analogy by way of exaggeration. Somewhat like when O'Reilly says things like "Of course I'm a Right-winger, I have a brain." Well, of course I must be an Egghead Commie Liberal because of all the reasons I gave. The point was more to do with your argument about originality versus rhetoric than anything to do with my politics. By virtue of who I am I tend to be lumped into the "left-wing" camp. And while I'm here I feel it's worth noting that you've never asked my feelings on gun control and yet you also mentioned that my blog is leftist, QED.
I prefer to think that what I have to say I say because it is reasonable to me, not because anyone agrees with me or because it gets me Proctor and Gamble ad dollars. Can the same be said for Coulter?
Therefore the agenda I had was that I don't dislike any particular person exclusively for what they say, I dislike them when I know that what they say will change the moment their funding gets cut. Which is why I gave the entertainment history of so many of the Fox News luminaries, I was making that same point, they all get the same funding and all play in the same sandbox. Beck gets his ideas from others and turns them into a miss-mash of xenophobia and faux-Capitalism. His sources are eminently more useful than him. But his sources are not what we're discussing. Which leads me to my final point.
Why do I keep mentioning the tarot reading? Your argument, as I understand, for avoiding atrophy is to immerse yourself in the thoughts of those who are foreign to you. My answer to that is, that's a lousy reason for listening to propagandist gas bags of whatever political affiliation. Because, by your reasoning, you should also, as often as possible, go to psychics and faith-healers, a few snake-handler ceremonies, and get involved in each, because to do otherwise risks a lack of perspective. But the thing is, you don't actually believe it. Because Limbaugh is easy to understand, he tries to shock people, same with Beck, same with Coulter, same with O-Reilly, same with Hannity. Understanding them cannot and will not help anyone to understand their audience. To understand their audience you'd have to talk to their audience, and you have not done that. It's a lazy way of claiming to have done your homework, and as an Anthropologist I say you have an incredibly bad analytical model. Which is surprising given your obvious awareness of what a good analytical model looks like. Had you said that you listened to him to know your enemy, I would have bought that. But by saying that *he* gives you insight into *them* without the *them* being present is just a flat out lie. Bad research always yields invalid conclusions my dear sir. Thus, by your reasoning, you could just as easily be visiting a psychic twice a week.
Aug. 25th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
You've stepped on a toe and are wrong for doing it.

I've spoken and listened to many conservative friends and families about healthcare, Iraq, etc. Not all of them listen or watch Limbaugh, so you're making assumptions that I think all conservatives believe Fox. The nearest I came to that connection is the same way Stewart stereotypes conservatives as gun carrying, town hall attendees; it's done by exaggeration and humor. Of course I call groups "them". This is language; we group things to generalize.

Don't take this to the high horse of anthropology and think my OP was some amateur's misuse of your academic background, because it wasn't. You of all people should know that the analytical model your exposing has objective problems of its own, particularly the observer altering the original environment for the sake of "talking to the audience". Sometimes I wish no one was allowed use of the term science or analysis until they've solved a few problems in relativistic physics because you realize that a) analysis and science are still contextually determined and b) it makes this kind of Peace Corp versus arm chair attack moot.

It's disgusting that you've extrapolated these kinds of personal insults ("it's a lazy way of doing your homework", "you have an incredibly bad analytical model") to a journal entry that linked a Friday editorial to a series of Monday talk shows! Go re-read it. It's like you excised a personal vendetta out of a simpleton's commentary! If you're claiming the more objective perspective then you'll have to stick to the OP.

Perhaps this is why some of your older journal entries talk about people complaining about your heated and intense responses. You don't have to fight about minutia when "friends" are generally in agreement! I'll go and meditate now. That's as close to tarot card and psychic reading that I'll get to (for now, but I could always be convinced to try :).
Aug. 25th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
"I started wondering if News Corp owned every radio station that broadcasts talk radio on AM channels from WV to IL. That seemed unlikely but the conspicuous repitition made the shows sound like the very kind of State Media that Limbaugh claims NPR spouts out. . . Please, Republicans; be more original."
"The point was to challenge beliefs. it's really just an exercise in openness. The reason I have a copy of Ann Coulter is, as a friend of mine once called it, to avoid "cognitive atrophy".
"Coulter and media darlings isn't the point. The point was understanding who listens to them in a kind of political yin-yang."
"I've no interest debating what Limbaugh says but was only interested in where his sources came from and why people believe him."

The following conclusions were drawn: Republicans agree with Limbaugh. Reading Coulter is an exercise in open mindedness and understanding of her readership. And that listening to Limbaugh can inform why people listen to him.
If I have stepped on a toe then it was a toe put out there to be stepped on. Your justification was understanding, my statement was that it's impossible to understand the audience by understanding the speaker. I really don't care if you have a problem with me taking "the high horse of Anthropology". It is a science who's methods have been shaped by the mistakes of the past. The same is easily said of physics or any other analytical template. That shaping has given a method in which I have been educated and it is better than the argument you were making. And it's incredibly disingenuous to invoke physics in defense of not observing the particle in favor of observing the accelerator.
If you are offended that was not my specific intention. I was questioning your reasoning through the rubric of your stated goal. I'm certainly not trying to spark some ad hominem free for all. But since I only have what explanations you've given, I worked with what I had. I would hasten to note that at the misunderstandings I have caused I immediately clarified and explained. Conversely, you've simply accused me of being unnecessarily fight-y.
I didn't assume anything. I went by what you told me and questioned that information. If what you offered was incomplete or contrary to your intention then you've obviously had ample time to correct the missing information. You've certainly expected me to. If you could show me how any of the above quotes were taken so completely out of context that I managed, somehow, to read the exact opposite of their true meaning, I'd like to hear it.
This whole thing is really not a big deal to me. Up to now it was simply a discussion. Whatever emotionally charged qualities are being brought this are neither my intention or my desire. If you want to be pissed off at me, I can't stop you.
In answer to your charge that I don't have to fight about minutia, you are absolutely right, if that minutia happens to be everything someone's said. By analogy that would mean that the people I've had trouble with on other boards were assuming they'd said things they actually hadn't and that I was being obstinate by expecting that they be as clear and thorough in their explanations as I was. So I'm somehow a jerk for wanting things spelled out then. I will gladly say guilty as charged. And which of us has taken the high horse when straight out the gate you accused me of being blind for thinking O'Reilly is disingenuous, that I am incapable of being an informed observer, and that I am unoriginal and conformist merely because I had the audacity to point out that Limbaugh used to be a DJ in the 80s? I didn't get shitty with you, and in response you've required that I rationalize almost every point I've made. In some cases twice. And at that level of hyperbole it really makes me question your taking exception at this late date and playing the 'dis-honour' card.
I don't want this fight and I don't see the point. You required that I justify, I did. I required that you justify, you got offended. Obviously this is better left alone.
Aug. 25th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
This is called reverse psychology. I'm not mad, so why do you infer that? If person A claims person B is insulted, then person B claims that person A inferred the insult, and around and around we go in a perennial problem well known in psychology (and arguments). I can only say that the toe being stepped on was an inference that I don't talk to Republicans but only talk *about* Republicans. THAT's disingenuous. The actual statements evidently need clarification.

"I started wondering if News Corp owned every radio station that broadcasts talk radio on AM channels from WV to IL. That seemed unlikely but the conspicuous repitition made the shows sound like the very kind of State Media that Limbaugh claims NPR spouts out. . . "

This is me clearly doubting an assumption based on no evidence. Just because someone admits their bias doesn't mean that, whatever their conclusion, it is invalid. This really presses people to be dishonest or at least censor their words. The irony (of injustice) is that you appealed to the same reality although specific to newcasters: "News never exists in a vacuum, there's always a bias, even with an eye-witness." Newscasters are just a subset of humans. I think we'd agree that we should confront and be honest about these biases, but I'm saying that people who admit them shouldn't be arrested for thought-crime.

Please, Republicans; be more original."

Are you disputing that Rove was the political strategist in the Bush administration? Or that the radio shows weren't using Rove's talking points?

"The point was to challenge beliefs. it's really just an exercise in openness. The reason I have a copy of Ann Coulter is, as a friend of mine once called it, to avoid "cognitive atrophy".

This was taken as causal when it's meant as a correlation. I'm saying exposure to opposing views stimulates dialog and compromise. Is sounds like it was mistaken as me saying reading Coulter *causes* open mindedness, which is absurd. I'd never relate cognitive and social abilities directly to a book list.

"Coulter and media darlings isn't the point. The point was understanding who listens to them in a kind of political yin-yang."

This is my failed attempt to express the former.

"I've no interest debating what Limbaugh says but was only interested in where his sources came from and why people believe him."

There are two parts to this and it's probably the root of the misunderstanding. I'm claiming an "interest" in a) conservative talk radio all having the same script and b) conservatives basing their anti-healthcare arguments on the same script. Note again there's no causality. The claim wasn't made that all Republicans believe everything Limbaugh says. I'd have had to insert a few more universal quantifiers to even come near that conclusion.

So I've clarified what I was saying with the quotes you cite as grounds for some baseless conclusions about conservatives. I find this just as insulting as answering your question:

"But since he was probably high as a kite on illegally obtained vicadin at the time, do you really want to count yourself in his camp?"

with "You think I count myself in his camp??"

This kind of rhetoric can easily become literal and confusing. I could have misunderstood your question (and I hope that I did not). The beginning of your first reply was an admission to confusion, and I always find the source of those to be both the writers' and readers'. For example, you claimed "I can't really "believe" in the Daily Show." This raised a fundamentally philosophic disagreement from the get-go between us. You could call on that "suspension of belief" concept but doing say makes your arguments inconsistent. Earlier you gave testimony from Jon,

"The Daily Show did a video montage ... But none of this is new, even the Daily Show treats it like a regular feature rather than a one-off 'hey isn't that weird' sort of thing."

Aug. 25th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
So do you disbelieve the video montage? That montage, if it's the same one I saw, would have to be believed in order for the conclusion to be justified:

"They ARE Big Corp Media,"

I guess you could play around with language and say the Daily Show isn't "believed" but their video montage is "believed" but I consider them the same, aka. it's a trusted source giving verifiable testimony, where trust and verify are based on belief. It seems some of this belief spilled over to personal sources of information, because for some reason you come to your own defense:

"I gather my information from a variety of sources to determine their validity for myself."

The insult here is that this is the very thing I had done in the OP! Are you saying that I should have talked to a bunch of conservatives and then determined where the source of talk radio came from? Perhaps their audience would recall all the sources but the OP was about a relationship between a random sampling of talk radio and newspaper. It wasn't an experiment and isn't making any claim about listeners. Maybe that's the part I need to emphasize. The OP was about the relationship between the radio hosts and their sources for talking points.

And I'm going to be belligerent about the OP's intent. Were you right about my cultural naivety? Sure; point well taken. As for the rest, you can read into those original words whatever the hell you want, but I was its author.

"Your justification was understanding, my statement was that it's impossible to understand the audience by understanding the speaker."

This was not a conclusion. If you're claiming, "The point was understanding who listens to [conservative talk radio]" is the origin of that conclusion, then it's wrong. Understanding who listens to [talk radio] makes no claims about a) what listeners believe or b) all Republicans listen to conservative talk radio. YOU have inferred those baseless conclusions!

"you accused me of being blind for thinking O'Reilly is disingenuous,"

Where the hell did I say that?! If it's this one -- "It's simplest (and obvious) to say that a critical observer who watches the Daily Show or the Oreilly Factor always doubts the claims made" -- then that was meant as a friendly "you and I are these critical observers". Instead you mistook it as an insult. This is why I think language cannot fully convey what we mean, but I didn't mean what you read. Whose responsible for clarifying? If the reader blames the writer and the writer blames the reader, then we're spinning wheels. I can only clarify what I meant, and I've tried to do that in every response.

To invoke relativity again, what I meant was that the particle and the observer are both affecting each other, and therefore there's no objective way of knowing everything about their interaction. Same for this interaction; hence the misunderstandings.
Aug. 25th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
The quotes are all there, from your own posts. Yeah, I didn't author them, I knew that. This is bordering on sophomoric, you're choosing to make it my fault that you can't say what you mean. If you weren't talking about the listeners, you shouldn't have brought them up. I've given reason for almost everything I've said, you've chosen to just deny everything you said. Cheap trick, no matter what you said it's not your fault.
And you keep beating that drum about me "believing" in the Daily Show. I gave two other examples in my OP alone for why Limbaugh and others are full of shit. And yet you keep going back to my 'Church Of The Daily Show'. It was ONE example out of THREE. You have yet to even address their previous careers or their political histories. I invoked them directly. Why do you keep taking ONE reference to The Daily Show completely out of context and ascribing to me a regard for the Daily Show that I have never been demonstrated to have? Cheap trick, I'm from another church therefore I must be wrong.
Finally, your exact words were "Since you believe this "ilk" read from a script ... well, that may just mean that you aren't observant. . . accuse the object of loathe -sic- with the same beliefs as you ascribe to them." Word for word you are stating that I loathe O'Reilly and Hanity, et al, and that my 'belief' that they're working from a script is born of a lack of observation. And yet, your OP was ABOUT how they're seeming to be working from a script. There's no way to miss-read that, you're saying I'm somehow hallucinating a pattern that isn't there even though you have seen it. Hell of a claim to make given that you knew LESS about these people and their career histories than I at the time. Again, cheap trick, I'm wrong and you're right even if we agree.
I'm not replying to this anymore, you're too wrapped up in it for whatever reason, and you're debating like someone who just needs the other guy to be wrong rather than settling on "Interesting opinion" or "Oh, I didn't know that, maybe they are working from a script like it seemed" and leaving it at that. But you didn't do that, you told me I'm blind, ignorant, loathing and a zealot of the "belief" of Daily Show. I don't know why you so desperately want me to have completely and totally misunderstood every syllable of what you wrote. And then dismissing the whole bloody mess by saying that language is fickle. If you really were meditating on this I think you need to meditate harder.
Aug. 26th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Re: You didn't know?
"Why do you keep taking ONE reference to "them" completely out of context and ascribing to me a regard for the Republicans that I have never been demonstrated to have?"

"well, that may just mean that you aren't observant" was directly born from "I don't mean to say that youre not observant or anything. ... *I* always thought they were fairly obvious about doing it." and a response title "You didn't know?" That's like the preacher implying guilt, "Well it's not for me to say and you've got to ask God about that ... but *I* wouldn't do it." If you genuinely didn't mean that as the preacher would have meant it, then I apologize.

And I already apologized for the original response being on a bad day. We're human.