Monday, April 15, 2013

Paranoid constructions of the Librul Media and the Kermit Gosnell case

Claiming there is a Liberal Media conspiracy against all right-thinking Christian white folks has been a staple of Republican conservative propaganda in more-or-less its current form since Vice President and later convicted felon Spiro Agnew made his well-publicized attacks on The Media during the Nixon Administration. It has its precedents in the traditional of paranoid political thinking: the Jewish media conspiracy of the 1930s, the secret Communists in Hollywood, the South-hating Yankee media during the civil rights movement.

It's become a foundational myth (in Georges Sorel's sense) of today's Republican Party.

Ironically, its usage by conservative becomes more and more intense, long after the point (the Iraq War latest) where one sure mark of a living breathing liberal was that they didn't regard the mainstream media as "liberal" or even especially competent as news media.

Since conservative opinion and news outlets market themselves non-stop against "the liberal media," it seems a little odd to think of a particular outcropping of the phenomenon being an upsurge. To have an upsurge, you would need to have a slacking off every now and then!

Like many favorite claims of Republicans these days, the Librul-Media-ignored-it claim on this case has some basic empirical problems, as Dashiell Bennett explains in The Gosnell Trial Is About Many Thing, but Media Bias Isn't One of Them The Atlantic Wire 04/12/2013:

To begin with, the idea that the trial hasn't been covered by news outlets is disproved by a cursory search of the archives. Most major outlets have written something about the trial. In fact, a lot of them did so two years ago when the story first broke. There hasn't been as much coverage in the last three months, but that's partly because the 280-page grand jury report has been available for some time, and the "headline-worthy testimony" has not been kept secret. If you haven't heard about it until this week, it's only because you were reading the wrong websites. (And local outlets are doing a great job and aren't that hard to find.)
But the fact that it's not true won't stop the antiabortionists from claiming it. In the name of Jesus, of course. Because when you're out to "save the lives" of "unborn babies", such is considered perfectly legitimate by the anti-choice movement: "Those in the media who promote abortion have their reasons for wanting to keep quiet about the atrocities of former abortionist, Kermit Gosnell," writes Dan Delzell in the Christian Post (The Face of America in Gosnell's Mirror 04/15/2013). That's a pretty mealy-mouthed way of putting it, of course. If criticized, he claim he didn't say the Librul Media was doing that, only that they had good reason to do so.

Media Matters has several pieces about the Gosnell case and the conservative conspiracy-mongering about he Librul Media in connection with:

Eric Boehlert, While Ignoring Gosnell Trial, NY Post Condemns 'Liberal Media' For Ignoring Gosnell Trial 04/12/2013.

Ari Rabin-Hav, The Anti-Choice Monster 04/12/2013

Chelsea Rudman, Erin Burnett Latest In Media To Push Claim That "The Left" Ignored Gosnell Trial After She Ignored Gosnell Trial 04/12/2013

Oliver Willis, After Spending 21 Minutes Covering Arias Trial, Fox's The Five Attack Media For Covering Arias But Not Gosnell 04/12/2013

Jeremy Holden, How The Kermit Gosnell Case Is An Indictment On [sic] The Anti-Choice Movement 04/15/2013

At Salon, Alex Seitz-Wald takes up the question, On Gosnell "blackout," where were conservatives before this week? 04/12/2013: "A search of the Congressional Record for the 112th Congress (2011-2012) turns up zero mentions for Gosnell, while a search of the current 113th Congress finds three — all from yesterday."


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