The Keane Edge by Brendan Patrick Keane
TV pundits using racism to duck real news -- O'Reilly, Olberman, Maddow, Cooper
Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 01:16 PM
- Exorcism of my inner Peter King
- Gas question: why give Ireland's enormous wealth away? the Norweigan alternative
- Bashing the Irish -- a break neck run down on Ireland's history of betrayal
- Stephen Fry to appear on Gaelic soap opera Ros na Rún
- Stolkholm Syndrome infects Dublin
I started paying close attention to the latest round of themes on TV news when my neighbor got a flat screen. The experience for someone watching high definition without previously having had a TV is mind-blowing. The TV is very suggestive in high def. I could never live with one.
Bill O'Reilly reminds me of Max Headron, the 1980s and Ronald Reagan, so I watched him firstly. I like him the way I like some cops--I get where they're coming from, but it's not for me.
As a tool-of-Rupert-Murdoch, I find O'Reilly incredibly unlikeable as well, especially when he's selling war, or playing up racial stories to distract from real news, and especially when he's defending sociopathic corporate behavior.
I watched as O'Reilly pretended to be really worked up about little stories that had the usual Black-this and white-that slant. It does not matter to review the details. We're expected to know the ins-and-outs of these no-meaning stories, while the Financial Reform bill is signed into law without debate or exegesis of the Bill on TV. We live in a farce where the most important story of our lives is ignored so all the talking heads can preach to us about race.
The race story is nothing but a stone on which TV pundit after pundit sharpen their rhetorical skills of racial distraction.
After Mel Gibson had died down and the NAACP story became intolerably pointless and O'Reilly's little video clips of racial crap were getting old, all the networks put all their resources into "news" about a very old video with a government worker telling a story about her dealings with a white farmer. This non-story does not bear repeating, but it was broken down like the greatest of all possible presidential issues. The White House "fell" into the narrative, benefiting from its prevalence over Financial Reform, and was able to play hero on the non-story twice: first firing then un-firing the government worker.
The dissection began on O'Reilly, and spread like a great fog. Behind the fog our financial system was being over-hauled at the same White House, with the net result being that the bulk of society's money is now concentrated with private interests in the trillions, while the banks are being very slow to circulate our stimulus money to the rest of society. This financial oligarchy and their games escape all scrutiny on TV as a matter of corporate policy.
O'Reilly, Olberman, Maddow and Cooper all had to have on-air summits as to the racial implications of the worker's race-based ordeal--hour after hour of tininess. Race is the only issue people in the United States are allowed to go into "detail" about. But even that "detail" is reductive, where we are to pretend the United States is populated by mythically opposed "white" and "Black" people--and no one else.
Not to be outdone by O'Reilly, Olberman made the Freudian slip of a lifetime when he stumbled over the self-admission that he himself does what he scolds O'Reilly for doing. When he made the blustering line about 'being guilty of what I accuse O'Reilly of doing' he flubbed it, and in that slip revealed the truth about his MSNBC agenda--it's not much different from Fox: protect the plutocracy (rule by rich) from scrutiny. He was playing the race card to waste time and couldn't say the line about being O'Reilly ironically as he had intended--his tongue couldn't let it go without slippage, like a liar that smirks at the point of disinformation.
If I cared enough about his rhetoric to find the clip I would, but it happened last night and may be on YouTube. Olberman's speech was shockingly self-righteous and moralizing on matters of race, calling out Obama in the most indignant tone (it made me laugh listening to his false earnestness) to get bold on the topic of race and join the "war out here." What the hell was Olberman talking about? Olberman wanted Obama to join the rhetorical race "war." It was unbelievable to hear.
If I had Olberman's job I would have made the same speech to Obama but about the Financial Reform Bill. I would not have demanded Obama apologize to Ms.Sherrod--because that is a red herring story. I would have demanded Obama apologize for bailing out the banks, and installing the crooked engineers of the collapse in positions of power. I would have demanded he get all folksy and go line by line through the reforms and explain them to the people -- on TV -- what this new financial regime is all about.
What was remarkable about Olberman was how high and mighty to the point of revolutionary fervor ala Patrick Henry he got. Sports-casters have that uncanny ability to make the most insignificant thing sound epic. Olberman uses the smallest race stories to get everyone all worked up about nothing.
We were not done yet. Maddow got on TV with graphics to illustrate her ideas: a white head and a black head divided from each other by a red line. Maddow spent the whole show in front of this graphic, going on and on with a pedantic and condescending lesson about racial morality.
Maddow's reductive racist graphics and her deeply unsatisfying Black v. white paradigm is old, and unfair, considering the country is multi-ethnic. Period. We do not live in a Black and white society. We live in a multi-cultural one.
By the time Cooper got on the TV to make his own obvious don't-be-racist speech, a sane person who has not grown up in a twilight zone, was surely asking him or herself: why are these people stirring up all this distracting racial crap when we all need to be dissecting the details of the Financial Regulations Bill?
Why doesn't the news help us be good and informed citizens?
We have to catch on to the game where commentators prioritize the day's news and take a little incident involving "Black" or "white" people to try and get a little war going.
Uncounted numbers starved to death in the Depression here in America in the 1930s.
The newspapers are talking up a new and greater Depression today. This stuff needs to be examined in detail with statistics and numbers on TV. Economics is truly a matter of life and death. Most matters of race boil down to money--who has it, who does not.
We're getting walloped on all sides by "economic forces" that I think of as little leprechauns running around Wall Street and London--little financiers from all sorts of human back grounds seeking ways to control society's pot of gold. There are very few of them, and yet they wield enormous powers over what is supposed to be the greatest power: our representative democracy. We need to stop giving these leprechauns of finance (these money masters) the racial fog and the entertainment fog and the non-story story fog to hide from us on TV.
The leprechauns transcend race and ethnicity. They believe themselves transcendent above democracy. Lets pull this magical financial elite onto the TV and give them the same going-over we give the two-bit players on much less significant stories. Let's analyze them with the same detail with which we have become accustomed to analyzing nonsense.