Free Markets, Free People

Politics has become a “reality show” of diversion

Over at United Liberty, Louis DeBroux articulates something that has been driving me crazy:

It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon, and expected to rise above $4, and possibly as high as $5/gallon, by summer. Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.

Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy anemic, despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.

Yet with all of this, what stories are dominating the headlines? That would be the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum regarding birth control, and now the furor over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about a college “coed” called to testify before Congress on the topic of birth control.

It is enough to make you tear your hair out.  There is so much that should be at the forefront of the news and we’re talking about what?  Go look at Memeorandum for the past few weeks.  It’s appalling.

And who benefits by these diversionary and divisive discussions? 

Well certainly not the nation.  In the case of the current diversion of the day, we see the usual hypocrisy from both sides as Rush Limbaugh is crucified for calling a woman a “slut” while one of Obama’s major donors is given a free pass by the same people for calling Sarah Palin a far worse name (and worse, won’t condemn the use of the word).  After all, he’s one of theirs. 

It is a cycle of wash, rise, repeat.  On just about any given week you can find someone on one side or the other saying something outrageous and the other side whipping themselves into a frenzy of outrage and condemning it while demanding the other side condemn it too.   Tit for tat politics.  Juvenile nonsense.

Why any of this is seen as major news can only be understood in a “reality show” culture.  We’ve become a nation of voyeurs who like scandal and enjoy watching the lives of “celebrities” whose only claim to fame is their screwed up life.  And that apparently now translates to our politics. 

Instead of paying attention to the important things about our political world, most are more interested in the “he said, she said” stupidity of situations like that of the Limbaugh debacle.  Apparently politics has become just another reality show where we prefer to be entertained by the unimportant but controversial instead of doing the hard but boring work of understanding our real problems and looking for solutions.

Unemployment, economics, energy, government … boring!

Limbaugh calls someone a slut.  That’s the ticket.

And, naturally, aiding and abetting all of this is the “if it bleeds it leads” media who have decided that sensationalism trumps substance. 

We’re 16 trillion dollars in debt folks and that number is going to go higher if we don’t do something.

B..b…but Limbaugh called someone a “slut”!


Never mind.

Turn up the volume and get the popcorn.


Twitter: @McQandO

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54 Responses to Politics has become a “reality show” of diversion

  • “And, naturally, aiding and abetting all of this is the “if it bleeds it leads” media who have decided that sensationalism trumps substance.”
    You’re overall point is spot on, but I’m not so sure that it is the media that “decided” this. After all, media is a market driven entity and they will give its customers what they want. MSNBC – along with a host of other liberal media – highlights the Limbaugh controversy, FOXNEWS (the highest rated cable news network)- along with a host of other conservative media – is now focused on a meaningless video of Obama hugging a so-called radical back in his college days.
    So is it really the media “deciding” that if it bleeds it leads, or is it that they are giving their customers what they want.

    Not to mention the fact that Santorum won’t shut-up about cultural issues when he gains more traction talking about the economy.


    • @PogueMahone Obama’s radical roots are not meaningless. You just like your head buried in its well-worn notch.

      • @Ragspierre
        This is such a non-issue and the Dems could hope for nothing more than for you guys to waste your time on it. You know, ‘cuz the whole Jeremiah Wright controversy was sooo productive last time. As McQ has pointed out, Obama now has a record he must run on; focusing on what he may or may not have believed 22 years ago in college is now irrelevant.

        • @PogueMahone Riiiight…and who he is today is TOTALLY disconnected to who his mentors were. Plus, the guy died last year, boob. Not 22 years ago. Gawd, what a putz.

        • @Ragspierre What Obama believed 22 years ago, you moron. Look at the sentence structure, “[a]s McQ has pointed out, Obama now has a record he must run on; focusing on what he may or may not have believed 22 years ago in college is now irrelevant.”

        • @PogueMahone Poque, please. TRY not to be moronic. Bell WAS a mentor to Baracka. Perhaps up to his death. People with brains know that is NOT irrelevant.

        • @PogueMahone Santorum spoke to a Catholic school in 2008 and those comments were dredged up for national introspection. Do you think if said something controversial 20years ago it would be ignored?

        • @Harun If his comments were consistent with what he says today, or even in recent memory, no… they wouldn’t, nor shouldn’t, be ignored. A better example for you would be what Romney said 20 years ago. Then again, because Romney is now diametrically opposing what he said back then, then maybe they are relevant – at least to those who are concerned that he is merely pandering in order to be elected. But back to Santorum, he is not refuting what he said in 2008. In fact, he’s doubling-down. Cheers.

    • @PogueMahone I’m not questioning why the media is providing what it is providing – kind of goes along with the theme of politics as a reality show, doesn’t it?

    • @PogueMahone “they are giving their customers what they want.” man, you know better. They TELL us what we want, you know that. I can’t believe you’re buying into this crap. And I do agree with you, the Obama video is junk, there’s nothing there, certainly nothing that even begins to compare to the issues of the day. I expected some great revelation, you know, like he was quoted as saying he prayed to Allah, etc. All I saw was him hugging a guy. NOT ENOUGH.
      But when it’s all said and done, it’s them telling US what we should be paying attention to. You know that.

      • @looker I don’t agree with that. The media sees what attracts viewers, and then they go with it. If, for example, FoxNews dropped an agenda of painting Obama as a radical, unAmerican usurper, they would lose viewers in favor of the Limbaughs of the world. Ailes and company knows what brings eyeballs to their channel, and it ain’t boring old economics. It is birtherism, Wright, madrasahs, and the like. Same goes with MSNBC and company. Cheers.

        • @PogueMahone Sure, Poque. Like Hollywood makes movies they know will make money. Not. Or the NYT is really, really dialed into its market. You will believe…or at least say you believe…anything.

        • @Ragspierre So your argument is that Hollywood doesn’t make movies that make money? Reality says otherwise. Do you even stop to think about what you are writing? Or is it all guts for you?

        • @PogueMahone You didn’t really read that, didja, Poque…

          “The growth in overseas box office — thanks in large part to burgeoning markets like China and Russia — reps a trusty fallback for studios and film distributors around the world, especially as domestic B.O. struggles to match 2009’s record tally of $10.6 billion. (2011 recorded $10.2 billion domestically.)”

        • @Ragspierre Are they making money, or not? I’ll save you… they are making money. Therefore, they do make movies that make money. Capisce?

        • @PogueMahone Many Hollywood studios will be all too happy to forget 2011, which witnessed a troubling dip in moviegoing for much of the year at the domestic box office. There were several high-profile flops that lost tens of millions, including “Mars Needs Moms” and “Cowboys & Aliens.” Studios split grosses with theater owners, so even if a movie makes as much as its production budget, it’s still in trouble, and that’s before even considering marketing costs. And, after several record-breaking years, the domestic box revenues are running 4 percent behind 2010 levels. Here’s a glance at the movies largely rejected by audiences. The point being, Poque, that Hollywood knows there are movies that will make money. They also have movies they are driven to make by their agenda, and pump huge $$$ into them knowing they will not make money. Duh.

        • @Ragspierre So “Cowboys and Aliens” along with “Mars Needs Moms” were driven to be made by Hollywood’s agenda? Tell me, Rags, what agenda was Hollywood pursuing when they made “Cowboys and Aliens”?

        • @PogueMahone “The media sees what attracts viewers, and then they go with it.”

          See what an idiot statement that was…??? C’mon. Yes or no?

        • @Ragspierre No. It is basic marketing principle. Producer A makes product X, customers go with producer B which makes product Y, Producer A then produces product Y to attract customers away from producer B. Or, producer A sees a market share that is not attracted to product Y, and makes product Z. This is basic stuff, Rags. How do you not get this?

        • @PogueMahone The Tape is an excellent example – the conservative media spent the day yelling about the monster movie they would unleash on Hannity and ginned up an audience. Did we ‘want’ it, or did they convince us we wanted it?
          You’d think they’d be all over Fast and Furious, right? I mean, American Border Patrol agent killed during government sponsored gun walking scheme, Ruthless Congressman, holding the Attorney General in contempt. Why, it has all the makings of another Watergate. Funny, no one is investigating. I mean, it has the intrigue, the whole naughty government thing. But, we’re not talking about it. Instead we’re still, talking about Sandra the Flake and her costly birth control. Which you’ve declared is a matter of ‘reproductive rights’. Is it? Where? How? It’s about recreational sex, not about reproductive rights. They iINVENTED the product, they told you what they wanted you to think, and they sold you something Pogue, and you’re buying. Her argument is no better than the guy who sued the theaters because their popcorn was too pricey. HER case wasn’t about contraception, it was about sex, and it was a crappy argument full of holes from the moment she sat down. But it was an argument that involved a vagina and a womb, and after that the media ran with whatever the proponents claimed it was about, and has done NOTHING to analyze and correct. That’s not ‘news’, that’s propaganda, and it certainly favors one side over the other.

  • The palace guard media will happily push any story that shifts the conversation from what a miserable failure Baracky is. If it hurts the GOP so much the better, but it’s the distraction that counts

    • @The Shark I don’t think I could ever convince any of you that the media is “pushing” stoires because they have their self at interest, and not Obama’s, but if you have the time and are so inclined, answer these quetions for me: What stories hurt the GOP, and why do these stories hurt the GOP? And, perhaps more practical, what are you going to do about it? Cheers.

      • @PogueMahone In many cases, Pogue, it’s not the story per se that’s the problem, but instead, how the story is told. Do about it? What I do, that’s what.

        • @McQandO How the story is told? Giving you the benefit of the doubt, that implies that the story is told inaccurately, without that benefit, it implies that you believe the story is being told without the spin you would desire. So, how is the story being told inaccurately? Is it inaccurate to take Santorum at his word and believe that he doesn’t want the states to be able to ban contraception? This is a big deal to women (and men); the President gets to appoint SCOTUS judges, so if he wanted to he could, as president, appoint judges that would seek to overturn Griswold. And that’s just for starters. Reproductive rights are important to women and that’s why you see support from women waning. Moving on… to what you do… You do a great job of railing against Dems and progressives, where you fail – in my not so humble opinion – is hold the GOP to standards you would find acceptable. You don’t endorse anyone, you rarely criticize GOP candidates and those who endorse the GOP candidates you find unacceptable. Look, you don’t want contraception to be the story – how or why it is told – you should attempt to persuade your audience to fight for candidates that don’t hold positions that most people find ridiculous. Do you think if Chris Christie was among the frontrunners, we’d be hearing about banning contraception? No. You once stated that you would find Chris Christie acceptable, so why not instead of preaching to the choir about the failings of the Obama administration, you could pushing to draft Christie or others like him. Cheers.

        • @PogueMahone How the story is told, Pogue. How the story is told. I put 2 to 3 posts a day up on this blog, most of which are aimed at how the story is being told by someone and what I see is being left out or misrepresented.

          How the story is told.

  • One of the uncomfortable conclusions that can be drawn from this is that the “new media” has failed as an alternative to the mainstream media.

    • @martinmcphillips The “new media” has failed because they are seduced by the same opportunity to attract viewers as the “old media” is. RedState, PJM, HuffPost, MediaMatters, and so on… all concentrate on the same BS that McQ is talking about. The problem… is with the consumers. They want what they want and the producers know it.

    • @martinmcphillips Wow. That is amazingly wrong. How much would you know about the big, actual issues were it not for the new media?

      • @Ragspierre I fall into a category, in terms of being interested enough to sort, analyze, and think about actual issues, that’s is probably less than 1% of the population. I know lots of people who are on the internet all the time, pretty smart people, who glaze right the hell over on “actual issues,” but who will twitch into action if they catch a whisper down the lane about something political that they can associate with the values of the celebrity/sex/scandal/politicallycorrect culture.

      • @Ragspierre I note a lot of people, from teens to seniors, who *think* that they get all the news they need from Jon Stewart.

        • @martinmcphillips Odd. I’m happy to say I don’t know any. I know some pretty liberal people, but none of the conservatives are that limited.

    • @martinmcphillips My most economically in-tune friends just can’t stay away from, where gloom and doom is dished out daily.

  • Another uncomfortable conclusion is that thought itself, thinking, has deteriorated badly and is on a glidepath to the sort of breakdown suggested by Orwell. This is not the same thing as the limits of thought at any given time. We can’t know everything. It’s about the inability to take a simple issue and take a dispassionate look at it. There’s a habit now, related to this, where an issue comes up and you have a swarm around it trying to jam as many blatant lies through its mail slot as possible, such that a plain common sense apprehension of the question is rendered very difficult and in some cases nearly impossible. That’s the intentional creation of hariballs that very few people have the time or inclination to pick apart.

  • Critical race theory, of which Bell was essentially the founder and the greatest proponent, is explicitly incompatible with “liberalism” as classically defined; in truth, it is more of a radical Leftist idea. As a result of the claims it makes, CRT is utterly incompatible with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and with American — and Western — ideals of equality, justice, and colorblindness, not to mention that its philosophical underpinnings stand in diametric opposition to that most cherished of conservative principles — belief in external reality. Ultimately, CRT relegates objective reality and our responses to it to a collection of human “constructs.” It is post-modern and it is radical. It is quite literally un-American.

    Such suggestions would not, in fact, be rejected by advocates of CRT and other constructivist theories. If racism is ingrained into the fabric of American society, then our society inherently excludes those outside of the racial majority and the system needs smashing.

    ***But as a result, most of those who do reject wholesale the American “construct” do not seek its presidency.***

    This is where is becomes relevant. It is fine for Americans to consider themselves outside of the system, but we should know about it if they are running the show. On CNN this morning, Amy Holmes — playing the sole voice of reason in a disastrous segment — correctly pointed out that Obama may well have changed his mind on various things since his college days, but that if he hasn’t it is important for Americans to consider the wisdom of his being president. Most of us have matured as we’ve got older, and the president may well have as well — we’ll probably never know, given the media’s double-standard on questions about Obama’s past — but, if he has not, then he is indeed a subversive, for it is one thing to look at the entire structure of government, law, and society, and claim it to be an intractably racist tool of white hegemony, and quite another to seek the highest office within it.
    –Charles Cooke————————————————————————————————————–

    Obama has taught this racist crap, too. Seems relevant.

  • Hey. We can’t have any Tea party themes in the daily political narrative.

  • I remember a lot of ink, pixels, and MSM air time being spent on a rock NEAR the Perry hunting lease that had a “no-no” word painted on it in the dark pre-history of time. THAT was considered very relevant. But a personal endorsement of the ideas of a flaming racist…meh…

    • @Ragspierre well, but, “we’re not really interested” you see, the media has decided that’s not of interest to us, and so, we’re talking about some 30 year old pseudo slut’s made up arguments about her ultra expensive contraceptive to ‘protect her womb’ from conservatives who WANT her to have sex and GET PREGNANT. This presumably so they can deny her medical treatment, and force her to have a child with some random man, dress her in pearls and give her the script from Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best and repress her reproductive right to have as much sex as she wants at the expense of the insurance company which won’t have to raise product prices at all on it’s customers. Sort of, or something. If you follow the logic it gets a little fuzzy so best to only hear the important parts (Republicans, criminal, evil raping Fascists) and not think about what you’re being told.

    • @Ragspierre Interesting that media thinks of itself as the ‘gate keeper’ of information. So, I’m supposed to believe the gate keeper isn’t selecting the information? Gate? Keeper? does that sound like ‘free range’ information to you where the media is making it ALL available and I’m the one guilty of only selecting to watch Snooky and ignoring the state of the economy?

      • @looker I recall very serious discussions from Collectivist “thinkers” about there being too much information out there. I understand their concern. The New Media has made us all Breitbarts, and we need to use it. “The signal is out there, Mal…”

      • Did you happen to see the note that some chick on CNN used the wikipedia def for Critical Race Theory during an interview, and then someone ELSE went out and scrubbed the words ‘White Supremacy” theory from the Wiki entry? MiniTru is on the job. But, that’s not what’s happenin, McQ, and you and me, we’re CHOSING this stuff, we ASKED to have a discussion about contraception, we ASKED to make it a national issue more important then plain unleaded gas at the pump going up 10 cents a gallon between yesterday and today (yeppers….). I would think those poor Georgetown Co-eds would have a hard time driving their co-ed butts to the places where they were having their subsidized recreational sex, but I guess the price of gas over three years of school is less of an issue than their ‘reproductive’ rights to have recreational nookey.

  • To be sure, Limbaugh and talk radio – as well as blogs and new media that work against real discussion in order to push an ideological line – are part of the problem. Limbaugh today defend Joseph Kony and the LRA in Uganda, saying that Obama was siding with Muslims and targeting Christians. Unfortunately many people get their politics news from someone so ignorant.

    • @scotterb Sleep Train stopped advertising on Limbaugh’s show after he called a law student advocating for birth control coverage at Georgetown University a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her stance on contraception. The retailer said it can’t “condone such negative comments directed toward any person.”

      Limbaugh, through his spokesman Brian Glicklich, turned aside Sleep Train’s attempts to resume advertising on the show.

      “Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh’s character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the Future.”

      Dale Carlsen, head of Sleep Train, issued a statement saying: “We confirm that Rush Limbaugh will no longer be one of Sleep Train’s radio endorsers.”

      Read more here: Bwaaaaa hhaaa ahaaaa haaaa

    • @scotterb “Unfortunately many people get their politics news from someone so ignorant.” Straight from the guy who jerks himself off over Hezbollah.

    • @scotterb

      ” Limbaugh today defend Joseph Kony and the LRA in Uganda”

      Today? I know, you were in such a hurry to pass on this little tidbit that you didn’t read the entire article. More of the typical sloppiness that has done so much for your credibility.

  • Lawyers who thought our enemies were worth volunteering to help are now the lawyers who make counterterrorism policy for the country — something so radical as to have been inconceivable just a short time ago, but something that is happening in the Obama administration. And by working it from the inside, these lawyers are incrementally but noticeably moving the mainstream in a radical direction. If the president is reelected, he and they will do much more. Like Obama, they haven’t moderated; they are changing the society’s perception of what “moderate” is — and not in a healthy direction.–Andy McCarthy. Here’s the deal…Obama WAS a radical collectivist, he IS a radical collectivist, and he would be a VERY radical collectivist if re-elected. It is important to know what his influences have been.

  • Somebody named Derrick A. Bell visited the White House twice in 2010. Nothing to see here, people…move on…

    • @Ragspierre Well holy crap – I just watched the Derrick Bell Space Aliens movie sci-fi story. It’s nauseating and just a teany tiny scoschie bit racist.

      How the actors participated in this….is yet another question, but not really that hard to imagine, given Hollywood.

        • @myweeklycrime Yeah, I saw who produced it, but still you have to get someone to act in it, and I know that wasn’t a complete kit of big time actors, but jeeze…how could you sit there with a straight face and say those lines? The President’s council meeting in particular, it was grotesque. Talk about prostitutes.

        • @looker I remember seeing it years ago and thinking, “WTF?” It’s a hypothetical Blood Libel. Just change the white leaders to stereotypical Jews and the film would be indistinguishable from Nazi or Islamist propaganda.

          Also, true to form, the producers projected their cowardice onto the victims and the people outside the government, when in reality such a scenario would spark violent resistance, like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on a global scale.

          I recently saw “In Time” with Justin Timberlake, which starts with a preposterous premise, similar to “Logan’s Run”–which is common enough in science fiction–and ends up being nothing more than an exercise in class warfare, a projection of the most pathetic OWS misunderstandings of economics onto a dystopian fantasy.

        • @myweeklycrime Apparently in his story line the ‘whites’ have managed to breed out the genes of people like Robert Gould Shaw, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner (three examples that readily come to mind), or even Obama’s own mother…..

  • Just gets better and better – yep, it’s NOT an engineered diversion, nope, nope, nope, well….errrrr,ahhhhh, maybe…….